I was re-reading Pope Benedict’s world youth day talks, and for whatever reason this quote slapped my soul and then immediately linked with a memorable quote I recalled from Pope Francis’ recent WYD. Both talk about the whirling, dizzying power of God who stirs up troublesome change that leads to radical holiness. Benedict uses the word “revolution” to describe it, and Francis uses “a mess.” But the point is the same! Enjoy:
The saints, as we said, are the true reformers. Now I want to express this in an even more radical way: only from the saints, only from God does true revolution come, the definitive way to change the world.
In the last century we experienced revolutions with a common programme – expecting nothing more from God, they assumed total responsibility for the cause of the world in order to change it. And this, as we saw, meant that a human and partial point of view was always taken as an absolute guiding principle. Absolutizing what is not absolute but relative is called totalitarianism. It does not liberate man, but takes away his dignity and enslaves him.
It is not ideologies that save the world, but only a return to the living God, our Creator, the guarantor of our freedom, the guarantor of what is really good and true. True revolution consists in simply turning to God who is the measure of what is right and who at the same time is everlasting love. And what could ever save us apart from love? — Pope Benedict XVI, WYD 2005
What do I expect as a consequence of the Youth Day? I expect a mess. There will be one. There will be a mess here in Rio? There will be! But I want a mess in the dioceses! I want people to go out! I want the Church to go out to the street! I want us to defend ourselves against everything that is worldliness, that is installation, that is comfortableness, that is clericalism, that is being shut-in on ourselves. The parishes, the schools, the institutions, exist to go out! — Pope Francis, World Youth Day 2013