"This parable", the Pope told faithful gathered in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo, "tells us two things: firstly, that God loves the poor and raises them from their abjection; secondly, that our eternal destiny is dependent upon our behaviour, it is up to us to follow the path God has shown us in order to achieve life, and this path is love, understood not as an emotion but as service to others in the charity of Christ".
The Holy Father then went on to recall the fact that tomorrow marks the feast day and the 350th anniversary of the death of St. Vincent de Paul, patron of Catholic charity organisations. "In seventeenth-century France he personally experienced the great contrast between rich and poor. As a priest he was able to frequent aristocratic circles, the countryside and the deprived areas of Paris. Encouraged by Christ's love, Vincent de Paul organised regular forms of service to the marginalised, creating the ... 'Charitees'; that is, groups of women who dedicated their time and goods to helping the poorest".
In this context, the Pope made specific mention of St. Louise de Marillac who, together with Vincent de Paul, founded the Daughters of Charity, "the first female congregation to live their consecration 'in the world', among the people, serving the sick and the needy".
"Only Love with a capital 'L' brings true happiness!", the Holy Father exclaimed. "This was also made evident by another witness, who was proclaimed blessed here in Rome yesterday. I am talking about Chiara Badano, an Italian girl born in 1971 who died of an illness when she was just under nineteen, but who was a ray of light to everyone, as her nickname says: Chiara Luce".
The beatification of Chiara Badano, who was a member of the Focolari Movement, the Pope concluded, "is a feast day for all young people, who may see in her an example of Christian coherence".ANG/ VIS 20100927 (400)