Vatican City, Nov 21, 2007 / 09:17 am America/Denver (CNA).
Imitate Aphraates “the Sage”, who believed that “Christian life is focused on the imitation of Christ" and grounded in humility, Pope Benedict XVI told the crowd of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his general audience.
Aphraates, known as "the Sage," an important Christian figure from 4th century Syria came from a Christian community that was “essentially part of the Semitic world from which the Bible itself emerged," the Pope explained.
This early form of Christianity was one where “theological formulations that had not yet come into contact with different cultural trends but lived off its own forms of thought. In these churches, “…asceticism, under various forms of hermitic life, ... played an important role."
The Holy Father also pointed out the strong influence of Judaism saying, "Aphraates was from an ecclesial community located on the frontier between Judaism and Christianity" that was "strongly linked to the Mother Church of Jerusalem and ... sought to remain faithful to the Judeo-Christian tradition of which it felt itself to be a product."
“The Sage” founded his life on the belief that, "Christian life is focused on the imitation of Christ," Pope Benedict told his listeners. He also considered "humility to be one of the most appropriate virtues for the disciple of Christ" because "man's nature is humble and it is God who exalts it with His own glory. ... By remaining humble, even in their earthly surroundings, Christians may establish a relationship with the Lord."