VATICAN CITY, MAR 29, 2006 (VIS) - In the general audience, held this morning in St. Peter's Square in the presence of more than 40,000 people, Benedict XVI continued his catechesis on the relationship between Christ and the Church in the light of the experience of the Apostles and the task with which they were entrusted.
"Through the apostolic ministry," said the Pope. "the Church, the community brought together by the Son of God, ... will live through the ages, building and nourishing the communion in Christ and in the Spirit to which everyone is called and in which everyone can experience the salvation given by the Father.
"Indeed, the twelve Apostles were careful to provide successors so that the mission entrusted to them would continue after their death. Thus over the centuries the Church, organically structured under the guidance of her legitimate pastors, has continued to live in the world as a mystery of communion which in some way reflects Trinitarian communion itself."
The Holy Father then explained how "the idea of communion as participation in Trinitarian life" is particularly highlighted in the Gospel of St. John, "where the communion of love binding the Son to the Father and to mankind is at the same time the model and source of the fraternal communion which must unite disciples to one another."
"During their earthly pilgrimage," Pope Benedict continued, "disciples, through their communion with the Son, can already participate in His divine life and in that of the Father. ... This life of communion, both with God and among ourselves, is the ultimate aim of the announcement of the Good News."
"Communion, the fruit of the Holy Spirit, is nourished by the Eucharistic bread and expressed through fraternal relations, a kind of anticipation of future glory. ... It is the gift that lifts us out of our solitude and brings us to participate in the love that unites us to God and with one another. It is easy to understand how great this gift is if we only think of the fragmentation and conflicts afflicting relations between individuals, groups and entire peoples."
The Holy Father concluded: "Communion truly is the good news that remedies all forms of solitude, the precious gift that makes us feel welcomed and loved in God, in the unity of His people gathered in the name of the Trinity; it is the light that makes the Church shine out as a sign raised among peoples."
AG/CHURCH:COMMUNION/... VIS 20060329 (420)