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Benedict XVI Calls Sin a Disfiguring Illness

Comments on Gospel Passage of 10 Lepers

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 15, 2007 ( Benedict XVI says that the illness that truly disfigures the person and society is sin, and that only God can heal this infirmity.

The Pope said that Sunday in St. Peter’s Square, addressing thousands who had gathered to pray the midday Angelus.

Commenting on Sunday’s Gospel passage about the healing of the 10 lepers, the Holy Father said, “This Gospel passage invites us to a double reflection. Above all, it makes us think of two levels of healing: one that is more superficial, affecting the body; another, more profound, reaching the depths of a person, that which the Bible calls the ‘heart,’ and from there, irradiating to all of existence.”
<br>The Pontiff continued: “Jesus uses the expression, ‘Your faith has saved you.’ Faith saves the human person, re-establishing him in his profound relationship with God, with himself, and with others. And faith is expressed with appreciation. He who, like the healed Samaritan, knows how to give thanks, shows that he does not consider everything as something which is merited, but instead as a gift that, even if it comes through people or through nature, in the end, comes from God.

“Faith involves, then, the openness of the person to the grace of the Lord; to recognize that all is gift, all is grace. What a treasure is hidden in the little phrase: ‘thank you!'”

Benedict XVI recalled that in Christ’s time, leprosy was considered a “contagious impurity, which required a rite of purification. In reality, the leprosy that truly disfigures the person and society is sin; pride and egotism give birth in the spirit to indifference, hate and violence. Only God, who is Love, can cure this leprosy of the spirit, which disfigures the face of humanity. Upon opening the heart to God, the converted person is healed interiorly of evil.”

The Pope also recalled the 90th anniversary of the apparitions in Fatima; a television connection linked the Pope with his secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who was in Portugal for the closing of the anniversary celebrations.

“We ask the Blessed Virgin for the gift of conversion for all Christians,” the Holy Father said, “so that they may announce and give a faithful and coherent witness to the perennial evangelical message, which indicates to humanity the path to an authentic peace.”

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