Courtyard of the Papal Residence, Castel Gandolfo
Sunday, 1st August 2010
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The liturgical commemorations of several Saints occurs in these days. Yesterday we commemorated St Ignatius of Loyola, the Founder of the Society of Jesus. He lived in the 16th century and was converted after reading the life of Jesus and the Saints, during a long convalescence, while recovering from a wound received in battle. He was so impressed by one of the passages he read that he decided to follow the Lord. Today we are commemorating St Alphonsus Mary Liguori, the Founder of the Redemptorists, who lived in the 17th century and was proclaimed Patron of confessors by Venerable Pius XII. He was aware that God wants everyone to be holy, each one in accordance with his own state, of course. Then this week the liturgy proposes St Eusebius, the first Bishop of Piedmont, a strenuous defender of Christ's divinity, and, lastly, the figure of St John Mary Vianney, the Curé d'Ars, who guided the Year for Priests that has just ended with his example and to whose intercession I once again entrust all the Pastors of the Church. A common commitment of these Saints was to save souls and to serve the Church with their respective charisms, contributing to renew and enrich her. These men acquired "a heart of wisdom" (Ps 90 : 12), setting store by what is incorruptible and discarding what is irremediably changeable in time: power, riches and transient pleasures. By choosing God they possessed everything they needed, with a foretaste of eternity even in life on earth (cf. Eccles 1-5).
In this Sunday's Gospel, Jesus' teaching concerns, precisely, true wisdom and is introduced by one of the crowd: "Teacher, bid my brother divide the inheritance with me" (Lk 12: 13). In answering, Jesus puts him on guard against those who are influenced by the desire for earthly goods with the Parable of the Rich Fool who having put away for himself an abundant harvest stops working, uses up all he possesses, enjoying himself and even deceives himself into thinking he can keep death at an arm's length. However God says to him "Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?" (Lk 12: 20). The fool in the Bible, the one who does not want to learn from the experience of visible things, that nothing lasts for ever but that all things pass away, youth and physical strength, amenities and important roles. Making one's life depend on such an ephemeral reality is therefore foolishness. The person who trusts in the Lord, on the other hand, does not fear the adversities of life, nor the inevitable reality of death: he is the person who has acquired a wise heart, like the Saints.
In addressing our prayer to Mary Most Holy, I would like to remember other important occasions: tomorrow it will be possible to profit from the Indulgence known as the Portiuncola Indulgence or the "Pardon of Assisi" that St Francis obtained in 1216 from Pope Honorius III; Thursday, 5 August, in commemorating the Dedication of the Basilica of St Mary Major, we will honour the Mother of God, acclaimed with this title at the Council of Ephesus in 431, and next Friday, the anniversary of Pope Paul VI's death, we will celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration. The date of 6 August, seen as crowned by summer light, was chosen to mean that the splendour of Christ's Face illuminates the whole world.
After the Angelus :I would like to express my deep pleasure at the entry into force, on this very day, of the Convention on cluster bombs that cause unacceptable damage to civilians. My first thought goes to the many victims who have suffered and continue to suffer serious physical and moral damage, even to the point of losing their lives, because of these insidious explosive devices whose presence on earth often causes long delays in the resumption of their daily activities by entire communities. With the entry into force of the new Convention to which I urge all States to adhere, the International Community has been proof of wisdom, farsightedness and skill in pursuing an important result in the field of disarmament and international human rights. My hope and encouragement is that we may continue with ever greater vigour on this path, for the defence of dignity and human life, for the promotion of integral human development, for the establishment of a peaceful international order and for the realization of the common good of all people and all peoples.
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I am very pleased to greet all the English-speaking pilgrims present, especially those of you who have come from Canada and Australia. In the Gospel of today's Mass, our Lord teaches us to store up treasure for ourselves, not on earth, but in heaven. By God's grace, then, let us seek to grow in faith and good works. In this sense, I willingly invoke upon all of you God's abundant blessings!
Thank you for coming. I wish you all a good Sunday!
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