In a message sent on behalf of Pope Francis to the Rimini Meeting, an annual gathering organized by the lay movement Communion and Liberation, Cardinal Pietro Parolin said humanity's limitations point to the greatness to which we are called. “Life is not an absurd desire, lack is not a sign that we were born 'wrongly', but on the contrary is the bell which alerts us that our nature is made for great things,” the Vatican Secretary of State wrote Aug. 17. This is the 36th annual Meeting for the Friendship Amongst Peoples, held in Rimini. The Aug. 20-26 event gathers people from the world over for cultural encounter, panel discussions, art exhibits, and musical presentations. This year's meeting is themed “What is this lack a lack of, o heart, of which all of a sudden you are full?” a line from the 20th century Italian poet Mario Luzi. The theme “puts the accent on the 'heart' that is in each of us, and which St. Augustine has described as a 'restless heart', which is never content and seeks that which lives up to its expectation. It is a search which is expressed in questions about the meaning of life and of death, about love, about work, about justice, and about happiness,” Cardinal Parolin wrote in his message to the event's participants. “But to be worthy of finding an answer one must consider in a serious way one's own humanity, always cultivating this healthy restlessness,” he urged. Cardinal Parolin wrote that contemporary society offers “so many partial answers, which offer only 'infinite falsehoods' and which produce a strange anesthesia” which results in lack of the “courage, strength, or seriousness” needed “to express the decisive questions” of life. “None of us can initiate a dialogue about God, if we do not succeed in feeding the smoking lamp which burns in the heart,” he maintained. The first step in the task of Christians is “to reawaken the meaning of the lack of which the heart is full and that frequently lies beneath the weight of fatigue and dashed hopes. But 'the heart' is, and is always seeking.” “The drama of today consists in the perilous danger of the negation of the identity and the dignity of the human person. A worrying ideological colonization reduces the perception of the authentic needs of the heart to offer limited answers which do not consider the magnitude of the search for love, truth, beauty, justice that is in each of us. We are all children of this time and we suffer the influence of a mentality which offers new values and opportunities, but which can also condition, limit, and spoil the heart with alienating proposals that extinguish the thirst for God.” Cardinal Parolin noted that the human heart is restless because it is open to the inifite, and asks questions that no-one can escape: “Why do we have to suffer and, in the end, die? Why is there evil and contradiction? Is life worth living? Can one still hope before the prospect of a “Third World War fought in pieces” and with so many brothers persecuted and killed because of their faith? Does it still make sense to love, to work, to sacrifice and to commit oneself? To what end is my life going, and the lives of the people I never want to lose? What must we do in the world?” “These are questions which arise in all, youth and adults, believers and non-believers. Sooner or later, at least once in their life, becaue of a trial or a joyous event, reflecting on the future of one's children or the utility of one's work, each one finds himself in need of dealing with one or more of these questions. Even the most callous are not able to eradicate them entirely from their existence.” Commenting that human desire is a sign of capacity for greatness, he quoted the founder of Communion and Liberation, Msgr. Luigi Giussani: “human needs constitute the reference, the implicit affirmation of an ultimate answer that is beyond the existential modalities that can be experienced” and that the myth of Odysseus demonstrates “the nostalgia that can find satisfaction only in an infinite reality.” In answer to the inifinite capacity of the human heart, “God, the infinite Mystery, bent down to our nothingness … and offered the answer that all await without realizing it.” “Only the initiative of God the creator can fulful the measure of the heart,” Cardinal Paroline said, “and he has come to encounter us, to let himself be found by us, as is a friend. And so we can rest even in a stormy sea, because we are certain of his presence.” The theme of this year's Rimini Meeting, he said, “can cooperate in an essential task of the Church, that is, not to agree that someone be content with little, but that one can say fully: 'it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me' because Jesus' 'is the message capable of responding to the desire for the infinite which abides in every human heart,'” quoting Pope Francis' 2013 apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. God's love is “the contribution which the Christian faith offers to all,” the cardinal wrote, adding that the Rimini encounter can witness to this through the lives of its participants. “Therefore the Holy Father hopes that the organizers and volunteers of the Meeting will go out to encounter all, supported by the desire to propose with strength, beauty, and simplicity the good news of the love of God, which also today bends over our lack to fill it with the water of life which flows from the risen Jesus.”
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