"God's love grows in us if we are really united to him in prayer and in listening to his word, with openness of heart.” Benedict XVI affirmed during the general audience, as he reflected on the life of Symeon, an Eastern monk known as the "New Theologian", born in 949 in Asia Minor.
Symeon made his way of life always to listen to his conscience after he had read the phrase: "If you seek spiritual healing, be aware of your conscience. Do everything it tells you and you will find what is useful to you".
He focused his reflection on the presence of the Holy Spirit in those who are baptized and on the awareness they must have of this spiritual reality. For him, union with Christ is not something extraordinary, but the fruit of the baptism common to all Christians. The Holy Father explained.
Benedict XVI pointed to something Symeon experienced that confirmed for the monk that God was within him: Symeon saw around him many enemies that wanted to set snares for him and harm him but despite this he felt in himself an intense movement of love for them. How to explain this?
"Obviously, such love could not come from himself, but must spring from another source. Symeon understood that it came from Christ present in him and all was clarified for him: He had the sure proof that the source of love in him was the presence of Christ and that to have in oneself a love that goes beyond one's personal intentions indicates that the source of love is within."
"To find the criteria that will indicate to us if we are really close to God, if God exists and lives in us." the Pope affirmed that Symeon's experience is important for us today,"Only divine love makes us open our hearts to others and makes us sensitive to their needs, making us regard everyone as brothers and sisters and inviting us to respond with love to hatred, and with forgiveness to offence."
The Pope noted another teaching we can receive from this saintly monk, "to take recourse to the counsels of a good spiritual father." and he encouraged everyone to have a spiritual director to help them in their Christian life. VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 16, 2009
Benedict XVI spoke about true wisdom, before praying the Angelus with the pilgrims gathered at Castel Gandolfo.He read a passage from the letter of James (2:16-4,3) which contrasts true wisdom to false wisdom and notes that false wisdom is "worldly, material and diabolical, and is recognized by the fact that it provokes jealousies, arguments, disorder and every kind of evil deed," whereas "[true] wisdom, which comes from above is first of all pure, then peaceful, meek, docile, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere."
He explained that “true wisdom”, like God from whom it comes, does not need to impose itself by force, because it has the invincible vigour of truth and love,that affirms itself and is recognized by the good fruits that it bears in abundance.
To "do" works of peace we need to "be" men of peace, entering the school of "the wisdom that comes from above," to assimilate its qualities and produce its effects.
“¿Why not stop every once in a while to contemplate the beauty of this wisdom?” he asked, “¿ Why not draw from this unpolluted source of God’s love the wisdom of the heart, which cleanses us from the filth of lies and egoism?”
And he ended “Let us ask God with confidence for wisdom of heart, through the intercession of her who welcomed Wisdom Incarnate, Jesus Christ, into her womb and gave him birth. Mary, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us! “CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 20, 2009
Other papal messages and activities
The Pope blessed the new premises for the Vatican Observatory. He spent a leisurely hour with the Jesuit scientists who staff the Vatican Observatory, giving his papal blessing to their new headquarters. The collections of meteorites and other artifacts, such as ancient telescopes, have been moved to the new headquarters which has accommodations for students and researchers as well.
The observatory's move to the new premises -- the fourth in its history -- and that of the 15 scientists who staff it, is due to the growing number of visitors. CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 17, 2009
A petition to recognize Pope Pius XII as Righteous Among the Nations at Jerusalem's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial has been presented to Benedict XVI by Gary Krupp, founder of the New York-based foundation, which strives to foster interreligious dialogue. Krupp, himself a Jew, met with the Holy Father after the general audience and gave the Pope a book about his predecessor: a volume that reproduces 255 pages of some 3,000 original documents about Pius XII. The documents, accompanied by photos, are the fruit of investigations into the life of Eugenio Pacelli and the work he did to help Jews during World War II. VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 17, 2009
The Holy Father has been working on the second part of "Jesus of Nazareth" during his summer vacations and it should be published in the spring of 2010, according to a Vatican spokesman. ROME, SEPT. 18, 2009
Benedict XVI sent a message of congratulations and friendship to the Jewish people on the occasion of the celebration of their New Year ( Rosh Hashanah 5770 ), Yom Kippur and the upcoming festival of Sukkot. VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 18, 2009
The Holy Father asked the faithful to accompany him with their prayers as he prepares to travel this week to the Czech Republic. "Following in the footsteps of my beloved predecessor John Paul II, who visited that country three times, I too will pay homage to the ancient and recent heroic witnesses to the Gospel, and I will encourage everyone to move forward in charity and in truth," Benedict XVI said after praying the Angelus. The Pope will be in the Czech Republic from Sept. 26 to 28. Many Czechs who describe themselves as nonbelievers still love the Infant Jesus of Prague which has been venerated since the 17th century. CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 20, 2009
The Pope warned against getting used to war fatalities. He said: “"From the numerous conflicts going on in the world, almost daily tragic news reaches us of both military and civilian victims. These are facts that we must never get used to, and they arouse a profound outcry and perplex societies that have the good of peace and civil coexistence at heart."
"In prayer I share in the sufferings of relatives and the civil and military communities," Benedict XVI continued after praying the Angelus, "I would also like here to renew my encouragement for the promotion of solidarity among the nations to fight the logic of violence and death, favor justice, reconciliation, peace and sustain the development of peoples beginning with love and mutual understanding, as I recently wrote in my encyclical "Caritas in Veritate." CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 20, 2009
Eastern Catholic patriarchs met with Benedict XVI . During the meeting with the Eastern patriarchs and major archbishops held Saturday at Castel Gandolfo, Benedict XVI announced that preparations have already begun to hold a special Middle East synod in October 2001. Benedict XVI pointed to peace as a reason for the synod: "In speaking of peace, our thoughts turn, in the first place, to the regions of the Middle East." VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 20, 2009
Benedict XVI thanked Asia's witnesses of charity in a message addressed to officials of Catholic aid institutions in Asia who participated in a retreat for promoters of Catholic charity work, organized by the Pontifical Council Cor Unum. In the message, the Holy Father "expresses his profound appreciation and gratitude to all those who are committed in the 'diakonia' of charity, an essential activity of the life of the Church and a responsibility for the whole ecclesial community." Sister Nirmala Joshi, preached the Spiritual Exercises and some 450 promoters of works of charity in Asia participated, among them five cardinals and more than 60 bishops of 29 nations and 260 dioceses. TAIPEI, Taiwan, SEPT. 20, 2009
A prayer for the Holy Father
Christ Jesus, King and Lord of the Church, in your presence I renew my unconditional loyalty to your Vicar on earth, the Pope. In him you have chosen to show us the safe and sure path that we must follow in the midst of confusion, uneasiness, and unrest. I firmly believe that through him you govern, teach, and sanctify us; with him as our shepherd, we form the true Church: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. Grant me the grace to love, live, and spread faithfully our Holy Father’s teachings. Watch over his life, enlighten his mind, strengthen his spirit, defend him from calumny and evil. Calm the erosive winds of infidelity and disobedience. Hear our prayer and keep your Church united around him, firm in its belief and action, that it may truly be the instrument of your redemption. Amen.
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