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Third Millennium, which is surely a new missionary age. He has been chosen in order to carry forward the plan of the Holy Spirit. He is leading the Church forward by making her foundations once again solid. The, refortified and refreshed, the Church will do what she alone can do and what she has always done, go forward into a world that is waiting to be reborn as the presence of the Risen Christ.
In his homily prior to the convening of the conclave where he was chosen to fill the Chair of Peter, then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger gave a prophetic insight into the challenges of this age:
"How many winds of doctrine we have known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking... The small boat of thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves - thrown from one extreme to the other: from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism, and so forth. Every day new sects are created and what Saint Paul says about human trickery comes true, with cunning which tries to draw those into error (cf Eph 4, 14). Having a clear faith, based on the Creed of the Church, is often labeled today as a fundamentalism. Whereas, relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and "swept along by every wind of teaching," looks like the only attitude (acceptable) to today's standards. We are moving towards a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one's own ego and one's own desires."
Some have attempted to misuse this prophetic insight to paint him as rejecting the modern world. However, what he rejects, and rightly so, is the emptiness of modernity and post modernity. What he proposes is a different path, not to the past, but to a future of hope and authentic freedom. It is truth alone which can pave that path to authentic human flourishing and freedom. That Truth can only be found in its fullness in Jesus Christ who still proclaims, through His Church, that He is the "Way, the Truth and the Life." Jesus reminds every person in every age, that we can "know the truth" and that "the truth will set you free." In an age reeling from error and enchained in a misguided claim of enlightenment, Pope Benedict XVI shines the Light of the World.
Benedict has become a mouthpiece of the Risen Savior and His Vicar, to use a colloquial expression, right in the "nick of time".
Those who watch the early days of Popes tell us to watch for two things at the very beginning of their service, the name they choose and the content of their first homily for "clues" to their pontificate. The choice of the name Benedict, after the great Abbot and the great voice for peace, was no accident. One of the young priests, who filled the airwaves during the first few days of his early Pontificate, noted that Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger visited Subiaco before all the events in Rome began.
There he prayed and rededicated himself to the work of the Church for the future. Interestingly, a short while later he would be called to occupy the chair of Peter and take the name Benedict.
Saint Benedict was born around the year 480 in Umbria, Italy. He is the father of Western Monasticism and co-patron of Europe (along with Saints Cyril and Methodius).As a young man Benedict fled a decadent and declining Rome for studies in order to give his life entirely to God. He went to Subiaco. The cave that became his dwelling is now a shrine called "Sacro Speco" (The Holy Cave), which is a beautiful sanctuary for pilgrims. Benedict lived a life of prayer and solitude and prayer for three years and studied under a monk named Romanus. His holiness drew other men and, soon, twelve small monasteries were founded. He later traveled to Monte Cassino, where he completed his "Rule for Monks." From those Benedictine monasteries, an entire monastic movement was birthed which led to the evangelization of Europe, the birth and flourishing of the academy, the arts and what later became Christendom.
One of the greatest hopes of Pope John Paul II was for Europe to return to her Christian roots. His holiness attracted the young. He left behind an entire generation who many Church leaders and even the media now refer to as "Generation John Paul II." Many of the young priests, women religious and lay people whom we witnessed sharing their faith and stories on international television during those weeks of John Paul's passing and Benedict's elevation to the Chair of Peter are the fruit of Pope John Paul's wonderful work with the young. He held numerous youth days in some of the most secularized cities in the world during his pontificate. Huge crowds of the young would gather to hear his proclamation of the timeless truth of the Gospel and the invitation of Jesus Christ to "Come, ...
- - -Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.Keywords:
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