Pope John Paul II spoke of the importance of rest and silence yesterday, during his address to around 6,000 pilgrims who prayed the Angelus with him at the Italian mountain retreat of Les Combes d'Introd, Valle d'Aosta, where he is on holiday. "In this oasis of quiet," said the Pope, "amidst the marvellous spectacle of nature, one easily senses the value of silence, today an increasingly rare thing. The many opportunities for relationships and for information that modern society offers, risk sometimes eliminating room for recollection, to the point of making people incapable of reflecting and praying. "In reality, only in silence can man succeed in listening, in the intimacy of his conscience, to the voice of God which truly makes him free. And vacations can help us rediscover and cultivate this indispensable inner dimension of human existence." Saying that "the perfect model of listening to God" is Mary, to whom many shrines are dedicated in Valle d'Aosta, he blessed the statue of Our Lady of Gran Paradiso, a mountain in the area where he is vacationing, noting that the statue "had been restored 50 years after being placed on the peak of that majestic mountain. May Mary, whom we will celebrate in a few days as Queen of Mount Carmel, help us to see in the beauty of creation a reflection of divine glory, and encourage us to aim with all of our strength to the spiritual peak of holiness." Source: VIS
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