In his message on the Feast of Christ the King to the tens of thousands of people gathered on St Peter's Square, Pope Benedict XVI explained that the "power" of Christ is different from that of "the great of this world." Choosing Christ the King, he said, does not guarantee success, but peace and joy.
"Choosing Christ does not guarantee success according to the criteria of today’s world, but ensures that peace and joy that only He can give,” Pope Benedict added. “This is shown, in every age, by the experience of many men and women who, in Christ's name, in the name of truth and justice, have been able to resist the lure of earthly powers, with their different forms, until their fidelity was sealed with martyrdom.”
The Feast of Christ the King, he continued, is "a celebration of relatively recent introduction, but it has deep biblical and theological roots."
"It begins with the expression ‘King of the Jews' arriving then to that of ‘universal King,’ Lord of the cosmos and of history, so far beyond the expectation of the same Jewish people."
Benedict XVI expounded on the regal power of Jesus: “It is not that of the kings and great of this world, it is the divine power to give eternal life to free us from evil, to defeat the dominion of death. It is the power of love, which knows how to derive good from evil, soften a hardened heart, bring peace to the bitterest conflict, turn the thickest darkness into hope.”
“This kingdom of grace cannot impose anything, and always respects our freedom,” he added. “Christ came to 'bear witness to the truth', as stated before Pilate. Whoever receives his testimony, comes under his ‘banner,’ according to an image that was dear to St. Ignatius of Loyola.”
“Choosing Christ,” the Pope concluded, “does not guarantee success according to the criteria of this world, but ensures that peace and joy that only He can give."
After the Angelus, the Holy Father commemorated the beatification in Nazareth on Sunday of Sr. Marie-Alphonsine Danil Ghattas, in the presence of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Fouad Twal, and the prefect for the Congregation of Saints, Archbishop Angelo Amato.
Sr. Marie-Alphonsine was born in Jerusalem in 1843 into a Christian family, which included nineteen children. “She discovered her vocation to religious life early on, and passionately pursued it despite initial difficulties raised by her family,” the Pontiff said.
“To her goes the credit of founding a congregation formed only of local women, with the aim of religious education, to overcome illiteracy and raise the conditions of women of that time in the land where Jesus exalts his dignity. The Central point of this new spirituality and intense devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the beacon of life wholly consecrated to God was the Holy Rosary, her constant prayer, her lifeline, her source of grace.”
“The beatification of this most significant female figure is of particular comfort to the Catholic community in the Holy Land and is an invitation to trust always, with firm hope, in Divine Providence and the maternal protection of Mary,” Pope Benedict concluded.
Also, Benedict XVI recalled yesterday’s “Pro Orantibus” Day, dedicated to cloistered religious communities, on the day of Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Temple.
"I welcome the chance,” he added, “to extend my cordial greetings to them and renew my invitation to all to support them in their needs. I am also glad, on this occasion to publicly thank the nuns who have in turn occupied the small monastery here in the Vatican: the Poor Clares, Carmelites, Benedictines and, recently, the Visitation sisters. Your prayer, dear sisters, is most valuable to my ministry."