VATICAN CITY, OCT. 14, 2009 (Zenit.org).- In our era characterized by a frenetic pace, lack of communication and conflicts, the example of Peter the Venerable is a good model, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope affirmed this today when he spoke of this abbot of Cluny during the general audience in St. Peter’s Square.
Born around the end of the 11th century, Peter the Venerable is “an example also for the monks and Christians of our time,” the Holy Father said.
“[In our time,] marked by a frenetic rhythm of life, where incidents of intolerance and lack of communication, division and conflicts are not rare,” the Pontiff said, “[h]is witness invites us to be able to combine love of God with love of neighbor, and never tire of renewing relations of fraternity and reconciliation.”
The Bishop of Rome cited some of the abbot’s writings, including this rule of life: “You will be able to obtain more from a man by tolerating him, than by irritating him with complaints.”
And the Pope mentioned how Peter the Venerable used his “sense of measure,” magnanimity and realism to maintain “habitual tranquility” in the midst of maneuvering “between the powers and lordships that surrounded Cluny.”
With an observation that could be applied to the synod on Africa under way at the Vatican, Benedict XVI noted Peter’s “lively ecclesial sense.”
“[The abbot] said that the affairs of Christian people should be felt in the ‘depth of the heart’ of those who number themselves ‘among the members of the Body of Christ,” the Pope noted. “And [Peter] added: ‘He is not nourished by Christ who does not feel the wounds of the Body of Christ, wherever these are produced.'”
The Holy Father also mentioned something uncharacteristic for the saint’s day: his “care and solicitude even for those who were outside the Church, in particular for the Jews and Muslims.”
“To foster knowledge of the latter [Peter the Venerable] had the Quran translated,” he noted.
Benedict XVI affirmed that Peter the Venerable is a “great example of monastic sanctity” and recommended a way of life “pervaded by profound love of God and love of others, a love that is expressed in sincere openness to one’s neighbor, in forgiveness and in the pursuit of peace.”
“By way of conclusion,” he said, “we could say that if this style of life joined to daily work is, for St. Benedict, the ideal of the monk, it also concerns all of us; it can be, to a great extent, the style of life of the Christian who wants to become a genuine disciple of Christ, characterized in fact by tenacious adherence to him, by humility, by industriousness and the capacity to forgive, and by peace.”
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On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full text of general audience address: www.zenit.org/article-27203?l=english