Papal message: Longing reminds people they are ‘made for great things’

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A sense of longing, of missing something, often is not a sign that a person has taken a wrong turn, but rather is the heart’s reminder “that our nature was made for great things,” said a message written in the name of Pope Francis.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, reflected on the teachings of Pope Francis and of retired Pope Benedict XVI in the message he sent Aug. 19 to the Meeting in Rimini, an annual event sponsored by the Communion and Liberation movement.

For the theme of the gathering’s 2015 edition, organizers chose a line from a poem by Mario Luzi: “What is this lack a lack of, oh heart, of which all of a sudden you are full?”

In a world that offers so many easy answers or solutions that just lull people to sleep, Catholics must ask themselves how best to “give voice to the questions that everyone carries inside them,” Cardinal Parolin wrote.

“No one can begin a dialogue about God without fanning the flame of the little light burning in the other’s heart — without accusation because we all have limits and without presumption, but welcoming and listening to all,” the message said.

It is normal and human, the cardinal said, to pose questions such as: Why must we suffer? Why does evil exist? Is hope possible? Do loving, working and sacrificing make sense? What are we doing in this world?

“These are questions that everyone — young and old, believers and nonbelievers — ask,” he wrote. At some point in life, either at a time of great disappointment or great joy, “everyone has to take into account one or more of those questions.”

A sense that something is missing, he said, does not mean one made a mistake, “on the contrary, it is the bell that sounds to remind us that our nature is made for great things.”

The world tries to convince people they can find happiness “in money, power, drugs of all kinds or in satisfying one’s momentary desires,” the message said. But Christians know that meaning, joy and fulfillment come from God.

Cardinal Parolin told Meeting participants that Pope Francis hoped they would “go out to all sustained by a desire to propose with strength, beauty and simplicity the good news of the love of God, who continues to bend down and fill us with the water of life that flows from the risen Jesus.”

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