VATICAN CITY, MAY 19, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is expressing his concern for citizens of Peru facing situations of particular difficulty, notably those who are unemployed or victims of drugs and violence.
The Pope said this today when he received the bishops of that South American nation as they finished their five-yearly visit to Rome.
“I think now, above all, of those Peruvians who do not have work or adequate educational and health benefits, or those who live in the outskirts of the great cities or in isolated zones,” he said. “I think as well of those who have fallen in the hands of drug addiction or violence. We cannot neglect these brothers of ours who are most weak and are loved by God, always keeping in mind that the charity of Christ urges us on.”
The Holy Father urged the prelates to be “audacious disciples and missionaries of the Lord.”
“Diligent pastoral visits to the ecclesial communities, also those that are most isolated or poor, prolonged prayer, painstaking preparation of preaching, your fatherly attention to priests, families, youth, catechists and other pastoral ministers — these are the best ways of sowing in everyone the ardent desire to be messengers of the Good News of salvation,” he added.
Benedict XVI also considered the situation of the Church in Peru now that two years have passed since the 5th General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, which the Pontiff opened near the shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida in Brazil in May 2007.
The Pope recognized the Peruvian bishops’ “missionary impulse” in answer to the exhortation that came from that conference.
The objective, he said, should be that “each member of the faithful aspires to sanctity in personal contact with the Lord Jesus, loving him with perseverance and conforming their own lives to evangelical criteria, such that ecclesial communities of intense Christian life are created.”
The Holy Father contended that a Church with such a missionary outlook “plays down its own internal problems and looks with hope and expectation to the future.”
“It is a matter of reigniting the missionary spirit,” he continued, “not out of fear of the future, but because the Church is a dynamic reality and the true disciple of Jesus Christ delights in freely transmitting to others his divine Word and sharing with them the love that springs from his open side on the cross.”
“When the beauty and the truth of Christ conquer our hearts,” the Pontiff affirmed, “we experience the joy of being his disciples and taking up with conviction the mission of proclaiming his redemptive message.”