Pope: Where Is the Soul of a Comatose Person?
Addresses Japanese Child, Iraqi Christian, Ivorian Muslim
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The Pope was featured today on a television program "A Sua Immagine" [In His Image] of the Italian channel RAI to answer seven questions from these people and others, including a Muslim woman from the Ivory Coast and Christians from Italy seeking deeper understanding of Christ's resurrection and Mary's role in our lives.
An Italian mother named Maria Teresa explained that her son, Francesco, "has been in a vegetative coma since Easter Sunday 2009." She asked the Holy Father, if her son's soul has "left his body, seeing that he is no longer conscious, or is it still near him?"
Benedict XVI assured the mother, "Certainly his soul is still present in his body."
He explained: "The situation, perhaps, is like that of a guitar whose strings have been broken and therefore can no longer play. The instrument of the body is fragile like that; it is vulnerable, and the soul cannot play, so to speak, but remains present."
The Pope assured the mother that "this hidden soul feels your love deep down, even if unable to understand the details."
He continued: "Your presence, therefore, dear parents, dear mother, next to him for hours and hours every day, is the true act of a love of great value because this presence enters into the depth of that hidden soul.
"Your act is thus also a witness of faith in God, of faith in man, of faith, let us say, of commitment, to life, of respect for human life, even in the saddest of situations."
The Pontiff encouraged Maria Teresa to "carry on, to know that you are giving a great service to humanity with this sign of faith, with this sign of respect for life, with this love for a wounded body and a suffering soul."
Later, while responding to a question about Jesus' resurrection and what it will mean for us to have a glorified body, the Holy Father reminded his audience that "even matter is destined for eternity, that it is truly resurrected, that it does not remain something lost."
"Jesus did not leave his body behind to corruption," although he "assumed this matter in a new condition of life," Benedict XVI added.
He stated, "There is a new condition, a different one, that we do not know but which is shown in the fact of Jesus and which is a great promise for all of us: that there is a new world, a new life, toward which we are on a journey."
"Being in this condition," the Pope observed, "Jesus had the possibility of letting himself be felt, of offering his hand to his followers, of eating with them, but still of being beyond the conditions of biological life as we live it."
"He is a real man, not a ghost, that he lives a real life, but a new life that is no longer submitted to the death that is our great promise," the Pontiff said.
He continued: "It is important to understand this, at least as much as we can, for the Eucharist.
"In the Eucharist, the Lord gives us his glorified body, not flesh to eat in a biological sense.
"He gives us himself, this newness that he is in our humanity, in our being as person, and it touches us within with his being so that we might let ourselves be penetrated by his presence, transformed in his presence."
"It is an important point," the Holy Father asserted, "because we are thus already in contact with this new life, this new type of life, since he has entered into me and I have gone out of myself and am extended toward a new dimension of life."
He stated, "It is not about noting things that we cannot understand but of being on a journey to the newness that always begins again anew in the Eucharist."
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On ZENIT's Web page:
Full text: www.zenit.org/article-32403?l=english