(Vatican Radio) On Friday Pope Benedict XVI met with the Belgian branch of the Pro Petri Sede association, a global group that is dedicated to supporting the Holy Father in his mission. Listen:
Pro Petri Sede, literally for the See of Peter, is an association of committed lay Catholics, who through financial donations and active participation in the life of the Church support the Holy Father in his mission as Pastor to the Universal Church.
Pope Benedict thanked the Belgian association for their generous service to so many people worldwide. Reflecting on the Lenten season, he spoke of how it invites us to a “genuine conversion to the Lord”.
Below a Vatican Radio translation of the Holy Fathers address:
I welcome you this morning, you who have come as pilgrims to Rome to show your devotion to the Apostolic See and strengthen the commitment of the Pro Petri Sede Association, I commend your generosity and sense of ecclesial communion.
The Year of Faith, which the Church is currently celebrating, invites us to a genuine conversion to the Lord Jesus, the only Saviour of the world. Faith in welcoming the revelation of the saving love of God in our lives, calls us to model our entire existence on the radical newness introduced into the world by Christ's Resurrection. Faith is a living reality that must be constantly rediscovered and deepened so that it can continue to grow. It is faith that must guide the visions and actions of the Christian. So that it becomes a new criterion of understanding and action that changes the life of man. As I have had occasion to say in the Apostolic Letter Porta fidei, the Year of Faith is a good opportunity to intensify the witness of charity. "Faith without charity bears no fruit, while charity without faith would be a sentiment constantly at the mercy of doubt. Faith and charity each require the other, in such a way that each allows the other to set out along its respective path"(n. 14).
In order to truly live this witness of charity, the Lord who transforms the heart and the eyes of man is indispensable. In fact, this is witnessing to God's love for all our brothers and sisters in humanity that gives true meaning to Christian charity. It can not be reduced to a simple humanism or an enterprise in human promotion. Material assistance, as necessary as it is, is not the entirety of charity which is also participation in Christ's love given and shared. Any genuine charity is a concrete manifestation of God's love for humanity, and thus it becomes a proclamation of the Gospel. In this time of Lent, acts of charity, generously made (cf. Mt 6, 3) allow everyone to move toward Christ, who continues to come to meet humanity!
Dear friends, may your pilgrimage strengthen your relationship with Christ and revive the grace received at Baptism! May you grow in the desire to always witness to your faith wherever you are! I entrust each of you and each of your families and the members of your Association, the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary and the protection of the Apostle Peter. With all my heart, I give you my Apostolic Blessing.