Ok, so today tops everything I have done thus far besides receive Jesus my Lord in the Eucharist. For the very first time I was within 20 feet of our holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. After greeting us and we sang our infamous rendition of “Ad Multos Annos” (which I later found out is set to a German drinking song) Pope Benedict XVI shared some special words with the new men at the PNAC.
“Dear Seminarians, do not be afraid to take up the challenge in today’s Gospel to give your lives completely to Christ,” he said. “Indeed, may all of us be generous in our commitment to him, carrying our cross with faith and courage.”
I was quite moved by the commission delivered by Pope Benedict, to carry our cross with faith and courage. I am daily confronted by the reminder that the world wants nothing to do with growing in holiness or accepting God’s love because of what it entails; namely, carrying our cross daily and offering all that we are.
The other day when taking a tour around St. Peter’s Church we saw that across from the sacristy there is the “altar of the lie” which depicts the story told in Acts 5:1-11 of Ananias and his wife falling dead at the feet of Peter. They had offered all they had but, due to their own concupiscence held some things back. When they are confronted by Peter and asked if what they had given was everything they said, “yes” knowing full well that they had held back. At that, they fell dead at the feet of Peter, each in turn. This painting faces the sacristy so that each priest as he exits to say Mass sees it and is reminded that during the Mass he is to give his all and hold nothing back. What a beautiful image to remind us that living in the light of God’s grace calls for us to give all that we are and never withhold anything from God. To read the official story that covered today’s message visit, http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/carry-your-cross-with-faith-and-courage-pope-tells-new-us-seminarians/
Following the Angelus, Papal blessing, and greeting, we traveled to a beautiful restaurant and celebrated the Sunday with a filling meal complete with tiramisu for dessert! Then, it was off to the papal gardens!
Few are allowed to venture into the papal gardens, but we were given the opportunity to travel through the papal gardens. I am glad I had my camera! To read about the history of the gardens please visit, http://www.vaticanstate.va/EN/Monuments/Castel_Gandolfo.htm .
Today was a day to remember, mostly because the words that our holy Pontiff spoke struck me to the core, and provided me with an invitation to go deeper and discover the love of God in a profoundly new way while by striking at the heart of the Church’s mission, to bring all mankind to Christ! Peace, God’s blessings, and all my prayers are with you!