.- Members of the Vatican’s security force met with Pope Benedict and heard him offer encouragement not to lose heart in the face of the many threatening clouds gathering on the horizon. Christ is the true hope of Christians and only he can build a world of love and justice, he said.
The Thursday meeting between the Pope and members of the General Inspectorate for Public Security for the Vatican was held in keeping with a tradition that takes place each January.
In his remarks the Pope referred to the sacrifices their activities involve, sacrifices that also affect their families "because of the shift-work required in order to maintain constant watch over the area around St. Peter's Square and the Vatican."
Saying that the new year brings with it many expectations and hopes, the Holy Father also alluded to the numerous conflicts around the world.
"We cannot hide the fact that many threatening clouds are gathering on the horizon. We must not, however, lose heart, rather we must keep the flame of hope alive in our hearts. For us as Christians the true hope is Christ, the Father's gift to humanity. ... Only Christ can help us build a world in which justice and love reign," Pope Benedict said.
The members of the Inspectorate also received insights from the Pope on how their work can be "experienced as a mission." The Pontiff explained that their work can be "a service to others through order and security and, at the same time, a form of individual asceticism; what we may call constant internal vigilance which requires harmony between discipline and cordiality, between self-control and attentive welcome of the pilgrims and tourists who come to the Vatican."
"If undertaken with love," he added, "such service becomes prayer, a prayer even more welcome to God when your work is thankless, monotonous and tiring, especially during the night and in bad weather.
It is by doing their duty well," he concluded, "that each of the baptized achieves his or her vocation of sanctity."