Thursday, April 30, 2009
VATICAN CITY, APRIL 30, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is encouraging the contemplation of Christ as the Good Shepherd to inspire authentic Christian charity toward the needy, which goes beyond activism or secular philanthropy.
The Pope said this today to a group of Argentine bishops on their five-yearly visit to Rome, led by Archbishop Luis Héctor Villalba, vicepresident of the bishops' conference.
The Pontiff affirmed that the Lord entrusts bishops with "a ministry of great importance and dignity: that of bringing his message of peace and reconciliation to all people, of caring for the holy people of God with paternal love and leading them along the path of salvation."
He added that in exercising this ministry, "a bishop must always act as a servant among his faithful, drawing constant inspiration from the One who came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life to save many."
"Truly," the Holy Father said, "to be bishop is an honor when lived with that spirit of service to others and as a humble and disinterested participation in the mission of Christ."
Benedict XVI emphasized that "frequent contemplation of the image of the Good Shepherd will serve as a model and a stimulus for your efforts to announce and spread the Gospel; it will encourage you to care for the faithful with tenderness and mercy, to defend the weak and to spend your lives in constant and generous dedication to the people of God."