Pope says remembering dead helps reflect on our own lives
Pope Benedict XVI said yesterday - All Souls Day - that in remembering those who have died, Christians naturally reflect on their own lives and on how to ensure that they will enjoy happiness forever with God.
Catholic News Service reports on the Holy Father's addressing to some 20,000 pilgrims and visitors at his weekly general audience. He said that the secret to eternal happiness is to love God, follow his commandments and give to the poor.
The pope's audience talk focused on Psalm 112 and its proclamation, "Happy the man who fears the Lord." After reading his prepared text, the pope offered a spontaneous summary of his remarks: "On the day we commemorate all souls, we face the reality of death and, therefore, the question of how to live well.
"This psalm tells us the answer is: Happy the man who gives, the man who does not live life for himself, but the man who is merciful, good and just, who lives with love for God and his neighbors," the pope said.
Trusting in God, he said, gives hope and harmony to one's life, and observing the moral law "is a source of a profoundly peaceful conscience."
Citing the prophet Job, Pope Benedict said it is obvious that being just and upright does not guarantee one will not suffer in this life, but it does guarantee eternal happiness.
Addressing Polish pilgrims, the pope said that on the day when Catholics remember their dear ones who have died, "we also remember John Paul II. On the anniversary of his priestly ordination (Nov. 1, 1946) and his saint's day (the Nov. 4 feast of St. Charles Borromeo), we give thanks to God for the fruits of his life and for the ministry of this servant of God."
In the evening, Pope Benedict was scheduled to pray privately at Pope John Paul's tomb and at the tombs of his predecessors buried in St. Peter's Basilica.
Pope Benedict ended his audience by urging the Italian government to adopt policies and tax laws to help families.
Pope Benedict called for "adequate social and legislative interventions to safeguard and sustain the most numerous families, which are a richness and hope for the entire country."
Remembering dead helps Christians reflect on own lives, says pope (Catholic News Service 2/11/05)
Pope tells Christians to think of 'death without fear' (Catholic News Service 1/11/05)
Pope Benedict XVI: For our dear ones who have left us (Kath.net 2/11/05)
Bridget Mary Meehan: A challenge to Benedict to create an inclusive church (National Catholic Reporter 4/11/05)
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Pope urges serenity and hope when facing the human enigma of death (AsiaNews.it 2/11/05)
Pope tells Christians to think of 'death without fear'
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Pope tells Christians to think of 'death without fear' (The Universe 2/11/05)
Benedict XVI: Be Happy... (Vatican Radio English Features 2/11/05, audio - requires Real Player)
Pope's General Audience (Vatican Radio English Features 2/11/05, audio - requires Real Player)
Benedict XVI to Pray at John Paul II's Tomb (Zenit 1/11/05)
3 Nov 2005