Pope Benedict XVI is recommending that everyone have devotion to a particular saint — he suggested, for example, a namesake — so that the saint can offer closeness through intercession but also be a model to imitate.
ZENIT reports that the Pope said this on Wednesday 25th August 2010 when he reflected during the general audience on the saints. He gave the audience address from Castel Gandolfo, where he is staying at the papal summer residence through next month.
The Holy Father said that it is important “to have ‘travel companions’ on the journey of our Christian life: I am thinking of a spiritual director, a confessor, persons with whom we can share the experience of faith, but I am also thinking of the Virgin Mary and of the saints.”
“Each one,” he said, “should have a saint that is familiar to him, to whom he feels close with prayer and intercession, but also to imitate him or her. Hence, I would like to invite you to know the saints better, beginning with the one whose name you bear, by reading his life, his writings. You can be certain that they will become good guides to love the Lord ever more and valid aids for your human and Christian growth.”
The Pontiff noted his own closeness to St. Joseph and St. Benedict, as his namesakes, but also reflected on a saint who has “become a good ‘travel companion’ in my life and my ministry”: St. Augustine.
Benedict XVI said that St. Augustine’s teaching is particularly relevant today, since “relativism is, paradoxically, the ‘truth’ that must guide thought, decisions and behavior.”
Augustine was a great seeker of truth, the Pope noted — not ‘”pseudo-truths’ incapable of giving lasting peace of heart, but that Truth that gives meaning to existence and that is the ‘dwelling’ in which the heart finds serenity and joy.”
“St. Augustine understood that it was not he who had found Truth, but that Truth itself, which is God, pursued and found him,” the Pontiff reflected.
Referring to a passage from Augustine’s “Confessions,” in which the saint is with his mother and both “for a moment touch the heart of God in the silence of creatures,” the Holy Father said: “[C]reatures must be silent so that there will be a silence in which God can speak. This is also true in our time: Sometimes there is a sort of fear of silence, of recollection, of reflecting on one’s acts, on the profound meaning of one’s life. […] [T]here is fear of seeking the Truth, or perhaps there is fear that the Truth will find us, will grip us and change our life, as happened to St. Augustine.”
“Dear brothers and sisters,” the Pope concluded, “I would like to say to all, also to those in a difficult moment in their faith journey, those who do not participate much in the life of the Church, or those who live ‘as if God did not exist’ that they not be afraid of the Truth, that they never interrupt their journey toward it, that they never cease to seek the profound truth about themselves and about things with the internal eyes of the heart.”
“God will not fail to give Light so that one can see,” he said, “and Warmth to feel the heart that loves us and that wants to be loved.”