ROME, DEC. 16, 2010 ( Jesus is God's definitive Word to mankind, because by giving himself in person he has shown the true face of the Father, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope said this Tuesday in a homily he gave at the Mater Ecclesia Monastery on the feast day of St. John of the Cross (1567-1622), reports L'Osservatore Romano.

The Mater Ecclesiae monastery, located inside the Vatican walls, was established by Pope John Paul II in 1994. Every five years, a different community of contemplative women religious occupies the monastery, and during their stay they support the activity of the Pontiff and of the members of the Roman Curia.

The Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary, founded by Sts. Francis de Sales and Jane Frances of Chantal, currently occupies the convent. This year marks the 400th anniversary of the foundation of the Order of the Visitation.

In Benedict XVI's homily, he commented on some topics of the thought of St. John of the Cross, described as the saint of the Paschal Mystery. Living the cross, the Pope said, the saint understood that it is love and that the mystery of love is realized in it.

The Holy Father stressed how in the Old Testament God manifested himself in many ways and came close to the people, among these, visions and prophetic words. Instead, in the New Testament, it is in Jesus, in Christ, where he makes his Word heard.

In the same way, the Pope continued, St. John of the Cross explains that God gave and said everything in his Son. Through Christ, humanity can recognize the face of the Triune God. Mankind's vocation, the Pontiff added, is to enter into this totality, to be touched and penetrated interiorly by the richness of the gift which is God himself.

At the end of the Mass, Sister Maria Begona Sancho, superior of the monastery, gave a silver cross -- like the one worn by the nuns -- to Benedict XVI in the name of all the nuns of the order worldwide. The cross, which came from Annecy, has relics of St. Francis de Sales, St. Jane Frances of Chantal and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, who was also a member of this congregation.

The superior also gave the Pope religous objects to be given to poor churches, including 400 albs, 600 purifiers, 900 rosaries, 400 copies in French of Francis de Sales' Introduction to the Devout Life, and 2,800 scapulars of the Sacred Heart.