08/29/2010, 00.00
VATICAN

Pope speaks affectionately and prays for Chilean miners trapped in San José

Since 5 August, 33 miners have been trapped underground and must wait three more months before they can be freed. Jesus as a model of humility and selflessness is part of the reflection made before the Angelus. The first day of September is “Save Creation Day”.
Castel Gandolfo (AsiaNews) – Benedict XVI expressed affectionate greetings for the Chilean miners trapped in the San José mine in northern Chile, reassuring everyone of his “continuous prayers” for them and their families.

Some 33 miners are trapped at 700 metres below ground. They are all alive, but some are showing signs of depression that could get worse over time. It is estimated that it will take three months before they can be freed.

“I personally want to remember with special affection the miners who are trapped in the San José mine, in the Chilean region of Atacama. I place them and their relatives under the intercession of Saint Lawrence, ensuring them of my spiritual closeness and continuous prayers, in order that they be able to maintain peace of mind and hope in a happy outcome to the operations that are underway to free them.”

At the end of the Angelus, Benedict XVI mentioned “Save Creation Day”, sponsored by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Italy, which will be celebrated on 1 September. “It is an event that has become an important tradition, at the ecumenical level as well. This year reminds us that peace cannot be achieved without respect for the environment. We have in fact a duty to pass the earth onto the next generations in such state that they can live in it with dignity and further preserve it. May the Lord help us in this task!”

Earlier, Benedict XVI had focused on a reflection connected to Sunday’s Gospel (Lk, 14, 1.7-14) and parables in which Jesus urged people to take the “lowest place” and “not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbours but the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind who cannot repay. This way, the gift is free.”

The Lord, said the Pontiff, “does not give lessons on etiquette” but underscores “man’s position in relation to God”. Thus, “the lowest place can represent the condition of humanity degraded by sin, condition that only the incarnation of the One Son can lift. For this reason, Christ himself ‘took the lowest place in the world—the Cross—and by this radical humility he redeemed us and constantly comes to our aid’ (Enc. Deus caritas est, 35).”

“Once more,” the Pope concluded, “let us look on Christ as a model of humility and selflessness. From him, we learn how to be patient against temptations, lenient towards insults, obedient towards God when in pain, waiting that the One who invited us should say, ‘My friend, move up to a higher position!’ (cf Lk, 14:10). True goodness is in fact being close to Him.”

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