.- After years of creating a world with no room for God, people in the west may be experiencing a, “quest for ‘something bigger,’” Pope Benedict XVI said in an interview, made public this weekend.
As part of a television interview in preparation for a visit to his homeland, the Holy Father spoke to German and Vatican reporters about the wave of “enlightenment or secularization” that the west is experiencing and the resurgence of faith, which is now occurring in spite of it.
Benedict said that in the western world, “it’s become more difficult to believe, because the world in which we find ourselves is completely made up of ourselves… humanity has rebuilt the world by itself and finding God inside this world has become more difficult.”
At the same time, the Pope said, the west is encountering other cultures who still maintain an active faith in God. “These cultures are horrified when they experience the West’s coldness towards God.”
Through this encounter the, ‘presence of the sacred’ reawakens many in the west and, “The quest for ‘something bigger’ wells up again from the depths of western people.”
Pope Benedict said that, “the search for something ‘more’ is especially evident in the youth.” The Pope pointed to the tremendous response to World Youth Day in Cologne.
Today, he said, a great number of youth are in the process of searching; and through their searching the Church can offer faith as the answer.
The Holy Father said that his upcoming visit to Germany, much like his visit to World Youth Day, “is an opportunity because we can see that believing is beautiful, that the joy of a huge universal community possesses a transcendental strength, that behind this belief lies something important and that together with the new searching movements there are also new outlets for the faith that lead us from one to the other and that are also positive for society as a whole.”
The Pope said that the main theme of his visit will be the need that mankind has to rediscover God. “Not just any God,” the Pontiff explained, “but the God that has a human face, because when we see Jesus Christ we see God.
From this starting point, we can find reconciliation and peace among peoples, the Pope said. “We must find the way to reconciliation and to peaceful coexistence in this world, the ways that lead to the future. We won’t find these ways leading to the future if we don’t receive light from above,” Benedict continued. We must move from an understanding of God present in Jesus Christ, to an understanding of community, and only then are we able to effectively reach out among other cultures and peoples.
Returning to a discussion of last year’s World Youth Day, The Holy Father encouraged the many young people who, out of their experience of community and of a search for something larger, are also sensing a desire to do good for the needy. “Go ahead,” the Pope said, “Look for opportunities to do good! The world needs this desire to do good, it needs this commitment!”
At the same time, the Holy Father encouraged young adults to take the courageous step of making a commitment to their vocations. “Young people are very generous but when they face the risk of a life-long commitment, be it marriage or a priestly vocation, they are afraid,” the Pope said.
Benedict said that young people are encouraged by the world to say to themselves, “Nowadays I can continually do whatever I want with my life, with all its unpredictable future events. By making a definitive decision am I myself not tying up my personal freedom and depriving myself of freedom of movement?”
The Pope exhorted them to overcome these doubts and, “reawaken the courage to make definitive decisions: they are really the only ones that allow us to grow, to move ahead and to reach something great in life. They are the only decisions that do not destroy our freedom but offer to point us in the right direction. Risk making this leap, so to speak, towards the definitive and so embrace life fully.”