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Benedict XVI Recalls the Unshakeable Faith of John Paul II
March 30, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI, on March 29, 2010, celebrated Mass at the Vatican commemorating his predecessor, Venerable John Paul II, proclaiming "Each gesture of Charity and of authentic Devotion to Christ does not remain a personal matter, it does not concern only the relationship between the individual and the Lord, but involves the entire Body of the Church. It is contagious and infuses love, joy and light." The full text of the related Vatican news release follows, along with resource links.

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BENEDICT XVI RECALLS THE UNSHAKEABLE FAITH OF JOHN PAUL II

VATICAN CITY, 30 MAR 2010 (VIS) - In the Vatican Basilica at 6 p.m. yesterday, Benedict XVI presided at a Mass in commemoration of his predecessor, Venerable Servant of God John Paul II, who died on 2 April 2005. This year's Mass has been brought forward because 2 April coincides with Good Friday.

The Holy Father addressed a special greeting to Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow and former private secretary of John Paul II, and to the many other pilgrims from the late Pope's native country of Poland.

In his homily Benedict XVI commented on the prophet Isaiah's parable of the servant whose faith is unshakeable and whose energy does not diminish until completing the task assigned him. "What the inspired prophet says of the servant", Pope Benedict explained, "we can apply to the beloved John Paul II. The Lord called him to His service and, entrusting him with tasks of ever greater responsibility, accompanied him with His grace and His continual assistance. During his long pontificate, he made prodigious efforts to proclaim the right firmly, without weakness or hesitation, especially when he had to face resistance, hostility and rejection. He knew the Lord had taken him by the hand, and this enabled him to exercise a fruitful ministry for which, once again, we give fervent thanks to God".

Benedict XVI continued by referring to the Gospel episode in which, at the house of Lazarus, Mary of Bethany washed Christ's feet and anointed them with perfume, offering the most precious thing she had in a gesture of profound devotion, while the fragrance filled the house. "The meaning of Mary's gesture, which is a response to the infinite Love of God, spread among all the dinner guests", said the Pope. "Each gesture of charity and of authentic devotion to Christ does not remain a personal matter, it does not concern only the relationship between the individual and the Lord, but involves the entire body of the Church. It is contagious and infuses love, joy and light".

"The whole life of the Venerable John Paul II passed under the sign of this charity, of the capacity to give himself generously, unreservedly, without measure or calculation. What moved him was the love for Christ to Whom he had consecrated his life, a superabundant and unconditional love. And it was precisely because he became increasingly close to the Lord in love, that he was able to be a travelling companion for modern man, spreading the perfume of the Love of God in the world.

"Those who had the joy of knowing and frequenting him", the Holy Father added, "had palpable experience of his certainty of seeing 'the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living'. ... This certainty accompanied him throughout his existence, revealing itself in a particular way during the last period of his pilgrimage on this earth: his progressive physical weakness did not, in fact, affect his solid faith, his luminous hope or his fervent charity. He allowed himself to be consumed by Christ, for the Church and for the whole world. His was a suffering lived to the end for love and with love".

In closing, Benedict XVI addressed some words to Polish pilgrims. "The life and work of John Paul II", he told them, "is something of which you can be proud. However, you must remember that it is also a great call to be faithful witnesses of the faith, hope and love which he uninterruptedly taught us".

HML/JOHN PAUL II/...                                                                    VIS 100330 (600)

:: Supreme Pontiff John Paul II Vatican archive

Keywords: John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, Vatican, VIS, Vatican Information Service, Catholic, Christianity, Christian, Faith, Raised from the Dead, Eternal Life

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