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Pope Benedict On Witnesses of Love

"The Whole History of the Church Is a History of Holiness"

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 30, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave Sunday before reciting the midday Angelus from the window of his study with thousands of people gathered in St. Peter's Square.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

In the encyclical published last Wednesday, reaffirming the primacy of charity in the life of the Christian and the Church, I wished to recall that the privileged witnesses of this primacy are the saints, who made of their lives, with a thousand notes, a hymn to God-Love.

The liturgy makes us celebrate it every day of the year. I think, for example, of those we are commemorating in these days: the Apostle Paul, with the disciples Timothy and Titus, St. Angela Merici, St. Thomas Aquinas St. John Bosco. They are saints who are very different from one another: The former belong to the beginning of the Church; they are the missionaries of the first evangelization.

During the Middle Ages, Thomas Aquinas is the model of the Catholic theologian who sees in Christ the supreme synthesis of truth and love. During the Renaissance, Angela Merici suggested a path of holiness as well for those living in a secular environment. In modern times, Don Bosco, inflamed by the charity of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, looked after the most underprivileged boys and became a father and teacher to them.

Indeed the whole history of the Church is a history of holiness, animated by the one Love that has its source in God. In fact, only supernatural charity, which always flows anew from the heart of Christ, can explain the prodigious flowering throughout the centuries of orders, masculine and feminine religious institutes and other forms of consecrated life. Among the saints most known for their charity, I mentioned in the encyclical John of God, Camillus of Lelis, Vincent de Paul, Louise de Marillac, Joseph Cottolengo, Luis Orione and Teresa of Calcutta (cf. No. 40).

These men and women, whom the spirit of Christ molded, making them models of evangelical commitment, lead us to consider the importance of a consecrated life as expression and school of charity. The Second Vatican Council emphasized that the imitation of Christ in chastity, poverty and obedience is totally oriented to attaining perfect charity (cf. "Perfectae Caritatis," No. 1). To highlight the importance and value of consecrated life, the Church will celebrate next Feb. 2, feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple, the Day of Consecrated Life. In the afternoon, as Pope John Paul II liked to do, I will preside at the holy Mass in the Vatican basilica, to which consecrated men and women who live in Rome are especially invited.

Together we will thank God for the gift of consecrated life and pray so that it will continue to be an eloquent sign of his merciful love in the world.

We now turn to Mary Most Holy, mirror of charity: With her maternal help, may she help Christians, and the consecrated in particular, to walk rapidly and joyfully on the path of holiness.

[After praying the Angelus the Pope added:]

Today the World Day of Leprosy is being observed, begun more than 50 years ago by Raoul Follereau, and promoted by the associations inspired by its humanitarian work. I address a special greeting to all those suffering from this illness, and I encourage missionaries, health agents, and volunteers committed on this front of service to man.

Leprosy is a symptom of a more serious and widespread ill, abject poverty. For this reason, as my predecessors did, I renew my appeal to leaders of nations to make every effort to overcome together the serious imbalances that still penalize the greater part of humanity.

[The Holy Father then greeted pilgrims in several languages. In English, he said:]

I cordially greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present for today's Angelus prayer. May the Blessed Virgin Mary, the model of the Church in holiness and fidelity to God's word, sustain you by her prayers and guide you to the kingdom of her beloved Son. Upon you and your families I invoke an abundance of joy and peace in the Lord. God bless you all!

[Speaking in Polish, he added:]

In greeting the Polish pilgrims I think of the tragic accident that took place last night in Katowice, in which numerous people lost their lives. I entrust to the mercy of God all those who died and I unite myself spiritually to their relatives and all those who have been injured. I impart to all my cordial blessing.

[Speaking again in Italian, Benedict XVI concluded:]

I greet with great affection the boys of Catholic Action of Rome, who have gathered in St. Peter's Square at the end of the "month of peace." Together with their representatives, who are beside me, we will shortly release two doves, symbols of peace.

Dear boys! I know that you have decided to "train yourselves in peace," led by the great "trainer" that is Jesus. For this reason I entrust to you, boys of Catholic Action, the task I have proposed to all in the message of Jan. 1: Learn to always say and do the truth, in this way you will become peacemakers.

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Keywords

Pope,. Benedict, God, Love, Encyclical

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