01-03-2013 - Traces, n. 3

benedict XVI


by Fr. Aldo Trento
Missionary in Asunción, Paraguay

When I first heard the Holy Father’s decision, I experienced a few moments of bewilderment, but the comment by Fr. Julián Carrón helped me be filled with wonder. What first seemed like an earthquake to me was then transformed into a provocation. What is the foundation of my substance, my consistence? What is the center of my affections? The Pope’s decision was based on clear answers to these questions. It was “the incredible freedom of a man taken hold of by Christ,” as Carrón wrote–“a man taken hold of by Christ,” like St. Paul, or by the Mystery, like Abraham, Jacob, and Moses, men educated to live before the great Presence. Benedict XVI testified to me this freedom to let himself be guided by the voice of the Mystery, intensely living reality, the place where the Mystery became a You in Jesus Christ.
What has marked me deeply, giving new gusto to my missionary vocation, has been the centrality of Christ, expressed in a deep and moving way in the Pope’s first words, in which he invited us not to fear Christ, but to acknowledge Him as the Unicum who fully understands man, revealing to him what he has in his heart. Not only does Christ not take anything away, He gives us everything.
This certainty, which always moved Benedict XVI’s life, has become my only reason for living, my substance, my joy, and also the origin for a missionary passion without precedent. How many times have I returned home after a long journey through Paraguay and, contemplating the whole way home the immense plain spangled with houses, found myself crying at the thought that Christ has not yet reached them!
I hungered for his Magisterium to the point that, with no consideration of the costs, I decided to publish monthly everything the Pope said, because I was certain that it was the only instrument in a country and continent without the Roman tradition that could educate my people to faith lived as an event, overcoming that fearful and asphyxiating moralism. The Holy Father’s passion for Christ is expressed as a total passion for man. In this sense, his gaze on reality forces me to ask myself, for example, if the clinic is truly a place of evangelization, as he affirmed in October 2012 at the conclusion of a medical congress celebrated in Rome. On the World Day for the Sick, which he celebrated in his beloved sanctuary of Altötting in Germany, he reminded us that we must “recognize in the face of our sick brother the Holy Face of Christ.” These provocations have always educated me to nourish a great passion that what God has worked through my humble person may be a sign of His glory in the world.
Observing and following him as a son, I have learned to feel a need for silence, a silence full of the Presence of Christ. I have savored more and more every day the beauty and love of Christ present in the Eucharist, to the point that this has become the foundation of all my gestures. The way I live the Liturgy, the culminating moment of prayer and source of beauty that gathers in harmony all things, has led me to live everything with a striving toward the Infinite that enables me to care for every  detail, helping the educative journey of all. Finally, from Benedict XVI I have learned, as from Fr. Giussani, that the apex of charity is beauty, the only thing capable of reawakening the dozing, anesthetized heart of today’s man.