The Pope's Farewell Audience

Post date: Mar 3, 2013 5:54:25 PM

Pope Benedict XVI Farewell Audience

Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood

Authorities distinguished

Dear brothers and sisters!

Thank you for coming so many of my last General Audience.

Thank you with all my heart! I'm really excited and I see the Church alive! And I think we must also say thank you to God for the beautiful weather that gives us even now in the winter.

As the Apostle Paul in the biblical text that we have listened, I also feel in my heart the duty especially thank God that makes it grow and guide the Church, and thus sow the Word nourishes faith of his people. At this moment, my soul expands and embraces the whole Church spread throughout the world, and I thank God for the "new" in these years of the Petrine ministry I have received concerning the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love that flows actually in the Body of the Church and made to live in love, and hope that opens and directs us to the fullness of life, to the homeland of heaven.

I feel that I carry you all in prayer, a present that is God, where I collect every encounter, every trip, every pastoral visit. I collect everything and everyone in prayer for trust in the Lord: for we have full knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that we might live a life worthy of Him, His love, wearing fruit in every good work (cf. Col 1: 9-10).

At this time, there is in me a lot of confidence, because I know we all know that the Word of Truth of the Gospel is the power of the Church is his life. The Gospel purifies and renews bear fruit wherever the community of believers to listen and welcome the grace of God in truth and charity. Such is my confidence, this is my joy.

When, on April 19 almost 8 years ago, I agreed to take the Petrine ministry, I had the firm conviction that has always accompanied me: the certainty of the life of the Church through the Word of God . At this point, as I already stated several times, the words that echoed in my heart were: Lord, why do you ask and you ask me? It is a great weight that you ask me on the shoulders, but if you ask me, on your word I will let down the nets, sure you guide me, as with all my weaknesses. And eight years later, I can say that the Lord has really guided me was close, I could perceive his presence daily. It was a long way from the church that had moments of joy and light, but also not easy times, I felt like St. Peter and the Apostles in the boat on the Sea of Galilee, the Lord gave us many days of sun and breeze, days when fishing was abundant, there were also times when the water was rough and the wind contrary, as in the history of the Church, and Lord seemed asleep. But I always knew in the boat, there is the Lord, and I always knew that the boat of the Church is not mine, not ours, but his. And the Lord will not let flow, and it is he who leads, certainly through men it has chosen, because he wanted it that way. This was and is a certainty that nothing can disturb. And that is why today my heart is full of gratitude to God because he has never missed the whole Church and also my consolation, light, love.

We are in the Year of Faith , which I really wanted to strengthen our faith in God, in a context that seems increasingly to the background. I invite you all to renew your firm trust in the Lord, to trust like children in the arms of God, confident that his arms always support us and are what allows us to walk every day, even in difficult times. I want everyone to feel loved by God who gave his Son for us, and showed us his boundless love. I would like everyone to feel the joy of being Christian. In a beautiful prayer to recite daily in the morning, said: "I adore you, my God and I love you with all my heart. Thank you for having created me, a Christian ... ". Yes, we are happy for the gift of faith is the most precious asset that nobody can take from us! Thank the Lord for it every day, through prayer and a consistent Christian life. God loves us, but we also expect that we loved!

But it is not only I want to thank God that at the moment. A Pope is not only to drive the boat of Peter, even though this is his first responsibility. I've never felt alone bring joy and weight of the Petrine ministry, the Lord has put on my side a lot of people with generosity and love toward God and the church helped me and I have been relatives. Especially you, dear Brother Cardinals: your wisdom, your advice, your friendship has been invaluable to me and my collaborators, starting with my Secretary of State who accompanied me faithfully over the years, the Secretary of State and any the Roman Curia, as also all those who, in different areas, lend their service to the Holy See: the many faces that are not visible, which remain in the shadows, but precisely in the silence, in the dedication daily, with a spirit of faith and humility, they have been my support safe and reliable. A special thought to the Church of Rome, my diocese! I can not forget the brothers in the Episcopate and in the priesthood, consecrated persons and the entire People of God: pastoral visits in meetings, hearings in travel, I always received a lot of attention and deep affection, but I also have loved you all and everyone, without distinction, with that pastoral charity which is the heart of every pastor, especially the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of the Apostle Peter. Every day, I brought each of you in prayer with the heart of a father.

I want my salvation and my thanks to all then reach: the heart of a Pope widens the world. And I wish to express my gratitude to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, which makes this the family of nations. Here I think of all those who work for good communication and I thank them for their important service.

At this point, I would like to thank all of my heart many people in the world who in recent weeks have sent me touching tokens of attention, friendship and prayer. Yes, the Pope is never alone, I experience now once again in a way so much that touches the heart. Pope belongs to all and a very large number of people feel very close to him. It is true that I receive letters of the great World - heads of state, religious leaders, representatives of the world of culture, etc.. But I also get a lot of letters from people who write just simple with their heart and make me feel their affection, which arises from the fact of being together with Jesus Christ in the Church. These people do not write me as one writes such a prince, or a large one does not know. They write to me as brothers and sisters, or as son and daughters, with a sense of family ties very affectionate. Here you can finger what the Church - not an organization, an association for religious or humanitarian, but a living body, a communion of brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ that unites us all. Experiment the Church in this way and can almost be able to touch the hand of the power of his truth and his love is a source of joy, a time when many speak of its decline. But we see how the Church is alive today!

In recent months, I felt that my strength was reduced and I asked God with insistence in prayer to enlighten me to the light to make me the most important decision not just for my sake but for the good of the Church. I did this not in full awareness of its severity and also its novelty, but a deep serenity of soul. Love the Church also means having the courage to make difficult choices, painful, always having at heart the good of the Church and not yourself.

Let me come back here again to 19 April 2005. The gravity of the decision was really in the fact that from that moment I was engaged constantly and forever with the Lord. Always - who assumes the Petrine ministry no longer has any privacy. It is always and completely to all, the whole Church. The private dimension is, so to speak, completely removed his life. I have experienced and I experience precisely now, precisely the life we receive when we give. I said earlier that many people who love the Lord also love the Successor of Saint Peter and affection for him that the Pope really brothers and sisters, son and daughters in the world and he feels in safety in the embrace of your communion, because he no longer belongs to himself, he belongs to all and all belong to him.

The "always" is also a "forever" - there are more back in the private sector. My decision to waive the exercise active ministry, not remove it. I do not return to private life, a life of travel, meetings, receptions, conferences, etc.. I do not give the cross, but I am in a new way with the Lord crucified. I no longer have the power to charge for the government of the Church, but in the service of prayer, I remain, so to speak, within the precincts of St. Peter. Saint Benedict, which I named as Pope, I will be a great example of this. He showed us the path to a life of active or passive, belongs entirely to the work of God.

I thank everyone for the respect and understanding with which you have welcomed this important decision. I will continue to follow the path of the Church through prayer and reflection, with this devotion to the Lord and His Bride that I tried to live up to every day and today I want to live forever. I ask you to remember me to God and pray especially for the Cardinals called to an important task, and the new Successor of the Apostle Peter, the Lord accompanied by his light and strength His Spirit.

Invoke the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God and the Church to accompany each of us and the whole ecclesial community, and we rely upon it with deep confidence.

Dear friends! God guides his Church, still supports also and especially in difficult times. Never lose this vision of faith, which is the only true vision of the path of the Church and the world. In our heart, in the heart of each of you, there is always the joyous certainty that the Lord is on our side, he does not abandon us, he is close to us and embraces us with his love.

Thank you!

... We say... thank you Pope Benedict =)