November 7, 2012

The Desire for God

Benozzo Gozzoli, St Augustine Departing for Milan
(between 1464 and 1465)
Apsidal Chapel of Sant' Agostino, San Gimignano, Italy

Pope Benedict XVI (from this week’s Wednesday audience in Rome):

Continuing our catechesis for the Year of Faith, we now consider the mysterious desire for God which lies deep in the human heart. God has created us for himself and, in the words of Saint Augustine, our hearts are restless until they find their rest in him. Even in today’s secularized society, this desire for God continues to make itself felt, above all in the experience of love. In love, which seeks the good of the other, we find ourselves by giving ourselves away, in a process involving the purification and healing of our hearts. So too in friendship, in the experience of beauty and the thirst for truth and goodness: we sense that we are caught up in a process which points us beyond ourselves to a mystery in which we dimly perceive the promise of complete fulfillment. Thanks to this innate religious sense, we can open our hearts to the gift of faith which draws us ever closer to God, the source of all good and the fulfillment of our deepest desire. During this Year of Faith, let us pray for our contemporaries who seek the truth with a sincere heart, that they may come to know the joy and freedom born of faith.
[…]
The answer to the question about the meaning of the experience of love thus passes through the purification and healing of the will, required by the very love which I have for the other. We must practice this, we must train, and even correct ourselves, so that we may truly desire that good.
[…]
[T]he dynamism of desire is always open to redemption. Even when it advances along mistaken paths, when it chases artificial paradises and seems to lose the ability to yearn for the true good. Even in the abyss of sin, that spark is not extinguished in man that allows him to recognize the true good, to savor it, and thus to begin a path of ascent, for which God, through the gift of his grace, never fails to provide his help. All of us, moreover, need to tread a path of the purification and healing of desire. We are pilgrims towards the heavenly homeland, towards that full, eternal good, which nothing will ever be able to snatch from us. It is not a matter, therefore, of stifling the desire which is in the heart of man, but of liberating it, so that it can reach its true stature. When in desire a window is opened towards God, this is already a sign of the presence of faith in the soul, faith that is a grace of God. St. Augustine also said: "By making us wait, God increases our desire, which in turn enlarges the capacity of our soul" (Commentary on the First Letter of John, 4,6: PL 35, 2009).

Read the full test here.



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