The person who trusts in the Lord and does not give in to a fear of adversity or death shares "a wise heart" with the saints, Pope Benedict XVI said Sunday. Remembering the saints’ examples of trust in God, the Holy Father taught that any dependence on "passing realities" is "foolishness."
From the balcony in the cortile of the Apostolic Palace at Castel Gandolfo, the Holy Father addressed pilgrims from across the world. Spanish, Polish and Italian pilgrims were the most vocal in their cheers. The day's pleasant temperature and the friendly demeanor of attendees created a very comfortable atmosphere during the Angelus.
In his catechesis before the Marian prayer, Benedict XVI recalled saints whose feast days were celebrated this weekend: the founder of the Jesuit order, St. Ignatius of Loyola, and Redemptorist founder and patron of confessors, St. Alphonsus of Liguori. He also discussed St. Jean Vianney, the French patron saint of priests, and St. Eusebius, the first bishop of Italy's Piedmont region and a "strong defender" of Christ's divinity.
Reflecting on the lives of these saints, the Holy Father noted their "common commitment ...was that of saving souls and of serving the Church with their respective charisms, contributing to renew her and enrich her.
"These men acquired 'a wise heart,' accumulating that which is not corrupted and discarding all that is irremediably changeable in time: power, wealth and ephemeral pleasures. Choosing God, they possessed every necessary thing, anticipating eternity from the earthly life."
He went on to offer his perspective on Sunday's Gospel from Luke in which Jesus speaks of the wealthy man who, having enjoyed an excellent harvest, stops working and decides to love off his goods.
"But God said to him," quoted Pope Benedict from the reading, "‘Foolish one, this very night they require your soul of you. To whom, then, will those things belong, which you have prepared?’"
The fool, said the Holy Father, is "he who does not wish to realize, from the experience of visible things, that nothing lasts forever, but everything passes.”
Among the transient things listed by the Holy Father were youth, physical strength, comfort and positions of power.
"Making our own lives depend on such passing realities is, therefore, foolishness," concluded the pontiff.
"The man who, instead, trusts in the Lord and does not fear the adversity of life, nor the inevitable reality of death, is the man who has acquired 'a wise heart,' like the saints."
Before praying the Angelus, Pope Benedict called to mind other important events to be celebrated in the Church in the coming days. On Monday, he said, the "Pardon of Assisi," an indulgence which St. Francis of Assisi himself received in 1216, can be earned.
On Thursday, the Church commemorates the dedication of the Roman Basilica of St. Mary Major. The following day, in addition to the celebration of the Feast of the Transfiguration, the death of Pope Paul VI will be remembered.