The Pope made his comment today when receiving in audience participants in the plenary assembly of the Higher Council of the Pontifical Missionary Works.
"Missionary activity consists in communicating to our brothers and sisters the love of God, as revealed in the plan of salvation," explained the Holy Father.
"To know and to receive this salvific Love is in fact a fundamental question for life," and "poses decisive questions about who God is and who we are," he added.
The assembly is reflecting on the theme of "The Missionary Mandate that Jesus Entrusted to His Disciples."
The Pontifical Missionary Works "have spread the announcement of the Good News and contributed to establishing and consolidating the Church in new territories," continued the Holy Father.
"All this has led to a reawakening of faith and love among Christian people, together with great missionary enthusiasm," he noted.
"Prayer and concrete support for missions are seen today as being an integral part of every Christian's life," the Pope said.
He added that promoting "a responsible sense of sharing and communion involves faithful of all communities in support for the needs of mission lands. This is an eloquent sign of the catholicity of the Church."
"Unity of evangelizing activity grows in the extent to which all activity has as its reference God who is love," and "Christ, in whom that love finds its supreme expression," the Holy Father continued.
Benedict XVI exhorted those present never to reduce their activity "to mere organizational efficiency or linked to particular interests of any kind."
"Always be a manifestation of divine love," he exhorted.
The Pontifical Missionary Works, an institution of the universal Church and of each particular Church, was founded to support the missionary activity of the Church in non-Christian regions.
The institution carries out its task through diocesan directorates and missionary institutes, created primarily for world evangelization.
The Pontifical Missionary Works, which is under the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, has four key tasks:
-- The Work of the Propagation of the Faith: whose object is to awaken interest and responsibility for universal evangelization among families, Christian communities, parishes, teaching centers, ecclesial movements, and apostolic associations. It also works to promote spiritual and material assistance and the exchange of apostolic personnel for the evangelization of the world.
-- The Work of St. Peter the Apostle: concerned with making Christian people sensitive to the need of the formation of a native clergy in each mission Church, and to foster spiritual and material collaboration with future priests.
-- The Work of Missionary Childhood: to assist educators and trainers of children and adolescents by awakening in them a universal missionary conscience and guiding them toward a spiritual and material communion with children of less affluent regions and Churches.
-- The Pontifical Missionary Union of the Clergy: responsible for promoting the missionary formation of priests, of members of religious institutes and societies of common life, of secular institutes and candidates to the priesthood and consecrated life, and of persons committed to the pastoral ministry of the Church.