|Installation as Pope, Oct 22, 1978|
In the opening homily of his Pontificate, we can trace the themes that would characterize his preaching and writing. The dignity of the person due to spiritual capacity or powers of intellect and will; respect for conscience; appreciation for the depth or abyss of the person, against the reductionism of technology and tyranny; the search for meaning in a world of senseless violence and cold indifference; the illuminating power of the Word; the apostolate to culture and the modern world; the love of Jesus Christ; the relentless courage ("Be not afraid!"). Here are a few lines from the homily; they continue to inspire; they encourage us to prayerful study of his life and work:
The absolute and yet sweet and gentle power of the Lord responds to the whole depths of the human person, to his loftiest aspirations of intellect, will and heart. It does not speak the language of force but expresses itself in charity and truth. . . .
Brothers and sisters, do not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power. Help the Pope and all those who wish to serve Christ and with Christ's power to serve the human person and the whole of mankind. Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ. To his saving power open the boundaries of States, economic and political systems, the vast fields of culture, civilization and development. Do not be afraid. Christ knows "what is in man". He alone knows it.
So often today man does not know what is within him, in the depths of his mind and heart. So often he is uncertain about the meaning of his life on this earth. He is assailed by doubt, a doubt which turns into despair. We ask you therefore, we beg you with humility and trust, let Christ speak to man. He alone has words of life, yes, of eternal life.
From Homily on October 22, 1978 (from Vatican website)