The Holy Father's Week

May 31 – June 6, 2008
by Brother John Mullan, LC -- Edi | Source:

Benedict XVI’s Key Messages This Week
May 31 – June 6, 2008

The person must be at the center of global development: “There is a need to promote a global development that allows for the integral development of man, while highlighting the contribution that can be made by voluntary associations, nonprofit foundations and other community groups that have come into being with the aim of making the social fabric ever more cohesive. Harmonious development is possible if the economic and political decisions take into account the fundamental principles that make it accessible to all, in particular the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity. It is important to keep the person, created in the image of God and loved by him, [...] at the center of every economic plan to protect and administer the immense resources of creation. Only a shared culture of responsible and active participation will enable human beings to consider themselves not just as users or passive witnesses, but as active participants in world development. […] The great challenge of today is to ‘globalize,’ not just economic and commercial interests, but also the call for solidarity, while respecting and taking advantage of the contribution of all components of society.” (Address to congress of the Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation, Saturday, May 31)

Praying the rosary strengthens our faith: “The rosary, when it is not a mechanical repetition of traditional formulas, is a biblical meditation that permits us to reflect on the events of the Lord’s life in the company of the Blessed Virgin, treasuring them, as she did, in our heart. In many Christian communities there is the beautiful custom of reciting the rosary in a more solemn way together with the family and in parishes. Now that the month is ending, this good practice should not also end; indeed it should be continued with a still greater commitment, so that, in the school of Mary, the lamp of faith may shine ever brighter in the heart of Christians and in their houses.” (Address to gathering in Saint Peter’s Square, Saturday, May 31)

Christ gives us a trustworthy center of our lives: “Friday we celebrated the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the third and final of the feasts that follow Easter, after the Most Holy Trinity and Corpus Christi. This succession of feasts brings to mind a movement toward the center: a movement of the Spirit that is guided by God himself. From the infinite horizon of his love, in fact, God desired to enter into the limits of history and the human condition, he took on a body and a heart; thus we can contemplate and meet the infinite in the finite, the mystery of the invisible and ineffable human heart of Jesus, the Nazarene. […] Every person needs a ‘center’ in his life, a source of truth and goodness to draw from in the flux of the different situations of everyday life and its toil. Everyone of us, when he pauses for a moment of silence, needs to feel not only the beating of his own heart, but more deeply, the beating of a trustworthy presence, perceptible to the senses of faith and yet more real: the presence of Christ, heart of the world.” (Address before praying the midday Angelus, St Peter’s Square, Sunday, June 1)

Hunger is unacceptable: “Hunger and malnutrition are unacceptable in a world which has, in fact, levels of production, resources and knowledge sufficient to put an end to such dramas and their consequences. The great challenge of today is to ‘globalize,’ not just economic and commercial interests, but also the call for solidarity, while respecting and taking advantage of the contribution of all components of society.” (Message to U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization summit on food security, Tuesday, June 2)

Pope Gregory was great precisely because he was humble: “In his writings, Gregory never seems concerned to delineate ‘his’ doctrine, his originality. Instead, he seeks to echo the traditional teaching of the Church, he wishes simply to be the mouth of Christ and of his Church on the way that must be followed to reach God. […] The great Pontiff, moreover, stresses the daily duty that a pastor has to acknowledge his own misery, so that pride will not render vain – before the eyes of the supreme Judge – the good he accomplished. ‘When one is pleased about having attained many virtues it is good to reflect on one’s own insufficiencies and humble oneself. Instead of considering the good accomplished, it is necessary to consider what one has failed to accomplish.’ […] Gregory remained a simple monk in his heart and that explains why he was decidedly opposed to great titles. He wished to be – this is his expression – ‘servus servorum Dei.’ This word, coined by him, was not a pious formula in his mouth, but the true manifestation of his way of living and acting. He was profoundly impressed by the humility of God, who in Christ made himself our slave; he washed and washes our dirty feet. Therefore, he was convinced that, above all, a bishop must imitate this humility of God and, for love of God, be able to make himself the servant of all in a time full of tribulations and sufferings, to make himself the ‘servant of the servants.’ Precisely because he was this, he is great and shows us also the measure of true greatness.” (Catechesis during the general audience, Wednesday, June 3)

Christianity cannot be perceived in Asia as a foreign import : “Happily, the peoples of Asia display an intense yearning for God. In handing on to them the message that you also received, you are sowing the seeds of evangelization in fertile ground. If the faith is to flourish, however, it needs to strike deep roots in Asian soil, lest it be perceived as a foreign import, alien to the culture and traditions of your people. Mindful of the manner in which Saint Paul preached the Good News to the Athenians, you are called to present the Christian faith in ways that resonate with the ‘innate spiritual insight and moral wisdom in the Asian soul’ (Ecclesia in Asia, 6), so that people will welcome it and make it their own. In particular, you need to ensure that the Christian Gospel is in no way confused in their minds with secular principles associated with the Enlightenment. […] While resisting the ‘dictatorship of positivist reason’ that tries to exclude God from public discourse, we should welcome the ‘true conquests of the Enlightenment’ – especially the stress on human rights and the freedom of religion and its practice. By stressing the universal character of human rights, grounded in the dignity of the human person created in God’s image, you carry out an important task of evangelization, since this teaching forms an essential aspect of the Gospel.” (Message to bishops of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, Friday, June 6)

Some activities of the Holy Father

Saturday, May 31: The Pope received in audience participants from an international congress of the Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation on “Social Capital and Human Development.” In the evening, he attended a gathering in St. Peter’s Square marking the conclusion of May, the month dedicated to the Mary.

Sunday, June 1: The Holy Father prayed the Angelus with crowds gathered in St Peter’s Square.

Wednesday, June 4: The Pope held his weekly general audience in Paul VI Hall, which he dedicated to the figure of Pope Gregory the Great, for the second week in a row.

Friday, June 6: Pope Benedict received bishops from Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, who recently completed their five-yearly visit to the Vatican.

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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