Pope invokes the gift of peace for the Holy Land
At the Angelus, Benedict XVI speaks of "the authority of God," which is not "possession, power, control, success", but "service, humility, love." Encouragement to all people affected by leprosy, "as well as their caregivers who, in many ways, are committed to eradicating poverty and marginalization, the real causes of the persistence of the infection."
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Let us invoke the gift of peace" for the Holy Land said Benedict XVI today as he recalled the International Day of intercession for peace in the Holy Land, addressing 25 thousand people in St. Peter's Square for the Angelus.

The call was symbolically underscored when the Pope released two white doves "as a sign of peace for the city of Rome and the whole world", brought to the Holy Father, as every year, by two young members of Catholic Action Rome. The moment also saw a playful comment by Benedict XVI on the fact that doves, on their release, "do not want to leave the Pope’s home."

Before the Marian prayer, taking a cue from the episode of today's Gospel - Jesus preaching in the Capernaum synagogue where he frees a man from "an unclean spirit" - the Pope stressed that "to the effectiveness of his word Jesus joined signs of deliverance from evil, "and then he invited everyone present to reflect on the" power of God. "

"Divine authority – he said - is not a force of nature. It is the power of the love of God who created the Universe and, in becoming incarnate in His only begotten Son, in coming down to our humanity, heals the world corrupted by sin. Romano Guardini writes: "The whole life of Jesus is a translation of power in humility ... Here is the sovereignty that lowers itself to the form of a servant" (Power, Brescia 1999, 141,142). "

"For man - he continued - authority often means possession, power, control, success. For God, however, authority means service, humility, love; it means entering into the logic of Jesus who stoops to wash the disciples' feet (cf. Jn 13.5), who seeks the true good of man, who heals wounds, who is capable of a love so great as to give up his life, because he is Love. In one of her Letters, Saint Catherine of Siena writes: "We must see and know, in truth, with the light of faith, that God is the supreme and eternal Love, and desires nothing else but our good "(Ep. 13 in: The Letters, vol. 3, Bologna 1999, 206)."

Benedict XVI then recalled that "this Sunday marks the World Day of Leprosy. In greeting the Italian Association of Friends of Raoul Follereau, I would like to extend my encouragement to all those affected by this disease, as well as their caregivers who, in many ways, are committed to eradicating poverty and marginalization, the real causes of the persistence of the infection".

Before the final farewell, finally, the Pope recalled that "next Thursday February 2, we celebrate the feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple, the World Day for Consecrated Life. With confidence we invoke Mary Most Holy that she may guide our hearts to always draw from divine mercy, which frees and heals our humanity, filling it with every grace and benevolence, through the power of love. "