Benedict XVI addresses anxiety, death and 'hope of immortality'

.- This morning, Pope Benedict celebrated a Mass for the souls of the cardinals and bishops who have died over the past year.  In his homily, the Holy Father described death as “an enigma charged with anxiety,” and noted the importance of faith, hope and mercy in times “of human sadness and distress.”

The Mass, which is a traditional November occurrence, was concelebrated by members of the College of Cardinals.

Among the many men remembered during the celebration were the following cardinals: Pio Laghi, Stephanos II Ghattas, Stephen Kim Sou-hwan, Paul Joseph Pham Dinh Tung, Umberto Betti, and Jean Margeot, and the American Jesuit Avery Dulles.

The Pope spoke of death as “an enigma charged with anxiety,” acknowledging that separation from loved ones is painful. However, he continued, “the faith sustains us in these moments full of human sadness and distress.” It is from the faith that our “hope of immortality” springs.

In today’s second reading, the Pontiff continued, St. Peter encourages us to “maintain the prospect of hope, a ‘living hope,’ alive in our hearts… because God in his great mercy has regenerated us ‘through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead’.”

This mercy and hope, Pope Benedict added, "is the reason we must be 'full of joy', even if we are afflicted by suffering. If, indeed, we persevere in goodness, then our faith, purified by many trials, will one day shine forth in all its splendor.”

The Holy Father concluded that, with the end goal of our faith being the salvation of souls, we are to “exult 'with an indescribable and glorious joy,’” having such reason for hope despite the temporal separation of death.

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