Monday, February 8, 2010

Benedetto XVI Hails The Examples of Isiah, Peter & Paul

Pope Benedict XVI is framed by balloons as he waves to the crowd gathered below in Saint Peter's square during his weekly Angelus blessing at the Vatican February 7, 2010. (Daylife-Reuters)

.- Pope Benedict XVI tailored his message before the Sunday Angelus around the "divine call" of the Lord presented in today's Liturgy. The Holy Father taught that through the examples of Isaiah, Peter and Paul man can realize his "call," regardless of the limitations.

First, said the Pope, there is Isaiah, who responds "Here I am Lord, send me!" after being fearful and feeling undeserving before the Lord. Then, there is Simon Peter and the other disciples who cast their nets at the bidding of Jesus and find fish where there were none. When the "overabundant catch" is landed, Simon Peter tells the Lord, "Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man," but the Lord invites him and the others to leave everything and follow him as "fishers of men."

Paul is also struck by his unworthiness to be called an apostle because of his history of Christian persecution, but he recognizes the changes that have taken place in him due to the grace of God, the Holy Father pointed out. With the grace of God, St. Paul dedicated himself to preaching the Gospel, despite his limitations, the Pope said.

"In these three experiences we see how the true encounter with God brings man to recognize his own poverty and inadequacy, his own limits and sin. "But," said Pope Benedict, "regardless of the fragility, the Lord, rich in mercy and forgiveness, transforms the life of man and he calls him to follow him."

The humilty of these three witnesses in Sunday's Liturgy "invites all who have received the gift of the divine vocation to not concentrate on their own limits, but to keep a fixed gaze on the Lord and on his surprising mercy, to convert their hearts and continue, with joy, to 'give up everything' for Him," Benedict XVI taught.

The Lord sees the heart of man, and makes "intrepid apostles and announcers of salvation" of weak and poor, but faithful, men.

In conclusion, noting the occasion of the Year for Priests, the Holy Father prayed to "the Patron of Masses" to send workers that know how to respond to the Lord's invitation to follow him with generosity, "not trusting in their own strength, opening themselves to the action of His grace."

"In particular," he finished, "I invite all priests to revive their generous availability to respond each day to the call of the Lord with the same humility and faith of Isaiah, Peter and Paul."

VATICAN CITY, 7 FEB 2010 (VIS) - The divine call to the priesthood was the theme of the Holy Father's remarks before praying the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square today.

The Pope commented on the readings from today's liturgy, which focus on the human response to that call: Isaiah who felt unworthy and was purified by a seraph; the episode of the miraculous catch of fish when Peter asked Christ to leave him because he was a sinner, but then followed Him; and Paul who, after having persecuted the Church, recognised that the grace of God had worked marvels in him and decided to announce the Gospel.

"In these three experiences", said Benedict XVI, "we see how the authentic encounter with God leads man to recognise his own poverty and inadequacy, his own limits and sin. Yet despite such fragility, the Lord, rich in mercy and forgiveness, transforms the life of men and calls them to follow Him. The humility displayed by Isaiah, Peter and Paul invites those who have received the gift of divine vocation not to focus on their own limits, but to keep their gaze fixed on the Lord and His astounding mercy, in order to convert their hearts and joyfully continue to 'abandon everything' for Him".

"In this Year for Priests, let us ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers to His harvest and to ensure that those who hear His call, following the necessary discernment, may know how to respond generously, not trusting in their own strength but opening themselves to the action of His grace. In particular", the Holy Father concluded, "I invite all priests to renew their generous daily response to the Lord's call with the same humility and faith as Isaiah, Peter and Paul".

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