Pope’s Last Angelus Message: The Lord is Calling Me to Climb the Mountain

The Holy Father gave his last Angelus meditation as pope to huge crowds today.

It was a beautiful good-bye, in which he said:

Dear brothers and sisters, I feel that this Word of God is particularly directed at me, at this point in my life. The Lord is calling me to “climb the mountain”, to devote myself even more to prayer and meditation. But this does not mean abandoning the Church, indeed, if God is asking me to do this it is so that I can continue to serve the Church with the same dedication and the same love with which I have done thus far, but in a way that is better suited to my age and my strength.

The complete text of the Holy Father’s Angelus address is below. You can find it on the Vatican Radio website:

Dear brothers and sisters!

On the second Sunday of Lent, the liturgy always presents us with the Gospel of the Transfiguration of the Lord. The evangelist Luke places particular emphasis on the fact that Jesus was transfigured as he prayed: his is a profound experience of relationship with the Father during a sort of spiritual retreat that Jesus lives on a high mountain in the company of Peter, James and John , the three disciples always present in moments of divine manifestation of the Master (Luke 5:10, 8.51, 9.28).
The Lord, who shortly before had foretold his death and resurrection (9:22), offers his disciples a foretaste of his glory. And even in the Transfiguration, as in baptism, we hear the voice of the Heavenly Father, “This is my Son, the Chosen One listen to him” (9:35). The presence of Moses and Elijah, representing the Law and the Prophets of the Old Covenant, it is highly significant: the whole history of the Alliance is focused on Him, the Christ, who accomplishes a new “exodus” (9:31) , not to the promised land as in the time of Moses, but to Heaven. Peter’s words: “Master, it is good that we are here” (9.33) represents the impossible attempt to stop this mystical experience. St. Augustine says: “[Peter] … on the mountain … had Christ as the food of the soul. Why should he come down to return to the labours and pains, while up there he was full of feelings of holy love for God that inspired in him a holy conduct? “(Sermon 78.3).

We can draw a very important lesson from meditating on this passage of the Gospel. First, the primacy of prayer, without which all the work of the apostolate and of charity is reduced to activism. In Lent we learn to give proper time to prayer, both personal and communal, which gives breath to our spiritual life. In addition, to pray is not to isolate oneself from the world and its contradictions, as Peter wanted on Tabor, instead prayer leads us back to the path, to action. “The Christian life – I wrote in my Message for Lent – consists in continuously scaling the mountain to meet God and then coming back down, bearing the love and strength drawn from him, so as to serve our brothers and sisters with God’s own love “(n. 3).

Dear brothers and sisters, I feel that this Word of God is particularly directed at me, at this point in my life. The Lord is calling me to “climb the mountain”, to devote myself even more to prayer and meditation. But this does not mean abandoning the Church, indeed, if God is asking me to do this it is so that I can continue to serve the Church with the same dedication and the same love with which I have done thus far, but in a way that is better suited to my age and my strength. Let us invoke the intercession of the Virgin Mary: may she always help us all to follow the Lord Jesus in prayer and works of charity.

I offer a warm greeting to all the English-speaking visitors present for this Angelus prayer, especially the Schola Cantorum of the London Oratory School. I thank everyone for the many expressions of gratitude, affection and closeness in prayer which I have received in these days. As we continue our Lenten journey towards Easter, may we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus the Redeemer, whose glory was revealed on the mount of the Transfiguration. Upon all of you I invoke God’s abundant blessings!

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    “a way that is better suited to my age and my strength.”

    I hope that implies he will still write his great books and speak out on theology. He is the most brilliant theologian I’ve ever come across. God bless him.

    • http://fpb.livejournal.com/ Fabio P.Barbieri

      Amen. But if he were to stop at what he has produced so far, he would still be one of the great figures of his time, and not only among Christians.

  • Bill S

    I will try to present a more sustainable comment regarding Pope Benedict. I saw him at Yankee Stadium when he came here and it was quite a thrill. However, since I have done more research and can no longer accept the teachings of the Catholic Church, my opinion of his reign has changed.

    I am particularly influenced by the words of Paul to the Corinthians:

    “Now if Christ is preached that He rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: and if Christ is not risen, then is our preaching in vain, and your faith is also in vain. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: whom He raised not up, if it is so that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not then is not Christ raised: and if
    Christ is not raised, your faith is in vain; you are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” 1 Corinthians 15:12-19.

    I know that those words are intended to make believers of us all, but they have had the opposite effect on me. I won’t say how this affects my opinion of Benedict for fear of being deleted again. If only believers could honestly look at life through the eyes of an unbeliever, they might understand where they are coming from. No disrespect intended. I just believe that the resurrection would be a supernatural event and to me there is no supernatural anything.

    • Deacon Matt

      I personally did not read any disrespect in your comment Bill but I am afraid that at this moment it may be beyond my ability to truly look at things as an unbeliever, just as it may be beyond your ability to truly look at things as a believer. I suppose that Stuart Chase may have been right when he said. “For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t believe, no proof is possible.” I have come to see that my belief came to me as a gift without any trappings of proof. More precisely, as an opening of a gift in many stages over a series of years. I didn’t learn it from theologians, evangelists, philosophers or any natural means. I just know, in the core of my being, the truth of my belief. Is that a supernatural gift? Well, I am not smart enough to argue about it, I only know that I am glad that I have received it. Do you, in a similar way, see your unbelief as a gift that brings you joy? Perhaps that is so and if it is, then we shall both be content in our respective gifts. I hope that you won’t mind if I waste a moment of my time and pray for you to one day receive a blessing of the gift of faith from the God that you do not believe can exist. Because from where I sit, I see a restless heart that will not rest until it rests in God. Peace be with you Bill and with all those whom you love.

  • Bill S

    Thank you Deacon Matt. I appreciate it when someone prays for me just for the fact that they care and are thinking about me. The fact that they are just talking to the portion of their brain that they know as God or Jesus or Mary or one of the saints or other departed relative or friend does not change that.

    I’m stuck because I am surrounded by devout Catholics whose friendship I do not want to do without. The views I express on this blog would devastate them so I continue to practice the rituals. I listen to readings and homilies and I cringe. I’m not searching for anything but an acceptable way of living a dual life. Practicing Catholic / Closet Atheist.

    Not believing anymore has freed up my mind to see life much differently. I came from nothing and I will return to nothing. The time in between is my life. Some morals are obsolete. Some teachings have been disproved by science. People don’t ascend to heaven by going up into the sky. That is the way to outer space, the moon, the planets – See more at: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/publiccatholic/2013/02/popes-last-angelus-message-the-lord-is-calling-me-to-climb-the-mountain/#com-head all of this won’t make my life any better but to me it is the real Truth. I hope I didn’t type all this just to have it deleted. I’m going to copy and save it for myself.


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