Affirms Whole Being Is Needed for Encounter With God
VATICAN CITY, JUNE 3, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Faith is not just about thinking; it involves the whole being, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope affirmed this today during the general audience in St. Peter's Square, during which he focused on the figure of Rabanus Maurus, an 8th century monk from Germany.
The Holy Father explained how Romanus drew from various disciplines -- such as philosophy, art and poetry -- to better lead people to God. He said that this showed "Rabanus Maurus had an extraordinary awareness of the need to involve in the experience of faith, not only the mind and the heart, but also the sentiments, through these other elements of aesthetic taste and the human sensitivity that brings man to enjoy truth with all of his being, 'spirit, soul and body.'"
The Pontiff affirmed that this understanding is important.
"The faith is not only thought," he explained, "it touches the whole being. Given that God made man with flesh and blood and entered into the tangible world, we have to try to encounter God with all the dimensions of our being. In this way, the reality of God, through faith, penetrates in our being and transforms it."
Benedict XVI noted how Romanus did not "dedicate himself to the art of poetry as an end in itself, but rather he used art and whatever other type of knowledge to go deeper in the Word of God."
In this context, it was natural that Romanus, first and foremost a monk, would give priority to liturgy, the Pope explained.
"[Romanus] tried with all his might and rigor to introduce to his contemporaries, but above all to the ministers […] the understanding of the profound theological and spiritual significance of all the elements of the liturgical celebration," he said.
And in this effort, the monk paid recourse to Scripture and the fathers of the Church.
"In this way is seen the continuity of the Christian faith," the Holy Father said, "which has its beginnings in the Word of God: It is, nevertheless, always alive, it develops and is expressed in new ways, always in harmony with the entire construction, the whole edifice of the faith."