03/29/2006, 00.00
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Communion is a divine gift in a world that suffers from divisions and solitude, says Pope

It is the light that makes the Church sparkle as a risen sign amongst the peoples", a "wonderful creation of love "in spite of all human frailties".

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The Church, "in spite of all human frailties", expresses the communion, the "participation in trinitary life". It is a "gift that brings us out of our solitude and enables us to participate in the love that binds us to God and to one another." We can understand its greatness "only if we consider the divisions and conflicts that afflict relations between individuals, groups and entire peoples."

Today, on a true day of spring, Benedict XVI spoke of the gift of communion to 40,000 faithful gathered for the general audience in St Peter's Square. Communion is a gift from which the Church stems and which the Church expresses, he said. Through its apostolic ministry, it "will live across time building and nourishing the communion in Christ and the Spirit".

"The Twelve prepared their successors (cf 1 Clem 42, 4) so that their mission might continue after their death. In the course of time, the Church, organically structured under the guidance of its legitimate Pastors, has thus continued to exist in the world as the mystery of communion in which is somewhat reflected the trinitary communion itself".

As a theologian, the Pope said that Paul had already mentioned the supreme trinitary source when he greeted his fellow Christians with "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the holy Spirit be with all of you" (2 Cor, 13: 13).

"These words, which probably echo the worship practices of the early Church, show how the Father's free gift of love through Jesus Christ is realised and expressed in the communion of the Holy Spirit."

"This interpretation, based on the close similarities that the text establishes between the three genitives ("the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ . . . the love of God . . . and the communion of the Holy Spirit), presents the "communion" as a specific gift from the Spirit similar to the love given by God the Father and the grace offered by the Lord Jesus."

The idea of the communion as participation in the trinitary life "is illustrated with particular intensity in the Gospel according to John, where the communion of love which ties the Son to the Father and to men is at the same time model and source of brotherly communion which must bind the disciples together. '[L]ove one another as I love you' (Jn, 15: 12; cf 13, 34); 'so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you' (Jn, 17: 21, 22)".

The communion, fruit of the Holy Spirit, is then "a kind of anticipation of the future glory: just that, a gift that brings us out of our solitude and makes us take part in the love that binds us to God and one another".

The communion then "is truly the Good Word that overcomes solitude, a precious gift that makes us feel welcomed and loved by God in the unity of His People gathered in the name of the Trinity. It is the light that makes the Church sparkle as a risen sign amongst the peoples". It is a "wonderful creation of love that was created so that Christ would be close to each man and woman who truly wants to meet Him, till the end of times". (FP)

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