his weekly general audience, held earlier today in St. Peter’s Square,
Pope Benedict XVI said that the ultimate aim of the Gospel is communion
with God himself, and through it, true communion with the rest of
mankind. He stressed the importance of this message at a time when
fragmentations and strife between peoples run extraordinarily high
More than 40,000 people were on hand to hear the Pope who continued today his catechetical series on the relationship between Christ and the Church in light of the experience of the Apostles and the task entrusted to them.
Benedict began by saying that "Through the apostolic ministry, the Church, the community brought together by the Son of God, ... will live through the ages, building and nourishing the communion in Christ and in the Spirit to which everyone is called and in which everyone can experience the salvation given by the Father.”
"Indeed,” he said, “the twelve Apostles were careful to provide successors so that the mission entrusted to them would continue after their death.”
Because of this, he explained that “over the centuries the Church, organically structured under the guidance of her legitimate pastors, has continued to live in the world as a mystery of communion which in some way reflects Trinitarian communion itself."
The Pope then pointed out that "the idea of communion as participation in Trinitarian life" is particularly highlighted in the Gospel of St. John, "where the communion of love binding the Son to the Father and to mankind is at the same time the model and source of the fraternal communion which must unite disciples to one another."
He said that "During their earthly pilgrimage [the] disciples, through their communion with the Son, can already participate in His divine life and in that of the Father. ... This life of communion, both with God and among ourselves, is the ultimate aim of the announcement of the Good News."
He called communion “the fruit of the Holy Spirit,” which, he said, “is nourished by the Eucharistic bread and expressed through fraternal relations, a kind of anticipation of future glory.”
Benedict said that communion “is the gift that lifts us out of our solitude and brings us to participate in the love that unites us to God and with one another.” He added that it “is easy to understand how great this gift is if we only think of the fragmentation and conflicts afflicting relations between individuals, groups and entire peoples."
Concluding, the Holy Father said that "Communion truly is the good news that remedies all forms of solitude, the precious gift that makes us feel welcomed and loved in God, in the unity of His people gathered in the name of the Trinity; it is the light that makes the Church shine out as a sign raised among peoples."