LES COMBES, Italy, JULY 11, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address John Paul II gave today before praying the Angelus with 5,000 pilgrims gathered in Les Combes, in the Italian Alps, where he is vacationing.
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Dear Brothers and Sisters!
1. I greet all of you with affection who have come to Les Combes to share with me our usual Sunday Angelus appointment. My profound thanks to the mayor of Introd and his aides for their courteous welcome, as well as to the regional and provincial authorities and all those who make it possible these days for me and my colleagues to have a peaceful stay among these delightful mountains of Valle d’Aosta.
My special greeting and cordial gratitude to the bishop of Aosta, Monsignor Giuseppe Anfossi, and to the whole ecclesial community of the valley. With special affection I think of the sick and those who are experiencing great difficulties and hardships.
2. In this oasis of quiet, before the wonderful spectacle of nature, one easily experiences how profitable silence is, a good that today is ever more rare. The many opportunities of relation and information that modern society offers sometimes run the risk of robbing time for recollection, to the point of rendering persons incapable of reflecting and praying. In reality, only in silence does man succeed in hearing in the depth of his conscience the voice of God, which really makes him free. And vacations can help to rediscover and cultivate this indispensable interior dimension of human life.
3. Mary Most Holy is the perfect model of listening to God, who speaks to the human heart. We turn to her, thinking of the Marian shrines of Valle d’Aosta and of the images of the Virgin that are found along the mountain roads and paths. In particular, I bless the statue of the “Little Virgin of the Great Paradise,” restored 50 years after it was placed on the summit of that majestic mountain. May Mary, who in a few days we will celebrate as Queen of Mount Carmel, help us to perceive in the beauty of creation a reflection of the divine glory, and encourage us to seek with all our energy the spiritual summit of holiness.
[Translation by ZENIT]