Wednesday, January 14, 2009

January 14th 2009: Today's General Audience 'In Him all things hold together.'

You will recall that at last week's General Audience, the Holy Father apologised for having hardly any voice and hoped he would be able to make himself understood. This opening remark met with warm, encouraging and extended applause from a half-filled Audience chamber, which included some forty newly ordained Legionaries of Christ and their families. In spite of having to imbibe a glass of ochre-hued liquid* towards the end of the Audience, Pope Benedict gave his catechesis clearly and beautifully, and I totally forgot the hoarseness of his voice.

Today, he entered to a much greater assembly than last week, looking cheerfully determined and in much better health, than he has seemed, at least to me, since Christmas Eve. I managed to make the following very basic notes from his original Italian and the simultaneously spoken French translation.

Speaking on today's text from Colossians, (see title of this post) and one from Ephesians, he first of all related the texts to the Church and then moved outwards from that to the entire cosmos, showing us the grandeur and universality of Christ as the 'Chef du Cosmos', the 'Pantocrator'. His power is superior to all other forms of power, earthly and otherwise. Recognisable here was the golden thread connecting today's catechesis to Pope Benedict's recent luminous utterances on the cosmic elements in the Epiphany of the Lord. (At one point he had spoken of other universes, not just our solar system.)

By way of conclusion the Holy Father drew us back to earth to consider that marriage between man and woman is a human reflection of the reciprocal love in the marriage between Christ and His Church. This, he said, 'is representative of a great catechesis'.

Later, speaking to the French contingent, he reiterated that Christ the Head, gives power and life to the rest of his members. And to the English-speaking pilgrims he emphasised the 'beauty and value of the Family as the centre of Society and the Church'. (Clearly he has not been fazed by the recent media-inspired outrage about his pre-Christmas 'ecology of man' remarks to the Curia.)

General Comment: I was yet again saddened that there were no groups from Britain at the Audience. The last time there were any, or at the Sunday Angelus for that matter) was well before Christmas. Perhaps the recession is responsible, but I'm afraid there may be other influences and factors.

*Both Fr. Ray Blake and Fr Z made quips on their blogs about Papa B.'s alleged Fanta drinking habits but although the good Fathers amused me, I prefer to think that the glass contained a much more healthy medicine to ease that precious papal larynx.

(In the unlikely event of anyone not knowing, the full texts of all the Holy Father's homilies and speeches appear in English on the Vatican website a couple of days after each event.)

In Christo pro Papa


umblepie said...

Thanks Jane. Good to receive such first-hand information. BC

Jane said...

Thanks Brian,

One of my New Year Resolutions is to do this on Wednesdays and Sundays whenever I can. kto went to the States with him so hope to be able to cover the Africa trip in the same way.

We've been snowed in for a few days until yesterday when the thaw set in. I love my cats as you know but sleeping with the four of them does not make for a peaceful night. Lily snores horribly! Hope it's not too awful where you are and that Hector is a quiet sleeper!
'Saints and Beasts' arrived and is next on the reading list.
God bless,