(03 May 10 - RV) Pope Benedict arrived back at the Vatican last night after completing
a day long pastoral visit to the city of Turin.
During the visit the Holy Father
venerated the Shroud of Turin which is currently on public display. Pope
Benedict’s visit to the Northern Italian city of Turin began on Sunday with an open
air Mass followed by a vibrant encounter with the youth of the region, but it was
the Holy Father’s next stop that was to be the highlight of this visit, his pilgrimage
to the venerate the Shroud of Turin.
One inside the serenity of Turin’s
Cathedral the Pope sat in a crimson chair from where he delivered a mediation below
the unmistakable length of the encased Shroud which is currently on public display.
Holy Father began by thanking God for the gift of this pilgrimage and said that although
he had viewed the Shroud before, he looked upon this visit with particular significance
because this time he was coming as the Successor of Peter and over the years the message
of the Shroud for him had grown more intense.
The Pope’s mediation centred
around “The Mystery of Holy Saturday” and he explained that this theme had come to
him as result of this Solemn Exposition.
Pope Benedict said that the Shroud
can be seen as the Icon of Holy Saturday.
The Shroud the Pope added, contains
the body of a crucified man and this cloth gives us a representation of the body of
Jesus as it lay in the tomb the day after the Sabbath.
Holy Saturday continued
Pope Benedict is the day that God is hidden, on that day on earth, there is great
silence, silence and solitude. Great silence because the King sleeps ... God is dead
in the flesh.
Drawing further on this theme that Holy Father noted that in
our time, humanity has become particularly sensitive to the mystery of Holy Saturday,
especially after going through the last century,.
The hiddenness of God explained
the Pope is part of the spirituality of contemporary man, it is, almost unconscious,
there is a vacuum at heart that has been widening ever more.
The Holy Father
went on to say that after the two world wars, concentration camps and the gulag, Hiroshima
and Nagasaki, our age has become increasingly a Holy Saturday: the darkness of this
day challenges all those who wonder about life, it especially challenges us as believers.
Yet the death of the Son of God, Pope Benedict said is the opposite to this,
it’s totally positive, a source of consolation and hope.
Holy Saturday is
the "no man's land" between the death and resurrection, but in this "land of none"
enters the One, the One who indured the marks of his passion for man "
mystery of Holy Saturday is this, said the pope, Just beyond, the darkness of death
of the Son of God, there is the light of a new hope: the light of the Resurrection.
And here, Pope Benedict said, looking at this sacred sheet with the eyes of faith
I perceive something of this light.
After venerating the Shroud of Turin
the Holy Father travelled in his Fondly named Pope mobile to his final engagement
of the day an encounter with the Sick at the nearby Little House of Divine Providence.
told the sick people gathered, following a rousing welcome, that they carry out important
work because they live their sufferings in union with the crucified and risen Christ,
and participate in the mystery of his suffering for the salvation of the world.
our pain to God through Christ, Pope Benedict continued, we can collaborate in the
victory of good over evil, because God makes fruitful our offer, our act of love.
The Pope said all of you who are here, each for his part: should not be strangers
to the fate of the world, but should feel valuable pieces of a beautiful mosaic that
God, as a great artist, shapes day by day through your contribution.
house, the Holy Father went on to say, is one of the ripe fruit born from the cross
and the resurrection of Christ, and manifests that suffering, so that evil and death
do not have the last word.
The message of this solemn Exposition of the Shroud:
"Passio Christi - Passio hominis" is understood here in particular.
As he left
the Little House of Divine Providence the Pope blessed the waiting crowd outside before
departing for his journey back to the Vatican.