Vatican City, 2 June 2012 (VIS) - At 10 a.m. today the Holy Father presided at the celebration of Terce in the Duomo of Milan, in the presence of priests, deacons, seminarians and religious of the local archdiocese. Following the recitation of the Psalms Benedict XVI pronounced a mediation, extracts of which are given below:
"At this moment we are experiencing the mystery of the Church in its most exalted form, that of liturgical prayer. In ecclesial prayer our lips, our hearts and our minds, interpret the needs and longings of all humankind. ... The daily prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours is an essential task of the ordained ministry of the Church. It is also through the divine office, which prolongs the central mystery of the Eucharist throughout the day, that priests have a special bond to the Lord Jesus".
"What a precious gift the priesthood is! ... If Christ, to build His Church, delivers Himself into the hands of the priest, then the priest must in turn entrust himself to Christ without reserve. Love for the Lord Jesus is both the soul of and the reason for priestly ministry. ... There is no contrast between the good of the priest's person and his mission, Quite the contrary, pastoral charity is a unifying element which, on the basis of an increasingly intimate rapport with Christ in prayer, enables us to experience the total gift of self for our flock. ... Each of our actions, in fact, has the aim of leading the faithful to union with the Lord, and of increasing ecclesial communion for the salvation of the world.
"One luminous sign of pastoral charity and an undivided heart is priestly celibacy and consecrated chastity. ... Without doubt love for Jesus regards all Christians, but it acquires particular significance for the celibate priest and for those who have responded to the vocation to consecrated life. The source and model for repeating our daily 'yes' to God's will is only and always in Christ". In the Virgin Mary "we recognise that 'chaste and detached life, which Christ the Lord chose for Himself and which His Mother also embraced', a life full of obedience to the will of God".
"Dear consecrated brothers and sisters, ... look to the future with confidence, relying on God's fidelity and the power of His grace, which is always capable of working new miracles. ... At this time I wish to render thanks unto God for the many Ambrosian priests and religious who have spent their lives at the service of the Gospel, sometimes even unto the supreme sacrifice of their lives". Among these, the Holy Father made specific mention of the priests Luigi Talamoni, Luigi Biraghi, Luigi Monza, Carlo Gnocchi and Serafino Morazzone; the religious blesseds Giovanni Mazzucconi, Luigi Monti, Clemente Vismara, Maria Anna Sala and Enrichetta Alfieri.
"Through their joint intercession, we trustingly ask the Giver of all gifts to make the ministry of priests fruitful, and to strengthen the testimony of consecrated persons, so as to show the world the beauty of giving oneself to Christ and the Church, and to renew Christian families according to God's plan, that they may become places of grace and sanctity, a fertile terrain for vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life".