This morning in St. Peter's Square Pope Benedict reflected on the teachings of Saint Bede the Venerable, which provide modern Christians in every state of life with a way to holiness.
In the presence of 15,000 people, Benedict XVI explained that St. Bede was born in England in the year 672 and was entrusted by his parents at the age of seven to the care of the abbot at the nearby Benedictine monastery.
The Englishman went on to become a scholar and earn a reputation as a saint.
"Sacred Scripture was the constant source of Bede's theological reflections." "He commented on the Bible, interpreting it in the light of Christology," the Holy Father said. "He listened attentively to what the text says, but he was convinced that in order to understand Sacred Scripture precisely, the key is Christ."
Among St. Bede’s contributions highlighted by the Pope were: his detailed account of the first six ecumenical councils and their developments, his presentations of Christological and Mariological doctrines and his works denouncing the heresies of the Monophysites, the iconoclasts, and the neo-Pelagians.
St. Bede also made significant contributions in the scholastic field. He is called "the father of English historiography" for authoring the book "The Ecclesiastical History of the English People," and is the creator of the B.C. / A.D. calendar that sees history 'ab incarnatione Domini'," Pope Benedict added.
"Bede was also a great master of liturgical theology," the Holy Father exclaimed. Bede educated the faithful "to celebrate the mysteries of the faith with joy, and to reflect those mysteries coherently in their lives while awaiting their full manifestation in the return of Christ."
"Thanks to his approach to theology, which involved a combination of the Bible, liturgy and history, Bede has a modern message for the various 'states' of Christian life," the Pope said.
"He reminds scholars of two essential tasks: scrutinizing the marvels of the Word of God so as to present them in a manner attractive to the faithful, and explaining dogmatic truths while avoiding heretical complications and keeping to 'Catholic simplicity,' with the attitude of the meek and humble to whom it pleases God to reveal the mysteries of the Kingdom."
Pastors, Bede indicates, "must give priority to preaching, not only through sermons and hagiographies, but also by using icons, processions and pilgrimages."
Concerning consecrated people, "Bede recommends focus on the apostolate, both by collaborating with bishops in various kinds of pastoral activities in support of young Christian communities, and by offering themselves for evangelizing missions."
Additionally, Bede the Venerable instructs the laity that "Christ wants an industrious Church, tanned from the efforts of evangelization," "which must be supplemented by being "assiduous in their religious education."
"It is a fact," Pope Benedict continued, "that with his works he made an effective contribution to the construction of a Christian Europe."
"Let us pray," the Pope concluded, "that today as well there may be figures like the Venerable Bede, and that we ourselves may be willing to rediscover our Christian roots, and thus be builders of a Christian, and therefore profoundly human, Europe."