Benedict XVI Meditates on Penance

Roman Curia Is Midway Through Spiritual Exercises

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 24, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Today, the third full day of Benedict XVI's spiritual exercises retreat, the Pope is meditating on penance and its relation to the priestly vocation.



The annual seven-day spiritual exercises for the Pontiff and the Roman Curia began Sunday afternoon.

This year's retreat is focusing on "The Lessons of God and of the Church in the Priestly Vocation." This theme was chosen to reflect the Year for Priests currently underway.

Salesian Father Enrico dal Covolo, who was chosen to preach the meditations, spoke on Monday about the example of St. Augustine. The Holy Father and the Curia prayed that day for priestly vocations.

Tuesday, they prayed for missionaries and meditated on St. John Vianney, the "Cure of Ars."

Today, the penitential day, included meditations titled "The Biblical History of Vocation: Temptation, Doubt and Resistance Form Part of Our History" and "Always Sinners and Always Forgiven."

Along with Biblical references regarding the vocation, the preacher cited examples from a book, "Diary of a Country Priest," by Georges Bernanos.

Thursday, the Christological day, will center on the vocation of the first disciples. It will include a meditation on Venerable Giuseppe Quadrio.

On Friday Father dal Covolo will lead meditations on Mary, her Magnificat and her vocation. One is titled "God's Approval: The Story of the Annunciation." The evening's meditation will focus on Venerable John Paul II.

Saturday morning the retreat will end with a meditation on the call of the first deacons.

Each day of the retreat includes the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours, the preached meditations and adoration with Eucharistic benediction.