Pontiff: Saints Know They Are Sinners

Reflects on Need to Accept Love of God

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LOURDES, France, SEPT. 15, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The only thing that separates a saint from a sinner is that a saint looks less at himself and more at Christ and his love, says the Pope.



The Pope offered a commentary on the Eucharist on Sunday night at the conclusion of the Eucharistic procession in the prairie at the Marian shrine in Lourdes.

The Holy Father visited Lourdes this weekend to participate in the celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of the Marian apparitions there. He returned to Rome today.

"Let us accept; may you accept to offer yourselves to him who has given us everything, who came not to judge the world, but to save it, accept to recognize in your lives the presence of him who is present here, exposed to our view. Accept to offer him your very lives," the Pontiff said in his short address.

Benedict XVI noted that some 2,000 years ago Mary accepted "to give everything, to offer her body so as to receive the Body of the Creator."

"Everything came from Christ, even Mary," added the Pope. "Everything came through Mary, even Christ."

He reflected on Mary's presence with those gathered in Lourdes, as well as the "crowd of saints in heaven" composed of "all those men and women who have contemplated, venerated, adored the real presence of him who gave himself to us even to the last drop of blood; the crowd of all those men and women who have spent hours in adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar."

Look to Christ

"This evening, we do not see them," the Pontiff continued, "but we hear them saying to us, to every man and to every woman among us: 'Come, let the Master call you! He is here! He is calling you! He wants to take your life and join it to his. Let yourself be embraced by him! Gaze no longer upon your own wounds, gaze upon his.

"'Do not look upon what still separates you from him and from others; look upon the infinite distance that he has abolished by taking your flesh, by mounting the Cross which men had prepared for him, and by letting himself be put to death so as to show you his love.

"'In his wounds, he takes hold of you; in his wounds, he hides you. Do not refuse his love!'”

The saints, said the Holy Father, "have allowed themselves to be embraced by his Love," and they "never cease to intercede for us."

Benedict XVI continued, "They were sinners and they knew it, but they willingly ceased to gaze upon their own wounds and to gaze only upon the wounds of their Lord, so as to discover there the glory of the cross, to discover there the victory of life over death."

"Remain in silent adoration of your Lord," the Pope urged the crowd. "Remain silent, then speak and tell the world: We cannot be silent about what we know.

"Go and tell the whole world the marvels of God, present at every moment of our lives, in every place on earth."