3 September, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 12/13/2009
VATICAN
Pope: The crib is a school of life, to learn the secret of true joy
Thousands of children in St Peter's Square for the blessing of the "Infant Jesus", "Benedict XVI tells them that the crib, as it was for St. Francis, is to discover that Jesus is the centre of life, and that the love of God urges us to" make a gift of ourselves to others” even in the midst of “discomfort”, "poverty”, "exclusion". Prayers for four missionaries killed in recent days in Congo, Kenya, South Africa.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The Nativity Scene, the dramatic representation of the birth of Jesus is not just a repetition of a traditional gesture, but "a school of life where we can learn the secret of true joy," which "does not consist in having many things":  this was Benedict XVI’s message to the thousands of pilgrims in St. Peter's Square for the Angelus the third Sunday of Advent. Among the faithful there were at least 2 thousand children who had brought their statues of the Infant Jesus to be blessed by the Pope, before they place them in the manager this Christmas Eve.

The pontiff spoke to them directly: "I see here in St. Peter's Square so many children and teenagers, along with parents, teachers and catechists. Dear friends, I greet you all with great affection and I thank you for coming. It gives me great joy to know that in your family the tradition of the Nativity Scene is still kept. But it is not enough to repeat a traditional gesture, however important. Try to live in the reality of every day what the crib is, the love of Christ, his humility, his poverty. This is what St. Francis did in Greccio: he created a living Nativity scene, to be able to contemplate and adore it, but above all to know how best to put into practice the message of the Son of God who for our sakes was stripped of everything and became a little child”.

For several years the crib has been the centre of much controversy in Italy, similar to recent polemics surrounding the public exposure of the crucifix. In the past it was set up in public places: schools, stations, shops. But different secularist personalities claim that the Nativity Scene is an attack on the religious freedom of others and for this, especially in schools, they prefer not display it.

The pope did not mention this controversy; instead he emphasized the value of this simple tradition: "The crib is a school of life where we can learn the secret of true joy. This does not consist in having so many things, but in feeling loved by the Lord, in becoming a gift for others and loving one another. Let us look at the Nativity Scene: the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph do not seem like a very lucky family, they had their first child in the midst of great hardship, and yet are filled with deep joy, because they love each other, help each other and, above all, are certain that in their history God is at work, present in the Infant Jesus.  And the shepherds? What reason would they have to rejoice? That baby will not change their condition of poverty and marginalization. But faith helps them to recognize in the 'infant wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger', the 'sign' of the fulfillment of the promises of God for all men 'whom he loves' (Luke 2,12.14), even for them!” .

"This, dear friends - concluded Benedict XVI - is what true joy is; the feeling that our personal and community lives are visited and filled by a great mystery, the mystery of God’s love.  We need more than things to rejoice, we need love and truth: we need a God close at hand, who warms our hearts, and responds to our deepest yearnings. This God was manifested in Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary. So that Child, that we put in the manger or cave, is the centre of everything, He is the heart of the world. We pray that every man, like the Virgin Mary, may accept as a centre of their lives the God who became a Child, the source of true joy".

After the Marian prayer, in greetings, the Pope recalled the deaths of four missionaries killed in recent days in Africa: Fr. Daniel Cizimya (killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo), Fr. Louis Blondel (South Africa), Fr. Gerry Roche (Kenya), Sr Denise Kahambu (DR of Congo). They, said the pontiff, " have been faithful witnesses to the Gospel, who were able to proclaim with courage, even risking their lives. While I express my closeness to the families and communities who are in pain, I invite everyone to join me in praying that the Lord will accept them in his house, to console those who mourn their loss and bring with His coming, reconciliation and peace. "

Photo: CPP

 


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
12/23/2011 VATICAN
Choirs and music from around the world at the Pope’s Nativity scence
12/22/2010 VATICAN
Pope: prepare for Christmas not only decorating our homes, but also purifying our souls
06/29/2008 VATICAN
Pope: Rome, unity and mission to all peoples at feast of Peter and Paul
12/21/2008 VATICAN
Pope: Christmas, the solstice, and astronomy
03/14/2010 VATICAN
Pope: we contemplate the Father's heart, in the parable of the prodigal son

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.