Meeting with participants of the International Congress of the Benedictine Federation on Saturday, the Holy Father encouraged the group to announce “the primacy of God without compromise” and to continue evangelizing the youth by showing them the richness of the liturgy, of meditation and lectio divina.
The congress, which is held every four years in Rome, gives Benedictine abbots and superiors the opportunity to discuss how their charism applies to the current social and cultural context and how “to respond to the ever-new challenges this raises for bearing witness to the Gospel.”
Addressing the Benedictine Federation, the Holy Father reminded them that “in a sacrilegious world, and in a time marked by a worrying culture of emptiness and of 'non sense,' you are called to announce the primacy of God without compromise, and to propose new paths of evangelization.”
This must be done, the Pontiff continued, by reaching out to the young people. The youth in our world need to be prepared to face "the many demands of society with constant reference to the evangelical message, which is always current, inexhaustible and enlivening,” the Pope exclaimed. “Dedicate yourselves, then, with renewed apostolic ardor to the young, who are the future of the Church and of humanity.
“In order to build a 'new' Europe, we must begin with the new generations, offering them an intimate experience of the spiritual richness of the liturgy, of meditation, and of 'lectio divina'," he said.
The Pope continued by describing the “renowned Benedictine hospitality. “A community capable of truly fraternal life, fervently dedicated to liturgical prayer, study, and work, and cordially open to others who thirst for God, represents the best way to turn hearts, especially those of the young, to the monastic vocation and, in general, to a fruitful journey of faith."
Concluding his address, Pope Benedict turned to the Benedictine nuns and female religious and encouraged them not to lose heart, despite the lack of vocations in some parts of the world. “Faithfully persevering in your own vocations you bear witness with great effectiveness, also before the world, to your firm faith in the Lord of history, in Whose hands are the times and destinies of individuals, institutions and peoples." The Holy Father exhorted them to "Adopt the spiritual attitude of the Virgin Mary, who was content to be 'ancilla Domini', utterly compliant to the will of the Heavenly Father."