Pope Reveals Malta's Greatest Treasure

Urges Maltese to Preserve Gift of Faith

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FLORIANA, Malta, APRIL 18, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The greatest treasure to have washed up on the shores of Malta is the treasure of the faith, Benedict XVI told the Maltese people today during an open-air Mass in Granaries Square, Floriana.

In his homily, given in front of the Church of St. Publius, the Pope recalled the events of the dramatic shipwreck of St. Paul that dropped him on the coasts of Malta some 1,950 years ago.

«The crew of the ship, in order to survive, were forced to throw overboard the cargo, the ship’s tackle, even the wheat which was their only sustenance,» the Pontiff recounted. «Paul urged them to place their trust in God alone, while the ship was tossed to and fro upon the waves.

«We too must place our trust in him alone. It is tempting to think that today’s advanced technology can answer all our needs and save us from all the perils and dangers that beset us. But it is not so.

«At every moment of our lives we depend entirely on God, in whom we live and move and have our being. Only he can protect us from harm, only he can guide us through the storms of life, only he can bring us to a safe haven, as he did for Paul and his companions adrift off the coast of Malta.»

The Holy Father noted that of all we have in terms of accomplishments, possessions or technology, «it is our relationship with the Lord that provides the key to our happiness and our human fulfillment. And he calls us to a relationship of love.»

Paul’s gift

«Of all the gifts brought to these shores in the course of your people’s history,» he continued, «the gift brought by Paul was the greatest of all, and it is much to your credit that it was immediately accepted and treasured.»

Then the Pontiff exhorted in Maltese: «Preserve the faith and values transmitted to you by your father the Apostle St. Paul.»

He added in English: «Continue to explore the richness and depth of Paul’s gift to you and be sure to hand it on not only to your children, but to all those you encounter today.»

Benedict XVI urged the faithful to «remember that the exchange of goods between these islands and the world outside is a two-way process»: «What you receive, evaluate with care, and what you have that is of value, be sure to share with others.»

The Pope then addressed the 700 priests present, and made special mention of St. George Preca (1880-1962), the Maltese priest and founder of the Societas Doctrinae Christianae who the Holy Father canonized in 2007.

«St. George Preca was a priest of remarkable humility, goodness, meekness and generosity, deeply devoted to prayer and with a passion for communicating the truths of the Gospel,» he said. «Let him serve as a model and an inspiration for you, as you strive to fulfill the mission you have received to feed the Lord’s flock.»

The Pontiff continued: «Remember, too, the question that the Risen Lord put three times to Peter: ‘Do you love me?’ That is the question he asks each of you. Do you love him? Do you wish to serve him through the gift of your whole lives? Do you long to bring others to know and love him?

«With Peter, have the courage to answer, ‘Yes, Lord, you know I love you,’ and accept with grateful hearts the beautiful task that he has assigned you.

«The mission entrusted to priests is truly a service to joy, to God’s joy which longs to break into the world.»

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On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full text: www.zenit.org/article-28948?l=english

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