Monday, 16 November 2009

Pope Benedict on the Priesthood 'To be with Him and to be sent out': Part III

"Eucharistic Adoration is an essential way of being with the Lord. Thanks to Bishop Schraml, Altotting now has a new 'treasury'. Where once the treasures of the past were kept, precious historical and religious items, there is now a place for the church's true treasure: the permanent presence of the Lord in His Sacrament. In one of his parables the Lord speaks of a treasure hidden in the field; whoever finds it sells all he has in order to buy that field, because the hidden treasure is more valuable than anything else. The hidden treasure, the good greater than any other good is the Kingdom of God - it is Jesus himself, the Kingdom in person. In the sacred Host, he is present, the true treasure, always waiting for us. Only by adoring this presence do we learn how to receive him properly - we learn the reality of communion, we learn the Eucharistic celebration from the inside. Here I should like to quote some fine words of Saint Edith Stein, Co-Patroness of Europe, who wrote in one of her letters: 'The Lord is present in the tabernacle in his divinity and his humanity. He is not there for himself, but for us: for it is his joy to be with us. He knows that we, being as we are, need to have him personally near. As a result, anyone with normal thoughts and feelings will naturally be drawn to spend time with him, whenever possible and as much as possible' (Gesammelte Werke VII, 136 ff.). Let us love being with the Lord! There we can speak with him about everything. We can offer him our petitions, our concerns, our troubles. Our joys. Our gratitude, our disappointments, our needs and our aspirations. There we can also constantly ask him: 'Lord send labourers into your harvest! Help me to be a good worker in your vineyard!'

Here in this Basilica, out thoughts turn to Mary, who lived her life fully 'with Jesus' and consequently was, and continues to be, close to all men and women. The many votive plaques are a concrete sign of this. Let us think of Mary's holy mother, Saint Anne, and with her let us also think of the importantce of the family as an environment of life and prayer, where we learn to pray and where vocations are able to develop.

Here in Altotting, we naturally think in a special way of good Brother Conrad.* He renounced a great inheritance because he wanted to follow Jesus Christ unreservedly and to be completely with him. As the Lord recommended in the parable, he chose to take the lowest place, that of a humble lay-brother and porter. In his porter's lodge he was able to achieve exactly what Saint Mark tells us about the Apostles: 'to stay with him', 'to be sent' to others. From his cell he could always look at the tabernacle and thus always 'stay with Christ'. From this contemplation he learned the boundless goodness with which he treated the people who would knock at his door at all hours - sometimes mischievously. in order to provoke him, at other times loudly and impatiently. To all of them, by his sheer goodness and humanity, and without grand words, he gave a message more valuable than words alone. Let us pray to Brother Saint Conrad; let us ask him to help us to keep our gaze fixed on the Lord, in order to bring God's love to the men and women of our time. Amen!"

(*St. Conrad [1818-94] spent most of his life as a Capuchin with the responsibility of being, for forty-one years, the porter at Altotting. Great devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to Our Lady shone through his welcoming those who came to the door of the Capuchin Friary at Altotting.)

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