At audience, pope appeals for victims of flooding around world

By  Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service
  • November 9, 2011

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI offered prayers for victims of recent flooding in Central America, Southeast Asia and other parts of the world and urged people to be generous in helping those suffering the effects of natural disasters.

In a sunny St. Peter's Square, after days of rain in Rome, Pope Benedict made his appeal at the end of his weekly general audience Nov. 9.

The Pope said various parts of the world recently had been struck by storms, flooding and landslides that left many people dead, missing or homeless.

"Once again I want to show my closeness to all those suffering from these natural disasters, while I ask for prayers for the victims and their families and for solidarity, so that institutions and people of good will work together with a generous spirit to assist the thousands of persons tried by these calamities," he said.

In his main audience talk, the pope continued his series of reflections on praying with the Psalms.

Looking at Psalm 119, "an impressive, solemn celebration of the Torah, the law of the Lord," the Pope said the psalmist recognizes that God's law "gives joy and life."

For the psalmist, the gift of God's word and his law are all he needs for life; his entire life is dedicated to studying and living them, theP ope said.

"Dear brothers and sisters, these verses have great importance for us today as well, especially for priests, who are called to live only for the Lord and his word, without other forms of security, having him as their only good and source of life," he said.

"In this light one understands the free choice of celibacy for the kingdom of heaven, whose beauty and strength needs to be rediscovered," he said.

At the same time, all Christians are called to place God's word and divine law at the center of their lives and, no matter their state of life, to follow Jesus wholeheartedly, Pope Benedict said.

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