Involve Christ in Everything, Says Pope

Urges Northeastern Italy to Protect Its Roots

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VENICE, Italy, MAY 8, 2011 ( Christians need to bring the values of their faith into every sphere, including politics, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope affirmed this in an address Saturday afternoon to ecclesiastical representatives gathered in the Basilica of Aquileia during his pastoral visit to northeastern Italy.

Speaking about “how to proclaim Jesus Christ, how to communicate the Gospel and how to educate people in the faith today,” the Pontiff indicated that “the mission that has priority,” that God entrusts to the churches of northeastern Italy today, “is that of bearing witness to the love of God for man.»

He said this witness should be manifested in «works of love and life choices on behalf of concrete people, beginning with the weakest, the most fragile, the most defenseless, those who are least self-sufficient, such as the poor, the elderly, the sick, the disabled.”

In the context of an “often exasperated pursuit of economic well-being” and of “grave economic and financial crisis,” he added, the faithful are called to “the Christian sense of life, through the explicit proclamation of the Gospel, brought with delicate pride and profound joy in the various areas of daily existence.”

“Do not renounce anything of the Gospel in which you believe,” he said, “communicating by the way you live that humanism that has its roots in Christianity, ready to build together with all men of good will a ‘city’ that is more human, more just and solidary.”

From this point of view, he recommended to the local Churches “the commitment to create a new generation of men and women who are able to directly take on responsibility in various social spheres, especially in the political sphere,” which “now more than ever needs to see people, young people above all, able to build a ‘good life’ for all and in the service of all.”

“Christians cannot shirk this task. They are pilgrims who set out for heaven but they already live here below in anticipation of eternity,” he declared.

Following Christ

Addressing the representatives of the 15 dioceses of Triveneto who are preparing for the second ecclesial conference of Aquileia in 2012, the Pope emphasized how the meeting will permit the Christian communities “to share above all the original experience of Christianity, that personal encounter with Christ, which fully reveals to every man and woman the meaning and direction of their journey in life and history.”

Gathering in Aquileia, where “the churches of northeastern Italy germinated, but also those of Slovenia and Austria and some churches in Croatia and Bavaria and even Hungary,” is “a meaningful return to the ‘roots’ to rediscover yourselves as living ‘stones’ of the spiritual building that has its foundation in Christ.”

Northeastern Italy, the Pontiff added, is “witness and heir of a rich history of faith.” “Christian experience has forged an affable, hard working, tenacious, solidary people,” who are “deeply marked by the Gospel of Christ even in the plurality of their cultural identities.”

He described as characteristic of this region an «openness to the transcendent dimension of life, despite widespread materialism; a basic religious sense shared by almost the whole population; attachment to religious traditions; the renewal of the paths of Christian initiation; the multiple expressions of faith, charity and culture; the manifestations of popular religiosity; the sense of solidarity and voluntary work.”

“Safeguard, reinforce, live this precious inheritance!” he said.

Food of courage

The Pope emphasized the importance of faith as the foundation for everything also in the address he gave upon his arrival in Aquileia.

“Only in Christ in fact can humanity receive hope for the future; only from him can humanity draw the meaning and power of forgiveness, of justice, of peace.”

“Always keep the faith and works of your origins alive with courage!” he exclaimed. “Be in your churches and in the heart of society ‘quasi beatorum chorus,’ as St. Jerome said of the clergy of Aquileia, by the unity of faith, studying the Word, fraternal love, the joyous and multiform harmony of ecclesial witness.”

In the same way he invited the people to become “again and again disciples of the Gospel, to translate it into spiritual fervor, clarity of faith, sincere charity, ready sensitivity to the poor.”

In concluding he exhorted them to be “assiduous” at “the altar, where Christ himself is the food, the Bread of life, strength in persecutions, heartening in all discouragement and weakness, the food of courage and of Christian ardor.”

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