"Faith … is an encounter with God who speaks and acts in history and which converts our daily life, transforming our mentality, system of values, choices and actions," he said. Faith is "not illusion, escapism, a comfortable shelter, sentimentality, but involvement in every aspect of life and proclamation of the Gospel, the Good News which can liberate all of man."
Yet, many people consider Christianity as a mere system of beliefs and morals instead of God's self-revelation in history so that he could have a loving relationship with his creatures.
"Christianity, before being a moral or ethical value, is the experience of love, of welcoming the person of Jesus," Pope Benedict stated, calling on all Christians to learn better the faith they profess and purify their lives in conformity with Christ.
After the Pope summarized his message in different languages and prayed the Our Father in Latin, the visiting men and boys of England's Choir of Westminster Abbey burst into a joyful hymn.
Jim and Joyce Vieland, visiting Rome for the first time with other pilgrims from the Diocese of Cleveland, were enthralled by the experience.
"It was tranquil, yet joyous," said Mr. Vieland of Chardon, Ohio. "What I took away was the message that if you give joy to Jesus, then others, you yourself will be happy."
Mrs. Vieland rejoiced in the unity of Catholicism on display in the hall, with so many people from around the world professing their common faith.
"I believe that if more people came to Rome to see the unity of the Church, they'd become closer to our Lord," she said.