08/03/2011, 00.00
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Pope: On vacation, or during work breaks, read some books of the Bible

Benedict XVI offers "tips for the holidays": read the little-known books of Sacred Scripture (that of Tobit, Esther, Ruth), or the most challenging as Job, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Songs. "We are not only made to work , but also to think, reflect, "and to" nourish our knowledge of God and dialogue with Him, in prayer ".
Castel Gandolfo (AsiaNews) - "Dear friends, today I would like to suggest you keep the Holy Bible on hand during the summer or during breaks, to enjoy it in a new way, reading some of its books in full, the least known and even the most well known, such as the Gospels, but reading them straight through" is the advice that Benedict XVI proposes for this time of year, characterized by the vacation season (for "a part of the world ") or by "daily work ".

The " holiday advice," was given by the pope in unusual surroundings: the entry of the apostolic palace at Castel Gandolfo, with the faithful gathered in the square outside. After the break in the audiences, observed for the month of July, Benedict XVI wants to continue to hold the audiences during August in this "short and familial" style, with pilgrims gathered a few meters away from the seat of the pope, underscoring "some spiritual and practical aspects, which I think are useful not only for those who are - in some parts of the world - enjoying the summer holiday period, but also for all those engaged in daily work."

Starting from the desire that many often feel to read books, he stressed that "each of us needs time and space for meditation, reflection and calm ... Thank God it's so! In fact, this requirement tells us that we are not made only for work but also to think, reflect, or simply to follow a story with our minds and hearts, a story that we can connect with, in a sense 'get lost' in to then find ourselves enriched".

Instead of contenting themselves with escapist literature, the pope has " Why not discover some books of the Bible, which are normally unknown? Or of which we have maybe heard some passages during the liturgy, but we never read in its entirety?".

Among his suggested readings he lists "the Book of Tobit, a story that contains a very high sense of family and marriage, or the Book of Esther, in which the Jewish Queen, with faith and prayer, save his people extermination, or, even shorter, the Book of Ruth, a foreigner who knows God and experience His providence. These small books can be read through in one hour. "

But there are also more demanding readings and "masterpieces": "the Book of Job, which tackles the great problem of innocent suffering, Ecclesiastes for its disconcerting modernity which questions the meaning of life and the world, the Song of Songs, a beautiful poem symbolic of human love".

"You see - he added - these are all books of the Old Testament. And the New Testament? Certainly, the New Testament is better known, and its literary genres less diversified. But the beauty of reading a Gospel straight through is to be discovered, as well as the Acts of the Apostles, or one of the Letters. "

"Doing so - concluded the pope - can provide moments of relaxation, as well as cultural enrichment, even nourishment of the spirit, capable of fostering knowledge of and dialogue with God, in prayer".

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