Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Choosing Christ does not guarantee success according to the criteria of today’s world, but ensures that peace and joy that only He can give. This is shown, in every age, by the experience of many men and women who, in Christ's name, in the name of truth and justice, have been able to resist the lure of earthly powers, with their different forms, until their fidelity was sealed with martyrdom”. This was Benedict XVI message today on the feast of Christ the King to the tens of thousands of pilgrims gathered on St Peter's Square. Introducing his reflections before the Angelus, the pope said that this is "a celebration of relatively recent introduction, but it has deep biblical and theological roots," "it begins with the expression ‘King of the Jews' arriving then to that of ‘universal King’, Lord of the cosmos and of history, so far beyond the expectation of the same Jewish people".
"But what really - explained the pope - is the regal 'power' of Jesus? It is not that of the kings and great of this world, it is the divine power to give eternal life to free us from evil, to defeat the dominion of death. It is the power of love, which knows how to derive good from evil, soften a hardened heart, bring peace to the bitterest conflict, turn the thickest darkness into hope. This kingdom of grace can not impose anything, and always respects our freedom. Christ came to 'bear witness to the truth' (Jn 18:37) - as stated before Pilate -: Whoever receives his testimony, comes under his ‘banner’, according to an image that was dear to St. Ignatius of Loyola.
"For every conscience, the Pope concluded, requires a choice: who will I follow? God or the devil? Truth or lies? Choosing Christ does not guarantee success according to the criteria of this world, but ensures that peace and joy that only He can give".
After the Marian prayer. Benedict XVI announced that the beatification of Sister Marie-Alphonsine Danil Ghattas was held in Nazareth today, in the presence of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Mgr. Fouad Twal and Msgr. Angelo Amato, prefect for the Congregation of Saints.
Sr. Marie-Alphonsine, says the Pope, was "born in Jerusalem in 1843 into a Christian family, which included nineteen children. She discovered her vocation to religious life early on, and passionately pursued it despite initial difficulties raised by her family. To her goes the credit of founding a congregation formed only of local women, with the aim of religious education, to overcome illiteracy and raise the conditions of women of that time in the land where Jesus exalts his dignity. Central point of this new spirituality and intense devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the beacon of life wholly consecrated to God, the Holy Rosary was his constant prayer, his lifeline, his source of grace. The beatification of this most significant figure of woman is of particular comfort to the Catholic community in the Holy Land and is an invitation to trust always, with firm hope, to Divine Providence and the maternal protection of Mary. "
Before concluding with greetings in different languages, Benedict XVI recalled the pro Orantibus Day, dedicated to cloistered religious communities, celebrated yesterday, the day of memory of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Temple. "I welcome the chance - added the pontiff – to extend my cordial greetings to them and renew my invitation to all to support them in their needs. I am also glad, on this occasion to publicly thank the nuns who have in turn occupied the small monastery here in the Vatican: the Poor Clares, Carmelites, Benedictines and, recently, the Visitation sisters. Your prayer, dear sisters, is most valuable to my ministry. "