Sunday, January 29, 2006

Week of Love, Caravan of Peace

As segements of his flock continue in their quest to tear each other to shreds, Benedict XVI marked the close of his pontificate's Love Week by delivering yet another cry for love and peace at this morning's Angelus, offering a tribute to consecrated men and women as the 2 February day of Consecrated Life approaches.

Present in the Square were the children of Italian Catholic Action, who concluded the month dedicated to peace with their annual "Caravan of Peace."

Two members of the group were brought to the window to release two doves.... "Dear children, I know you have proposed to be the 'team of peace,' guided by the great coach, who is Jesus," the Pope told the group, "For this, I entrust to Catholic Action the charge I proposed in the Message of 1 January: always learn to say and do truth, and so you will become builders of peace."

And yet again, it should be noted, no consistory for 21 February was announced.

Loggia translation of the Pope's Catechesis:
Dear Brothers and Sisters!

In the Encyclical published last Wednesday, recalling the primacy of love in the Christian life and that of the Church, I wanted to remember that the privileged testifiers of this primacy are the Saints, who in their beings, in thousands of different tones, a hymn to the God of Love. The liturgy celebrates this every day of the year. For example, I thik of those we commemorate in these days: the apostle Paul with the disciples Timothy and Titus, Saint Angela Merici, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint John Bosco. These are very different Saints among themselves: the first appeared at the beginnings of the Church, and were missionaries of the first evangelization; in the Middle Ages, Thomas Aquinas is the model of Catholic theology, which encounteres in Christ the supreme synthesis of truth and of love; in the Renaissance, Angela Merici brought forward a life of sanctity which lived in the lay world; in the modern era, Don Bosco, enflamed by love for Jesus the Good Shepherd, took upon himself the care of the poorest children and became, for them, their father and teacher. In truth, the whole story of the Church is a story of holiness, animated by the one Love which has its source in God. In fact, only that supernatural love, as that which always flows forth anew from the heart of Christ, can explain the prodigious flowering, in the course of the centuries, of Orders, Religious Institutes male and female and other forms of consecrated life. In the Encyclical, among the Saints most noted for their charity, their love, John of God, Vincent de Paul, Louise de Marillac, Joseph Cottolengo, Luigi Orione, Teresa of Calcutta.

This lineup of men and women, formed by the Spirit of Christ who made them models of evangelical dedication, brings us to consider the importance of consecrated life as expression and school of charity. The Second Vatican Council underscored as the imitation of Christ in chastity, in poverty and in obedience all those directed to the accomplishment of perfect love. It's right to place the importance and worth of consecrated life in light, as the Church celebrates next 2 February, the feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple, the Day of Consecrated Life. In the afternoon, as did John Paul II, I will preside at Mass in the Vatican Basilica, at which are invited in a special way the consecrated men and women who life in Rome. Together we will thank God for the gift of consecrated life and we will pray it continues in the world as an eloquent sign of his merciful love.

We now turn to Mary, mirror of love. With her maternal help, may Christians, and in a special manner consecrated men and women, walk forward and joyously along the way of holiness.
Notably, this morning's talk was the fourth time in a month in which Benedict XVI has deliberately included Bl. Teresa of Calcutta by name among the "saints."

Immediately following the Angelus, the Pope also recalled the World Day of Leprosy, which takes place this week:
Today is the World Day for those stricken by Leprosy, started more than 25 years ago by Raoul Follereau and advanced by the associations inspired by his humanitarian work. I wish to extend a special greeting to those who suffer from this disease, and encourage missionaries, health-care workers the and volunteers who labor on this frontier of human service. Leprosy is a symptom of a grave and widespread evil: poverty. For this, in the footsteps of my Predecessors, I renew an appeal to the leaders of Nations, calling upon them to unite their efforts to conquer the grave imbalances which still punish large parts of humanity.

REUTERS/Tony Gentile