The “longing for happiness must be taken seriously; it demands a true and comprehensive response” Benedict XVI told the youth on the final day of his visit to the Czech Republic. He warned against the risk of letting illusory visions of spurious happiness lead them astray.
“Christ wants to make you happy” He said, and invited to consider the experience of Saint Augustine, who discovered that Jesus Christ alone is the answer that can satisfy his and every person's desire for a life of happiness, filled with meaning and value. (cf. Confessions, I.1.1).
The Holy Father explained that the Christian faith is encounter with Christ, “the living Person who gives life a new horizon and thereby a definitive direction.”
He noted that, when the heart of a person opens up to his divine plans, it is not difficult to recognize and follow his voice. “Many of you he calls to marriage” he said, “Consider seriously the divine call to raise a Christian family, and let your youth be the time in which to build your future with a sense of responsibility. Society needs Christian families, saintly families!”
“And if the Lord is calling you to follow him in the ministerial priesthood or in the consecrated life, do not hesitate to respond to his invitation." He appealed young men to be attentive and open to Jesus’ call to offer their lives in the service of God and his people.
Live your faith with joy and enthusiasm; grow in unity among yourselves and with Christ; pray and be diligent in frequenting the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Confession, take seriously your Christian formation, and remain obedient to the teachings of your Pastors. He asked the youth. STARA BOLESLAV, Czech Republic, SEPT. 28, 2009
Holiness is still relevant and more important than worldly success and glory, the Pope affirmed. He celebrated Mass in the Czech Republic on the feast of the nation's patron, St. Wenceslaus.
"[I]s holiness still relevant? Or is it now considered unattractive and unimportant? Do we not place more value today on worldly success and glory? Yet how long does earthly success last, and what value does it have?" He asked. And he noted how "Those who denied and continue to deny God, and in consequence have no respect for man, appear to have a comfortable life and to be materially successful. Yet one need only scratch the surface to realize how sad and unfulfilled these people are."
“It is not material goods that quench the profound thirst for meaning and happiness in the heart of every person." the Holy Father explained,"This is why Jesus does not hesitate to propose to his disciples the "narrow" path of holiness.”
“Without doubt, this is hard language, difficult to accept and put into practice, but the testimony of the saints assures us that it is possible for all who trust and entrust themselves to Christ”
“This is the lesson we can learn from Saint Wenceslaus, who had the courage to prefer the kingdom of heaven to the enticement of worldly power.” STARA BOLESLAV, Czech Republic, SEPT. 28, 2009
Czech trip was a pilgrimage and a mission. The Pope said at the general audience in St. Peter's Square. "It was a pilgrimage," he explained, "on account of the many saints who bore witness to Christ in the Czech lands through their holy lives, and it was a mission because, at the present time, Europe needs to rediscover the joy and hope that come from following the Lord Jesus."
He asked the faithful for prayers that this visit may bear abundant spiritual fruit for the Czech people and for the unity and peace of the whole continent of Europe. VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 30, 2009
The Pope inaugurated the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, which will focus on the theme: "The Church in Africa at the Service of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace. You are the salt of the earth ... you are the light of the world"
In the inauguration Mass, drawing from the liturgy of the day, he emphasized: "the primacy of God, Creator and Lord," matrimony and children.
Benedict XVI explained that Africa is the repository of an inestimable treasure for the whole world: its deep sense of God. ”When we speak of the treasures of Africa,” the Holy Father explained, “ our thoughts immediately turn to the resources its land is rich in and that, unfortunately, have become and often continue to be a reason for exploitation, conflict and corruption.” “The Word of God, instead, makes us look at another inheritance” he said: “the spiritual and cultural one of which humanity has even greater need than it does of raw materials. As Jesus said, "What gain, then, is it for anyone to win the whole world and forfeit his life?" (Mk 8:36). From this point of view, Africa represents an enormous spiritual "lung" for a humanity that appears to be in a crisis of faith and hope.” VATICAN CITY, OCT. 4, 2009
Full text of homily: http://zenit.org/article-27046?l=english
Other papal messages and activities:
Prayer intention: The general intention chosen by the Pope in October is: "That Sunday may be lived as the day on which Christians gather to celebrate the risen Lord, participating in the Eucharist."
The apostolic intention in October is: "That the entire People of God, to whom Christ entrusted the mandate to go and preach the Gospel to every creature, may eagerly assume their own missionary responsibility and consider it the highest service they can offer humanity." VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 30, 2009
"The Church in this Country has been truly blessed with a remarkable array of missionaries and Martyrs" The Holy Father said in his farewell address as he ended his three-day trip to the Czech Republic. He thanked the President, Bishop Václav Malý, Cardinal Vlk, Archbishop Graubner, and all the public authorities, the media, the many volunteers who helped to direct the crowds, and all the faithful who prayed that this visit might bear fruit for the good of the Czech nation and for the Church in the region. PRAGUE, Czech Republic, SEPT. 28, 2009
A priest must be a man of joy and hope, Benedict XVI said in a video message he sent to a group of priests on retreat at Ars. "The priest, man of the divine Word and of sacred things, must be today, more than ever, a man of joy and hope," the Holy Father affirmed.
"The happiness there is in saying the Mass will be understood only in heaven," the saintly Cure d´Ars wrote. The Holy Father said “Therefore, I encourage you to reinforce your faith and that of the faithful in the sacrament you celebrate which is the source of true joy.”
St. John Mary Vianney emphasized the indispensable role of the priest when he said: "A good pastor, a pastor according to the heart of God, this is the greatest treasure that the good God can give a parish, and one of the most precious gifts of divine mercy" VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 29, 2009
Benedict XVI will attend a concert called "Young People Against the War," as part of a series of activities to mark the 70th anniversary of the beginning of World War II. VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 29, 2009
Benedict XVI´s message for the World Communication Day 2010 is addressed especially to Priests. The communiqué highlights the fact that "thanks to the new media, those who preach and make known the Word of life can reach, with words, sounds and images [...] individuals and whole communities on every continent." VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 29, 2009
New members to the Pontifical Academies of Life and the Family were appointed by the Holy Father. VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 30, 2009
"It is the Lord, His Holy Spirit, who guides the Church" The Pontiff said before praying the midday Angelus speaking about the Synod of Bishops for Africa. The Holy Father explained that: “The most important thing, for everyone, is listening: listening to each other and, everyone, listening to what the Lord wants to tell us. Thus the Synod takes place in a climate of faith and prayer, in religious obedience to the Word of God.”
He expressed his desire that the Synod also help turn the eyes of the world to that great continent and inspire renewed solidarity with our African brothers and sisters. VATICAN CITY, OCT. 4, 2009
Full text of Angelus address: http://zenit.org/article-27043?l=english
Benedict XVI wrote a prayer to Mary, Mother of God, entrusting to her maternal intercession the preparation and fruits of the Second Special Assembly for Africa and asked all the African faithful to pray for its success.VATICAN CITY, OCT. 4, 2009
Pray the Rosary with Africa and for Africa. Was Benedict XVI´s invitation to university students of Rome. The Holy Father himself, along with the synod fathers, will lead the rosary next Sunday in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall. The young people of Rome will be joined via satellite link by other university students in different countries in Africa.VATICAN CITY, OCT. 4, 2009
The Pope leads prayer for all the victims of natural disasters. He invited those pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square to join him in praying the midday Angelus for these people, as well as the victims of violence in Guinea and made an appeal for aid from the international community. VATICAN CITY, OCT. 4, 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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