Saturday, just after Pope Benedict XVI and the Roman Curia had
completed their annual Lenten spiritual exercises, the Holy Father
recalled the past week’s profound experiences and called on Christians
to bring the “joyful news” of Christ to the world.
The Pope, speaking off-the-cuff to fellow participants, praised Cardinal Marco Ce, patriarch emeritus of Venice, Italy, who was this year’s preacher of the spiritual exercises, saying that he had led the group on a “Marian journey” to become part of the Word of God.
Pope Benedict reminded the group that Cardinal Ce had begun by guiding them "in the footsteps of St. Mark, walking the road with Jesus towards Jerusalem" and by highlighting "the profoundly ecclesial nature" of the spiritual exercises.
The Holy Father continued by saying that "We cannot bring the world the joyful news that is the person of Christ if we ourselves are not profoundly united to Christ, if we do not know Him deeply and personally, if we do not live from His Word."
Cardinal Ce, he said, also dwelt upon "the Christological nature" of the exercises, helping the Pope and Curia “to listen to the Master Who speaks with us and within us; he helped us to respond, to speak with the Lord and listen to His Word."
Pope concluded, saying that ultimately, the cardinal guided the group "on a Marian journey, a journey that calls us to become part of the Word of God, to place our lives within the Word of God and so allow our being to be permeated by this Word, that we may then become witnesses to the living Word of Christ Himself in our time.”
Highlighting what he called “renewed courage,” and “renewed joy,” he said that now, “we move towards Easter, towards the celebration of the Mystery of Christ, which is always more than a celebration or a rite, it is Presence and Truth."