» 01/08/2012, 00.00
Pope: renewing the joy of being children: as men and as Christians
Shortly after having baptized 16 babies, Benedict XVI explains what it means to be children ("Coming into the world is never a choice"), to being parents when life is accepted as a gift. Christians accept life as being a gift of the Father, revealed by Jesus Christ. Baptism is a new birth in the Spirit "in the womb of the Church."
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - In his reflection before praying the Angelus, Benedict XVI wanted to present "a short reflection on our being children of God," to renew "the joy of being children as men and as Christians" .
In the morning, the pontiff had baptised to 16 babies during a Mass celebrated in the Sistine Chapel. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, it is baptism that makes us "children of God."
"First of all - the pope said – let us start with our being children: this is the fundamental condition that binds us together. Not all of us are parents, but surely we are all children. We never choose to come into this world; we are not asked first if we want to be born. But during life, we can develop a free attitude towards life itself: we welcome it as a gift and, in a sense, 'become' what we already are: we become children. This step marks a maturity in our souls and our relationship with our parents, which is filled with gratitude. It is a passage that also makes us capable of being parents ourselves - not biologically, but morally. "
"Even in God - he added - we are all children. God is the origin of the existence of every creature, and the Father in a unique way of every human being: he has a unique, personal relationship with him or her. Each of us is willed, is loved by God even in this relationship with God we can, so to speak, 'be born again', that is what we become. This happens through faith, through our deep and personal ‘yes’ to God as the source and foundation of our existence. With this 'yes' we accept life as a gift of the Father in Heaven, a Father we cannot see but whom we believe in and feel deep within our hearts to be our Father and the Father of all humanity, an immensely good and faithful Father. What is the basis of this faith in God the Father? It is based in Jesus Christ: His person and history has shown us the Father, it has made Him known to us, as far as possible, in this world. Believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, allows us to be 'born again', that is in the God who is love (cf. Jn 3.3). St. John says as much about Jesus: 'To all who received Him / He gave the power to become children of God' (Jn 1.12). This is the meaning of the sacrament of Baptism; it is a new birth, which occurs through the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Church. "
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The Sistine Chapel as a little parish: a tradition begun with John Paul II. Benedict XVI stresses that parents are educators, and not "owners" of their children. Having children baptized is not an act of "violence." The feast of the Baptism of Jesus "introduces us to the daily reality of a personal relationship with him."
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