In reflections before praying the Angelus with thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI recalled the beginning of the liturgical year, which "invites us to live our ordinary lives as a path to holiness, that is to say, of faith and of friendship with Jesus, Teacher and Lord, the Way, the Truth and the Life of the human person."
The Pope referred to the Gospel of St. John that recounts the first encounter of Jesus with those who were to become His apostles. Two of the disciples of St. John the Baptist, according to the Gospel text, followed Christ after His Baptism. Jesus asked them: "What do you seek?" and invited them to accompany Him. One of them, Andrew, later explained to Simon that they had found the Messiah.
"Here are two words of particular significance," observed the Pope, "'to seek' and 'to find.' These two verbs contain a fundamental indication for the new year, in which we seek to renew our spiritual journey with Jesus, with the joy of constantly seeking Him and finding Him."
"The most authentic joy is in the relationship with Him: found, followed, known and loved, thanks to a continual exertion of the mind and heart. Friendship with the Teacher assures the soul profound peace and serenity in dark moments and during the most difficult trials. When faith encounters dark nights in which the presence of God is no longer 'felt' or 'seen,' the friendship of Jesus is a guarantee that in reality nothing can ever separate us from His love. To seek and to find Christ, the inexhaustible source of truth and life: the Word of God invites us to begin again, at the start of a new year, this never-ending journey of faith."
"For the believer," concluded the Holy Father "this means incessant searching and new discovery, for Christ is the same yesterday, today and always, but we, the world and history are never the same, and He comes toward us to give us His communion and fullness of life."
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