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FULL TEXT: The Final Angelus of Pope Benedict XVI

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The final Angelus……..with outstretched arms Pope Benedict XVI acknowledges a packed St. Peter’s Square beneath him as he delivers the the final Angelus devotion of his tenure as Pontiff 24 February 2013 in this handout photo provided by Vatican newspaper Osservatore Romano. The Pontiff’s resignation officially takes effect at 8pm local time on 28 February 2013. EFE/EPA/OSSERVATORE — at Città Del Vatican

Full Text:

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

On the second Sunday of Lent, the liturgy always presents us with the Gospel of the Transfiguration of the Lord. The evangelist Luke places particular emphasis on the fact that Jesus was transfigured as he prayed: his is a profound experience of relationship with the Father during a sort of spiritual retreat that Jesus lives on a high mountain in the company of Peter, James and John , the three disciples always present in moments of divine manifestation of the Master (Luke 5:10, 8.51, 9.28).The Lord, who shortly before had foretold his death and resurrection (9:22), offers his disciples a foretaste of his glory. And even in the Transfiguration, as in baptism, we hear the voice of the Heavenly Father, “This is my Son, the Chosen One listen to him” (9:35). The presence of Moses and Elijah, representing the Law and the Prophets of the Old Covenant, it is highly significant: the whole history of the Alliance is focused on Him, the Christ, who accomplishes a new “exodus” (9:31) , not to the promised land as in the time of Moses, but to Heaven. Peter’s words: “Master, it is good that we are here” (9.33) represents the impossible attempt to stop this mystical experience. St. Augustine says: “[Peter] … on the mountain … had Christ as the food of the soul. Why should he come down to return to the labours and pains, while up there he was full of feelings of holy love for God that inspired in him a holy conduct? “(Sermon 78.3).

We can draw a very important lesson from meditating on this passage of the Gospel. First, the primacy of prayer, without which all the work of the apostolate and of charity is reduced to activism. In Lent we learn to give proper time to prayer, both personal and communal, which gives breath to our spiritual life. In addition, to pray is not to isolate oneself from the world and its contradictions, as Peter wanted on Tabor, instead prayer leads us back to the path, to action. “The Christian life – I wrote in my Message for Lent – consists in continuously scaling the mountain to meet God and then coming back down, bearing the love and strength drawn from him, so as to serve our brothers and sisters with God’s own love “(n. 3).Dear brothers and sisters, I feel that this Word of God is particularly directed at me, at this point in my life. The Lord is calling me to “climb the mountain”, to devote myself even more to prayer and meditation. But this does not mean abandoning the Church, indeed, if God is asking me to do this it is so that I can continue to serve the Church with the same dedication and the same love with which I have done thus far, but in a way that is better suited to my age and my strength. Let us invoke the intercession of the Virgin Mary: may she always help us all to follow the Lord Jesus in prayer and works of charity.

I offer a warm greeting to all the English-speaking visitors present for this Angelus prayer, especially the Schola Cantorum of the London Oratory School. I thank everyone for the many expressions of gratitude, affection and closeness in prayer which I have received in these days. As we continue our Lenten journey towards Easter, may we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus the Redeemer, whose glory was revealed on the mount of the Transfiguration. Upon all of you I invoke God’s abundant blessings!

END

Pope Benedict XVI: The burning question: “Do you believe this?”

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Angelus: Fifth Sunday of Lent, 9 March 

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

            In our Lenten journey we have reached the Fifth Sunday, characterized by the Gospel of the resurrection of Lazarus (Jn 11: 1-45). It concerns the last “sign” fulfilled by Jesus, after which the chief priests convened the Sanhedrin and deliberated killing him, and decided to kill the same Lazarus who was living proof of the divinity of Christ, the Lord of life and death.

            Actually, this Gospel passage shows Jesus as true Man and true God. First of all, the Evangelist insists on his friendship with Lazarus and his sisters, Martha and Mary. He emphasizes that “Jesus loved” them (Jn 11: 5), and this is why he wanted to accomplish the great wonder.

            “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him out of sleep” (Jn 11: 11), he tells his disciples, expressing God’s viewpoint on physical death with the metaphor of sleep. God sees it exactly as sleep, from which he can awaken us.

            Jesus has shown an absolute power regarding this death, seen when he gives life back to the widow of Nain’s young son (cf. Lk 7: 11-17) and to the 12 year-old girl (cf. Mk 5: 35-43). Precisely concerning her he said:  “The child is not dead but sleeping” (Mk 5: 39), attracting the derision of those present. But in truth it is exactly like this:  bodily death is a sleep from which God can awaken us at any moment.

            This lordship over death does not impede Jesus from feeling sincere “com-passion” for the sorrow of detachment. Seeing Martha and Mary and those who had come to console them weeping, Jesus “was deeply moved in spirit and troubled”, and lastly, “wept” (Jn 11: 33, 35). Christ’s heart is divine-human:  in him God and man meet perfectly, without separation and without confusion. He is the image, or rather, the incarnation of God who is love, mercy, paternal and maternal tenderness, of God who is Life. Therefore, he solemnly declared to Martha:  “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die”. And he adds, “Do you believe this?” (Jn 11: 25-26).

            It is a question that Jesus addresses to each one of us:  a question that certainly rises above us, rises above our capacity to understand, and it asks us to entrust ourselves to him as he entrusted himself to the Father. Martha’s response is exemplary:  “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world” (Jn 11: 27). Yes, O Lord! We also believe, notwithstanding our doubts and darkness; we believe in you because you have the words of eternal life. We want to believe in you, who give us a trustworthy hope of life beyond life, of authentic and full life in your Kingdom of light and peace.

            We entrust this prayer to Mary Most Holy. May her intercession strengthen our faith and hope in Jesus, especially in moments of greater trial and difficulty.

Pope Benedict XVI: Follow Christ’s Path to Peace–Angelus 01.28.08

Asia News 

The “Good News” that Jesus came to announce mean that “God, in Him, is at hand, that he already rules amongst us as demonstrated by the miracles and healing he performs.” “Where Jesus arrives, the creative Spirit brings life and heals men from the illnesses of the body and of the spirit. God’s lordship manifests itself through man’s complete healing.”

Before a cheerful crowd that had gathered in St Peter’s Square for the Angelus, Benedict XVI with two young people from Rome’s Azione Cattolica at his side released two doves in what has become a traditional gesture.

Taking advantage of the situation the Pope cracked a joke that elicited shouts and applause among the 50,000 people in St Peter. “Sometimes they come back,” he said referring to the fact that occasionally the birds flow back into his studio.

“My dear young friends,” he added, “I know that you are committed to those of your age you who are suffering from war and poverty. Continue on the path that Jesus has shown us to build true peace!”

Before the Marian prayer, the Pope mentioned that at the time of Jesus the “term Gospel” (Evangellion) was used to proclaim Roman emperors. Whatever the content, these proclamations were seen as “good news,” news of salvation because the emperor was seen as the lord of the world and his edict were seen as heralding something good.”

sound.jpg“Applying this word to Jesus’ preaching,” the Pope said, “was heavily charged with criticism. It was like saying that God, not the emperor, was Lord of the world and that the true Gospel was that of Jesus Christ. The ‘Good News’ that Jesus proclaimed is best encapsulated by these words: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt, 4:17; Mk, 1:15).”

“What does this expression mean? It certainly does not mean an earthly kingdom, one found in space and time; instead, it announces that it is God who rules, that God is Lord and this Lordship is present, current and in the process of being realised. The newness of Christ’s message is thus that in Him God is at hand, that he already rules amongst us as demonstrated by the miracles and healing he performs.”

“God rules through his Son made man and the power of the Holy Spirit, called the “the finger of God” (cf Lk, 11:20). Where Jesus arrives, the creative Spirit brings life and heals men from the illnesses of the body and of the spirit.”

“God’s lordship manifests itself through man’s complete healing. This way Jesus shows God’s true face, God at hand; full of mercy for every human being; the God that gives us the gift of life in abundance, his own life. The Kingdom of God is therefore life that asserts itself over death, the light of truth that dissipates the darkness of ignorance and lies.”

“Let us pray the Holiest Mary,” the Pope said, “that She may always obtain for the Church the same passion for the Kingdom of God that moved the mission of Jesus Christ: passion for God; for his lordship over love and life; passion for man encountered in truth with the desire of giving him his most precious treasure, the love of God, his Creator and Father.”

After the Angelus, the Pope talked about today’s celebration of World Leprosy Day launched 55 years ago by Raoul Follereau.

“To all those who suffer from this disease I offer my warmest greetings and a special prayer, which I extent to all those who, by various means, work on their behalf, especially the volunteers who belong to the Association of friends of Raoul Follereau”.