Saints Best Represent Church, Says Benedict XVI

Affirms Faith Needs to «Come Alive» in Each of Us

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LISBON, Portugal, MAY 11, 2010 ( Though the Church has «quarrelsome and even rebellious» children, it is in the saints that she recognizes her most characteristic features, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope affirmed this today at a Mass in Lisbon, on the first day of his four-day trip to Portugal.

He reflected on the Church being formed by the baptized, the sacrament by which «the Church gives birth to the ‘saints.'»

«We know that she also has quarrelsome and even rebellious sons and daughters, but it is in the saints that the Church recognizes her most characteristic features, it is in them that she tastes her deepest joy,» the Holy Father said.

He reflected that faith should not be taken for granted.

in this regard, he noted that there is often preoccupation with the social, cultural and political consequences of the faith and an assumption that the faith is present. But he added that this «unfortunately is less and less realistic.»

«Perhaps we have placed an excessive trust in ecclesial structures and programs, in the distribution of powers and functions; but what will happen if salt loses its flavor?» the Pontiff questioned.

He said that in order to avoid this, the «heart of Christianity» — the «death and resurrection of Christ,» — must be proclaimed anew with «vigor and joy.»

«The resurrection of Christ assures us that no adverse power will ever be able to destroy the Church. Therefore our faith is well-founded, but this faith needs to come alive in each one of us,» he said.

Beautiful friendship

Benedict XVI concluded his homily with exhortations for the faithful, and particularly for youth.

«Christ is always with us and always walks with his Church,» he said. «[…] Never doubt his presence!»

The Pope added: «Always seek the Lord Jesus, grow in friendship with him, receive him in Communion. Learn to listen to his word and also to recognize him in the poor. Live your lives with joy and enthusiasm, sure of his presence and of his unconditional, generous friendship, faithful even to death on the cross. Bear witness to all of the joy that his strong yet gentle presence evokes, starting with your contemporaries.

«Tell them that it is beautiful to be a friend of Jesus and that it is well worth following him. With your enthusiasm, demonstrate that, among all the different ways of life that the world today seems to offer us — apparently all on the same level — the only way in which we find the true meaning of life and hence true and lasting joy, is by following Jesus.»

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