CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 31, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Christians become missionaries only if they know God and if his will causes them joy, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope affirmed this Sunday at Castel Gandolfo during a Mass to close a three-day meeting with his former students of the University of Regensburg.
The Holy Father encouraged his students to read the Bible to listen to Jesus’ message and to know how God approaches us, Vatican Radio reported. If we wish to hear the full message of Jesus, the way God guides us, if we want to know how God approaches us, we must read the Old and New Testament, he said.
God’s law for man is found in Scripture, the Pontiff explained, and this law must not be seen as a yoke or a type of slavery but, on the contrary, as a showering of wisdom and true knowledge. It is this law, the former university professor affirmed, that indicates how to be and live; it must be a cause of great joy.
“God has made himself known to us” and has shown us “how we must be and live, and [how he] is close,” the Holy Father observed. “God listens to us, we can approach him,” and all this must give us joy.
Benedict XVI went on to emphasize that joy must be the mark that distinguishes a Christian who knows the will of God, because this law is also an expression of God’s friendship, it is the word that frees, that gives strength and purifies.
He also considered the issue of man’s purity before God, stating that, when man encounters God, he discovers that he is wounded and cannot meet Him; thus arises the question of how to purify oneself.
Wisdom purifies us, and it does not come from ourselves; we can only receive it, the Pope explained.
And he pointed out that, in the measure in which we allow God to touch us, establishing a dialogue of love and friendship with him, we can also love as he loves.
Quoting St. Augustine, the Pope said: “Give what you command and command what you will,” to point out that, through friendship with God, we make ourselves capable of his same love.
The 30-some students gathered Friday through Sunday for their annual event, which has been going on since 1971, long before their theology professor was elected Pope. Since 2005, when Cardinal Ratzinger was elected to the Chair of Peter, the group has continued meeting, discussing topics such as Islam and evolution. Last year, they considered the historical Jesus and his passion. For 2009, the Ratzinger Schulerkreis considered ecumenism and mission.
One of the members of the Pope’s circle of former students, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna, explained that for the Holy Father these meetings are “a moment of detachment from daily life to be able to be with his former students as he used to be so many years ago, when he was professor and we were students.”
In regard to this year’s topic, Cardinal Schönborn evaluated the possibility of a mission in collaboration with the different confessions present in Europe and said that Jesus himself “calls us to a common witness.”