Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The ideal of life for every Christian is to "firmly adhere to Christ" and have a "style" made of "hard work, capacity for forgiveness and peace," "tirelessly renew relations of the brotherhood and reconciliation", all the more necessary in our lifetime, marked by a "hectic pace of life, episodes of intolerance and lack of communication, divisions and conflicts where intolerance and separation are not uncommon".
This is the teaching that flows from the life and work of St. Peter the Venerable, Abbot of Cluny in the twelfth century – who also translated the Koran into Latin – the church figure that Benedict XVI illustrated to 20 thousand people in the general audience in St. Peter's Square on a cold and bright day.
Born in 1094 in Auvergne, France, Peter the Venerable and became a monk and Abbot of Cluny in 1122, where he died on Christmas of 1156, "as he had desired”. He "takes us back to the famous Abbey of Cluny, to its decorum, its splendour" expressed especially in the "beauty of the liturgy to reach God." "In Cluny there was not one priest, who was not a saint, Pope Gregory VII said," though when Peter became abbot, Cluny "was beginning to witness symptoms of crisis." And Peter "found himself having to guide Cluny in years that were far from peaceful for internal and external reasons" but "despite having to juggle between powers and dominions he managed to maintain a habitual tranquillity."
"Those who knew him - said Benedict XVI - exalt his righteousness, loyalty, elegance and special ability to mediate." "Ascetic and strict with himself and understanding with others", he was said to have had an "attitude of forgiveness, accustomed to endure and forgive," claiming that "more can be obtained from man through tolerance than complaint" and he would add "with those who hate we should always be peaceful." "As a sensitive and affectionate nature" he had "love for the Lord and tenderness toward his family, especially his mother." He "cultivated friendship with his monks," and according to testimonies did not scorn or dismiss anyone". He learned to guide the Abbey "rigorously and with deep humanity."
"We might say - said the Pope - that this holy abbot is an example for the monks and the Christians of our time, marked by a frenetic pace of life, where incidents of intolerance and lack of communication, division and conflicts are far from rare. His testimony invites us to be able to combine the love of God with love of neighbour, and never tire of re-establishing relations of brotherhood and reconciliation".
An attitude that showed "even for those who were outside the Church, particularly Jews and Muslims: to promote knowledge of the latter he translated the Koran". "In the midst of the intransigence of the people of the Middle Ages, even well known figures, he was a sublime example of the sensitivity that guides Christian life".
His theology, the Pope continued, "is rooted in prayer." "Among the mysteries of Christ he had particular love of the Transfiguration" and "it was he who introduced the feast of contemplation of the face of Christ to Cluny".
This "great example of monastic sanctity fed from the sources of the Benedictine tradition" and also left "enlightened writings on Mary and her collaboration in the Redemption."
His, Benedict XVI concluded, ultimately was "a lifestyle that, combined with daily work, constituted the ideal a Monks’ life, but also of every Christian who wants to become a true disciple of Christ; humility, hard work, ability for forgiveness and for peace.''