Love Highlighted as Essential Aspect of Service

Benedict XVI Encourages Germany to Grow in Unity, Humility

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FREIBURG, Germany, SEPT. 25, 2011 ( Benedict XVI is encouraging the Church in Germany to continue to serve God and neighbor with their voluntary organizations, but without forgetting that the most important aspect of charitable activity is love.

In the homily the Pope delivered today during Mass at the airport of Freiburg, he expressed «gratitude and appreciation to all those working in Caritas Germany and in other church organizations who give their time and effort generously in voluntary service to the Church.»

He said that serving others «requires objective and professional expertise,» but added that something more is needed — «an open heart that allows itself to be touched by the love of Christ, and thus gives to our neighbor, who needs us, something more than a technical service.»

That «something more,» the Pope said, is «love, in which the other person is able to see Christ, the loving God.»

To that end, the Holy Father asked those present to reflect on their own «personal relationship with God: in prayer, in participation at Sunday Mass, in exploring […] faith through meditation on sacred Scripture and study of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.»

«Dear friends,» he added, «the renewal of the Church will only come about through openness to conversion and through renewed faith.»


«The Christian life must continually measure itself by Christ,» the Pope continued. «Just as Christ was totally united to the Father and obedient to him, so too the disciples must obey God and be of one mind among themselves.»

«Dear friends,» the Holy Father stated, «complete my joy by being firmly united in Christ. The Church in Germany will overcome the great challenges of the present and future, and it will remain a leaven in society, if the priests, consecrated men and women, and the lay faithful, in fidelity to their respective vocations, work together in unity, if the parishes, communities, and movements support and enrich each other, if the baptized and confirmed, in union with their bishop, lift high the torch of untarnished faith and allow it to enlighten their abundant knowledge and skills.»

«The Church in Germany will continue to be a blessing for the entire Catholic world,» he added, «if she remains faithfully united with the Successors of St. Peter and the Apostles, if she fosters cooperation in various ways with mission countries and allows herself to be ‘infected’ by the joy that marks the faith of these young Churches.»

And with unity, the Holy Father affirmed, there is also a need for humility: «Christian life is a life for others: existing for others, humble service of neighbor and of the common good.»

Benedict XVI lamented that «humility is a virtue that does not enjoy great esteem in the world of today, or indeed of any time»: «But the Lord’s disciples know that this virtue is, so to speak, the oil that makes the process of dialogue fruitful, cooperation possible and unity sincere.»

«The Latin word for humility, humilitas, is derived from humus and indicates closeness to the earth,» the Pope explained. «Those who are humble stand with their two feet on the ground, but above all they listen to Christ, the Word of God, who ceaselessly renews the Church and each of her members.»

The Holy Father concluded: «Let us ask God for the courage and the humility to walk the path of faith, to draw from the riches of his mercy, and to fix our gaze on Christ, the Word, who makes all things new and is for us ‘the way, the truth, and the life’: he is our future.»

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