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Benedict XVI Greets Legionaries of Christ in General Audience
“I am pleased to offer a warm greeting to the Italian-language pilgrims, and in particular, to the newly ordained Legionaries of Christ who are present here with their families.”

El Santo Padre conversa con el P. Álvaro
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.

After 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 priests.

Benedict XVI Explains How to Truly Worship
Considers Pauline Concept of Praising God

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 7, 2009 ( 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.

"Paul," 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 himself.

"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 Sisters,

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


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