Encourages Resuming Path of Dialogue and Negotiation

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 20, 2007 (ZENIT.org).- Benedict XVI asked the president of Sri Lanka to respect human rights and to resume dialogue to help end violence in that strife-torn Asian nation.

The Vatican Information Service reported: "Today the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Mahinda Rajapaksa, president of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

"In the course of the talks -- and in the light of the current situation in Sri Lanka -- the need was reiterated to respect human rights and resume the path of dialogue and negotiation as the only way to put an end to the violence that is bloodying the island."

The meeting lasted about 20 minutes. The president was accompanied by a 16-person delegation, as well as his wife and one of his sons.

The country has been struck by violence since 1983 when the rebel Tamil Tigers began fighting for an independent state.

The Vatican said in its report of the meeting: "The Catholic Church, which offers a significant contribution to the life of the country, will intensify her delicate task of forming consciences with the sole ambition of favoring the common good, reconciliation and peace."

Catholics comprise 7% of Sri Lanka's 21 million people. Buddhists comprise 70%.

After his audience with Benedict XVI, the president went on to meet Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state.

Code: ZE07042003

Date: 2007-04-20


Teachings of Christ

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account." (Matthew 5:11 ESV)

Joachiam and Anna Rejoice

Today the bonds of childlessness are loosed, * for God has heard Joachim and Anna * and He promises manifestly that they, against all hope, would give birth to the Maiden of God * from whom the Uncircumscribed One Himself would be born, becoming man, * and he commanded the Angels to cry out to her: * “Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with you!” (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 whole world celebrates * the conception of Anne which was brought about by God, * for she gave birth to the one who, beyond understanding, * gave birth to the Word. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

Saint Nicholas of Myra

The truth of your deeds has revealed you to your flock, * as a rule of faith, an image of meekness, and a teacher of abstinence. * Therefore, you attained the heights through humility, * and riches through poverty. * O Father and Hierarch Nicholas, * pray to Christ God that our souls may be saved. (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.

In Myra, You were shown to be a servant of the sacred things, O Holy Nicholas, * for, fulfilling the Gospel of Christ, you, O Venerable, laid down your life for your people, * and saved the innocent from death. * Therefore, you were sanctified as a great initiate of the grace of God. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

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

The Holy Eucharist is the first, most important, and greatest miracle of Christ. All the other Gospel miracles are secondary. How could we not call the greatest miracle the fact that simple bread and wine were once transformed by the Lord into His very Body and His very Blood, and then have continued to be transformed for nearly two thousand years by the prayers of priests, who are but simple human beings? And what is more, this mystery has continued to effect a miraculous change in those people who communicate of the Divine Mysteries with faith and humility. 

St. Ambrose of Optina