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Teach the secular world to long for true joy, Pope urges audience

Catholic World News - November 07, 2012

Christians in the contemporary world should “promote a pedagogy of desire,” helping society to recognize the longing for God, Pope Benedict XVI told his public audience on November 7.

Continuing his series of talks on the faith, the Pope said that “man carries within himself a mysterious desire for God.” But that desire is suppressed in secularized Western cultures, which have dulled the yearning for God in the quest for material satisfaction. Still, man by nature naturally seeks for more than fleeting pleasures, the Pope said. Even secularized men longs for the experience of “going beyond oneself,” finding a greater good. Love provides some satisfaction for this longing, yet “the human experience of love has a dynamism that draws us beyond ourselves.”

Citing the familiar saying of St. Augustine that the human heart is restless until it rests in God, Pope Benedict said that unrest “proves that man is, deep down, a religious being.”

To help a secularized world satisfy that innate religious impulse, the Pope called for that “pedagogy of desire, both for the journey of those who still do not believe and for those who have already received the gift of faith.” Believers and non-believers alike, he said, should be encouraged in “learning or re-learning an authentic taste for the joys of life.”

A related need, the Pope continued, is “never settling for what has been achieved.” The quest for true joy leads on an “upward climb,” which finds its goal in union with God.

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