Catholic World News News Feature
Pope warns of excess activism August 21, 2006
At his Sunday public audience on August 20, Pope Benedict XVI cautioned against constant activism, saying that an excessively busy schedule can lead to "hardness of heart."
The temptation to lose perspective is particularly dangerous for those who serve the Church, the Holy Father said. He stressed that the "primacy of prayer and contemplation" must be maintained, especially by those who feel the pull of "important and complex missions of service to the Church."
Pope Benedict centered his remarks on the example set by St. Bernard of Clairvaux, whose feast the Church celebrated on Sunday. St. Bernard, he said, is recognized as a Doctor of the Church in large part because "his example and his teachings show how we can spend our time more usefully."
In the life of St. Bernard, the Pope continued, a deep and active prayer life "did not stop him from undertaking intense apostolic activity." Yet the saint warned against undertaking too many tasks, which can show "nothing other than suffering of the spirit, loss of intelligence, dispersion of grace."
St. Bernard, the Pope told the crowd gathered at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, fought against his own impulses to activism, and learned humility of heart through prayer. He encouraged the faithful to seek the help of the Virgin Mary in attaining the same simplicity and purity of heart.