Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In our catechesis on the Christian writers of East and West, we turn to Saint Peter Damian, who was born in Ravenna at the beginning of the eleventh century and became an accomplished writer and Latinist. His fine sensitivity made him excel in poetry and enabled him to see the world as a parable, full of symbolic references to the supernatural, leading him to embrace as a mature man a monastic vocation at Fonte Avellana, founded not long before. He was fascinated by the salvific mystery of the cross of Christ and promoted as the fullness of Christian living a form of monasticism noted for its austerity.
Nourished by a mystical understanding of Scripture, Saint Peter Damian enjoyed precise theological insights especially into the mysteries of the Holy Trinity, our union with Christ, and the Church as a communion, from which he derived practical advice for living in charity with others. In 1057 he accepted the office of Cardinal Bishop of Ostia and assisted the Pope with courage and dedication in the reform of the Church of his time.
After ten years he was granted his wish to return to his monastery and continued to serve the Church with prayer and action until his holy death in 1072. May the example and intercession of Saint Peter Damian, my dear Brothers and Sisters, inspire and renew us in our love of Christ and his Church.
I offer a warm welcome to all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors from England, Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Gibraltar, Japan and the United States. Upon all of you I cordially invoke the Lord’s abundant blessings of joy and peace!