“The secret of true happiness: to become saints, close to God”. During the general audience Benedict XVI reflected on the example and life of St. Francis of Assisi, a great saint and a joyful man.
“Three times the crucified Christ came to life and said to him: "Go, Francis, and repair my Church in ruins." The Pope explained, “He calls to renewal, he calls Francis to manual labor to repair concretely the little church of San Damiano, symbol of the more profound call to renew the Church of Christ itself, with his radical faith and his enthusiastic love for Christ.”
“Francis feels he is called to live in poverty and to dedicate himself to preaching. Other companions associated themselves to him and, in 1209, he went to Rome, to submit to the Pope the project of a new form of Christian life.”
“It is important to note” the Holy Father continued, “that St. Francis does not renew the Church without or against the Pope, but only in communion with him. The two realities go together: the Successor of Peter, the bishops, the Church founded on the succession of the Apostles and the new charism that the Holy Spirit created at this moment to renew the Church. True renewal grows together.”
“Francis sought the approval of Pope Innocent III for his movement, which was completely committed to the renewal of the Church in holiness and to the preaching of the Gospel.”
“His deep piety found expression in a great devotion to the Eucharist, as the sacrament of Christ's real presence, and his love for creation as God's handiwork. The life and teaching of Saint Francis has inspired countless people to the imitation of Christ through the embrace of inward and outward poverty.”
“Francis was a great saint and a joyful man. His simplicity, his humility, his faith, his love of Christ, his kindness to every man and woman made him happy in every situation. In fact, between sanctity and joy there subsists a profound and indissoluble relation.” The Holy Father affirmed. “Looking at St. Francis' witness, we understand that this is the secret of true happiness: to become saints, close to God!” VATICAN CITY, JAN. 27, 2010
Charity is the Christian difference. After praying the midday Angelus in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI reflected on what he called “one of the most beautiful passages of the New Testament and of the whole Bible” :St. Paul’s so-called hymn to charity (1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13).
Paul shows the “way” of perfection, the Holy Father affirmed, this way “does not consist in possessing exceptional qualities: speaking new languages, knowing all the mysteries, having a prodigious faith, or doing heroic deeds”.
“It consists rather in charity -- “agape” -- that is, in authentic love, that love that God revealed to us in Jesus Christ”, he said, “The Christian’s whole life is summed up by charity: what he believes and what he does.”
Christ “is Love incarnate. This love is fully revealed to us in Christ crucified.”he affirmed, “Fixing our gaze upon him, we can confess with the Apostle John: “We have seen the love that God has for us and we have believed in it”
He explained that the lives of each of the saints “is a hymn to charity, a living canticle to God’s love! “
“Charity is the “greatest” gift, which confers worth on others, and yet “does not boast, does not puff up with pride,” indeed, “it rejoices in truth” and the good of others. He who truly loves “does not seek his own interests,” “does not keep track of evil received,” “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” VATICAN CITY, JAN. 31, 2010
Prayer intentions chosen by the Pope for February. His general intention is: "For all scholars and intellectuals, that by means of sincere search for the truth they may arrive at an understanding of the one true God."
His apostolic intention is "That the Church, aware of its own missionary identity, may strive to follow Christ faithfully and to proclaim his Gospel to all peoples." VATICAN CITY, JAN. 31, 2010
Other papal messages and activities.
“The communion and unity of Christ's disciples is a particularly important condition to enhance the credibility and efficacy of their witness”. The Holy Father affirmed at the conclusion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity”. He noted that it is precisely "the desire to proclaim Christ to others and to take his message of reconciliation to the world that makes one feel the contradiction posed by division among Christians.”
“Each one of us is called to make his or her contribution towards the completion of those steps that lead to full communion among the disciples of Christ,” he explained, “without ever forgetting that this unity is above all a gift from God to be constantly invoked.”
In fact, he added, “the force that supports both unity and the mission flows from the fruitful encounter with the Risen One, just as was the case for St Paul on the road to Damascus, and for the Eleven and the other disciples gathered at Jerusalem.”
Though acknowledging questions that "separate us from one another -- and that we hope can be overcome through prayer and dialogue," the Pontiff affirmed that there is the "central content of Christ's message that we can all proclaim together."
This message is "the fatherhood of God, the victory of Christ over sin and death with his cross and resurrection, and confidence in the Spirit's transforming action," he stated.
May the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, grant that her Son's desire may be fulfilled as soon as possible: "That they may all be one... so that the world may believe". He concluded. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 29, 2010
A book on Benedict XVI's travels in Italy was published. In his address at the presentation of the book, Cardinal Bagnasco pointed out that the "dominant note" that links his pastoral pilgrimages is that he confirms the faith: 'I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren' (Luke 22:32)." VATICAN CITY, JAN. 25, 2010
Blessed Josep Samsó proposed as a model both for priests and the laity on the day after the priest-martyr was beatified in his native Spain. Benedict XVI described the priest, who was killed during the Spanish Civil War, as a "true witness of Christ" who, in his martyrdom, “generously gave his life to the Lord with words and gestures of forgiveness and mercy," VATICAN CITY, JAN. 25, 2010
The Pope appointed new apostolic nuncio in Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. At the same time, he elevated the new nuncio, Msgr. Piero Pioppo, to the dignity of archbishop.
Two archbishops were appointed: Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, and Archbishop Stanislav Zvolensky of Bratislava, Slovakia.
Three bishops were named: Bishop Filippo Iannone of Sora-Aquino-Pontecorvo, Italy; Bishop Fernando José Monteiro Guimarães of Garanhuns, Brazil; and Auxiliary Bishop Ryszard Kasyna of Gdansk, Poland.
Benedict XVI also made several appointments to the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.
The Holy See Press Office also reported several appointments in the Catholic Eastern Churches.
VATICAN CITY, JAN. 25, 2010
The Pope recalled 65th anniversary that the gates of Auschwitz were opened. The Holy Father noted that today is observed as the "'Day of Remembrance,' in memory of all the victims of those crimes, especially the planned annihilation of the Jews, and in honor of all those, who at the risk of their own lives, protected the persecuted, opposing the murderous madness"
"Almighty God," he concluded in prayer, "illumine hearts and minds, so that such tragedies will not be repeated!" VATICAN CITY, JAN. 27, 2010
The British Secretary of State for International Development thanked the Pope for the Church's role in international aid, especially for the earthquake victims in Haiti. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 27, 2010
Benedict XVI asked for "adequate" and "creative" answers to the problems posed by contemporary culture, always taking recourse to "the riches of the Christian tradition." when he received in audience some 300 members of the Pontifical Academies who met for their annual public session. He affirmed that it is particularly necessary to "offer values" to the youth who are growing up in a society dominated by "relativism" and "subjectivism," VATICAN CITY, JAN. 28, 2010
The traditional letter for Lent written by Benedict XVI's will be presented next week by a former president of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pöttering. ROME, JAN. 28, 2010
New Bishops for Korea and South Africa. The Pontiff appointed Bishop Lucas Kim Woon-hoe, auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Seoul, as head of the Diocese of Chuncheon.
The Pope also named Father João Noè Rodrigues, 54, pastor of Sacred Heart parish in Ackerville, South Africa, as the bishop of Tzaneen and appointed two auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. CHUNCHEON, South Korea, JAN. 28, 2010
The Pope recalled the importance of justice. He told the members of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, the Church's highest marriage tribunal, that the "essential nucleus" of their work is the "administration of justice." And the value of justice, he said, needs to be rediscovered, "also within the Church." He warned against false charity which would not protect the true good of the spouses and urged to consider marriages valid until proven the contrary. ROME, JAN. 29, 2010
Remembering St. John Bosco. Benedict XVI invoked this saint’s intercession, whose feast day is celebrated today, “so that priests always be educators and fathers for young people; and that, experiencing this pastoral charity, many young people will welcome the call to give their life for Christ and the Gospel.”
St. John Bosco, is the founder of the Salesian family and patron saint of young people. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 31, 2010
Benedict XVI participates in Day of prayer for peace in the Holy Land. The prayer day initiative began last year, and linked some 500 cities where the faithful committed to Masses and Eucharistic adoration to pray for peace. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 31, 2010
The Holy Father speaks for the “jobless”. After praying the midday Angelus, he said the situation requires a "great sense of responsibility." And he said that he joins with the Italian episcopal conference in asking "that everything possible be done to protect and increase employment, assuring families of dignified work and adequate support." VATICAN CITY, JAN. 31, 2010
Benedict XVI affirmed his solidarity with lepers, as World Leprosy Day is marked across the globe. Remembering Father Damien de Veuster, who gave his life for them, the Holy Father entrusted to "To his heavenly protection all those people who, unfortunately still today, suffer from this disease, and all those health workers and volunteers who give themselves for the sake of a world without leprosy." VATICAN CITY, JAN. 31, 2010
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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