VATICAN CITY, NOV. 29, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II says that “to truly love our brothers and sisters it is necessary to love God.”
He delivered that message today when receiving 3,000 members of the Pope John XXIII Community in audience.
This association of faithful of pontifical right, founded 30 years ago by Italian priest Oreste Benzi, is dedicated especially to the material and spiritual care of the marginalized in Italy, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, Russia, Bangladesh, Croatia, Mexico and Kosovo.
In his address to his guests, the Holy Father said that this group has been characterized “for its unique service to the needy and for its style of authentic generosity with the objective of providing love and affection to those who, for different reasons, have no family.”
The Pope explained that charitable activity “assumes its full value when it is based on the primacy of the love of God. In order to truly love our brothers and sisters it is necessary to love God.”
Thus, he encouraged his listeners to dedicate their time “opportunely to prayer, listening to the Word of God and to base” their “whole life on Christ.”
“In particular, make the Eucharist the center of your family houses and of all your social and educational activities,” the Holy Father said.
The family houses are one of the main apostolates of the Pope John XXIII Community. Their objective is to offer in a temporary or permanent way a “genuine family” to abandoned children who cannot be adopted, as well as to abandoned adults with psychological problems, and refugees and elderly, among others.
“In this year dedicated to the sacrament of the altar, revive the contemplative ardor and love of the Divine Redeemer who in the Eucharist becomes food of eternal life for us,” the Pontiff added.
“Get your spiritual energy from him in order to be tireless workers of his Gospel, bearing witness to compassion for all those who live in conditions of discomfort or abandonment,” he concluded.
The Pope John XXIII Community has also given origin to “prayer houses,” where the relationship with God in prayer is lived in a special way; “fraternal houses,” where community life is experienced and open to the needy; “social cooperatives” which offer hospitality and work to disadvantaged people; and “therapeutic communities” for recovery from drug addiction.