During today’s general audience in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace in Castel Gandolfo, Pope Benedict XVI recalled the saints and feasts the liturgical calendar celebrates this week and the next.
The Holy Father said, “Every day the Church offers us one or more saints and blessed to invoke and to imitate.” He proceeded to speak about yesterday’s Feast of St. John Eudes, who confronted with 17th century Jansenism and promoted devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Holy Heart of Mary.
Pope Benedict also spoke about St. Bernard of Clairvaux. Bernard, who Pope Pius VIII labeled the “Honey-Sweet Doctor” for his eloquence, traveled throughout Europe defending the Christian faith. The Holy Father added, “He was also remembered as a Doctor of Mariology, not because he wrote extensively on Our Lady, but because he understood her essential role in the Church, presenting her as the perfect model of the monastic life and of every other form of the Christian life.”
Pope Benedict recounted that tomorrow the Church celebrates the feast of St. Pius X, Friday, the memorial of the Queenship of Mary, and Saturday, the feast of St. Rose of Lima.
Pope Benedict said that the Church offers human beings the possibility of walking in the company of the saints. Hans Urs von Balthasar wrote that the saints represent a real way for us to access Jesus. French writer Jean Guitton explained that the each saint reflects the light of God’s holiness. The Holy Father added that it is important “to cultivate knowledge and devotion to the saints, along with daily meditation on the Word of God and a child-like love for Our Lady”.
Pope Benedict stated, “The summer months provide an opportunity for us to read about the lives of these and all the saints.” He explained, “Their human and spiritual experiences show us that holiness is not a luxury, nor a privilege for a few.” The Holy Father continued, “It is the common destiny of all men called to be sons and daughters of God.”
Pope Benedict concluded by recalling that the great French writer Bernanos, who was fascinated with the idea of the saints and quoted many of them in his works said, “Every life of a saint is like a new flowering.”
At the end of his public audience, the Holy Father greeted English-speaking pilgrims from different corners of the globe, including groups from Malta and Ireland.