Benedict XVI shared some of the highlights of his Lenten retreat, which this year focused on the communion of saints and the spiritual riches they hold for us.
In an address before praying the midday Angelus, the Pope stated, "I thank the Lord for having granted me the opportunity to make a retreat these past several days, and I am grateful to those who were near to me with their prayers."
He reflected about today’s Gospel reading of the Lord's transfiguration.
"The transfiguration did not change Jesus, but it is a revelation of his divinity” Benedict XVI affirmed "Peter, James and John, contemplating the divinity of the Lord, are prepared to face the scandal of the cross", as is sung in an ancient hymn: "You were transfigured on the mountain and your disciples, so far as they were able, contemplated your glory, seeing you crucified, they understood that your passion was voluntary and they proclaimed to the world that you are truly the splendor of the Father"
"We also participate in this vision and this supernatural gift, giving room to prayer and listening to the Word of God," the Pope stated.” Strengthened by our faith in Jesus, true God and true man, may we be inspired, not scandalized, by the Cross given to our Saviour and to our fellow Christians who suffer with him throughout the world.”
"We invoke the Virgin Mary so that she might help us always to listen to and follow the Lord Jesus Christ even unto the passion and the cross, to participate in his glory also." VATICAN CITY, MARCH 20, 2011
Other papal messages and activities
On the day that Italians celebrated their national unity, Benedict XVI reminded the nation of their Catholic roots in a letter addressed to the president of nation, Giorgio Napolitano. He said that the character of the nation was forged "through the work of the Church, of her educational and charitable institutions, fixing models of behaviour, institutional configurations, social relationships, but also through a very rich artistic activity in literature, painting, sculpture, architecture and music." VATICAN CITY, MARCH 16, 2011
Benedict XVI's new book made the New York Times bestseller list. The Pope's book, "Jesus of Nazareth Part II: Holy Week -- From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection" (Ignatius Press), which was released March 10, appeared among the world's most popular books in the recently publicized bestseller list. NEW YORK, MARCH 18, 2011
The Pope´s week-long spiritual exercises ended on St. Joseph´s day. He thanked Discalced Carmelite Father François-Marie Lethel, secretary of the Pontifical Academy of Theology, who preached this year's Lenten retreat.
In a letter the Pope sent him on Saturday he said: “The itinerary that you, Reverend Father, have helped us to follow through your meditations is a reason for special gratitude: a spiritual journey inspired by the witness of my Venerable Predecessor John Paul II, whose upcoming beatification has suggested the theme of holiness, reflected upon through an encounter with the living figures of the saints, who are like luminous stars that circle about the Sun that is Christ, Light of the World.”
Later, in an address he gave, the Pope noted that: “Providence has willed that this retreat conclude with the Feast of St. Joseph, my personal patron and the patron of the Holy Church: a humble saint, a humble worker, who was made worthy to be the guardian of the Redeemer.”
“We entrust ourselves in this moment to his care, we pray that he help us in our humble service. We go forward in courage under this protection. We are grateful for the humble saints; we pray to the Lord that he also make us humble in our service and therefore saints in the company of saints.” VATICAN CITY, MARCH 20, 2011
The troubling news that has come from Libya have “stirred trepidation and fear in me," the Pontiff said before praying the Angelus. "I follow the latest events with great apprehension."
The Holy Father affirmed, "I prayed especially for this to the Lord during the week of retreat" He continued, "I pray for those who are involved in the dramatic situation in that country and I address a pressing call to the political and military leaders that they take the security of the citizens to heart and guarantee access to humanitarian aid."
"I wish to assure the people of my affectionate nearness, as I ask God that peace and concord dawn for Libya and the whole region of North Africa as soon as possible." Benedict XVI concluded. VATICAN CITY, MARCH 20, 2011
Parishes need to be a "family of families" where couples come together with their children to share the joys and also the "inevitable difficulties," The Pope said during a brief trip to the southern outskirts of Rome, where he inaugurated the diocese's newest parish, St. Corbinian. ROME, MARCH 21, 2011
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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