“Grateful to Pope Benedict XVI for his apostolic visit to Sicily and for the links with our island. We welcome theological teachings, we follow spiritual guidelines”. These are the words with which Msgr. Francesco Lomanto, Archbishop of Syracuse, begins his remembrance of Pope Benedict XVI “humble worker in the Lord’s vineyard, guardian of faith, prophet of hope and promoter of charity, master in proclaiming the Gospel, faithful servant of the Church, free in the Spirit of the Truth” which has guided the Church “to the knowledge of Christ, to his love and to true joy”. Archbishop Lomanto recalled the apostolic visit to Sicily in October 2010 on the occasion of the Regional Conference on Families and Youth: “The gaze of courage for an education in hope. His gesture of floral tribute to Capaci remains alive in everyone’s memory, in memory of the judge Giovanni Falcone and his escort victims of mafia crime. In his volume “John Paul II. My beloved predecessor”, Pope Benedict XVI fervently recalls the passion with which Saint John Paul II recounted his visit to Our Lady of Tears: “I cannot forget how he spoke to us on the occasion of the great Mass of the African synod, about which cheered up, while in the hospital after he fell in the bathroom and broke his hip. He had previously visited Our Lady of Tears in Syracuse and began to speak to us right from that meeting. No sermon, which could have given us in good health, could have touched us in the same way. Our Lady of Tears stood for all the tears of the innocent, to which no one knows how to give consolation”. The archbishop of Syracuse urged the need to accept the theological teachings of the pope emeritus: “May we be supported by the many solicitations coming from the enlightened and inspired papal magisterium focused on the “presentation of the faith in a way suited to the culture of our time”. Among the objectives that Pope Benedict XVI intended to pursue is the “effort to help everyone learn or re-learn the faith, to live it with greater awareness and maturity in everyday life”. (Benedict XVI, The Joy of Faith, 5). We are heartened by hope, which has been given to us, as he himself reminded us, «a reliable hope, by virtue of which we can face our present, […] even a tiring present” (Spe Salvi, 1). May we be strengthened by the charity with which “God fills us and which must be communicated by us to others”, “so as to arouse in the world a renewed dynamism of commitment in the human response to divine love”, since “there will be no never a situation in which the charity of each individual Christian is not needed, because man, beyond justice, has and will always need love” (Deus caritas est, 1, 29)”. Lomanto reiterated the need to follow spiritual guidelines. In the theology and spirituality of Pope Benedict XVI emerges above all “the balance between reason and faith which constitutes the leitmotif of Benedict XVI’s theological research. «Philosophical research arises from the dignity of man and his reason which wants to understand his origin and his destiny. Theological research leads to faith in God the Creator, in the personal God who cares about the fate of his creature, comes to meet him, loves him to the point of sharing his nature, to weave a dialogue of love with him. […]. In philosophy it is man who seeks God to explain the cosmos and himself, in religion, especially in Christianity, it is God who reveals himself to man and offers not only a thought but communion and love (E. Guerriero, Reason, Faith and Love: The Legacy of Joseph Ratzinger, 14)”. The relationship “between truth and love is fundamental, because one feeds on the other, and together they compose “the seal of creation, of the history of salvation and of the mission of the Church”. «The Logos of truth opens and unites intelligences in the Logos of love, and the essential nucleus of the Christian faith is founded exactly on this. The more we grow in God’s truth, the more we remain in his love, the more we are made capable of being with Jesus, the more authentic and generous we are with others, in a spirit of unity, fraternity and service” (Benedict XVI, La Joy of Faith, 8)”.
And finally, on the basis of the conciliar guidelines, “he showed us holiness as a true renewal of life and a way of salvation for the world: «The saints […] they are the real reformers. […]. Only from the saints, only from God does true revolution come, the decisive change in the world. […]. True revolution consists solely in turning unreservedly to God who is the measure of what is right and at the same time eternal love. And what could possibly save us but love?” (August 20, 2005)”. A memorial mass for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI will be celebrated on Saturday 14, at 18.00, at the Shrine of Our Lady of Tears in Syracuse by the Archbishop of Syracuse.
“Pope Benedict XVI and his ties with Sicily”, the memory of Archbishop Lomanto