.- Speaking to a group of cloistered Dominican nuns after having blessed the restored statue of Mary in Romeâs Monte Mario quarter, Pope Benedict referred to them as the heart of the Church which provides blood to the rest of the body. In their work and prayer, together with Christ, he said, they are the "heart" of the Church and in their desire for God's love they approach the ultimate goal.
The encounter with the nuns came at the Dominican convent of Santa Maria del Rosario, close to the âDon Orioneâ Center where the Pope had blessed the âMadonninaâ statue earlier on Thursday morning.
Comparing the role of the cloistered nuns in their life of contemplation, work and prayer to the âheartâ that provides life-giving blood to the rest of the body, Pope Benedict told them that in their lives âhidden with Christ,â they contribute to the support of the Church, âinstrument of salvation for every man that the Lord has redeemed with His Blood.â
âThe contemplative way of life,â he told them, â... puts you, as a living and vital limb, in the heart of the mystical body of the Lord, that is the Church.â
The Holy Father went on to urge the nuns to ensure that in all they do, âbeyond the single moments of prayer,â that they allow their hearts to âcontinue to be guided by the desire to love God.â
Benedict XVI told them that it is the Lord that has filled them with love so as to make them able to accept God himself into their hearts. "This," he exclaimed, is âthe horizon of the earthly pilgrimage!
"This is your goal.â he underscored.
"You have chosen to live in obscurity and to renounce earthly goods in order to desire above all other things the good that has no equal, the precious pearl for which it is worth abandoning all else.â