BARCELONA, Spain, NOV. 7, 2010 (Zenit.org).- If you allow Christ to enter into your heart, you won't regret it, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope invited the world to become friends with God today in his homily at the dedication Mass of the Church of the Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) in Barcelona, which he also designated a basilica.
"As we consecrate the altar of this church, which has Christ as its foundation, we are presenting to the world a God who is the friend of man and we invite men and women to become friends of God," the Pontiff affirmed. "If we allow God into our hearts and into our world, if we allow Christ to live in our hearts, we will not regret it.
"We will experience the joy of sharing his very life, as the object of his infinite love."
The Pontiff said he considered the dedication of Holy Family as "an important step in a long history of hope, work and generosity that has gone on for more than a century." Construction on the basilica, which is considered the masterpiece of Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926), began in 1882, and is not expected to finish until earliest 2026.
He said he also considers it "significant" that he is the one to dedicate the structure. "I have been moved above all by Gaudí's confidence when, in the face of many difficulties, filled with trust in divine Providence, he would exclaim, 'St. Joseph will finish this church,'" the Holy Father explained. "So it is significant that it is also being dedicated by a Pope whose baptismal name is Joseph."
Benedict XVI said the dedication takes place at a time in which "man claims to be able to build his life without God, as if God had nothing to say to him," and proposed that the "great task" of the faithful is to "show everyone that God is a God of peace not of violence, of freedom not of coercion, of harmony not of discord."
"In this masterpiece," the Holy Father reflected, "Gaudí shows us that God is the true measure of man; that the secret of authentic originality consists, as he himself said, in returning to one's origin which is God. Gaudí, by opening his spirit to God, was capable of creating in this city a space of beauty, faith and hope which leads man to an encounter with him who is truth and beauty itself."
"It stands as a visible sign of the invisible God, to whose glory these spires rise like arrows pointing towards absolute light and to the one who is Light, Height and Beauty itself," he added.
The Pope reflected that in Sagrada Familia, Gaudí was inspired by nature, Scripture and the liturgy to bring together "the reality of the world and the history of salvation, as recounted in the Bible and made present in the liturgy."
"He made stones, trees and human life part of the church so that all creation might come together in praise of God," the Holy Father explained, "but at the same time he brought the sacred images outside so as to place before people the mystery of God revealed in the birth, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ."
"In this way, he brilliantly helped to build our human consciousness, anchored in the world yet open to God, enlightened and sanctified by Christ," Benedict XVI continued. "In this he accomplished one of the most important tasks of our times: overcoming the division between human consciousness and Christian consciousness, between living in this temporal world and being open to eternal life, between the beauty of things and God as beauty."
And the architect did this, the Pope pointed out, "not with words, but with stones, lines, planes, and points."
"Beauty is one of mankind's greatest needs," the Holy Father affirmed. "It is the root from which the branches of our peace and the fruits of our hope come forth.
"Beauty also reveals God because, like him, a work of beauty is pure gratuity; it calls us to freedom and draws us away from selfishness."
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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-30878?l=english