Meet Christ And Change Your Life
Recalls Conversion of St. Paul of Tarsus
VATICAN CITY, NOV. 8, 2006 (Zenit.org).
An encounter with Christ can change your life, says Benedict XVI. Speaking at today's general audience, the Holy Father commented on St. Paul, whose encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus "literally revolutionized his life." "Christ became his reason for being and the profound motive of all his apostolic work," the Pope said to the crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square. "
In his letters, after the name of God, which appears more than 500 times, the name most often mentioned is that of Christ -- 380 times," the Pontiff said in the second reflection on St. Paul in his series of reflections on the men and women of the early Church. Benedict XVI said that the life of St. Paul, born in present-day Turkey, leads one to understand "how Jesus Christ can influence a person's life and, hence, also our own life." "In fact, Jesus Christ is the apex of the history of salvation and therefore the true discriminating point in the dialogue with other religions," the Pope said.
The Pontiff asked: "How does the human being's encounter with Christ take place? In what does the relationship that stems from it consist?" Christ-centered The Holy Father said that in meeting Christ, St. Paul "no longer lives for himself. ... He lives from Christ and with Christ: giving himself." This is "the new orientation that the Lord has given us, which gives us faith. Before the cross of Christ, highest expression of his self-giving, there is no longer any one who can glorify himself," said Benedict XVI.
The Pope illustrated his words with what St. Paul writes in the Letter to the Galatians: "But far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world!" The Holy Father said that the Apostle teaches that Christian identity is made up of two elements: "not to seek oneself, but to be clothed in Christ, and to give oneself with Christ, and in this way participate personally in the life of Christ himself to the point of being immersed in him, sharing both in his death as well as his life."
The Pontiff encouraged the pilgrims to live this key aspect of Christian life. Benedict XVI said: "On one hand, faith must keep us in a constant attitude of humility before God, more than that, of adoration and praise in relation to him. "
In fact, what we are as Christians we owe only to him and to his grace." "On the other hand," the Pope added, "our radical belonging to Christ and the fact that 'we are in him' must infuse in us an attitude of complete confidence and immense joy." "We must exclaim with St. Paul," the Holy Father said, "If God is for us, who is against us?"