The Holy Father said monastic groups, and others who have devoted their lives to prayer, have established communities in secluded places, like the countryside, hills, valleys, mountains, or along waterfronts – even on islands – which combines silence with the beauty of creation, which is also important for the contemplative life.
He spoke in particular of St. Claire of Assisi, whose feast is observed on Thursday. She and her companions took possession of the Church of San Damiano, situated on the hillside below the town of Assisi, which had been restored by St. Francis.
Pope Benedict said the silence and the beauty of the place where a monastic community lives are a reflection of the spiritual harmony they seek to achieve.
He said the world is dotted with these oases of the spirit, and called them the spiritual backbone of the world. He said this is why so many people, especially during their holidays, visit these places, since “the soul also has its own needs”.
Speaking at the end of this musical evening provided by the “New Seasons” Ensemble, the Pope began by saying that with the “wonderful music that still echoes in our hearts, surely nothing can be added. But graciously the Holy Father went to thank all those who had made this concert possible including the conductor Albrecht Mayer and violinist Arabella Steinbecher.
The Pope and his brother had been treated to works by composers Antonio Vivaldi and Johann Sebastien Bach whom he called two representatives of truly great music of the 18th century.
The Pope described both composers as men of deep devotion and this religious spirit was he added, revealed in their sacred music scores.
Ending with a reflection on the music of Bach, Pope Benedict described it as harmonious in construction echoing, he said, that harmonious construction which God has imprinted on creation.