.- On Sunday, during his Angelus Address, Pope Benedict took a moment to reflect upon the Feast of St. John the Baptist, which fell on Saturday, as well as the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests, which took place on Friday.
Pope John Paul II instituted the World Day of Prayer for Priests in 2002, for the purpose of providing spiritual support for the sanctification of all priests. On Sunday, Pope Benedict took time to echo the request of his predecessor, asking everyone, "to pray for priests, that they may be valuable witnesses of Christ's love."
Additionally, the Pope recalled how the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which also fell on Friday, unites "popular devotion and profound theology." It, "has its roots in the mystery of the Incarnation: it was through the Heart of Jesus that God's Love for humanity was sublimely expressed," the Holy Father said.
For this reason, devotion to the Sacred Heart, "maintains all its validity, and particularly attracts those souls who thirst for God's mercy, who find there the everlasting source from which to draw the water of life capable of irrigating the deserts of the soul and bringing hope to flower."
The Holy Father then went on to refer to the June 24th Feast of St. John the Baptist, pointing out that he, "is the only saint whose birth is commemorated, because (his birth) marked the beginning of the fulfillment of the divine promises. ... His feast reminds us that our own life is ... always 'relative' to Christ, and that it is fulfilled by accepting Him, Word, Light and Bridegroom, of Whom we are voices, lamps and friends."
"Allowing the 'I' of Christ to take the place of our own 'I',” the Pope said in closing, “was the exemplary aspiration of the Apostles Peter and Paul, whom the Church venerates." The Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul will be celebrated this Thursday, June 29th.