Sunday, July 15, 2007

Vacation Is Important Says Pope


Dear brothers and sisters,

I thank the Lord for offering me the opportunity to spend these days of rest in the mountains, and I thank all who have welcomed me here to Lorenzago, to this enchanting scenery against the background of the Cadore peaks, which was visited several times by my beloved predecessor John Paul II.

I thank specially the Bishop of Treviso and the Bishop of Belluno-Feltre, and everyone who has contributed to assuring me of a peaceful and fruitful vacation. These meadows and woods and peaks raised towards heaven spontaneously inspire in the spirit the desire to praise God for the wonders of his work, and our admiration for these natural beauties is easily transformed into prayer.

Every good Christian knows that vacations offer us a chance not only to be physically relaxed but also to nourish the spirit during more ample occasions for prayer and meditation, to grow in our personal relationship with Christ and conform ourselves ever more to his teachings.

Today, for instance, the liturgy invites us to reflect on the famous parable of the good Samaritan (cfr Lk 10,25-37) which goes to the heart of the Gospel message: love of God and love of our neighbor.

But who is my neighbor?, his interlocutor had asked Jesus. And the Lord answered by turning the question around, showing through the story of the good Samaritan, that each of us should make ourselves the neighbor of whoever we come in contact with. "Go and do the same," (Lk, 10,37), says the Lord.

To love, he tells us, is to act like the good Samaritan. We know that the good Samaritan, par excellence, is Jesus himself. Despite being God, he did not hesitate to come down and become man in order to give us life.

Love is the 'heart' of Christian life. Only love, inspired in us by the Holy Spirit, makes us witnesses for Christ.

I wanted to re-state this important spiritual truth in my message for the 23rd World Youth Day which will be published on Friday, July 20: "But you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me" (Acts 1,8).

This, dear young people, is the theme on which I invite you to reflect in the coming months, to prepare for the great encounter which will take place in Sydney, Australia, within a year, precisely at this time of year.

The Christian communities of that beloved nation are actively working to welcome you, and I am grateful to them for the organizational work which they are doing.

Let us entrust to Mary - whom we invoke tomorrow as Our lady of Mt. Carmel - the work of preparation and the event itself of this next meeting of youth from all over the world, to which I invite you all, my dear young friends in every continent, to participate in great numbers.

From Papa Ratzi Forum
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