ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II
Saturday, 14 April 1979
1. The spontaneous feeling that wells up in my heart today is joy: I have wished for this meeting, which takes place just on the eve of the holiest day for the Church, Easter! In it the Liturgy invites us to joy: "This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it! ". I wanted to see and greet you personally, Traffic Policemen who escort my car every time—and it is not a rare occurrence!—that I leave the Vatican. I wanted to stay with you for a little, in serene quietness, far from the rapid and deafening movement of cars, in order to open my heart to you very simply.
I feel it my duty to say to you: "Thank you!". Thank you for your commitment in this task, which has been entrusted to you by your Superiors, and which you carry out with exceptional ability, clear readiness and recognized dedication; but "thank you" above all for the feelings of affection for my person, which animate your behaviour, admired by everyone. Once more, thank you!
2. This commitment of yours is part of your everyday duty as men, citizens and Christians. Here is the reflection that I wish to propose for your meditation and for that of your dear ones present here.
Each of us, in society, but in particular in the Church, has a vocation and a responsibility of his own. Every Christian in the community of the People of God must contribute to the construction of the Body of Christ, which is the Church. This is the "kingly service" of which the Second Vatican Council speaks (cf. Dogm. Const. Lumen Gentium, 36), in accordance with which not only the Pope, Bishops and Priests, but all Christians, that is, married couples, parents, men and women of different conditions and professions, must construct their life, as I said already in my first Encyclical: "Married people must be distinguished for fidelity to their vocation, as is demanded by the indissoluble nature of the sacramental institution of marriage" (Enc. Redemptor Hominis, IV, 21).
On this eve of Easter, suspended, as it were, between the memory of the Passion of Jesus and that of his bodily Resurrection, I address to you, therefore, the fervent wish that you may always "hold fast your confession" (cf. Heb 4:14): faith in God the Father, faith in Jesus Christ, who died and rose again, faith in the Church; and that your individual, family and social life, in all its manifestations, may be perfectly consistent with your Christian faith, so that you will be—as St James recommended—"doers of the word, and not hearers only" (James 1:22).
Then, with St Paul, the Pope will be able to say to you with full satisfaction: "I rejoice to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ" (Col 2:5).
A Happy Easter, beloved brothers and sisters! To you, to your parents, your wives, your children, to all your dear ones, a Happy Easter!
With my Apostolic Blessing.
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