VATICAN CITY, 2 SEP 2009 (VIS) - In this morning's general audience, held in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, the Pope resumed his series of catecheses on the great writers of the mediaeval Church in East and West. The Holy Father arrived in the Vatican by helicopter from Castelgandolfo, and returned there following his audience.
Focusing his remarks on St. Odo, Benedict XVI explained how the saint was born around the year 880, eventually becoming the second abbot of the famous abbey of Cluny. "From that centre of spiritual life, he was able to exercise a vast influence on the monasteries of the continent", fomenting a lifestyle and a spirituality inspired by the Rule of St. Benedict. He died in 942.
The Pope mentioned some of the saint's virtues, highlighting his "patience, ... detachment from the world, zeal for souls, commitment to peace, ... observance of the commandments, concern for the poor, education of the young and respect for the elderly".
"One aspect that merits particular attention is the devotion to the Body and Blood of Christ which Odo - in the face of a widespread negligence that he vigorously deplored -cultivated with conviction. He was, in fact, firmly convinced of the real presence of the Body and Blood of the Lord under the Eucharistic species, by virtue of the 'substantial' conversion of the bread and wine".
St. Odo said that "only those who are spiritually united to Christ can worthily receive His Eucharistic Body; in any other case, eating His flesh and drinking His blood would not be beneficial, but harmful".
The Holy Father highlighted how "St. Odo was a true spiritual guide, both for the monks and for the faithful of his time. Faced with the 'immensity of vices' spread throughout society, the remedy he proposed ... was that of a radical change of lifestyle founded upon humility, austerity, detachment from the ephemeral and adherence to the eternal".
With "the profound goodness of his soul, Odo diffused around him the joy with which he himself was filled. ... Through his resolute activities he nourished in the monks, and in the lay faithful of his time, a desire to proceed rapidly along the path of Christian perfection".
Benedict XVI concluded his remarks by expressing the hope that "the goodness of St. Odo, the joy that derives from faith, ... may touch our hearts and that we too may discover the source of happiness that comes from the goodness of God".
AG/ST. ODO/... VIS 20090902 (430)