Scroll down on this thread on the Papa Ratzinger Forum to read accounts of the first two days of the Papal retreat:

Day one:

o The existence of an invisible world, which implies the presence of divine creatures ignored and derided by the culture of positivist scientism,
o The need to convert hearts so they may consciously choose God rather than evil,
o And thus, in this context, the value of repentance with respect to the sense of sin, and the value of the life we live with the hope that there is something beyond rather than nothing –

These were some of the themes elaborated by Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, archbishop emeritus of Bologna, in the first three meditations he prepared for the Lenten spiritual exercises at the Vatican for the Pope and the Roman Curia. The exercises started yesterday afternoon at the Redemptoris Mater chapel of the Apostolic Palace.

Day two:

In the second meditation after Tierce, Cardinal Biffi recalled that until a few decades ago, it was thought, following St. Augustine, that since salvation was only possible in the name of Jesus, whoever failed to honor Him was on the road to perdition.

Whereas today, he said, to believe in the unique and indispensable value of the Cross would make us seem like narrow-minded men incapable of being open to and understanding what is true and good in the non-Crhistian world.

There is only one way, he said, to bridge this abyss: it is to understand that wherever values are found, they are objectively always from Christ. It is only through the universal centrality of Christ that one can overcome the antinomy between Christian identity and the irenic ideal of openness to all.

The Spirit, he said, knows how to Christianize even the realities that are most remote and distant from the Gospel. He recalled that St. Thomas said every truth, wherever it is found, must be said to come from the Holy Spirit. All men have been thought and willed in Christ the Redeemer, directed towards Him, placed in radical connection to Him.

That is why Christianity does not say love the believer, but love your neighbor, because the Christian already seeks to act like Christ. Thus, every true value is Christian in itself, and as such, it should be appreciated where it is seen: in art, in science, in meditation,.

Likewise, everything that exists in Christ is a value: even suffering, failure, death, which worldly mentality does not consider to be values.

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