30 September 2016
AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook
Geographic areas




  • > Africa
  • > Central Asia
  • > Europe
  • > Middle East
  • > Nord America
  • > North Asia
  • > South Asia
  • > South East Asia
  • > South West Asia
  • > Sud America
  • > East Asia

  • mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato


    » 12/24/2005, 00.00

    VATICAN

    Pope: Christmas, when God became small to bring us his peace



    God became one of us so that we would be able to be with Him, to become like Him. A prayer for peace in Bethlehem and in the Holy Land.

    Vatican City (AsiaNews) – God "becoming small"; the light, love and peace he brings with him in the Holy night. These were the "key words" of Christmas which Benedict XVI evoked during the first Christmas Eve celebration of his pontificate. He also called for peace in the Holy Land, the only place in the world he mentioned.

    Christmas is above all an "involvement" of man in the very mystery of God. "The Child lying in the manger is truly God's Son. God is not eternal solitude but rather a circle of love and mutual self-giving. He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. But there is more: in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, God himself became man. To him the Father says: 'You are my son'. God's everlasting 'today' has come down into the fleeting today of the world and lifted our momentary today into God's eternal today. God is so great that he can become small. God is so powerful that he can make himself vulnerable and come to us as a defenceless child, so that we can love him. God is so good that he can give up his divine splendour and come down to a stable, so that we might find him, so that his goodness might touch us, give itself to us and continue to work through us. This is Christmas: 'You are my son, this day I have begotten you'. God has become one of us, so that we can be with him and become like him. As a sign, he chose the Child lying in the manger: this is how God is. This is how we come to know him. And on every child shines something of the splendour of that 'today', of that closeness of God which we ought to love and to which we must yield – it shines on every child, even on those still unborn."

    The second "word", that is, the next concept underlined by the Pope was the light, which "pervades the entire [Christmas] liturgy": "it is the breaking of God's light upon a world full of darkness and unsolved problems". The Gospel tells us that God's glory appeared to the shepherds and "shone around them" (Lk 2:9). St John tells us: "God is light and in him is no darkness" (1 Jn 1:5). The light is a source of life. But, in the words of the Pope, "light means above all knowledge; it means truth, as contrasted with the darkness of falsehood and ignorance. So light gives us life, it shows us the way. But then, light, as a source of heat, also means love. Where there is love, light shines forth in the world; where there is hatred, the world remains in darkness. Yes, in the stable of Bethlehem there appeared the great light which the world awaits. In that Child lying in the stable, God has shown his glory – the glory of love, which gives itself away, stripping itself of all grandeur in order to guide us along the way of love. The light of Bethlehem has never been extinguished. In every age it has touched men and women, 'it has shone around them'. Wherever people put their faith in that Child, charity also sprang up – charity towards others, loving concern for the weak and the suffering, the grace of forgiveness. From Bethlehem a stream of light, love and truth spreads through the centuries. If we look to the Saints – from Paul and Augustine to Francis and Dominic, from Francis Xavier and Teresa of Avila to Mother Teresa of Calcutta – we see this flood of goodness, this path of light kindled ever anew by the mystery of Bethlehem, by that God who became a Child. In that Child, God countered the violence of this world with his own goodness. He calls us to follow that Child.

    "The true mystery of Christmas is the inner brightness radiating from this Child. May that inner brightness spread to us, and kindle in our hearts the flame of God's goodness; may all of us, by our love, bring light to the world! Let us keep this light-giving flame from being extinguished by the cold winds of our time! Let us guard it faithfully and give it to others! On this night, when we look towards Bethlehem, let us pray in a special way for the birthplace of our Redeemer and for the men and women who live and suffer there. We wish to pray for peace in the Holy Land: Look, O Lord, upon this corner of the earth, your homeland, which is so very dear to you! Let your light shine upon it! Let it know peace!"

    Peace is the third "key-word" of the Christmas Eve liturgy. Explaining the phrase "peace on earth to those whom God loves", Benedict XVI asked: "Who are those whom God loves, and why does he love them? Does God have favourites? Does he love only certain people, while abandoning the others to themselves? The Gospel answers these questions by pointing to some particular people whom God loves. There are individuals, like Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, Zechariah, Simeon and Anna. But there are also two groups of people: the shepherds and the wise men from the East, the 'Magi'. Tonight let us look at the shepherds. What kind of people were they? In the world of their time, shepherds were looked down upon; they were considered untrustworthy and not admitted as witnesses in court. But really, who were they? To be sure, they were not great saints, if by that word we mean people of heroic virtue. They were simple souls. The Gospel sheds light on one feature which later on, in the words of Jesus, would take on particular importance: they were people who were watchful. This was chiefly true in a superficial way: they kept watch over their flocks by night. But it was also true in a deeper way: they were ready to receive God's word. Their life was not closed in on itself; their hearts were open. In some way, deep down, they were waiting for him. Their watchfulness was a kind of readiness – a readiness to listen and to set out. They were waiting for a light which would show them the way. That is what is important for God. He loves everyone, because everyone is his creature. But some persons have closed their hearts; there is no door by which his love can enter. They think that they do not need God, nor do they want him. Other persons, who, from a moral standpoint, are perhaps no less wretched and sinful, at least experience a certain remorse. They are waiting for God. They realize that they need his goodness, even if they have no clear idea of what this means. Into their expectant hearts God's light can enter, and with it, his peace. God seeks persons who can be vessels and heralds of his peace. Let us pray that he will not find our hearts closed. Let us strive to be active heralds of his peace – in the world of today."

    The Pope continued: "Among Christians, the word 'peace' has taken on a very particular meaning: it has become a name for the Eucharist. There Christ's peace is present. In all the places where the Eucharist is celebrated, a great network of peace spreads through the world. The communities gathered around the Eucharist make up a kingdom of peace as wide as the world itself. When we celebrate the Eucharist we find ourselves in Bethlehem, in the 'house of bread'. Christ gives himself to us and, in doing so, gives us his peace. He gives it to us so that we can carry the light of peace within and give it to others. He gives it to us so that we can become peacemakers and builders of peace in the world. And so we pray: Lord, fulfil your promise! Where there is conflict, give birth to peace! Where there is hatred, make love spring up! Where darkness prevails, let light shine! Make us heralds of your peace!"

    e-mail this to a friend Printable version










    See also

    09/11/2005 VATICAN – HOLY LAND
    Christian activist and Muslim painter from Bethlehem meet the Pope
    In today's general audience the two Palestinians offered Benedict XVI gifts that are "symbols of the brotherhood of the two communities in the Holy Land".

    25/12/2005 VATICAN
    Pope: Only in welcoming God can mankind find humanity and peace

    In the "Urbi et Orbi" blessing, Benedict XVI talked about the "spiritual barrenness" threatening the technological man. Following the path of love indicated by God, mankind will be able to face problems like terrorism, poverty and environmental degradation. Mention was made of "men of goodwill" at work in the Holy Land, Lebanon, Iraq and Korea, "where signs of hope, which are not lacking, need to be confirmed by actions inspired by fairness and wisdom".



    14/03/2006 Vatican - holy land
    Vatican: "Presence of Christians in the Holy Land, fundamental for peace"

    In a letter addressed to Catholic bishops worldwide for the traditional "pro Terra Sancta" collection, Cardinal Moussa I Daoud writes of an area which has been "the scene of decades-long conflict" and which is causing the "disturbing phenomenon" of the exodus of Christians.



    04/01/2009 VATICAN
    Pope: with Christian leaders of Jerusalem, for end to conflict in Gaza Strip
    Benedict XVI asks all to participate in the Day of prayer scheduled for today by patriarchs and Christian leaders of the Holy Land, for justice and peace in Gaza and in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Solidarity with the victims, against hatred and war, which do not resolve any problems. The apostle John, "witness" of the "Word made flesh."

    23/12/2005 HOLY LAND
    To kneel in Bethlehem so walls may fall
    In the town surrounded by an eight-metre wall, we must rediscover the true meaning of life kneeling before the Nativity and tear down the walls of pride, selfishness, sadness and hopelessness.



    Editor's choices

    ASIANEWS SYMPOSIUM
    Mother Teresa, Mercy for Asia and for the world (VIDEO)



    We publish the video recordings of the presentations made at the international symposium organised by AsiaNews on 2 September. In order of appearance: Fr Ferruccio Brambillasca, PIME Superior General; Card Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation of Propaganda Fide; Sr Mary Prema, Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity; Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, postulator of the Cause of Mother Teresa; Card Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai; Fr John A. Worthley, on the influence of Mother Teresa in China; a witness to the influence of Mother Teresa in the Islamic world; and Mgr Paul Hinder, Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia.


    CHINA-VATICAN
    Beijing issues new, harsh draft regulations on religious activities

    Bernardo Cervellera

    Fines of up to 200 thousand yuan (27 thousand euro) for "illegal religious activities" by Catholic or other members of underground communities. "Illegal activities" include "dependence from abroad" (such as the relationship with the Vatican). The regulations preach non-discrimination, but party members are forbidden to practice their religion, even in private. Strict control of buildings, statues, crosses. Clampdown on the internet. It could be the end of the underground community.
     


    AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!

    AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.
     

    SUBSCRIBE NOW

    News feed

    Canale RSScanale RSS 

    Add to Google









     

    IRAN 2016 Banner

    2003 © All rights reserved - AsiaNews C.F. e P.Iva: 00889190153 - GLACOM®