The Pope's reflections prior to praying the noon Angelus on Sunday, concentrated on the figure of St Benedict, abbot, founder of the Benedictine Order nd patron saint of Europe, whose feast day took place yesterday. The Pope reminded the 40,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square of some of the episodes in the life of this saint (480-547) from Nursia, Italy, who abandoned Rome and retired to the mountains of Subiaco. There he created "a fraternal community founded on the primacy of the love of Christ, a community in which prayer and work alternated harmoniously in praise to God." The Pope explained how the author of the famous Benedictine Rule, "amid the ashes of the Roman empire and seeking before all else the Kingdom of God, laid, perhaps unknowingly, the seed of a new civilisation which would later develop, integrating Christian values with, on the one hand, classical heritage and, on the other, Germanic and Slav cultures." Benedict XVI also recalled that the saint whose name he had taken "did not found a monastic institution with the aim of evangelizing barbarian peoples, as other great missionary monks of the time did, rather he indicated to his followers that the search for God is the fundamental, indeed the only, goal of existence." "Nevertheless, he also knew that when believers enter into a profound relationship with God, they cannot be content with living a mediocre life marked by minimalist ethics and superficial religiosity.... St Benedict said: 'Place nothing before the love of Christ.' This is sanctity, which is valid for all Christians and has become a true pastoral priority in our own times, when we feel such a need to anchor life and history to solid spiritual references." Source: VIS
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