July 19-20, 2000
volume 11, no. 123
The Holy Father's words in THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS for July 19-20, 2000
1. I thank the Lord for giving me the opportunity to spend a time of rest again this year in this charming mountainous locality, which brings to mind the majestic presence of God. I thank the Bishop of Aosta, the President of the Council and Municipality of the Valley of Aosta, and all the people of this region who are dear to me, for the invitation and welcome, which, like every year, is so very cordial. Special thanks go to the Salesians, always so very hospitable to me, as well as to those who daily insure the tranquil unfolding of this sojourn for me and my collaborators. Here, in the mist of lovely forests and valleys, the body is restored and the spirit can be more dedicated to reflection and contemplation.
From this serene place I would like to send kind greetings to those who are on holiday in this valley and elsewhere, in the mountains or at the beach. I invite all to make these days of merited summer rest a time of interior enrichment and enjoyable family leisure. I am also thinking of those who cannot have a vacation and have remained at home. In a very special way I affectionately greet the sick, elderly, imprisoned, and persons who are alone. I assure each one of my daily remembrance in prayer.
2. Looking at these mountains, my thoughts today go to Mount Carmel, extolled for its beauty in the Bible. Indeed, we are celebrating the feast of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel. On that mountain, which is in Israel near Haifa, the holy prophet Elijah vigorously defended the integrity and purity of the faith of the chosen people in the living God. In the 12th century after Christ, on that same mountain some hermits met and dedicated themselves to contemplation and penance. Their spiritual experience gave origin to the Order of Carmelites. Carmel indicates symbolically the mountain of total adhesion to the divine will and of our eternal salvation. We are all called to climb this spiritual mountain courageously and without pausing. Walking together with the Virgin, model of total fidelity to the Lord, we will not fear obstacles or difficulties. Sustained by her maternal intercession, like Elijah we will be able to fulfill our vocation of authentic "prophets" of the Gospel in our time.
3. Today's liturgy exhorts us to this ascetic and apostolic endeavor It invites us to follow the examples of the prophet Amos and the Apostles, chosen by the Lord as collaborators in his work of salvation.
May the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel, whom we invoke today with special devotion, help us to rise tirelessly toward the top of the mountain of sanctity, and to hold nothing more dear than Christ, who reveals the mystery of divine love and man's true dignity to the world (Cf. Opening Prayer). (ZENIT Translation) ZE00071620
July 14-16, 2000
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