by Pope Benedict XVI.
Despite the fact that death is an almost forbidden subject in our society and that there is a continuous attempt to banish the thought of it from our minds, death touches each of us.
It touches mankind of every age and every place. And before this mystery, we all, even unconsciously, search for something to give us hope, a sign that might bring us consolation, open up some horizon, offer us a future once more….
Dear friends, the Solemnity of All Saints and the commemoration of all the faithful departed tells us that only those who can recognize a great hope in death can live a life based on hope.
If we reduce man exclusively to his horizontal dimensions, to that which can be perceived empirically, life itself loses its profound meaning.
Man needs eternity, for every other hope is too brief, too limited for him. Man can be explained only if there is a Love which overcomes every isolation, even that of death, in a totality which also transcends time and space.
Man can be explained, he finds his deepest meaning, only if God exists.
And we know that God left his distance for us and made himself close. He entered into our life and tells us: I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die (Jn 11: 25-26)….
[Christ also said], Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? (Jn 14:1-2).
God is truly revealed to us, he became accessible, for he so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (Jn 3:16).
And in the supreme act of love on the cross, immersing himself in the abyss of death, Christ conquered it, and rose and opened the doors of eternity for us, too.
Christ sustains us through the night of death which he himself overcame. He is the Good Shepherd, on whose guidance one can rely without any fear, for he knows the way well, even through darkness.
Every Sunday, in reciting the Creed, we reaffirm this truth.
And in going to cemeteries to pray with affection and love for our departed ones, we are invited, once more, to renew with courage and with strength our faith in eternal life, indeed to live with this great hope and to bear witness to it in the world: behind the present there is not nothing.
—Excerpted from a talk at the general audience, on November 2, 2011.
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