VATICAN CITY, NOV. 13, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says that those who are baptized, including the laity, “are called to the perfection of Christian life,” as he recalled a key theme of the Second Vatican Council.
The Pope touched on this aspect of Vatican II when he delivered his Angelus address today from the window of his study to the people gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
The square was crowded with faithful from many countries, including Algeria and Morocco, who shortly before attended the beatification of Charles de Foucauld, the apostle of the Tuaregs in the Sahara; of Maria Pia Mastena, founder of the Religious of the Holy Face; and of Maria Crocifissa Curcio, founder of the Congregation of Carmelite Missionary Religious of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus.
The lives of the newly beatified, the Holy Father said, remind us that “those who are baptized are called to the perfection of the Christian life: priests, religious and laity, each one according to his own charism and specific vocation.”
Benedict XVI recalled that Vatican II “paid great attention to the role of the lay faithful,” defining “their vocation and mission, rooted in baptism and confirmation, and oriented to seeking the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and by ordering them according to the plan of God.”
In particular, the Holy Father mentioned the Council’s decree on the apostolate of the laity, “Apostolicam Actuositatem.”
That decree, he said, emphasizes that “the success of the lay apostolate depends upon the laity’s living union with Christ, that is, a solid spirituality, nourished by active participation in the Liturgy and expressed in the style of the evangelical beatitudes.”
Of great importance for the laity are “professional competence, a sense of family, a civic sense and social values,” Benedict XVI added.
“Although they are called individually to offer their personal testimony, especially precious wherever the Church finds impediments, the Council stresses the importance of the organized apostolate, necessary to influence the general mentality, social conditions and institutions,” the Pope noted.
The Holy Father concluded by requesting prayers “so that in every baptized person the awareness will grow of being called to work with commitment and fruitfulness the vineyard of the Lord.”
The Pontiff’s address continued a series of reflections he has been offering on Sundays in preparation for the 40th anniversary of the closing of Vatican II, this Dec. 8.