- "The witness of consecrated persons" show "the world the
beauty of the gift to Christ and the Church" and renews "Christian
families according to the plan of God, because they are places of grace and
holiness, fertile ground for vocations to
the priesthood and consecrated life", said Benedict XVI in his meditation
for the celebration of Daytime prayer in Milan Cathedral with priests, deacons
and religious of the archdiocese of Milan, celebrated today at 10.
the first three days of the World Meeting of Families, which focused on
rediscovering the "normal" family, consisting of husband, wife and
children, the Pope dedicated his address to the consecrated vocation,
emphasizing words like "celibacy", "celibate", "virginity
"," virgin "," total gifting" repeated dozens of times
in his short speech.
pontiff recalled the personalities of the universal Church, born and raised in the
Ambrosian diocese "such as St. Ambrose and St. Charles, and some popes of
uncommon stature", as Pius XI and Paul VI. He
cited a host of "Ambrosian priests, religious men and women who have
devoted their energies to the service of the Gospel, sometimes even to the
supreme sacrifice of their life." Among
them he listed the blessed priests Luigi Talamoni, Luigi Biraghi, Carlo
Gnocchi, Serafino Morazzone; Luigi Monti and teh religious women Maria Anna
Sala and Enrichetta Alfieri. He
also cited the blessed Giovanni Mazzucconi, and Clemente Vismara, two PIME priests
(Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions), the first a martyr in Papua New
Guinea, the second a missionary in Burma (now Myanmar).
their joint intercession - added the Pope - we ask the Giver of all gifts to render
ever more fruitful the ministry of priests, to strengthen the witness of
consecrated persons, to show the world the beauty of the gift to Christ and the
Church, and to
renew the Christian families according to the plan of God, so that they are
places of grace and holiness, fertile ground for vocations to the priesthood
and consecrated life".
The Pope seemed to
suggest that the presence of consecrated persons is essential in supporting the
mission of the families. But
it is particularly dear to Benedict XVI to highlight the origin of "apostolic
zeal" and pastoral commitment and to do so he took the example of St.
Ambrose: "He was drawn above all to Our Lord Jesus, the central argument
of his reflections and preaching, and above all the end point of a vibrant and
confident love. Without doubt, the love of Jesus is for all Christians, but it acquires
a special meaning for the celibate priest and those who responded to the call
to consecrated life: always
and only, Christ is the source and model to repeat each day "yes" to
the will of God. "
"If Christ, to build His Church, places himself in the hands of the
priest, the priest in turn must rely on Him completely: love for the Lord Jesus
is the soul and the reason for the priestly ministry, as
was the premise upon which He assigned Peter the mission of feed his flock,
"Simon ... do you love me more than these? ... Feed my lambs (John
21:15)." The Second Vatican Council recalled "priests, then, can achieve this
coordination and unity of life by joining themselves with Christ to acknowledge
the will of the Father. For them this means a complete gift of themselves to
the flock committed to them. Hence, as they fulfill the role of the Good
Shepherd, in the very exercise of their pastoral charity they will discover a
bond of priestly perfection which draws their life and activity to unity and
coordination"(Decree Presbyterorum Ordinis, 14)."
Personal love for Jesus Christ is
the true equilibrium: "There is no opposition between the good of the
person of the priest and his mission; indeed pastoral charity is the unifying
element of life starting from a more intimate relationship with Christ
in prayer to experience the total gift of self for the flock, so that the
people of God grow in communion with God and is a manifestation of the
communion of the Holy Trinity. Every action, in fact, aims to bring the faithful
with the Lord and nourish ecclesial communion for the salvation of the world.
cultivate love of Christ, the Pope also suggests liturgical prayer, in
which "our lips, our hearts and our minds ... are interpreters of the
needs and aspirations of all humanity."
prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours - he added - is an essential task of the
ordained ministry in the Church. Even through the Divine Office, which prolongs
the central mystery of the Eucharist throughout the day, priests are especially
united to the Lord Jesus, living
and active in time. "
a brief stop at the tomb of St. Charles Borromeo, kept in the
"Scurolo" of the Cathedral (crypt), Benedict XVI went to the San Siro
stadium for a meeting with the young boys and girls of the diocese who received the sacrament of Confirmation