VATICAN CITY, MAY 7, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today to the new recruits of the Pontifical Swiss Guard Corps, on the occasion of their entry into the military institution. He addressed the group in German, Italian and French, which are the three official languages of Switzerland.
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Esteemed Mr. Commander, Reverend Mr. Chaplain,
Dear Guards, dear Relatives,
I welcome you all with joy and greet in particular the new recruits, who are accompanied by their relatives and friends gathered here.
You can be proud, with reason, given that by the oath you have just taken, you have joined a Corps of the Guard with a long history. No sooner you don the familiar uniform, than you are immediately recognized by everyone as a Swiss Guard, and thus you are recognized and respected. From now on, you will also benefit from the experience accumulated in the course of the centuries, and from all the resources that will enable you to carry out your task. As of today, you become guardians of a tradition and of practical knowledge that has been entrusted to you. Your task is to contribute so that this tradition will continue. With it your responsibility will be measured, and it will ask of you a generous dedication. The Successor of Peter sees in you a true support and entrusts to you his safeguarding. It is my sincere desire that through your service in the Guard you will maintain the legacy received from your predecessors and that it will make you mature as men and as Christians.
By entering into the Pontifical Swiss Guard, you are associated, indirectly but really, to the service of Peter in the Church. From today on, in your meditation on the Word of God, I invite you to pay much attention to the Apostle Peter when he, after the Resurrection of Christ, commits himself to fulfill the mission that the Lord entrusted to him.
These passages of Scripture clarify the meaning of your noble commitment, and this in a singular way in possible moments of exhaustion or toil. In the book of the Acts of the Apostles, we read that Peter went through the whole of Judea, to visit the faithful (cf.Acts 9:32). The first of the Apostles thus manifests concretely his solicitude for all. The Pope wishes to pay the same attention to all the Churches and to each faithful, as well as to all those who expect something from the Church. With the Successor of Peter, the charity that animates your soul must be universal. Your heart is called to enlarge itself. Your service will inspire you to discover in the face of everyone a pilgrim that, on his journey, hopes to meet another face through which he is given a living sign of the Lord, owner of the whole of life and of all graces.
We know that everything we do for the Name of Jesus, even if it is humble, transforms us and configures us a bit more to the new man regenerated in Christ. Thus your service in favor of the Petrine ministry will give you a more living sense of catholicity, together with a more profound perception of the dignity of the man who passes next to you and who seeks in his innermost self the path of eternal life. Lived with professional awareness and a supernatural sense, your duty will prepare you also for future commitments, personal and public, which you will undertake when you leave this service, and which will enable you to assume them as true disciples of the Lord.
Invoking the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of your holy Patrons Sebastian, Martin and Nicholas of Flue, I impart from my heart an affectionate Apostolic Blessing to you, to your families, to your friends and to all the persons who came to accompany you in the moment of your oath.
[Translation by ZENIT]