In First Corinthians, the Holy Father said, St. Paul shows us the “way of perfection" in the verses of his "hymn to love." Benedict XVI called the verses of Sunday’s reading "one of the most beautiful pages in the New Testament."
According to Paul, he continued, the way "does not consist of possessing exceptional qualities: speaking other languages, knowing all of the mysteries, having a prodigious faith or doing heroic acts. It consists, rather, of love - agape ... true love, that which God has revealed to us in Jesus Christ.
"Love is the 'greatest' gift, that gives value to all the others," taught the Holy Father.
After quoting excerpts regarding the nature of this love and its manifestation from St. Paul's letter, Pope Benedict added:
"In the end, when we find ourselves face-to-face with God, all of the other gifts will disappear; the only one that will remain eternally will be love, because God is love and we will be like Him, in perfect communion with Him."
"For now, while we are in this world, love is the badge of the Christian ... it is what he believes and that which he does."
Citing his first encyclical "Deus Caritas Est," the Holy Father recalled that love has two aspects: "its meaning and ... its practical realization."
"In Jesus Christ, these two aspects form a perfect unity," he explained. "He is the incarnate Love. This Love is fully revealed to us in Christ crucified."
Benedict XVI concluded by reflecting on the Saints, among whom are a “variety” of spiritual gifts and human characters, but each one’s life is “a 'hymn to love,' a living canticle to the love of God!"
He ended his address by remembering St. John Bosco, the founder of the Salesian Family and patron saint of young people, whose feast is celebrated on Sunday. The Holy Father asked for his intercession "so that priests are always educators and fathers of young people, and that, experiencing this pastoral love, many young people welcome the call to give their lives for Christ and the Gospel."
Pope Benedict XVI in his address before the Angelus discussed St. Paul's "hymn of love" and the importance of love as the "badge of the Christian" and the “greatest” gift.