Heavenly joy can begin on earth. The day after the great feast of the Assumption of Mary into heaven, before praying the Angelus at Castel Gandolfo, Benedict XVI explained that “What happened to Mary is also valid, though in a different but real way, for every man and woman, because God asks each of us to welcome him, to place at his disposal our hearts and our bodies, the whole of our existence, our flesh -- as the Bible says -- so that he can dwell in the world.” “Today we also feel the need for priests to witness the infinite mercy of God with a life totally "conquered" by Christ, and for them to learn this in the years of their formation in the seminaries.” The Holy Father affirmed, "In this Year for Priests," the Holy Father concluded, "I invite you to pray […] for priests and for those preparing to receive the extraordinary gift of the priestly ministry. I conclude by addressing to all the exhortation of St. John Eudes, who said thus to priests: 'Give yourselves to Jesus to enter into the immensity of his great Heart, which contains the Heart of his Holy Mother and of all the saints, and to lose yourselves in this abyss of love, of charity, of mercy, of humility, of purity, of patience, of submission and of holiness.” CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 19, 2009
Jesus says: "I am the living bread that came down from heaven" (John 6:51). He presents himself as “the true nourishment that gives life, that deeply nourishes.”
“But then,” the Holy Father asked “from whom has the Son of God taken his "flesh," his concrete and earthly humanity? He took it from the Virgin Mary.”
"God took from her a human body to enter into our mortal human condition," the Bishop of Rome explained. "In turn, at the end of an earthly existence, the body of the Virgin was taken to heaven by God and brought to enter into the celestial condition.”
“God asks each of us to welcome him, to place at his disposal our hearts and our bodies, the whole of our existence, our flesh -- as the Bible says -- so that he can dwell in the world.”
Jesus calls us to unite ourselves with him in the sacrament of the Eucharist. “Whoever eats of this Bread and lives in communion with Jesus, allowing himself to be transformed by him and in him, is saved from eternal death”, the Pontiff continued, “he will be raised up on the last day to enjoy the eternal feast with Mary and all the saints.” CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 17, 2009
Priests Should Be Witnesses of Love. Benedict XVI reflected on St. John Eudes during the general audience held at Castel Gandolfo. This saint lived in France in the 17th century, a century marked by opposing religious phenomena and also by great political problems.
His particular contribution was the foundation of a religious congregation dedicated to the task of giving solid formation to the diocesan priesthood. He encouraged seminarians to grow in holiness and to trust in God’s love revealed to humanity in the priestly heart of Jesus and in the maternal heart of Mary.
"The time in the seminary should be seen," he proposed, as the "actualization of the moment in which the Lord Jesus, after having called the Apostles and before sending them out to preach, asks that they stay with him."
Jesus' teaching seems "hard". Benedict XVI said to the crowds gathered for the praying of Angelus. There are thus those who reject it and abandon Christ; there are those who try to "adapt" the word to the fashions of the times, distorting its meaning and value.
The Holy Father reflected on the Gospel reading from St. John for today's Mass, which describes how many of Christ's followers abandoned him because of his affirmation, "If you do not eat of the flesh of the Son of man or drink of his blood, you shall not have life within you."
"Do you also wish to leave?" This disturbing provocation resounds in our hearts and awaits a personal response from each person. Jesus in fact is not satisfied with a superficial and formal following, a first and enthusiastic adhesion is not sufficient for him; on the contrary, we must take part "in his thinking and in his willing" all of our lives.
“Following him fills the heart with joy and gives complete meaning to our existence, but it brings difficulties and renunciations because very often we must go against the current.”
"If we open our hearts to Christ with confidence, if we let ourselves be conquered by him, we too can experience, together with the Curé d'Ars, 'that our only happiness on this earth is to love God and to know that he loves us.'"
"Let us ask the Virgin Mary," the Pope concluded, "always to keep alive in us this faith impregnated by." impregnated by love, which made her, the humble girl of Nazareth, Mother of God and model for all believers.” CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 23, 2009
Other papal messages and activities
“Today we also feel the need for priests to witness the infinite mercy of God with a life totally "conquered" by Christ, and for them to learn this in the years of their formation in the seminaries.” The Holy Father affirmed,
"In this Year for Priests," the Holy Father concluded, "I invite you to pray […] for priests and for those preparing to receive the extraordinary gift of the priestly ministry. I conclude by addressing to all the exhortation of St. John Eudes, who said thus to priests: 'Give yourselves to Jesus to enter into the immensity of his great Heart, which contains the Heart of his Holy Mother and of all the saints, and to lose yourselves in this abyss of love, of charity, of mercy, of humility, of purity, of patience, of submission and of holiness.” CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 19, 2009
Without God, a nation cannot build its future. The Pope affirmed in a message on occasion of Ecuador’s 200th anniversary of its independence..
The message said that the Holy Father wants to offer Ecuadoreans his "cordial greetings and spiritual closeness, assuring a particular remembrance in his prayers, in which he asks the Lord to abundantly pour out the gifts of his grace on the beloved children of this noble land so that, faithful to their great human and Christian values, they might contribute to build a society that is ever more fraternal, just and solidary." QUITO, Ecuador, AUG. 18, 2009
Benedict XVI sent a note to Kennedy Family. The day before Eunice Kennedy Shriver died, Benedict XVI sent a letter to her family assuring them of his prayers and spiritual closeness. Eunice Shriver was the sister of President John F. Kennedy. She founded the Special Olympics in 1968 with the objective of promoting sports among persons who are mentally disabled. She is credited with changing the way society treats the developmentally disabled. She was also an adamant supporter of the right to life. WASHINGTON, D.C., AUG. 19, 2009
The Holy Father met youth whose limbs were amputated. Rajiv Janine, an 18-year-old Sri Lankan, lost his arms and legs after a rail accident. He told the Holy Father his story, and asked for a blessing on himself and his brother, who will soon be ordained a priest, and his sister, who is a religious in the Philippines.
Rajiv Janine stood with prosthetic limbs, bought with money raised by a solidarity campaign which was initiated by an Italian priest, Father Giuseppe Iasso, pastor in Mercogliano, in the Avellino province of Southern Italy. For 25 years he has been promoting initiatives like this to help the needy in Sri Lanka. CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 19, 2009
Benedict XVI will be represented by Cardinal Rodé in Montenegro at celebrations in honor of St. Trifon. The feast of St. Trifon has been celebrated in the Gulf of Kotor since the ninth century. VATICAN CITY, AUG. 19, 2009
The Holy Father will welcome some 200 pilgrims who have been travelling the 140 miles from Assisi to Rome since Aug. 10 . The pilgrimage includes carts pulled by donkeys and mules. Each cart carries an exposition of a different theme: St. James the Apostle, St. Peter, St. Paul, the Blessed Virgin, children, music, culture, the environment, solidarity and trade.
In this way, the group is promoting a more profound reflection on the cultural, environmental, monumental and religious aspects of the "Road of St. Francis" (Francigeno) between Assisi and Rome. CASTEL GONDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 20, 2009
Vatican doctors removed Benedict XVI´s cast. "A control X-ray was taken that showed the consolidation of the fracture," said Patricio Polisca, the Pope's personal doctor, in a statement published today by the Holy See Press Office. "The final result can be described altogether as optimum."
Some days later, the Pope jokingly noted that his right hand is still "lazy." CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 21, 2009
Around 30 former Ratzinger students will meet with Benedict XVI. They will gather Aug. 28-30 for their annual event, which has been going on since 1971, long before their theology professor was elected Pope. Mission and dialogue with other religions and cultures is the theme of this year's meeting. VATICAN CITY, AUG. 21, 2009
The official news agency of China reported Benedict XVI's message of condolence at the death of former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung . Kim served as president of South Korea from 1998 to 2003. It was in 2000 that Kim had a historical meeting in Pyongyang with North Korea's Kim Jong Il. That same year he won the Nobel Peace Prize. ROME, AUG. 23, 2009
The Pope sent a message to the 30th Meeting for Friendship among Peoples, alluding to the theme of the gathering by affirming that an encounter with Christ is an "event" that creates communion. RIMINI, Italy, AUG. 23, 2009
A prayer for the Holy Father
Christ Jesus, King and Lord of the Church, in your presence I renew my unconditional loyalty to your Vicar on earth, the Pope. In him you have chosen to show us the safe and sure path that we must follow in the midst of confusion, uneasiness, and unrest. I firmly believe that through him you govern, teach, and sanctify us; with him as our shepherd, we form the true Church: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. Grant me the grace to love, live, and spread faithfully our Holy Father’s teachings. Watch over his life, enlighten his mind, strengthen his spirit, defend him from calumny and evil. Calm the erosive winds of infidelity and disobedience. Hear our prayer and keep your Church united around him, firm in its belief and action, that it may truly be the instrument of your redemption. Amen.
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