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Benedict XVI on the Rosary and Missions

"Take the Love of God to All"

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, OCT. 2, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave Sunday before reciting the midday Angelus with crowds at the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

Today, the first day of October, I would like to reflect on two aspects that characterize this month in the ecclesial community: the praying of the rosary and commitment to the missions.

Next Saturday, Oct. 7, we celebrate the feast of the Virgin of the Rosary; it is as if every year Our Lady invited us to rediscover the beauty of this prayer, so simple and profound.

Our beloved Pope John Paul II was a great apostle of the rosary: We remember him kneeling with the beads in his hands, immersed in the contemplation of Christ, as he himself invited us to do with the Apostolic Letter "Rosarium Virginis Mariae."

The rosary is a contemplative and christocentric prayer, inseparable from the meditation of sacred Scripture. It is the prayer of the Christian who advances in the pilgrimage of faith, in the following of Jesus, preceded by Mary. I would like to invite you, dear brothers and sisters, to pray the rosary as a family during this month, and in communities and parishes, for the intentions of the Pope, for the mission of the Church and for peace in the world.

October is also the missionary month, and on Sunday Oct. 22 we observe World Mission Sunday. The Church is missionary by nature. "As the Father has sent me, even so I send you" (John 20:21), said the risen Jesus to his apostles in the Cenacle.

The mission of the Church is the prolongation of Christ's mission: to take the love of God to all, proclaiming charity with words and concrete testimony. In the message for the forthcoming World Mission Sunday I wished to present charity precisely as "soul of the mission."

St. Paul, apostle of the Gentiles, wrote: "For the love of Christ controls us" (2 Corinthians 5:14). May every Christian make these words his own, in the joyous experience of being a missionary of love there, where providence has placed him, with humility and courage, serving his neighbor without ulterior motives and obtaining in prayer the strength of joyful and industrious charity ("Deus Caritas Est," 32-39).

Universal patroness of the missions, along with St. Francis Xavier, is St. Thérčse of the Child Jesus, Carmelite virgin and doctor of the Church, whose memorial in fact we observe today. May she, who indicated the "simple" way to holiness as confident abandonment in the love of God, help us to be credible witnesses of the Gospel of charity. May Mary most holy, virgin of the rosary and queen of the missions, lead us all to Christ our savior.

[After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father greeted pilgrims in several languages. In English, he said:]

I am pleased to greet the English-speaking visitors gathered here today, including the pilgrims from Rotterdam who are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the foundation of their diocese.

In this month of October, dedicated to the Holy Rosary, we ponder with Mary the mysteries of our salvation, and we ask the Lord to help us grow in our understanding of the marvelous things he has done for us. May God fill you with his love and may he bestow upon all those dear to you his blessings of joy and peace.

© Copyright 2006 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

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