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Monday, February 26, 2007


VATICAN CITY, FEB 25, 2007 (VIS) - Before praying the Angelus today, Benedict XVI dedicated his brief remarks to the subject of Lent, reminding the thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square of the theme of his Lenten Message this year: "They shall look on Him Whom they have pierced," a quotation from the Gospel of St. John, in turn inspired by a messianic prophecy of Zechariah.

  "We enter the time of Lent," said the Pope, "with our gaze fixed upon Jesus' side. ... Only by turning our gaze to Jesus, Who died upon the Cross for us, can we understand and contemplate this fundamental truth: 'God is love'." And quoting his Encyclical "Deus caritas est" he added: "In this contemplation the Christian discovers the path along which his life and love must move."

  The Holy Father continued: "Contemplating Christ upon the Cross with the eyes of faith, we can understand the profundity of sin, how tragically serious it is and, at the same time, how measureless is the Lord's power of forgiveness and mercy. During these days of Lent, let us not remove our hearts from this mystery of profound humanity and exalted spirituality. Contemplating Christ, we simultaneously feel we are contemplated by Him.

  "He Whom we have pierced with our sins," the Pope added, "never tires of pouring an endless torrent of merciful love upon the world. May humanity understand that only from this source is it possible to draw the spiritual energy indispensable for building the peace and happiness that all human beings tirelessly seek."

  Benedict XVI concluded by reminding people that today marks the beginning of the spiritual exercises of the Roman Curia, in which he too will participate. "I ask you," he said, "to accompany us with your prayers, which I will happily return in the quiet of the retreat, invoking divine power upon each of you, upon your families and upon your communities."
ANG/LENT/...                            VIS 20070226 (330)

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