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  • » 09/10/2008, 00.00

    VATICAN

    Pope: bearing the news of God's love is the true mission of the apostle



    Benedict XVI, continuing to illustrate the figure of St Paul, today spoke of what being an "apostle", or one sent, meant to him: bearing a message that was not his own, but that of Jesus.

    Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Being "collaborators of the true joy" that consists in the certainty that whatever may happen, "nothing can separate us from the love of God, and this is the true treasure of human life". It is this that constitutes, at all times, the mission of the apostles of Christ, according to the teaching of St Paul. For the fourth time, Benedict XVI today dedicated his general audience to St Paul, and in particular to the "apostolate".

    Normally, the pope noted in addressing the 8,000 people present in the Paul VI audience hall, "in following the Gospels, we identify 12 men with the title of apostle, in that they were the companions of Jesus". "But Paul is also a true apostle". The Pauline concept of apostolate is not restricted, "he distinguishes his own case from those who were apostles before him, acknowledging their special place in the Church's life, but he calls himself an apostle in the strict sense". "Of course, at the origin of Christianity, no one traveled as far as he did by land and by sea, solely to proclaim the Gospel".

    In the letter to the Corinthians, there is a clear distinction between the twelve and the others, and Paul calls himself "one untimely born", "the least of the apostles, not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am". "The metaphor of untimely birth expresses extreme humility". In the same letter to the Corinthians, there is a sort of "self-portrait of Paul's apostolic life", when he talks about the "scandal" and "foolishness" of the cross, of giving blessings in exchange for curses. But "the joy of being bearers of the blessing of God and of the grace of the Gospel is worth more".

    Benedict XVI then highlighted how in the letters, there appear "three main characteristics" of being an apostle: "the first: having seen the Lord, having had an encounter with him that is decisive for one's life". In fact, "it is the Lord who makes an apostle", and this apostle needs to be in constant relationship with the Lord. "One is not an apostle by vocation, but by means of Jesus". The second characteristic is "that of being sent. The Greek word apostolos means one who is sent, dispatched, the bearer of a message". "He must act as an expression of the one who sends him, as a delegate of Jesus". "Once again it emerges that the initiative belongs to someone else, it belongs to God, in Christ". "This emphasizes the fact that the mission has been received from him". The third characteristic is "the exercise of the proclamation of the Gospel, with the consequent foundation of Churches". "'Apostle' is not an honorary title, it consumes the entire being of its subject". "This is why Paul describes apostles as coworkers of God".

    At the conclusion of the audience, the pope sent a greeting to the "beloved nation" of France, where he will go as a "messenger of peace and fraternity" in two days. Benedict XVI recalled the country's "generous tradition of welcome and tolerance, together with the solidity of its Christian faith and its great human and spiritual culture". He finally recalled that, after Paris, he will visit Lourdes for the 150th anniversary of the Marian apparitions there, and will pray in particular for the sick and for peace in the world.

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    See also

    18/02/2009 VATICAN
    Pope: no one has the Gospel for himself alone, it is a gift for all
    Benedict XVI today revisited the Church's duty to bring the word of Jesus to the world, illustrating the figure of the Venerable Bede at the general audience. The saint is responsible for establishing the birth of Christ as the point of reference for the calendar.

    17/02/2010 VATICAN
    Pope: Lent, a call to "turn our lives around"
    During his general audience, Benedict XVI illustrates the meaning of the terms used during the rite of the Ashes: "Repent and believe the Gospel" and "Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return." The first invites us to follow "the high standards of Christian life", the second recalls our fragility, but also our liberation from death, gifted us by Jesus.

    11/03/2009 VATICAN
    Pope: like the missionary, the Christian should feel "the urgency" of bearing the word of God
    Illustrating the figure of St. Boniface, Benedict XVI notes that in comparing his faith with ours, "often so lukewarm and bureaucratized," he invites us to "welcome into our lives the word of God, love the Church passionately, be united with the successor of Peter, and promote human progress, illuminating the culture with the Christian faith." "Outrage" over the attacks in Ulster.

    10/12/2008 VATICAN
    Pope: without solidarity, the Eucharist is "abused"
    In order to be part of the new beginning of history marked by Jesus, proclamation and the sacraments are necessary. In mission, it is ultimately God who speaks. Baptism is not a "cosmetic operation," but "death and resurrection." Marriage is "a union made indissoluble by grace."

    07/05/2008 VATICAN
    Pope: an "ecumenical" general audience, also present the head of the Armenian Church
    Benedict XVI wanted beside him Karekin II, who is paying a visit to the Holy See. An exchange of greetings highlights hope in the journey toward full unity. This evening, the concert of the philharmonic orchestra of Beijing. The Chinese embassy relates the event to the Olympics and to an "improvement" in relations with the Vatican. A new appeal for solidarity toward Myanmar.



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