.- Earlier today Pope Benedict stopped at a rehabilitation center for people with disabilities in Jordan's capital of Amman, where he acknowledged the trials of the young people and encouraged them to draw “strength from God.”
The Pope was greeted by His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins. He also met the Comboni Sisters and lay staff who help rehabilitate the disabled youths at the Regina Pacis (Queen of Peace) Center.
Pope Benedict began his remarks by recalling that he is like "countless pilgrims before me." It is now "my turn to satisfy that profound wish to touch, to draw solace from and to venerate the places where Jesus lived, the places which were made holy by His presence," he said.
He told the crowd that “every one of us is a pilgrim" and that we are all “drawn forward” on “God’s path.”
Benedict then acknowledged the difficult situations that many of the people had been through to bring them to the rehabilitation center.
“I know that the journeys that have led many of you to the 'Regina Pacis' Center have been marked by suffering or trial. Some of you struggle courageously with disabilities, others of you have endured rejection. ... Of particular importance, I know, is the center's great success in promoting the rightful place of the disabled in society.”
The Pope observed that it is difficult to understand “an obstacle” that seems to only bring pain, but “faith and understanding help us to see a horizon beyond our own selves” to be able to see as God sees.
"Unlike the pilgrims of old, I do not come bearing gifts or offerings. I come simply with an intention, a hope: to pray for the precious gift of unity and peace, most specifically for the Middle East. Peace for individuals ... for communities, peace for Jerusalem, for the Holy Land, for the region, peace for the entire human family; the lasting peace born of justice, integrity and compassion, the peace that arises from humility, forgiveness and the profound desire to live in harmony as one,” he said.
"Prayer is hope in action," Benedict XVI noted, for through prayer we can experience “love contact with the one God, the universal Creator” that allows us to overcome our “divisions and prejudices” as our hearts are “converted to God’s truth.”
The youth gathered at the Regina Pacis Center also received a special address from the Pope. He said that their experiences with “trials” and “witness to compassion” have encouraged him to believe that “suffering can bring about change for the good” and that “standing alongside others in their struggles” allows us to “glimpse the essence of humanity.”
He concluded his thoughts by asking everyone “to pray every day for our world,” for his pilgrimage and for “spiritual renewal in the Lord.”
Later today Pope Benedict is set to travel to the Al-Husseiniyeh Palace, where he will visit the Jordanian monarchs King Abdullah II and Queen Rania.
For the full text of the Pope's speech, visit: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/holyland09/resource.php?res_id=1134