At midday today, Benedict XVI prayed the Angelus at the Castle of Mirabello, near the chalet where he is spending a holiday in the alpine locality of Lorenzago di Cadore, Italy.
Before the Marian prayer, the Pope addressed some words to the hundreds of people who had gathered to see him. "Before this panorama of fields, woods and peaks towering up to the sky," he said, "we feel a spontaneous desire to praise God for the wonders of His work, and our admiration for such natural beauty is easily transformed into prayer.
"Each good Christian," he added, "knows that holidays are an appropriate moment for physical relaxation, as well as for nourishing the spirit by giving greater space to prayer and mediation, in order to grow in our personal relationship with Christ and to adapt ourselves ever more to His teachings."
The Pope then went on to consider today's Gospel reading on the Good Samaritan, saying that "each of us must be a neighbor to everyone we come across. … Love, says Jesus, is to behave like the Good Samaritan. And we know that the Good Samaritan par excellence is He; for although He is God, He did not hesitate to lower Himself to becoming a man and to giving His life for us.
"Love, then, is the 'heart' of Christian life. In fact only love, aroused in us by the Holy Spirit, makes us witnesses of Christ," said the Holy Father and he recalled how "this important spiritual truth" will be at the heart of his Message for 23rd World Youth Day, due to be published on Friday, July 20, with the title: 'You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses."
"This is the theme, dear young people," he concluded, "upon which I invite you to reflect over the coming months, so as to prepare yourselves for the great appointment due to take place in Sydney, Australia, in a year's time."