INTROD, Italy, JULY 29, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI bid farewell to the Italian Alps and those who helped him to make his holiday a pleasant one, but not before taking a light-hearted jab at his Guardian Angel for not keeping his vacation injury-free.
During the meeting held today at the Salesian house, the Pope addressed the members of the various security teams and firefighters, who during the last two weeks have guaranteed the Pontiff peace of mind during his stay in Les Combes in the Aosta Valley.
“Dear friends,” the Pontiff said, “at the end of these weeks of vacation, I can only say from the bottom of my heart ‘thank you’ for your competent, discreet and efficient service.”
“You have been like the angels,” the Holy Father added. “Angels are invisible, but at the same time efficient. For me, you were invisible, but always efficient.”
“Unfortunately,” he added, “my Guardian Angel did not prevent my accident,” referring to an incident July 17 when he slipped and broke his right wrist.
Viewing the event in the light of faith, however, Benedict XVI added that his angel was “certainly following ‘superior orders.”‘
He suggested that maybe it was part of God’s plan “to teach me greater patience and humility.” On the bright side, the Pope noted, the incident he gave him “more time for prayer and meditation.” He had planned to do a bit of writing during his holiday.
The Pontiff said the he spent his holidays in a “heavenly peace” — a silence interrupted by the “sounds of the Creator” such as birds and falling rain.
Benedict XVI also greeted 35 young people as a sign of his appreciation for the welcome offered him in the Salesian residence of Les Combes of Introd. He has been staying there since July 13.
The Holy Father also gave an opportunity to journalists and the security teams to take a picture with him.
The Pope left the northern Italian Alps this afternoon for the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, some 18 miles (30 kilometers) south of Rome.
He will work from Castel Gandolfo until the beginning of October, resuming his traditional Wednesday audiences a week from today.