Reflecting on where man's true satisfaction and fulfillment lies, Pope Benedict wrote last week to attendees at the Rimini Meeting in Italy. The "great things" for which man strives, the Holy Father said, can be found in God through prayer.
The message from the Pope, transmitted in a note sent by Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone to Bishop Francesco Lambiasi of Rimini, was read at the end of the inaugural Mass for the "Meeting for Friendship Amongst Peoples." The week-long encounter is titled, "That nature which pushes us to desire great things is the heart."
At the root of this title, observed the Pope, is the reminder of an "unsuppressible anxiety" in every man's nature which spurs him to find answers for his longings. "Every man," he said, "perceives that in the realization of the most profound desires of his heart he can find the possibility of ... truly becoming himself."
Man is pushed "outside of himself" to fulfill the entirety of his desire, a desire not just for "any" thing, but for "great things," explained the Holy Father.
And, while he is often tempted to stop short and settle for "little things," that offer a moment of satisfaction and pleasure, "God alone is enough. He alone satiates the profound hunger of man.
"Whoever has found God, has found everything," he emphasized, adding that "finite things can give glimmers of satisfaction and joy, but only the Infinite can fill the heart of man ... "
"Man only needs a single thing that contains everything, but first he must learn to recognize, also through his desires and his superficial longings, what he truly needs, what he truly desires, what is capable of satisfying the capacity of his heart."
This desire for "great things," explained Pope Benedict, must be transformed into prayer, which the Fathers of the Church maintained was changing one's very self into a powerful desire for the Lord.
Citing St. Augustine who defined prayer as an expression of desire and asserted that God responds by extending our heart towards him, he said, "Of God we can ask everything, all that is good. The goodness and the power of God know no limits between big and small, material and immaterial, earthly and celestial things.
"In dialogue with Him - bringing our lives before his eyes, we learn to desire the good things, in concrete, God himself."
The Rimini Meeting has taken place annually since 1980 and seeks to "create points of contact between experiences and people of different faiths and cultures who share a positive desire for knowledge and reciprocal enhancement."