Benedict XVI Says True Faith Is Expressed in Love
Recalls Mary's Perseverance at the Cross
CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 13, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Faith in God must be expressed in concrete actions, lest it prove insufficient for our salvation, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope stated this today while addressing the pilgrims gathered at Castel Gandolfo to pray the midday Angelus with him.
He spoke about today's liturgy, where the "Word of God puts two crucial questions to us."
The Pontiff summarized these questions as: "Who is Jesus of Nazareth for you?" and "Does your faith translate into works or not?"
In the Gospel, he stated, Peter declares his belief that Jesus is the "Christ, that is, the Messiah, the consecrated one of God, sent to save his people."
The Holy Father continued: "Peter and the other disciples, then, unlike the majority of the people, believe that Jesus is not only a great teacher, or a prophet, but much more.
"They have faith: They believe that God is present in him and works in him."
Yet after Peter's expression of faith, he is reproached, Benedict XVI affirmed, as Jesus tries to "make him understand that it is not enough to believe that he is God, but that, moved by charity, he must follow him along the same road, that of the cross."
The Pope explained that Jesus came to show us the "way that leads to life," the way that is love, "which is the expression of true faith."
The Pontiff continued: "If a person loves his neighbor with a pure and generous heart, it means that he truly knows God.
"If instead a person says that he has faith, but does not love his brothers, he is not a true believer. God does not live in him."
The Holy Father referred to the upcoming feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, which will be celebrated Monday, and the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows the following day.
Benedict XVI affirmed: "The Virgin Mary, who believed in the Lord's Word, did not lose her faith in God when she saw her Son rejected, offended and put on a cross.
"Rather she stayed with Jesus, suffering and praying, to the end. And she saw the radiant sunrise of his resurrection."
He urged his listeners to "learn from her to bear witness to our faith with a life of humble service, ready to suffer personally to remain faithful to the Gospel of charity and truth, certain that nothing of what we do will be lost."