Christ cleanses conscience of 'garbage,' Pope says

Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI

.- The spirituality of St. Marguerite d'Oingt shows people still today that the light of Christ purifies and cleanses and leads a person to be transformed, said Pope Benedict XVI on Nov. 3.

The Pope’s weekly general audience took place in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall with an estimated 7,000 people in attendance. There was a certain joviality to the celebration fostered by the acapella songs of several pilgrim groups and a youth band.

Pope Benedict continued his teaching on the powerful examples of women saints in medieval times as the subject of his catechesis. He chose to focus his teaching on France's St. Marguerite d'Oingt.

She was born to a noble family in 1240 and spent much of her life within the demanding spirituality of the Carthusian order. She was known for her mysticism and wrote a series of meditations that testify to her belief that life is "a journey of purification leading to full configuration with Christ."

She considered Christ to be "the book that must be written and inscribed into one's heart and life every day, especially his salvific passion," said the Pope.

He explained that the 13th-century saint continues to invite people to daily meditation on the love and sorrow of Jesus and Mary. "This," said Pope Benedict, "is where our hope, the meaning of our existence, lies. From the contemplation of Christ's love for us arises the strength and the joy to respond with the same love, placing our lives at the service of God and of others."

Pope Benedict put aside his notes as he pointed out that St. Marguerite's life and thought might seem "far away" from the way people think and act today. "But," he said, "if we look to the essential of this life, we see that it touches also us and should become the essential also of our existence."

Marguerite, he explained, saw Christ as mirror of her own conscience, from which light entered into her heart. "She let the Word enter, the life of Christ in her very being, and so was transformed," he said. And, in this way, he explained, "her conscience was illumined, it found criteria and light and was cleansed."

People today also need to "allow the words, the life, the light of Christ to enter into our consciences so that they might be illumined and understand that which is true and good, and that which is evil, that our conscience might be illumined and cleansed," he added.

"The garbage is not just in the different streets of the world. There is also garbage in our consciences and in our souls," he observed.

"It is only the light of the Lord, his strength and love that cleanses us, purifies us and gives us the straight path," the Pope concluded. "So, we follow St. Marguerite in looking to Jesus. Let us read in the book of her life, let ourselves be illumined and cleansed, to learn true life."

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