02/07/2010, 00.00
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Pope: Priests, men, poor and weak, transformed into fearless preachers of salvation

In the Year for Priests we must pray for priests and for those who are called to the vocation of total consecration. He recalls the Day for Life in Italy and for the "Week of life and family" in Rome. On 11 February, the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, the pope will celebrate Mass with the sick in the Basilica of St. Peter.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Drawing from the Sunday liturgy (the fifth of the year), which presents Isaiah’s call to mission, Paul and the first disciples of Jesus, in his reflection before the Angelus, Benedict XVI urged priests "not to focus on their limitations, but to keep their gaze fixed on the Lord and His wonderful mercy, to convert our hearts and continue to joyfully 'leave everything' for Him." "He - he continued – does not look at what is important for man: 'man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart' (1 Sam 16:7), and makes men, poor and weak, but who have faith in him, intrepid apostles and heralds of salvation".  

"In these three experiences [of Isaiah, Paul and Peter] - he continued - we see how the genuine encounter with God leads man to recognize his own inadequacy and poverty, his limits and his own sin. But, despite this weakness, the Lord, full of mercy and forgiveness, transforms the life of man and calls him to follow Him. " "In this Year for Priests - he concluded - we pray to the Lord of the harvest to send labourers for His harvest, so those who hear the Lord's invitation to follow him, after the necessary discernment, will respond with generosity, not trusting in their strength, but opening themselves to the action of His grace. In particular, I urge all priests to revive their generous willingness to respond to the call of the Lord every day with the same humility and faith of Isaiah, Peter and Paul. Entrust to the Blessed Virgin all vocations, especially those to religious life and priesthood. May Mary arouse in everyone the desire to give their "yes" to the Lord with joy and total dedication".

After the Marian prayer, before greetings in different languages, Benedict XVI recalled that today in Italy we celebrate the Day for Life. "I willingly - said the pontiff – join the Italian Bishops and their message on the theme: 'The force of life, a challenge in poverty'. During the current period of economic difficulty, those mechanisms that lead to poverty and create great social inequalities become even more dramatic, hurting and offending life, affecting especially the weakest and most defenceless. This situation, therefore, committs us to promoting integral human development to overcome poverty and need, and above all remember that the man’s goal is not wellbeing, but God,  and that human life must be defended and promoted in every stage. No one is master of his own life, but we are all called to preserve and respect it, from the moment of conception until its natural end".

The pope then highlighted that the diocese of Rome, in addition to the Day for Life, is celebrating a "Week for life and family." "I hope - he said – for the success of this initiative and encourage the activities of clinics, associations and movements, as well as university teachers engaged in support of life and family."  

"In this context – he concluded - I remind you all that on February 11 in remembrance of the Blessed Virgin of Lourdes and World Day for the Sick I will celebrate morning Mass with the sick in St. Peters Basilica."

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