Pope´s Angelus Address at Castel Gandolfo

“The Call to the Primacy of the Spiritual Life”

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, JULY 22, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of John Paul II´s address which he gave before leading pilgrims in praying the midday Angelus today. He was at Castel Gandolfo, the papal summer residence located about 30 kilometers (18 miles) southeast of Rome.

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1. Having just returned from the mountains of Val d´Aosta, I am happy to be here today, in Castel Gandolfo, for the Sunday Angelus appointment. I greet you cordially straight away, dear Castellani. Thank you for the warm welcome you always give me. In particular, I greet the bishop and auxiliary of Albano, the mayor and parish priest and all those who have been close and affectionate with me. I am happy to be among you again and I intend to stay in Castello until my next apostolic trip that, God willing, will take me to Kazakhstan and Armenia toward the end of the month of September. Along with holidaymakers and pilgrims, you contribute to make my stay agreeable. Thank you again for your sincere cordiality.

2. Today´s Gospel gives us the episode of Jesus´ visit to Bethany, to the home of Martha and Mary, Lazarus´ sisters. Martha is very preoccupied, while Mary is seated quietly at the Master´s feet listening to him. To Martha, who laments that her sister does not help her, Jesus answers that “Mary has chosen the better part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42).

How can we not perceive from this Gospel narrative the call to the primacy of the spiritual life, of the need to be nourished by the Word of God in order to give light and flavor to daily concerns? It is an invitation that is especially opportune during the summer period. In fact, holidays and vacations can help to balance activity with contemplation, haste with more natural rhythms, noise with the heralding silence of peace.

3. An additional stimulus is given to us in today´s liturgy: July 22, in fact, is the feast of St. Mary Magdalene, disciple of the Lord and first witness of his resurrection. Mary Magdalene´s life shows how necessary it is for every human being to meet Christ personally. It is Christ who understands the human heart. He can fulfill hopes and expectations, as well as give an answer to the preoccupations and difficulties faced by humanity today in its daily endeavors. We wish to entrust to him today the results of the meeting of the heads of state and government that is concluding in Genoa, not without expressing sorrow and regret for the outbreak of hostilities there, unfortunately with serious consequences. Violence is not the way to attain an equitable solution to existing problems. I again encourage all those who really have the rights of man at heart, to persevere in efforts for a world of greater justice and solidarity.

For this reason, let us invoke Mary, Mother of Jesus and of all mankind. We turn to her with the recitation of the Angelus.

[translation by ZENIT]

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