The Holy Father´s Week: February 15, 2010

A report on Benedict XVI´s messages and activities
by Maribel de Torres | Source: Zenit.org

St. Anthony of Padua, one of the most popular saints in the whole Catholic Church was presented by the Pope at the general audience. Born in Lisbon around 1195, he became a Friar Minor and left for Morocco.
“But Divine Providence willed otherwise.”the Pope explained, “As the consequence of an illness, he was obliged to return to Italy and, in 1221, he took part in the famous "Chapter of the mats" in Assisi, where he also met St. Francis”
“Thus he began in Italy and France such an intense and effective apostolic activity that he induced not a few persons who had separated from the Church to retrace their steps.” 
In the last period of his life, Anthony wrote two series of "Sermons". “The wealth of the spiritual teachings contained in the "Sermons" is such” the Holy Father said “that, in 1946, the Venerable Pope Pius XII proclaimed Anthony a doctor of the Church, attributing to him the title of "Evangelic Doctor,"because from these writings arises the freshness and beauty of the Gospel”
“In them, he speaks of prayer as a relationship of love, which drives man to converse sweetly with the Lord, creating an ineffable joy, which gently envelops the soul in prayer”. According to his teaching, prayer is to open one's heart confidently to God, to speak affectionately with him, to present to him our needs, to praise him and to thank him.
“Only a soul that prays can make progress in the spiritual life: this is the privileged object of St. Anthony's preaching” the Holy Father affirmed.
"Anthony many times invites the faithful to think of true wealth, that of the heart, which, making them good and merciful, makes them accumulate treasures for Heaven," he said.
The Holy Father asked wheter this is not perhaps,  "a very important teaching also today, when the financial crisis and the serious economic imbalances impoverish not a few persons and create conditions of misery?"
St. Anthony was canonized in 1232 as a result of the miracles that happened through his intercession.
 VATICAN CITY, FEB. 10, 2010

The Gospel of Christ responds positively to the thirst for justice in man, but in an unexpected and surprising way”. The Pope affirmed. “Jesus does not propose a revolution of a social or political type, but one of love, which he has already realized with his cross and his resurrection.”
Before praying the Angelus, he reflected on the Beatitudes which “propose a new horizon of justice, initiated by Easter, by which we can become just and build a better world.”
“The beatitudes are based on the existence of a divine justice, which raises up those who have been wrongly humiliated and casts down those who have been exalted.” He explained.
“This justice and this beatitude are realized in the "Kingdom of Heaven," or the "Kingdom of God," which will be fulfilled at the end of time but is already present in history.” Because, he explained, “Where the poor are consoled and admitted to the banquet of life, there God's justice is manifested” .
“This is the task that the Lord's disciples are called to undertake even now in the present society”. the Pope affirmed.
He invited all to read and meditate this year's Message for Lent, which has Justice as its theme.
“Let us turn to the Virgin Mary.” He said, “ All generations proclaim her "blessed," because she believed in the good news that the Lord announced (cf. Luke 1:45, 48). Let us allow ourselves to be led by her through the journey of Lent, to be liberated from the illusion of self-sufficiency, recognize that we need God, his mercy, and in this way enter into his Kingdom of justice, of love and of peace.” VATICAN CITY, FEB. 14, 2010

Other papal messages and activities.

The greatest help that can be given to children is the family, founded on marriage between a man and a woman. Benedict XVI said as he addressed the Pontifical Council for the Family. Hence, he affirmed, “it is important that everything possible is done to make them grow in a united and stable family.”
The Pope said spouses must be encouraged "never to lose sight of the profound reasons and sacredness of the conjugal pact and to reinforce it with listening to the Word of God, prayer, constant dialogue, mutual acceptance and mutual forgiveness."
He praised the initiatives the pontifical council is carrying forward to raise awareness of the fundamental value of the family for the life of the Church and of society. Among these are the following projects: "The Family, Subject of Evangelization”, "The Family, Resource for Society," and the elaboration of a vademecum for marriage preparation. The council is also working to organize the 7th World Meeting for Families. VATICAN CITY, FEB. 8, 2010 .
Full text: www.zenit.org/article-28291?l=english

Benedict XVI greeted the Lutheran Bishop Mark Hanson and the delegation accompanying him at the general audience, He reminded that "a spiritual Ecumenism should be grounded in ardent prayer and in conversion to Christ, the source of grace and truth" VATICAN CITY, FEB. 10, 2010

Benedict XVI asked the Blessed Virgin to help those who are sick to bear their crosses and he reminded those who are ill that the World Day of the Sick is celebrated on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes (Feb.11). VATICAN CITY, FEB. 10, 2010

God wishes to heal the whole man, the Pope said at the Mass he celebrated on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, as well as the World Day of the Sick. The celebration was held at St. Peter’s Square and the relics of St. Bernadette Soubirous, the visionary of Lourdes, were present.
During his homily the Pope explained that the Church has been entrusted with the task of prolonging the mission of Christ in space and time and “cannot neglect these two essential works: evangelization and care of the sick in body and spirit.”

"The sick and all the suffering are in the Church not only recipients of attention and care, but first and above all, protagonists of the pilgrimage of faith and hope, witnesses of the prodigies of love, of the paschal joy that flowers from the cross and the resurrection of Christ."
"Across the centuries, the Church shows the signs of the love of God, who continues to do great things in humble and simple people. Suffering that is accepted and offered, a sharing that is sincere and free, are these not, perhaps, miracles of love?" 
He reminded the faithful that Mary, Mother of the Church, “is invoked and venerated as "salus infirmorum," health of the sick."  “Testimony of this is given by the thousands of people who go to Marian shrines to invoke the Mother of Christ, and find strength and relief.”

The Holy Father ended his reflections with a thought from the apostolic letter "Salvifici Doloris," where Pope John Paul II wrote: "At one and the same time Christ has taught man to do good by his suffering and to do good to those who suffer." VATICAN CITY, FEB. 11, 2010.
Full text: http://www.zenit.org/article-28327?l=english

Papal trip to commemorate St. Paul´s shipwreck. The Vatican press office confirmed the itinerary for Benedict XVI's April 17-18 trip to Malta, where he will celebrate the 1,950th anniversary of St. Paul's shipwreck on the island that, according to tradition, occurred in the year 60 A.D., during the Apostle's second voyage toward Rome. VATICAN CITY, FEB. 11, 2010

Develope centres of formation where young people can learn authentic values, was a recommendation the Pope made to the bishops from Romania and Moldova, in Rome for their five-yearly visit. “The Catholic families of your countries,” he said, “ which during the time of trial gave witness, at times at a high price, of the fidelity of the Gospel, are not immune to the plague of abortion, corruption, alcoholism and drugs, or to birth control through methods contrary to the dignity of the human person."
The Pontiff suggested that adequate preparation for marriage and family life is fundamental in combatting these challenges, as is "organizing better youth ministry." VATICAN CITY, FEB. 12, 2010

The Holy Father visited a Caritas shelter where, along with a place of rest for those who have nowhere to sleep, further services are offered such as the health care clinic and meals.
“For Rome”, Benedict XVI reflected “ the hostel of the diocesan "Caritas" is a place where love is not only a word or a sentiment, but a concrete reality, which allows God's light to enter into the life of men and the whole civil community.”
“The witness of charity, which in this place finds particular realization, belongs to the mission of the Church, together with the proclamation of the Gospel.” The Pope explained. “ Man does not only need to be fed materially or helped to overcome moments of difficulty, but also has the necessity of knowing who he is and knowing the truth about himself, about his dignity.”
 In a world in which the logic of profit and pursuit of one's own interests seem to prevail, the Pope said,  “it is important that the dimensions of gift and gratuity be rediscovered as constitutive elements of daily living and interpersonal relations” to promote “a peaceful coexistence that helps men to recognize themselves as members of a single human family”. VATICAN CITY, FEB. 14, 2010

Bioethics needs natural law. In order to uphold human dignity, bioethics, with all of the scientific developments it takes into account, needs the principles of natural law. Benedict XVI affirmed.
He underlined the task of ensuring "that human life always be seen as the inalienable subject of rights and never as an object subjugated to the will of the strongest."
"History has shown us how dangerous and deleterious a state can be that proceeds to legislate on questions that touch the person and society while pretending itself to be the source and principle of ethics," the Pontiff warned.
"The natural moral law," the Holy Father affirmed, "strong in its universal character, allows us to avert such a danger and above all offers to the legislator the guarantee for an authentic respect of both the person and the entire created order."
The Pope stated this in an audience with members of the Pontifical Academy for Life who gathered in Rome for a general assembly on the topic of bioethics and natural law. VATICAN CITY, FEB. 14, 2010

The Pope sent greetings for Lunar Year to countries in Asia where it is celebrated. VATICAN CITY, FEB. 14, 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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