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

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." (John 10:10 ESV)

Lamb and Redeemer

When You were baptized in the Jordan, O Lord, * worship of the Trinity was revealed, * for the Father's voice bore witness to You, calling You His “beloved Son”, * and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the certainty of these words. * O Christ God, * Who appeared and enlightened the world, glory to You! (Troparion, Tone 1)

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

You have appeared to the whole world today, * and Your light, O Lord, is signed upon us, * who with knowledge praise You in song: * "You have come, and You have appeared, O Unapproachable Light." (Kontakion, Tone 4)

Random Proverb

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:6 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The soul has followed Moses and the cloud, both of these serving as guides for those who would advance in virtue; Moses here represents the commandments of the Law; and the cloud that leads the way, its spiritual meaning. The soul has been purified by crossing the Sea; it has removed from itself and destroyed the enemy army. It has tasted of the waters of Marah, that is, of life deprived of all sinful pleasure; and this at first had seemed bitter and unpleasant to the taste but offered a sensation of sweetness to those who accepted the wood. Next it enjoyed the beauty of the palm trees of the gospel and the springs; it filled itself with the living water, that is, the rock. It took within itself the bread of heaven. It overwhelmed the foreign host - a victory due to the extended arms of the Lawgiver, which thus foreshadowed the mystery of the Cross. Only then can the soul go on to the contemplation of transcendent Being.

St. Gregory of Nyssa