VATICAN CITY, DEC. 18, 2005 (Zenit.org).- With Christmas approaching, Benedict XVI exhorted the faithful to cultivate a spirit of interior recollection in an often noisy world that makes it hard to listen to God.
The Pope today presented St. Joseph, the adoptive father of Jesus, as a model of recollection.
Joseph’s silence in the Gospel, the Holy Father said, “does not demonstrate an empty interior, but rather the fullness of faith that he carries in his heart.”
“Let’s allow ourselves to be ‘infected’ by the silence of St. Joseph!” the Pontiff said as he exhorted the thousands of people gathered on a cold and sunny day in St. Peter’s Square.
Silence “is so lacking in this world which is often too noisy, which is not favorable to recollection and listening to the voice of God,” Benedict XVI said, speaking from the window of his study.
“In this time of preparation for Christmas, let us cultivate interior recollection so as to receive and keep Jesus in our lives,” the Pope said.
He suggested that the faithful establish in these days “a kind of spiritual dialogue with St. Joseph so that he helps us live to the fullest this mystery of faith.”
The Bishop of Rome recalled that his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, “who was very devoted to St. Joseph,” dedicated the apostolic exhortation “Redemptoris Custos” (Custodian of the Redeemer) to the adoptive father of Jesus.
In that 1989 document, John Paul II gave “a particular importance to the silence of St. Joseph,” observed Benedict XVI.
Such a silence was “permeated with the contemplation of the mystery of God, in an attitude of total availability to the divine will,” Benedict XVI said. “A silence through which Joseph, together with Mary, guard the Word of God, known through sacred Scripture, comparing it continually to the events of the life of Jesus; a silence interwoven with constant prayer, a prayer of blessing of the Lord, of adoration of his holy will and of boundless confidence in his providence.”
The Holy Father added: “It is not exaggerated to say that Jesus will learn — on a human level — precisely from ‘father’ Joseph this intense interior life, which is the condition of authentic righteousness, the ‘interior righteousness,’ which one day he will teach to his disciples.”
The encounter with the pilgrims took place after Benedict XVI visited the Church of Santa Maria Consolatrice, his first visit as Pope to a Roman parish.