"A Means for Contemplating Jesus"
VATICAN CITY, OCT. 7, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today to the crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square when he led the praying of the midday Angelus.
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Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This first Sunday of October offers us two reasons for prayer and reflection: the memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary, which is today, and the commitment to missions, to which this month is dedicated in a special way.
The traditional image of the Madonna of the Rosary depicts Mary holding the child Jesus in her arm and giving the rosary to St. Dominic. This significant iconography shows that the rosary is a means given by the Virgin for contemplating Jesus and, meditating on his life, for loving and following him always more faithfully.
This is something that Mary has also offered in various apparitions. I am thinking especially of her appearance at Fatima that took place 90 years ago. To the three little shepherds, Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco, presenting herself as "the Madonna of the Rosary," she insistently recommended praying the rosary every day to bring an end to the war.
We also desire to welcome the Virgin’s maternal request, committing ourselves to saying the rosary with faith for peace in our families, in countries, and in the whole world.
In any case, we know that peace spreads where men and institutions are open to the Gospel. The month of October helps us to recall this fundamental truth through a mobilization that seeks to promote an authentic missionary drive in each community, and to support the work of priests, religious and laypeople who work on the Church's mission frontiers.
With special care we prepare to celebrate, on Oct. 21, the World Mission Day, which will have as its theme "All the Churches for All the World."
The proclamation of the Gospel remains the primary service that the Church owes to humanity, to offer the salvation of Christ to the man of our time, who is in many ways humiliated and oppressed, and to orientate in a Christian way cultural, social, and ethical transformations that are unfolding in the world.
This year we are moved toward a renewal of missionary commitment for still another reason: the 50th anniversary of the encyclical "Fidei Donum" of the Servant of God Pius XII, which promoted and encouraged cooperation among the Churches for the mission "ad gentes."
With pleasure I recall also that 150 years ago five priests and a layman of the Institute of Don Mazza in Verona departed for Africa, for present-day Sudan. Among them was St. Daniel Comboni, future bishop of central Africa and patron of the people of that region, whose liturgical memorial is Oct. 10.
We entrust all missionaries to the intercession of these pioneers of the Gospel and to the many other canonized and beatified missionaries, and especially to the maternal protection of the Queen of the Holy Rosary.
O Mary, help us to remember that every Christian is called to be a proclaimer of the Gospel by his word and by his life.
[Translation by ZENIT]
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[After the Angelus the Holy Father said in English:]
I extend heartfelt greetings to the English-speaking visitors here today. In this month of October, dedicated to the holy rosary, we ponder with Mary the mysteries of our salvation, and we ask the Lord to help us grow in our understanding of the marvelous things he has done for us.
May God fill you with his love and may he grant you and all those dear to you his blessings of joy and peace.