|Benedict XVI greets Fr Álvaro Corcuera, LC, at the end of the General Audience on January 7, 2009 (Photos: L'Osservatore Romano).|
Vatican City, January 7, 2008. Following their annual tradition, the
communities of the Legionaries of Christ, the Regnum Christi
consecrated men and women, and the coworkers
who work or study in Rome came to the first
General Audience of the new year to show their closeness
and loyalty to the Holy Father.
The Pope greeted the
pilgrims present in the audience and also gave a warm
greeting to the Legionary priests who were ordained this
past December 20 by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, and to their
families. At the end of the audience, Pope Benedict XVI
came up to Father Álvaro Corcuera, LC, and several
Legionary superiors to converse briefly with them. Father Miguel Segura,
rector of the Center for Higher Studies in Rome, offered
the Holy Father the book “Vivir Para Cristo,” which contains
the 53 vocation stories of the Legionary priests who were
ordained throughout the Year of St Paul. The Pope thanked
him for the gift and took it in his hands.
passing by the front line of the audience where he
greeted pilgrims one by one, the Holy Father returned to
the group of the Legionaries of Christ, giving his hand
to some of the new priests and to a few
other religious. After this brief encounter, the Pope climbed the
stairs of the Paul VI Hall, turning one last time
toward the community and opening his arms in a gesture
of farewell while also giving a final greeting to the
other pilgrims in the audience hall.
The following text is a
summary of the general audience, taken from Zenit. Once
again, the teachings of the apostle St Paul offer important
guidelines for the life of every Christian, and especially for
Benedict XVI Explains How to Truly Worship
Concept of Praising God
VATICAN CITY, JAN. 7, 2009 (Zenit.org).- It
is only in communion with Christ that Christians can offer
God true worship, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope explained this today
during the first general audience of 2009, in which he
resumed his catechesis on St. Paul.
Speaking in a hoarsened
voice after days of intense schedules during the holiday season,
the Holy Father offered a lengthy explanation of the Pauline
concept of "true worship," as it is explained in three
passages of the Letter to the Romans.
Referring first to a
reference Paul makes to a rite in the Old Testament,
the Pontiff noted how the sacrifice of animals as expiation
for human sins could never be sufficient.
"A more real contact
between human fault and divine love was necessary," he said.
"This contact has taken place with the cross of Christ.
Christ, Son of God, who has become true man, has
assumed in himself all our faults. He himself is the
place of contact between human misery and divine mercy; in
his heart, the sad multitude of evil carried out by
humanity is undone, and life is renewed."
St. Paul speaks of
this fundamental change in worship, explaining that "with the cross
of Christ -- the supreme act of divine love, converted
into human love -- the ancient worship with the sacrifice
of animals in the temple of Jerusalem has ended," the
Pope said. "This symbolic worship, worship of desire, has now
been replaced by real worship: the love of God incarnated
in Christ and taken to its fullness in the death
on the cross.
"Therefore, this is not a spiritualization of
the real worship, but on the contrary, this is the
real worship, the true divine-human love, that replaces the symbolic
and provisional worship."
Nevertheless, this spiritual worship has a prerequisite, the
Bishop of Rome explained, and it is union with Christ.
he said, "always supposes that we have come to be
´one in Christ Jesus,´ that we have died in baptism
and we live now with Christ, through Christ and in
Christ. In this union -- and only in this way
-- we can be in him and with him a
´living sacrifice,´ to offer the ´true worship.´"
By taking on human
nature, Christ is able to do for man what sacrificial
animals could not, Benedict XVI affirmed.
"The sacrificed animals should have
substituted man, the gift of self of man, and they
could not," he said. "Jesus Christ, in his surrender to
the Father and to us, is not a substitution, but
rather really entails in himself the human being, our faults
and our desires; he truly represents us, he assumes us
"In communion with Christ, accomplished in the faith
and in the sacraments, we transform, despite our deficiencies, into
living sacrifice: ´True worship´ is fulfilled."
[The Pope then greeted the
people in several languages. In English, he said:]
Dear Brothers and
At the beginning of this New Year, I offer all
of you my cordial good wishes! In the coming months,
may our minds and hearts be opened ever more fully
to Christ, following the example of Saint Paul, whose life
and doctrine we have been considering during this Pauline Year.
Today we turn to the meaning of "true worship" as
highlighted in Paul’s Letter to the Romans. In uniting us
to himself, Christ, a temple "not made with human hands",
has made us a "living sacrifice". Paul thus exhorts us
to offer our own "bodies" – meaning our entire selves
– as a "spiritual worship": not in the abstract, but
in our concrete daily life. At the same time, this
true worship does not come about merely through human effort.
Rather, through baptism, we have become "one in Christ Jesus"
(Gal 3:28), who took upon himself our human nature and
has thus "assumed" us into himself. Only he has the
power, by joining us to his body, to unite all
people. Thus, the goal of the Church’s missionary activity is
to call everyone into this "cosmic liturgy", in which the
world becomes the glory of God: "a pleasing sacrifice, sanctified
by the Holy Spirit".
I am pleased to greet all
the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today’s Audience, including
the groups from Finland and the United States of America.
Upon you and your families I willingly invoke God’s blessings
of joy and peace throughout the new year!
© Copyright 2009
- Libreria Editrice Vaticana