On the first day of his Easter vacation, Pope Benedict XVI told Christians to turn to the risen Christ if they wish to discover the purpose of their lives.
"Only if we turn to God, to pray, can we discover the deepest meaning of our lives, and our daily journey will be illuminated by the light of the Risen One," he told those gathered in the courtyard of the papal holiday residence at Castel Gandolfo, 15 miles southeast of Rome.
"Truly the Lord is risen! Hallelujah! The Resurrection of the Lord marks the renewal of our human condition. Christ has conquered death, caused by our sin, and brings us back to eternal life," the Pope said one day after celebrating Easter at the St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.
Drawing upon various sources the Pope asked, "How can we meet the Lord and become His most authentic witnesses?”
Pope Benedict turned to St. Maximus of Turin for the answer, recalling his quote: ‘Whoever wants to reach the Savior, first must put his faith into the right hand of God and ... he must learn to constantly gaze with mind and heart upon the heights of God, where Christ is risen."
Pope Benedict then led those in attendance in praying the "Regina Coeli" or "Queen of Heaven."
In the weeks following Easter Sunday, the Regina Coeli is the standard midday prayer of the Holy Father and the wider Catholic Church. It replaces the usual noontide "Angelus" prayer. The "Regina Coeli" recalls the resurrection of Jesus Christ with special reference to his mother Mary.
The Pope concluded his address by looking forward to his forthcoming visit to Venice on this the feast day of the city's patron, St. Mark the Evangelist.