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Papal Address in Czestochowa

5/27/2006 - 5:45 AM PST

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"Place Yourselves in the School of Mary"

WARSAW, Poland, MAY 27, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is the Vatican translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered Friday to men and women religious, seminarians and representatives of ecclesial movements in Jasna Gora, Czestochowa.

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Dear men and women religious, consecrated persons, who moved by the voice of Jesus, have followed him out of love!
Dear seminarians, who are preparing yourselves for the priestly ministry!
Dear representatives of ecclesial movements, who bring the power of the Gospel to your families, to your workplaces, to universities, to the world of media and culture, to your parishes!

Just as the apostles together with Mary "went to the Upper Room" and there "with one accord devoted themselves to prayer" (Acts 1:12,14), so we too have come together today at Jasna Gora, which for us at this hour is the "upper room" where Mary, the Mother of the Lord, is among us. Today it is she who leads our meditation; she teaches us how to pray. Mary shows us how to open our minds and our hearts to the power of the Holy Spirit, who comes to us so as to be brought to the whole world.

We need a moment of silence and recollection to place ourselves in her school, so that she may teach us how to live from faith, how to grow in faith, how to remain in contact with the mystery of God in the ordinary, everyday events of our lives. With feminine tact and with "the ability to combine penetrating intuition with words of support and encouragement" (John Paul II, "Redemptoris Mater," No. 46), Mary sustained the faith of Peter and the apostles in the Upper Room, and today she sustains my faith and your faith.

"Faith is contact with the mystery of God" (John Paul II, "Redemptoris Mater," No. 17), because "to believe means 'to abandon oneself' to the truth of the word of the living God, knowing and humbly recognizing 'how unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways'" (John Paul II, "Redemptoris Mater," No. 14).

Faith is the gift, given to us in baptism, which makes our encounter with God possible. God is hidden in mystery; to claim to understand him would mean to want to confine him within our thinking and knowing and consequently to lose him irremediably. With faith, however, we can open up a way through concepts, even theological concepts, and can "touch" the living God. And God, once touched, immediately gives us his power. When we abandon ourselves to the living God, when in humility of mind we have recourse to him, a kind of hidden stream of divine life pervades us. How important it is to believe in the power of faith, in its capacity to establish a close bond with the living God!

We must give great attention to the development of our faith, so that it truly pervades all our attitudes, thoughts, actions and intentions. Faith has a place, not only in our state of soul and religious experiences, but above all in thought and action, in everyday work, in the struggle against ourselves, in community life and in the apostolate, because it ensures that our life is pervaded by the power of God himself. Faith can always bring us back to God even when our sin leads us astray.

In the Upper Room the apostles did not know what awaited them. They were afraid and worried about their own future. They continued to marvel at the death and resurrection of Jesus and were in anguish at being left on their own after his ascension into Heaven. Mary, "she who believed in the fulfillment of the Lord's words" (cf. Luke 1:45), assiduous in prayer alongside the apostles, taught perseverance in the faith. By her own attitude she convinced them that the Holy Spirit, in his wisdom, knew well the path on which he was leading them, and that consequently they could place their confidence in God, giving themselves to him unreservedly, with their talents, their limitations and their future.

Many of you here present have experienced this secret call of the Holy Spirit and have responded with complete generosity of heart. The love of Jesus "poured into your hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to you" (cf. Romans 5:5), has shown you the way of the consecrated life. It was not you who looked for it. It was Jesus who called you, inviting you to a more profound union with him.

In the sacrament of holy baptism you renounced Satan and his works and received the necessary graces for a Christian life and for holiness. From that moment the grace of faith has blossomed within you and has enabled you to be united with God. At the moment of your religious profession or promises, faith led you to a total adherence to the mystery of the Heart of Jesus, whose treasures you have discovered. You then renounced such good things as disposing freely of your life, having a family, acquiring possessions, so as to be free to give yourselves without reserve to Christ ...

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