During the traditional Christmas gathering with cardinals, archbishops, bishops and members of the Roman Curia, Pope John Paul recalled this Monday that Christ should be at the center of their lives as a way to give a faithful witness to the world.
At the beginning of his speech, the Pope recalled that the first gathering with members of the Curia took place exactly twenty-five years ago on December 22, 1978, and he thanked them for the service they render to the Successor of Peter.
“The purpose that moves us is the same: to announce the Gospel of Christ for the salvation of the world. It is a mission that we want to carry out with a spirit of faith and with our soul ready for sacrifice, if necessary, even to the 'passio sanguinis' (shedding of blood.) May we never fail to be faithful to the One Who has linked us intimately to His priesthood! May He and only He always be at the center of our life: Christ! With the passage of the years, I am more and more convinced that Jesus asks us to be His witnesses, concerned solely about His glory and the well-being of souls.”
John Paul II emphasized that the “awareness of Christ's desire for unity among believers - 'ut unum sint' (‘may they be one’)- has moved me to intensify ecumenical contacts with representatives of the venerated Orthodox Churches, with the primate of the Anglican Communion and leaders of the other ecclesial Churches and communities.”
Referring then to Europe, the Holy Father emphasized that it continues to live through “a crucial phase in its history, while it expands its borders to other peoples and nations. It is important that Europe, enriched throughout the centuries with the treasure of the Christian faith, confirm these origins and revive these roots. The most important contribution that Christians are called to give to the building of the new Europe is above all that of its faithfulness to Christ and to the Gospel.”
“Europe,” he continued, “needs, in the first place, saints and witnesses.”
In this sense, he recalled Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, “icon of the good Samaritan who has become for everyone, believers and non-believers alike, a messenger of love and peace.”
The Pope told them “to be witnesses; teach peace! This is another commitment, so urgent in our time, which sees risks and threats on the horizon, for the peaceful co-existence of humanity. Peace is still possible today and it is a duty. I wanted to repeat this in my Message for the upcoming World Day of Peace.”