09/02/2009, 00.00
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Radical change of life needed in this era of moral weakness says Pope

General audience, Benedict XVI again illustrates the great figures of the Christian Middle Ages, and speaks of Saint Odo of Cluny. “Divine mercy is always available", because “ God is pursuing the sins and protects sinners”, provided that can say no to the vices of the world. "The absurdity" of the Second World War.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - At a time like present one of great moral fragility, the goodness of God, his "mercy is always available," because "God pursues the sins and yet he protects sinners" provided that can say no to the vices of the world and have the courage to radically change their life. There is need for "a radical change of life based on humility, austerity, detachment from the ephemeral and adherence to the eternal" Benedict XVI said today in his general audience – which this week returned to the Paul VI in front of about eight thousand people - during which he resumed after the summer break, his series of catechesis on the great writers of the early Church. During the audience, Benedict XVI also denounced "the absurdity" of the Second World War and prayed that the “spirit of forgiveness and peace pervade the hearts of men. "

 
 

Looking back at the great figures of the medieval Church of the East and West, today the Pope proposed the teaching of a French monk,  Saint' Odo, Abbot of Cluny. He was born in 880 and died in 942. From his example "we understand what it means to be Christian";  "Harmony between kings and princes, observance of the commandments, attention to the poor, the improvement of the young, respect for the old”, in addition to “the virtues of patience", were the "great aspirations" of Odo , who in 927 became the second abbot of Cluny. This became a centre of spiritual life which "was to have a great influence on the monasteries of the Continent" thanks to the "amazing spread across Europe of a lifestyle and spirituality inspired by the Rule of St. Benedict”. Odo was in Rome, Subiaco and Monte Cassino.

 
 

His was a model of life based on the dedication "asceticism, study and worship of God, robed in decorum and beauty." "He wept at how immensely miserable this world is" but "despite the realism of his diagnosis, Odo never indulged in pessimism", convinced that "God's mercy is always available."  

"In this way the strong and loving medieval abbot, keen on reform, with incisive action of nourished the monks, as well as in the lay faithful of his time, with the desire to diligently proceed along the path of Christian perfection”. “We hope - added the Pope - that his kindness, the joy that comes from faith, united with austerity and opposing the vices of the world, will touch our hearts so that we can find the source of the joy that comes from the goodness of God. "  

 

His teaching "may seem rather remote from our world view, but openness to inner life and love of neighbour transforms lives and brings the light of God to this world " and bridging the historical distance, it offers a " path towards Christian perfection."  

In greeting the Poles finally, the Pope spoke of the anniversary of the war. "In peoples memories - he said - the absurdity of the human tragedies of war remains. We ask God so the spirit of forgiveness, peace and reconciliation pervade in the hearts of men. Europe and the world of today are in need of a spirit of communion. Let us build it on Christ and his Gospel, on the basis of charity and truth".

 
 
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