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Monday, July 19, 2004


VATICAN CITY, JULY 18, 2004 (VIS) - Pope John Paul, who returned yesterday from a 12-day vacation period in the mountains of northern Italy to spend some time at the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo, was joined today at noon by several thousand faithful who prayed the Angelus with him as he spoke from the balcony overlooking the inner courtyard of the summer residence.

  In reflections made before the Angelus, he highlighted today's Gospel where Jesus visits the home of Mary and Martha, noting that "while Martha was busy with household chores, Mary was seated at the Lord's feet and listened to His word. Christ affirms that 'Mary has chosen the good portion which shall not be taken away from her'. Listening to the word of God is the most important thing in our life."

  The Pope pointed to the many occasions for listening to God: by reading Sacred Scripture, in private or community prayer, in silence before the tabernacle and "especially on Sundays when Christians are called to meet and listen to the Lord, ... through participation in the Mass."

 "When, through the action of the Holy Spirit, God resides in the heart of the believer, it becomes easier to serve our brothers. That happened in a singular and perfect way in Mary Most Holy. We entrust this vacation time to her, so that it will be best used as a propitious occasion for rediscovering the primacy of interior life."

  Following the Angelus prayer, John Paul II greeted the faithful present, especially the residents of Castelgandolfo, whom he thanked "for your always warm welcome." He also greeted Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of State, and other religious and civil authorities present.

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