April 22, 2009.
Today I would like to speak about the writings of a
little-known author from the eighth century the Benedictine monk and
abbot Ambrose Autpert.
The turbulence of the times in which he lived affected life within the monasteries, and many of Autperts writings summon his brethren to rekindle the fervour of their monastic vocation. One of his most widely-read works is his Conflict between the vices and the virtues, designed to assist his monks in their daily spiritual struggle. For each of twenty-four vices threatening the soul, he indicated the corresponding virtue that would help the Christian to overcome temptation. Observing the widespread thirst for power and wealth in society of that time, he taught that greed is the root of all vices, and he urged his contemporaries to seek the narrow gate that leads to life. In his extensive commentary on the Book of Revelation, viewed as a treatise on the Church, Autpert taught that Christ must "be born, die and rise again every day in us, his body". Hence the Virgin Mary serves as a model of the Church. Indeed, Autpert is considered the first great Marian theologian in the West, and he writes with an almost mystical love for the Blessed Virgin. Love, he says, is the key to our knowledge of God. Intellectual study may point the way, but only when we love God do we truly know him. Following Autperts teaching, let us strive to grow daily in our love for God.
I am pleased to welcome the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors here today, including groups from Britain and Ireland, Scandinavia, Australia, Canada and the United States of America. I extend a special greeting to the young people from India. Upon all of you, and upon your families and loved ones, I invoke Gods blessings of joy and peace.