Bearing a message of Christian hope, the Holy Father visited the “San Giovanni Battista” Hospital, stressing that hospitals can become “privileged places that are a testimony to the Christian love that fuels hope.”
In the Hospital for the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, the Holy Father celebrated Mass for the first Sunday of Advent with more than 350 parishioners, dozens of patients, along with their families, doctors and nurses.
In his homily, the Pope noted that this liturgical season is a time of Christian hope – to which he has devoted his second encyclical, "Spe Salvi".
The Pope explained that we need hope in the great and small things to keep us on God’s path. “Without great hope, it is not enough to overcome everything else. This great hope can only be God, who embraces the universe and can give us what we alone cannot achieve.”
The Pope assured the people gathered of his daily prayers for their “sick beloveds,” and told their families that he shares in their longing and hope. He urged them to “find support and solace in Jesus, exhorting them never to lose confidence.”
“Through test and disease, God mysteriously visits us and if we abandon ourselves to him we can experience the power of his love. Hospitals and homes for the elderly, because they are inhabited by people tested by pain, can become privileged places where Christian love is attested to”, the Pope continued.
Following the Eucharist, Benedict XVI visited sections of the hospital, spending extra time in the unit for the rehabilitation for patients emerging from a coma.