09/05/2007, 00.00
VATICAN
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Pope remembers Mother Teresa, “true disciple of Christ”

Benedict XVI encourages the Missionaries of Charity and the entire Church to follow her example. He sends his best wishes to the conference on the environment in the Arctic promoted by Bartholomew I. He talks about Gregory of Nyssa on how to be Christian and on love for God and the poor. Today’s catechesis is about Gregory of Nyssa who believed that man’s perfection lies in imitating God in love.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – In today’s audience, the Pope could not but remember Mother Teresa, on the tenth anniversary of her death and on the Blessed’s liturgical feast day.

“Dear friends, the life and witness of this true disciple of Christ, whose liturgical memory we celebrate today, are an invitation to you and the entire Church to always serve Christ in the poor and the needy. Keep following her example and always be the instrument of Divine Mercy,” Benedict XVI said as he greeted a large group of missionaries, both men and women, and their collaborators.

In a hoarse or as he put it “a bit damaged” voice, for which the Pontiff apologised and for which he received an applause, the Pope mentioned the conference on the environment in the Arctic that Bartholomew I, the Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople, is promoting and which he will open tomorrow.

In English he said: “I wish to greet all the participants, the various religious leaders and scientists. I pledge to them my support for their efforts. Protecting water resources and paying attention to climate change are important issues for the entire human family. Encouraged by the growing concern for the needs of the environment and the necessity to preserve it, I urge all of you to join me in prayer and in the commitment to better respect the wonders of God’s creation.”

In the catechesis, in which the Pope presented some of the Fathers of the Church, Benedict XVI today focused on some of the teachings of Gregory of Nyssa and his “high” view of man, whose purpose, according to Gregory, was “to make himself similar to God through love.”

“When man loves he works with God to shape himself in the divine image,” he explained.

This love is addressed to God, but also to the poor.

“Gregory said that Christ is also present in the poor and for this reason they should never be offended,” he noted.

As he quoted from the Father of the Church, the Holy Father said: “Do not despise those who lay down . . . . Keep in mind who they are, and you shall discover what their dignity is. They represent the person of the Saviour.”

Benedict XVI also underscored the meaning of the word “Christian” in Gregory of Nyssa’s thoughts. “A Christian is someone who bears the name of Christ and thus should conform himself or herself to Christ. In [carrying] the name Christian we bear a great responsibility.”

“Christians must always closely examine their thoughts, words, actions to see if they are addressed to Christ or if they move away from him.”

“In order to move towards perfection and carry God’s love in oneself, man must turn to God confidently, and find inspiration in the Lord’s Prayer,” he added.

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