Friday, May 08, 2009

The Way of Hope

Visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the
Regina Pacis Centre, Amman, Jordan

Pilgrimage to the Holy Land
May 8, 2009

The Holy Father: In the name of the Father, + and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.
R. Amen.

Peace be with you.
R. And also with you.

The Holy Father: My dear friends,
when Jesus came to preach repentance,
He was bringing us good news,
for He was proclaiming to us
God’s love and mercy.
Again and again God comes to our help
so that we may turn to Him
and live our lives entirely in His service.
Penance is His gift,
a gift we should accept with gratitude.
Keeping this in mind,
let us open our hearts to God
with great simplicity and humility,
and ask to be reconciled with Him
as we now forgive each other.
R. Ky´rie ele´ison. Ky´rie ele´ison. Ky´rie ele´ison.
Christe ele´ison. Christe ele´ison. Christe ele´ison.
Ky´rie ele´ison. Ky´rie ele´ison. Ky´rie ele´ison

The Holy Father: Let us pray.
Lord our God,
you call us out of darkness into light,
out of self-deception into truth,
out of death into life.
Send us your Holy Spirit
to open our ears to your call.
Fill our hearts with courage
to be true followers of your Son.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

Address of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI

* * * As you know, my visit to the Our Lady of Peace Centre here in Amman is the first stop along my journey of pilgrimage. Like countless pilgrims before me it is now my turn to satisfy that profound wish to touch, to draw solace from and to venerate the places where Jesus lived, the places which were made holy by His presence.

Since apostolic times, Jerusalem has been the primary place of pilgrimage for Christians, but earlier still, in the ancient Near East, Semitic peoples built sacred shrines in order to mark and commemorate a divine presence or action. And ordinary people would travel to these centres carrying a portion of the fruits of their land and livestock to offer in homage and thanksgiving.

Dear friends, every one of us is a pilgrim. We are all drawn forward, with purpose, along God’s path. Naturally, then, we tend to look back on life – sometimes with regrets or hurts, often with thanksgiving and appreciation – and we also look ahead – sometimes with trepidation or anxiety, but always with expectation and hope, knowing too that there are others who encourage us along the way.

I know that the journeys that have led many of you to the Regina Pacis Centre have been marked by suffering or trial. Some of you struggle courageously with disabilities, others of you have endured rejection, and some of you are drawn to this place of peace simply for encouragement and support. Of particular importance, I know, is the Centre’s great success in promoting the rightful place of the disabled in society and in ensuring that suitable training and opportunities are provided to facilitate such integration. For this foresight and determination you all deserve great praise and encouragement!

At times it is difficult to find a reason for what appears only as an obstacle to be overcome or even as pain – physical or emotional – to be endured. Yet faith and understanding help us to see a horizon beyond our own selves in order to imagine life as God does. God’s unconditional love, which gives life to every human individual, points to a meaning and purpose for all human life. His is a saving love (cf. Jn 12:32). As Christians profess, it is through the Cross that Jesus in fact draws us into eternal life, and in so doing indicates to us the way ahead – the way of hope which guides every step we take along the way, so that we too become bearers of that hope and charity for others.

Friends, unlike the pilgrims of old, I do not come bearing gifts or offerings. I come simply with an intention, a hope: to pray for the precious gift of unity and peace, most specifically for the Middle East
. Peace for individuals, for parents and children, for communities, peace for Jerusalem, for the Holy Land, for the region, peace for the entire human family; the lasting peace born of justice, integrity and compassion, the peace that arises from humility, forgiveness and the profound desire to live in harmony as one.

Prayer is hope in action. And, in fact, true reason is contained in prayer: we come into loving contact with the one God, the universal Creator, and in so doing we come to realize the futility of human divisions and prejudices and we sense the wondrous possibilities that open up before us when our hearts are converted to God’s truth, to His design for each of us and our world.

Dear young friends, to you in particular I wish to say that standing in your midst I draw strength from God. Your experience of trials, your witness to compassion, and your determination to overcome the obstacles you encounter, encourage me in the belief that suffering can bring about change for the good. In our own trials, and standing alongside others in their struggles, we glimpse the essence of our humanity, we become, as it were, more human. And we come to learn that, on another plane, even hearts hardened by cynicism or injustice or unwillingness to forgive are never beyond the reach of God, can always be opened to a new way of being, a vision of peace.

I exhort you all to pray every day for our world. And today I want to ask you to take up a specific task: please pray for me every day of my pilgrimage; for my own spiritual renewal in the Lord, and for the conversion of hearts to God’s way of forgiveness and solidarity so that my hope – our hope – for unity and peace in the world will bear abundant fruit.

May God bless each of you and your families, and the teachers, caregivers, administrators and benefactors of this Centre and may Our Lady, Queen of Peace, protect you and guide you along the pilgrim way of her Son, the Good Shepherd.

* * *

The Holy Father: Let us pray with confidence to the Father
in the words our Savior gave us:
R. Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

The Holy Father: The Lord be with you.
R. And also with you.

May the Lord bless you and keep you.
R. Amen.

May his face shine upon you,
and be gracious to you.
R. Amen.

May he look upon you with kindness,
and give you his peace.
R. Amen.

May almighty God bless you,
the Father, + and the Son, +
and the Holy + Spirit.
R. Amen.


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