On St. Benedict's Example and the Church in China

«Cultivate an Authentic Prayer Life to Assure the Social Progress of Peace»

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CASSINO, Italy, MAY 24, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today before praying the midday Regina Caeli in the Miranda Plaza of Cassino, the Italian town he is visiting today.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters!

Every time we celebrate Holy Mass, we hear echo in our heart the words that Jesus left with his disciples at the Last Supper as a precious gift: «Peace I leave you, my peace I give you» (John 14:27). How much the Christian community and the whole of humanity need to taste completely the riches and the power of Christ’s peace! St. Benedict was a great witness, because he welcomed it in his existence and fructified it in works of authentic cultural and spiritual renewal. «Pax» («Peace») is posted as a motto at the entrance to the Abbey of Monte Cassino and every other Benedictine monastery: the monastic community in fact is called to live according to this peace, which is the paschal gift par excellence. As you know, in my recent trip to the Holy Land, I went as a pilgrim of peace, and today — in this land marked by the Benedictine charism — I have the opportunity to emphasize, once again, that peace is in the first place a gift of God, and therefore its power is in prayer.

It is a gift given, however, to human care. Even the energy that is needed to actualize it is drawn from prayer. So, it is essential to cultivate an authentic prayer life to assure the social progress of peace. Once again the history of monasticism teaches us that a great growth in civilization is prepared by daily listening to the Word of God, which moves believers to a personal and communal effort in the struggle against egoism and injustice. Only in learning, with the grace of Christ, to combat and defeat the evil within ourselves and in relationships with others, can we become authentic builders of peace and civil progress. May the Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace, help all Christians, in their different vocations and situations in life, to be witnesses of that peace that Christ gave us and left us as a demanding mission to realize everywhere.

Today, March 24, liturgical memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Help of Christians — who is venerated with great devotion at the shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai — we celebrate the Day of Prayer for the Church in China. My thoughts turn to all the people of China. In particular I greet the Catholics of China with great affection and I exhort them to renew on this day their communion of faith in Christ and of fidelity to the Successor of Peter. May our common prayer obtain an effusion of gifts of the Holy Spirit, so that unity of all Christians, the catholicity and the universality of the Church always will be deeper and more visible.

[The Pope greeted the pilgrims in various languages. In English, he said:]

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims who have come here today to Monte Cassino. From the heights of this mountain we contemplate with joy our risen and ascended Lord, who has taken his seat in heaven at the right hand of the Father. Where he has gone, we hope to follow. In this place, where so many lost their lives in the battles that were fought during the Second World War, we pray especially for the souls of the fallen, commending them to God’s infinite mercy, and we pray for an end to the wars that continue to afflict our world. May God pour out his blessings upon all of you and upon your loved ones at home.

[In Polish, he said:]

A cordial greeting to the Polish people. This afternoon I will go to the Polish cemetery to honor the memory of all the soldiers and of different nations that gave valorous testimony and lost their life here. Through the intercession of St. Benedict we ask God that, in prayer and work, we will discover the new dimensions of freedom, and that peace endures in Europe and in the whole world. May God bless you!

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]

© Copyright 2009 — Libreria Editrice Vaticana

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