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Humble and free from the pride of the world

· Benedict XVI meets with the clergy of the Diocese of Rome ·

Humility is born from the Christian reality which requires the ability to accept ourselves with our own limitations and trivial things in order to free ourselves from the slavery of the world's pride. The Pope recalled this at his customary meeting with the priests of Rome at the beginning of Lent held Thursday morning, 23 February, in the Paul VI Hall.

Benedict XVI's Lectio Divina centred on a passage from the Letter to the Ephesians (4:1-6) and he offered again to the clergy of his diocese St Paul's invitation to lead a life  “worthy of the calling” that they have received. Today the lack of vocations, he noted, is the great suffering of the Church in the West, which according to the Pontiff is caused by the lack of openness to hearing the voice of the Lord. Thus the need to rediscover virtues such as humility, meekness, generosity in order to build the “we” of the Church on the journey through the ways of the world.

The Pope especially emphasized the need to not give into the temptation of pride: the root of every sin and the ground where arrogance and the desire for power grows. We need to accept our limitations and daily humiliations which are beneficial because they teach us to be free. He recalled that every minor service in the Church can be great in the eyes of God, if done with this spirit.

The Holy Father added that we cannot accept others without accepting ourselves. And we cannot accept ourselves without the humility of recognizing in the small things the fruits of thinking about God, which cannot be substituted in the fabric of the world. Thus every attitude which leads to the  misuse of power and violence against others should be prohibited from Christian life. In fact every person is a beautiful note in the symphony of God that is manifested in the solidarity of his Church.

The Pontiff also encouraged the priests of Rome to energetically proclaim the faith, denouncing religious illiteracy which today afflicts a large part of the Christian world and calling for a catechetical renewal able to make the truth known to all men. It is also necessary that believers move from a state of spiritual childhood to adult faith: not freeing us from the magisterium, as some might want, but freeing us from the dictatorship of prevalent opinions and responding with conviction to the challenges of our time. Benedict XVI recalled the current state of priestly celibacy which preserves the worthiness of the eschatalogical sign of faithfulness to the Lord.

In addition to Cardinal-Vicar Vallini — who greeted the Pope on behalf of all those present  —  among others, Archbishop Iannone, vicegerent, Auxiliary Bishops  Schiavon, Tuzia, Di Tora, Marciante, Zuppi and Leuzzi, and Mons. Mancini, prelate secretary of the Vicariate, participated in the meeting. The Pope was accompanied in the Hall by Archbishop Harvey, prefect of the Papal Household and by Mons. Gänswein, private secretary to the Pope, and Mons. Xuereb, of the Personal Secretariat of the Pontiff.

At the end of the meeting the Pontiff gave the priests in charge of the diocesan prefectures, the book Scelto da Dio per gli uomini (Chosen by God for Men) (Edizioni Paoline, Milan, 2011, 130 pages, 11.50 euros) which includes an introduction by Cardinal Vallini proposing rule of life for priests.  The book is also enriched by Benedict XVI's dedication signed on 9 November 2011, the day the Lateran Basilica was dedicated. It reads: “To my priests of Rome, with the wish to live with ever more joy for the priesthood”.

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