Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Benedict XVI Calls Priests to Be Saints

Urges Spiritual Strength in Dialogue with Modern World
VATICAN CITY, MAY 25, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Vatican diplomats should have spiritual strength in order to dialogue with the modern world while safeguarding their Christian and priestly identity, Benedict XVI told members of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy.

The Pope stated this Saturday in an audience with students of the academy, led by its president, Archbishop Beniamino Stella, a Vatican communiqué reported. The academy is responsible for training candidates for the Holy See diplomatic service.The Pontiff affirmed that the students' upcoming service in various apostolic nunciatures may "be considered as a specific priestly vocation, a pastoral ministry that involves a particular approach to the world and to its often highly complex social and political problems."He continued, "The dialogue with the modern world that is asked of you, as well as your contact with people and the institutions they represent, require an inner strength and a spiritual firmness capable of safeguarding -- indeed of giving ever more prominence to -- your Christian and priestly identity."

The Holy Father explained that this is necessary so as to avoid "the negative effects of the worldly mentality" and to keep from being "attracted or contaminated by an overly earthly logic.""In moments of darkness and inner difficulty," he said, "turn your gaze to Christ." Benedict XVI added, "Always remember that it is vital and fundamental for the priestly ministry, however practiced, to maintain a personal bond with Christ; he wants us as his 'friends,' friends who seek intimacy with him, who follow his teaching and who undertake to make him known and loved by everyone.""The Lord wants us to be saints," he affirmed, "in other words, entirely his, not concerned with building a career that is interesting and comfortable in human terms, not seeking success and the praise of others, but entirely dedicated to the good of souls, ready to do our duty unto the end, aware of being 'useful servants' and happy to offer our poor contribution to the spreading of the Gospel."


The Pope urged the priests to be "men of intense prayer who cultivate a communion of love and life with the Lord."He continued: "Without this solid spiritual base, how would it be possible to continue our ministry? Those who work in the Lord's vineyard in this way know that what is achieved with dedication, with sacrifice and for love, is never lost."The Pontiff spoke about the Year for Priests, which will begin June 19, as a "valuable occasion to renew and strengthen your generous response to the Lord's call, in order to intensify your relationship with him.""Use this opportunity to the utmost," he said, "so as to be priests in accordance with the dictates of Christ's heart, like St. Jean Marie Vianney, Cure of Ars," whose 150th anniversary of death we are preparing to celebrate.

The diplomats fulfill various roles for the Holy See, including the fostering of relationships with the various heads of states.They also assist in the process of naming bishops, participating in the selection of candidates to be proposed to the Holy Father.

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