.- Echoing his message for the 2009 World Day of Peace, Pope Benedict spoke today with two Belgian associations that support his work with the poor. "If we fight against all forms of poverty we give peace more chance to come and take root in our hearts," he said.
The organizations Pro Petri Sede and Etrennes Pontificales, which give money every year to the Pope for his charitable efforts, met with the Holy Father in the Vatican’s Clementine Hall just after noon today. They are currently in Rome on a pilgrimage that they make every two years to the tomb of St. Peter.
Since the Church is celebrating the Pauline Year, the Pope turned to St. Paul’s teachings saying that meditating on them "enables us to become aware of the fact that the Church is a Body pulsating with a single life, the life of Jesus."
This also means that "each member of the ecclesial body is profoundly bonded to all the others and cannot ignore their needs. Nourished by the same Eucharistic bread, the baptized cannot remain indifferent when bread is lacking from the tables of other human beings," the Pontiff said.
"This year," Benedict noted, "you have once again responded to the call to open your hearts to the needs of the disinherited, so that those members of Christ's Body suffering poverty may be helped and thus enabled to live better lives and be freer to bear witness to the Good News."
The Holy Father also pointed to the fact that by entrusting the fruit of their savings to Peter's Successor, the two associations "enable him to carry out real and active charity, the sign of his solicitude for all Churches, for all the baptized, for all human beings."
"I thank you from the bottom of my heart in the name of the people whom your generosity will help as they struggle against the evils that threaten their dignity," he said.
Drawing upon his message for the World Day of Peace, Pope Benedict concluded, "If we fight against all forms of poverty we give peace more chance to come and take root in our hearts."