VATICAN CITY, MAR 18, 2007 (VIS) - Having returned from his visit to the "Casal del Marmo" youth detention center in Rome, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study overlooking St. Peter's Square to pray the Angelus with the thousands of pilgrims gathered there.

"Today," said the Pope, "the liturgy invites is to be joyful because Easter is approaching, the day of Christ's victory over sin and death. ... The source of Christian joy" is in the Eucharist which "nourishes in believers of all times that profound happiness which is one and the same as love and peace, and which has its roots in communion with God and with our brothers."

Benedict XVI then referred to last Tuesday's presentation of the post- Synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Sacramentum caritatis," dedicated to the subject of the Eucharist, and he emphasized how in this Sacrament "Christ wished to give us His love," the love that "brought Him to offer His life on the cross for us. At the Last Supper, washing the feet of his disciples, Jesus left us the commandment of love: 'Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.' But since this is possible only by remaining united to Him like branches to the vine, He chose to remain among us in the Eucharist, so that we could abide in Him.

"For this reason," the Holy Father added, "when we faithfully nourish ourselves of His Body and His Blood, His love passes into us and makes us, in our turn, capable of giving our life for our brothers and sisters. This is the source of Christian joy, the joy of love."

Pope Benedict concluded by recalling the figure of St. Joseph, whose solemn liturgical feast falls tomorrow, and he called for the intercession of the saint "so that, believing, celebrating and living the Eucharistic mystery with faith, the People of God may be pervaded with the love of Christ and spread the fruits of joy and peace to all humanity."

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Teachings of Christ

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26 ESV)

Protection of the Mother of God

Protected by your coming, O Mother of God, * the faithful people celebrate today with splendor, * and, gazing at your most pure image, * we say with compunction: * "Shield us with your precious veil * and deliver us from all evil * imploring your Son, Christ our God, to save our souls.” (Troparion - Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Today the Virgin stands forth in the Church, * and with the choirs of saints she invisibly prays to God for us. * The Angels worship with the hierarchs, * and the apostles exult with the prophets, * because, in our behalf, the Mother of God entreats the pre-eternal God. (Kontakion - Tone 3)

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God on October 1st.

Random Proverb

"My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding, that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge." (Proverbs 5:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

I pray Thee, compassionate Lord, do not allow me to be condemned because of the unworthy and ungrateful manner in which I contemplate the great mysteries that Thou hast revealed to Thy saints and through them to me, a sinner and Thy unworthy servant. For see, Lord, Thy servant stands before Thee, idle in everything, speechless, as one who is dead; and I do not dare to say anything more or to presumptuously contemplate further. But as always I fall down before Thee, crying from the depths of my soul. . . .

St. Peter of Damascus