Celebrating the fourth anniversary of Benedict XVI’s pontificate, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano offered a concert for him last Thursday. The evening included music from the Giuseppe Verdi Orchestra and the Choir of Milan, conducted, respectively, by Xian Zhang and Erina Gambarini.
The concert program included Franz Joseph Haydn's 95th Symphony, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's 35th Symphony, Antonio Vivaldi's Magnificat and the famous "Ave Verum Corpus," also by Mozart.
In his remarks following the performance, Benedict XVI noted how in the final composition, "meditation gives way to contemplation: the eye of the soul rests upon the Blessed Sacrament and recognizes therein the 'Corpus Domini,' the Body which was truly sacrificed upon the cross and from which came forth universal salvation.”
"Mozart," he added, "composed this piece shortly before his death, and in it we can say that music truly becomes prayer, an abandonment of the heart to God with a profound sense of peace."
The Holy Father then thanked President Napolitano for this "generous homage" which, he said, "managed to gratify not only our aesthetic sense, but at the same time to nourish our spirit, and I am, therefore, doubly grateful."
"Remember me in your prayers," he concluded, "that I may always carry out my ministry as the Lord wishes."