Noting the 30th anniversary yesterday of the death of Pope John Paul I, Pope Benedict yesterday called on Catholics to cultivate the late pontiff's humility.
Pope Benedict I dedicated his Sunday Angelus to the Pope whose reign lasted 33 days, Catholic News Agency reports.
Speaking from a balcony in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace in Castel Gandolfo, Pope Benedict recalled Sunday's readings. In the Parable of the Two Sons, Jesus calls on sinners to convert and teaches humility as the means to accepting the gift of salvation.
In his Letter to the Philippians, St Paul writes, "Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vain glory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves."
The Pope said the readings brought to mind John Paul I who chose the same episcopal motto as St Charles Borromeo: Humilitas.
The Venetian Pontiff's simplicity, Pope Benedict said, "was a means of solid and fruitful instruction, which, thanks to the gift of an excellent memory and vast culture, was enriched by numerous citations of Church and secular authors." He was an unmatched catechist, in the footsteps of St Pius X, his countryman and predecessor, first in Venice, then in Rome.
"In one of the four general audiences held during his brief pontificate he said among others things and in that very informal way of his: 'I will just recommend one virtue so dear to the Lord. He said, 'Learn from me who am meek and humble of heart.'
"Even if you have done great things, say: 'We are useless servants.'"
"He noted: ‘On the contrary the tendency in all of us, is rather the contrary: to show off' (Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo I, pp. 51-52)." Thus humility can be considered as his spiritual testament," Pope Benedict said according to AsiaNews.
Thanks to this virtue of his, only 33 days were necessary for Pope Luciani to enter people's hearts, Pope Benedict concluded.
Benedict XVI recalls the humility of John Paul I on the 30th anniversary of his death (Catholic News Agency, 28/9/08)
John Paul I in "people's hearts" for his humility, Pope says (AsiaNews, 28/9/08)
Pope John Paul I (Vatican)
Pope John Paul I (Wikipedia)