And so he loves the mother of Jesus, Mary.
Following a torchlight procession in the town square, Benedict praised Lourdes as a "place of light because it is a place of communion, hope and conversion."
At the shrine where Mary gave "pride of place to the sick, the poor and the little ones, we are invited to discover the simplicity of our vocation: it is enough to love," he told 40,000 faithful gathered in the square.
Organisers said they expected 150,000 faithful at the Sunday services in Lourdes, fewer than originally thought due to rain and a cold snap.
"The pope is bringing a message of peace," said Maryse Legat, who stood under grey skies near the arches of the Basilica of the Rosary leading to the grotto.
"He is here to guide us and give us certainties at a time when our world is caught up in too much turbulence," she said.