Before Sunday's Angelus prayer, Pope Benedict XVI taught the importance of leading our lives with trust and hope in the coming of the Lord. This hope, he said, should encourage us to "an intense life, rich with good works."
The courtyard at Castel Gandolfo was filled with faithful and pilgrims, some of whom sung the "Ave Maria" as they waited for the Holy Father to appear on the second story balcony of the Apostolic Palace.
After being met with a burst of cheers, the Pope taught about Jesus' words to the disciples from Sunday's Gospel in which He continued to speak on "the value of the person in the eyes of God and on the uselessness of earthly worries."
This discourse, said the Holy Father, is not about "praise for disengagement.” Rather, he explained, our heart is opened to a hope that enlightens our existence when we listen to Jesus’ “reassuring invitation”: “Do not be afraid, little flock; for it has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom.”
Quoting from the Encyclical Spe Salvi, he added that the Gospel is not merely a communication but “makes things happen and is life-changing.”
“The dark door of time, of the future, has been thrown open. The one who has hope lives differently; the one who hopes has been granted the gift of a new life."
He pointed to the example of Abraham, described in the Letter to the Hebrews as one who goes out with "a hopeful heart." Not knowing where he is going, he is "trusting only in God" and His promise of land and numerous descendants.”
Through the three parables in the Gospel, the Pope continued, Jesus illustrates to us how the expectation of his coming, "the blessed hope," should lead us "even further to an intense life, rich with good works."
His invitation to sell our possessions and to give alms to prepare the way to heaven, explained Benedict XVI, is an invitation to “use things without selfishness, thirst for possession or dominance, but according to the logic of God, the logic of the attention to others, the logic of love..."
He concluded by remembering several saints who laid down their lives, whose feast days fall this week. He recalled Sunday's feast of the founder of the Dominicans, St. Dominic of Guzman, whose order "carries out the mission of instructing society on the truth of faith, preparing themselves with study and prayer."
He also named 3rd century deacon and martyr St. Lawrence whose feast is to be celebrated on Aug. 10 and the foundress of the Poor Clares, St. Clare of Assisi (Aug. 11). Before beginning the Marian prayer, he drew attention to two 20th century martyrs, both killed at Auschwitz: St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) and St. Maximilian Kolbe, whose feast days fall on Aug. 9 and Aug. 14, respectively.
Both of them, he said, "lived through the dark time of the Second World War, without ever losing sight of (their) hope, the God of life and love."