Papal Address at Castel Gandolfo

Live «Ordinary Things Extraordinarily,» John Paul II Says

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 1, 2002 ( Here is a translation of the address John Paul II gave today before leading pilgrims in reciting the midday Angelus. He spoke to the crowds gathered at the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters!

1. In many countries, the month of September means the return to work and school activities, following the summer pause, which I hope was serene and profitable for all. Some took advantage of the summer to take part in endeavors of prayer, spiritual formation, work and service. Now is the time to share one’s experiences with family, friends, groups, communities and associations, bringing enthusiasm, serenity and joy to everyday life. This is the way to be «salt and light» of the earth, as I reminded young people gathered in Toronto for the World Youth Day.

2. From the psychological point of view, the return to ordinary life is not always easy; in fact, sometimes it might entail some difficulties of readjustment to daily commitments. It is, however, in ordinary life that God calls us to acquire that maturity of spiritual life which consists precisely in living ordinary things extraordinarily.

Sanctity, in fact, is acquired by following Jesus, not by avoiding reality and its trials, but facing them in the light and strength of his Spirit. All this is most profoundly comprehended in the mystery of the cross, as the liturgy of this Sunday emphasizes. Jesus asks believers to take up their own cross every day and follow him (see Matthew 16:24), imitating him to the total gift of self to God and one’s brothers.

[The Holy Father then greeted pilgrims in French, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. To the English-speaking, he said:]

3. I am pleased to welcome the new students of the Pontifical North American College in Rome. May your study of theology deepen your love for Christ and make you joyful and effective witnesses to the Gospel. My greetings also go to the students from the Rome campus of the University of Dallas. Upon all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors I cordially invoke the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

[The Pope concluded his address in Italian]

4. May the Virgin Mary teach and help us to make of our life a humble and joyful hymn of praise to God, in whose eyes one act of love is more valuable than grandiose enterprises. May Mary sustain us in our daily effort so that, as the Apostle exhorts us today, we do not conform ourselves to the mentality of the world, but renew our mind to «be able to discern the will of God» (Romans 12:2).

[Translation by ZENIT]

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