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4-POPE-ON-VACATION

Take God on holiday too, says Pope

— Pope Benedict XVI says holidaymakers should look to refresh their bodies and spirit

By Stephen Reilly

When packing for your holiday this summer, leave space in your suitcase for the Gospel, Pope Benedict XVI has urged.

The Holy Father said this last Sunday when greeting those gathered in St. Peter’s Square to pray the midday Angelus. Speaking in French, the Holy Father offered a brief reflection on summer holidays.

Holiday reflection

Holidays, he explained, are ‘not about leaving for the sake of leaving and resting, but rather about living our relationships with our loved ones in a new way with God.’

He noted that the Gospel passage for that Sunday (Matthew 11: 25-30), which speaks of the yoke of Christ, points out to us the need for ‘rest and serenity.’

“Jesus invites us to come to Him, to trust Him,” the Pope added. “Faith in His presence gives us the serenity of one who knows he is always loved by the Father.

“Place an emphasis on reading God’s Word, especially the Gospel, which you are sure to put in your holiday luggage. Good pilgrimage to all.”

In English, the Pope then urged everyone to enjoy their summer.

“At this time of year when so many of you are taking your annual holiday, I pray that you will truly find refreshment for body and spirit and an opportunity to rest in the Lord,” he said. “May God bestow His blessings of joy and peace upon all of you, and upon your families and loved ones at home.”

Pope Benedict also added that true rest comes not from holidays but the love of Jesus.

‘Come unto me’

He noted that just as in the time of the Gospel, many people in the poorest countries are burdened by poverty; and even in the richest countries, people face dissatisfaction and depression. He said Jesus says to all of them, ‘come unto me’.

“In today’s Gospel, Jesus invites all of us to come to Him, whatever burdens we may be carrying, whatever labours we may be engaged in, because in Him we will find rest,” he said.

But the Pope said there is a condition, to take on the ‘yoke of Christ,’ which is the law of love.

The Holy Father said the true remedy for the wounds of humanity—be they material or psychological and moral—is a rule of life based on love brotherly love, which has its source in God.

This week Pope Benedict left the Vatican for the Papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo.

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