(Vatican Radio) – Pilgrims sang and clapped as they waited patiently in the enclosed courtyard of the Apostolic palace in Castel Gandolfo for their midday appointment with Pope Benedict XVI Sunday for the recitation of the midday Angelus prayer. The Pope, fresh from celebrating Mass in the nearby town of Frascati, arrived slightly later than usual and was greeted by resounding applause. Emer McCarthy Reports:
As has become tradition during his summer period of rest, Pope Benedict’s reflections began with his recalling the liturgical memory of the saint of the day, Doctor of the Church, Saint Bonaventure of Bagnoregio, whose life and theology was totally Christ centered.
This centrality of Christ, he continued, is also found in the Letter of Paul to the Ephesians read at Sunday’s Mass. A hymn which “contains the Pauline view of history that St. Bonaventure has helped to spread in the Church: all of history is centered on Christ, who guarantees novelty and renewal in every age. In Jesus, God has spoken and given everything, but because He is an inexhaustible treasure, the Holy Spirit never ceases to reveal and actualize His mystery. Therefore, the work of Christ and the Church never regresses, but always progresses”.
Below a Vatican Radio translation of Pope Benedict XVI’s Angelus reflections
“In the liturgical calendar, July 15 is the memory Franciscan Saint Bonaventure of Bagnoregio, Doctor of the Church, the successor of St. Francis of Assisi at the head of the Order of Friars Minor. He wrote the first biography of Francis, and at the end of his life was also bishop of this diocese of Albano. In one of his letters, Bonaventure writes: "I confess before God that the reason that made me love the life of Blessed Francis most, is that it is similar to the origin and growth of the Church" (Epistula de tribus quaestionibus, in Collected Works of St. Bonaventure. General Introduction, Rome 1990, p. 29). These words refer directly to this Sunday’s Gospel, which presents us with the first sending forth of the Twelve Apostles by Jesus, "Jesus called the Twelve - St. Mark tells us - and began to send them out two by two ... He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick--no food, no sack, no money in their belts "(Mk 6.7 to 9). Francis of Assisi, after his conversion, put this Gospel into practice, becoming a faithful witness of Jesus, and bound in a special way to the mystery of the Cross, was transformed into "another Christ", as St. Bonaventure presents him.
The whole life of St. Bonaventure, as well as his theology, have Jesus Christ as their core inspiration. This centrality of Christ is found in the second reading at today’s Mass (Eph. 1:3-14), the famous hymn of the Letter of Paul to the Ephesians, which begins: " Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens. " The Apostle then goes on to show us how this design of blessing is realized in four steps, which begin with the same expression "in Him", referring to Jesus Christ. "In Him" the Father chose us before the foundation of the world "in Him" we have redemption through His blood, "in Him" we have become heirs predestined to be "the praise of his glory"; "in Him" those who believe in the Gospel receive the seal of the Holy Spirit. This hymn contains the Pauline view of history that St. Bonaventure has helped to spread in the Church: all of history is centered on Christ, who guarantees novelty and renewal in every age. In Jesus, God has spoken and given everything, but because He is an inexhaustible treasure, the Holy Spirit never ceases to reveal and actualize His mystery. Therefore, the work of Christ and the Church never regresses, but always progresses.
Dear friends, let us invoke Mary Most Holy, whom tomorrow we celebrate as the Virgin of Mount Carmel, to help us, like St. Francis and St. Bonaventure, to respond generously to God's call to proclaim his Gospel of salvation with our words and above all with our lives.
I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at this Angelus prayer. In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus gives the twelve authority to preach and cast out demons. Relying on his power alone, their efforts bear fruit. Let us continue to strive to keep our lives rooted in Christ so that we too may be effective instruments of the Gospel. May God bless you!”