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Monday, September 22, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 20 SEP 2008 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received participants in the international congress of the Benedictine Federation, which is held in Rome every four years.

  The Pope noted how the abbots and superiors of the independent priories are meeting over these days "to reflect and debate on the means with which to incarnate the Benedictine charism in the current social and cultural context, and to respond to the ever-new challenges this raises for bearing witness to the Gospel".

  "In a sacrilegious world, and in a time marked by a worrying culture of emptiness and of 'non sense', you are called to announce the primacy of God without compromise, and to propose new paths of evangelisation", he said.

  Addressing the abbots and abbesses present at the audience, Benedict XVI recalled how they are "guardians of a heritage and a spirituality deeply rooted in the Gospel". In this context he expressed his appreciation for "the generous and competent cultural and formative work which so many of your monasteries perform, especially in favour of the younger generations, creating a climate of fraternal welcome which favours a unique experience of the Church".

  The Holy Father also highlighted the importance of preparing young people to face "the many demands of society with constant reference to the evangelical message, which is always current, inexhaustible and vitalising. Dedicate yourselves, then, with renewed apostolic ardour to the young, who are the future of the Church and of humanity. In order to build a 'new' Europe, we must begin with the new generations, offering them an intimate experience of the spiritual richness of the liturgy, of meditation, and of 'lectio divina'".

  Referring them to the "renowned Benedictine hospitality", the Pope indicated that "a community capable of truly fraternal life, fervently dedicated to liturgical prayer, study, and work, and cordially open to others who thirst for God, represents the best way to turn hearts, especially those of the young, to the monastic vocation and, in general, to a fruitful journey of faith".

  Addressing himself particularly to Benedictine nuns and female religious, the Holy Father encouraged them not to lose heart, despite the lack of vocations in some countries. "Faithfully persevering in your own vocations you bear witness with great effectiveness, also before the world, to your firm faith in the Lord of history, in Whose hands are the times and destinies of individuals, institutions and peoples". And he concluded: "Adopt the spiritual attitude of the Virgin Mary, who was content to be 'ancilla Domini', utterly compliant to the will of the Heavenly Father".
AC/.../BENEDICTINES                        VIS 20080922 (440)

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