Pope Mentions Priestly Secret to Success

Urges Future Priest-Diplomats to Foster Union With Christ

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 9, 2008 (Zenit.org).- There is a secret to success for priests, says Benedict XVI, and it is union with Christ.



The Pope affirmed this today when he received in audience students from the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, the institution that trains candidates for the Holy See diplomatic service. They were accompanied by Archbishop Beniamino Stella, president of the academy. The group was made up of some 25 priests coming from 15 nations.

"Apart from the necessary juridical, theological and diplomatic training," the Holy Father told them, "what is most important is that your lives and activities should reflect a faithful love for Christ and for the Church that brings forth in you a friendly pastoral concern for everyone."

"Unity with Christ is the secret of authentic success for the ministry of each priest," he added. "Whatever work you undertake in the Church, ensure that you always remain his true friends, faithful friends who have met him and have learned to love him above all else. Communion with him, the divine master of our souls, will ensure you serenity and peace even in the most complex and difficult moments."

Faced with the danger "of losing the meaning of life," and of "a certain contemporary culture that casts doubt upon any kind of absolute value, even the possibility of recognizing truth and goodness, we must bear witness to the presence of God, a God who understands man and knows how to speak to his heart," the Pontiff affirmed.

He added: "You must proclaim -- with your lives even more than with your words -- the joyful and consoling announcement of the Gospel of love, in places sometimes very far removed from the Christian experience.

"Announce the truth that is Christ! May prayer, meditation and listening to the word of God be your daily bread.

"May the celebration of the Eucharist be the core and the focus of your every day and of your entire ministry. [...] It is not possible to approach the Lord every day, to pronounce those tremendous moving words, 'this is my body, this is my blood,' [...] to take the body and blood of the Lord in our hands, without allowing ourselves to be seized by him, [...] without allowing his infinite love to change us within."

Benedict XVI expressed his hope that the "Eucharist become a school of life for you, in which Jesus' sacrifice on the cross teaches you to give yourselves totally to your fellow man."

He concluded, "In undertaking their mission, pontifical representatives are called to offer to others this testimony of welcome, fruit of their constant union with Christ."

The diplomats fulfill various roles for the Holy See, including the fostering of relationships with the various heads of states.

They also assist in the process of naming bishops, participating in the selection of candidates to be proposed to the Holy Father.