VATICAN CITY, 19 MAY 2011 (VIS) - This afternoon the Holy Father received students of the "Teresianum" Pontifical Theology Faculty of Rome on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the foundation of their faculty.
Referring to the academic institution's Carmelite spirituality, the Pope highlighted the "vast movement of renewal that began in the Church as the fruit of the witness of St. Teresa of Jesus and St. John of the Cross. It aroused that resurgence of ideals and fervor of contemplative life that in the 1500s enflamed, so to speak, Europe and the entire world".
Addressing the students, Benedict XVI emphasized that "your work of anthropological and theological research is also situated in the wake of this influence, the task of penetrating the mystery of Christ, with intelligence of the heart, which is in turn a knowing and a loving. This demands that Jesus be located at the center of everything, of your feelings and thoughts, of your prayer, study, and work, of your entire life".
"Be aware", he continued, "that these years of study are a precious gift of Divine Providence, a gift that should be embraced with faith and diligently lived as an unrepeatable opportunity to grow in the knowledge of the mystery of Christ".
The Pope noted that "in today's context, an in-depth study of Christian spirituality is very important upon which to base your anthropological presuppositions. The specific preparation that it provides is certainly important because it makes one adapt for and capable of teaching this discipline, but it is an even greater grace for the wise cultural background that it brings with it for the delicate task of spiritual direction".
While recalling that "the Church continues to recommend the practice of spiritual direction", the Holy Father asserted that "each person, and in particular those who have welcomed God's call to follow Him more closely, need to be personally accompanied by a guide who is sure in the doctrine and expert in the things of God; a guide who can help protect against simple subjectivism, making available their own wealth of knowledge and lived experience in following Jesus".
The Holy Father asked the students to make the most of what they have learned in these years of study "to accompany those whom Divine Providence entrusts to you, helping them discern the spirits and follow the movements of the Holy Spirit, with the goal of leading them to the fullness of grace".
Commenting on the fact of their meeting in Rome, Benedict XVI encouraged the students "to open yourselves to the universal dimension of the Church, ... to 'sentire cum Ecclesia', in profound harmony with the Successor of Peter" and urged them "to love and serve the Church every day with a greater and more passionate ability".
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