The Holy Father´s Week: May 2, 2011

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

"The longed-for day has come", Benedict XVI said at Pope John Paul II's beatification Mass. "It came quickly because this is what was pleasing to the Lord: John Paul II is blessed!"

   "Today is the Second Sunday of Easter, which Blessed John Paul II entitled Divine Mercy Sunday." He noted. "The date was chosen for today's celebration because, in God's providence, my predecessor died on the vigil of this feast. Today is also the first day of May, Mary's month, and the liturgical memorial of Saint Joseph the Worker."

   "All of us rejoice that the beatification of John Paul II takes place on this first day of the month of Mary, beneath the maternal gaze of the one who by her faith sustained the faith of the Apostles and constantly sustains the faith of their successors, especially those called to occupy the Chair of Peter."

   "By his witness of faith, love and apostolic courage, accompanied by great human charisma, this exemplary son of Poland helped believers throughout the world not to be afraid to be called Christian, to belong to the Church, to speak of the Gospel."

   He "gave us the strength to believe in Christ, because Christ is Redemptor hominis, the Redeemer of man." And he added, "He helped us not to fear the truth, because truth is the guarantee of liberty."

   What John Paul II, now Blessed John Paul II, "asked of everyone", Benedict XVI remarked, "he was himself the first to do: Society, culture, political and economic systems he opened up to Christ, turning back with the strength of a titan -- a strength which came to him from God -- a tide which appeared irreversible."

   He taught that "man is the way of the Church, and Christ is the way of man." "He restored to Christianity its true face as a religion of hope, to be lived in history in an 'advent' spirit, in a personal and communitarian existence directed to Christ, the fullness of humanity and the fulfillment of all our longings for justice and peace," Finally, on a more personal note, Benedict XVI said "I would like to thank God for the gift of having worked for many years with Blessed Pope John Paul II".

   "My own service was sustained by his spiritual depth and by the richness of his insights." "His example of prayer continually impressed and edified me: he remained deeply united to God even amid the many demands of his ministry. Then too, there was his witness in suffering: the Lord gradually stripped him of everything, yet he remained ever a "rock", as Christ desired."

   "Blessed are you, beloved Pope John Paul II, because you believed! Continue, we implore you, to sustain from heaven the faith of God's people. You often blessed us in this Square from the Apostolic Palace: Bless us, Holy Father! Amen." VATICAN CITY, MAY 1, 2011

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Christ risen from the dead is the foundation of our faith, the Holy Father affirmed during the general audience. Faith in the Risen Christ transforms our existence, effecting in us a continuous resurrection, as St. Paul wrote to the first believers.

   Jesus' resurrection is not a simple return to the preceding life, as it was for Lazarus, for Jarius' daughter or for the young man of Nain, but rather "it is something completely new and different". The Holy Father explained: "Christ's resurrection is the door that leads to a life no longer subject to the transience of time, a life immersed in the eternity of God."

   St. Paul also indicates how the paschal mystery must be lived in our daily life, the Pope continued. In the Letter to the Colossians he names "the things of the earth" that one must avoid: "Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry" (3:5-6). To put to death in us the insatiable desire for material goods, egoism, root of every sin.

   With like clarity St. Paul points out to us what the "things" are that are "above," which the Christian, instead, must seek and enjoy: "Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another. ... And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection" (Colossians 3:12-14).

   "Hence St. Paul is very far from inviting Christians, each one of us, to evade the world in which God has put us." The Holy Father noted, "It is true that we are citizens of another "city," where are true homeland is, but we must follow the path to this goal daily on this earth. Participating henceforth in the life of the Risen Christ, we must live as new men in this world, in the heart of the earthly city."

   "And this is the way not only to transform ourselves, but to transform the world, to give the earthly city a new face that fosters the development of man and of society according to the logic of solidarity, of goodness, in profound respect of the dignity of each one."

   "It is our task and our mission: to arouse in our neighbor hope where there is despair, joy where there is sadness, life where there is death."

   Witnessing the "joy of the Risen Lord" every day is to live in a "paschal way," he said, and by doing so one proclaims that "Christ is not an idea or a memory of the past, but a Person who lives with us, for us and in us, and with him, by and in him, we can make all things new." VATICAN CITY, APRIL 29, 2011

Papal prayer intentions during the month of May. The Pope's general intention is: "That those working in communication media may respect the truth, solidarity, and dignity of all people."

   The Pontiff's apostolic intention for May is: "That the Lord may help the Church in China persevere in fidelity to the Gospel and grow in unity." VATICAN CITY, MARCH 31, 2011

Other papal messages and activities.

Find life's meaning through prayer, Benedict XVI recommended before praying the Regina Caeli in Castel Gandolfo. Reflecting on Christ's resurrection, which the Church celebrated a day earlier, the Pope said that "The Lord's Resurrection marks the renewal of our human condition".

   "Christ triumphed over death, caused by our sin, and restores us to immortal life," he added. "This event gave rise to the whole of the Church's life and to the very existence of Christians."

   But, he asked "How can we encounter the Lord and increasingly become his authentic witnesses?" and quoted St Maximus of Turin who stated: "Anyone who wishes to reach the Saviour must first, in his own faith, seat him at the right hand of the Divinity, and place him with heartfelt conviction in Heaven"

   "In other words," he explained "one must learn to focus the gaze of one's mind and heart constantly on the heights of God, where the Risen Christ is. In this way God encounters man in prayer and adoration."

   "Only if we are able to turn to God, to pray him, do we discover the deepest meaning of our life and the daily routine is illumined by the light of the Risen One."

   "Let us now invoke the Virgin Mary, so that she may help us faithfully and joyfully carry out the mission which the Risen Lord entrusts to each one." CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, APRIL 25, 2010

What can limit evil so that it doesn't have the last word? Karol Wojtyla, who suffered the two totalitarian regimes of the 20th century, Communism and Nazism, asked himself this question and found the answer in Divine Mercy.

   "John Paul II understood that Divine Mercy is this limit to evil. His mercy does not imply that everyone is saved automatically; thereby negating sin, but rather that God pardons every sinner who allows himself to be pardoned." Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said 6 years ago.

   Today, John Paul II's beatification ceremony began with a remembrance of his devotion to God's Mercy. Thousands of pilgrims packed into St. Peter's Square and overflowing through the streets of Rome prayed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, the devotion promoted by St. Faustina.

   Benedict XVI's choice of May 1 for the beatification of his predecessor is itself one of the richest symbols in the celebrations. It coincides with the feast of Divine Mercy, the end of the Easter Octave and the first day of Mary's month.

   The image of Divine Mercy was displayed in front of the Basilica until the beatification Mass began. ROME, MAY 1, 2011

Benedict XVI offered the Church's newest Blessed as a model for the peoples of the world. After concluding the three hours Mass of beatification of his predecessor, Benedict XVI greeted pilgrims in St. Peter's Square in various languages and prayed the traditional Regina Caeli, though without the customary meditation.

   He expressed his hope that John Paul II's example inspires the faithful "to live fully the new life which we celebrate at Easter, to be icons of divine mercy, and to work for a world in which the dignity and rights of every man, woman and child are respected and promoted."

   He lauded radio and television personnel who had "spared nothing to make it possible even for those farthest away to participate in this great day." And he had a special greeting for "the sick and the elderly, toward whom the newly beatified [John Paul II] felt particularly close." VATICAN CITY, MAY 1, 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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