01/06/2008, 00.00
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Pope: the Church, as a star for the Magi, guides men to Christ

Benedict XVI underlines the mission of the Church and for every Christian to illuminate the search for truth. Best wishes for a happy Christmas for the Churches in the east and an invitation to a common mission. Marking World Day for Missionary Children the pope also recalls the commitment of children who through prayer, small sacrifices and solidarity help evangelisation.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The star of the Three Kings, is an invitation to all Christians to become missionaries towards all mankind, illuminating “through words and witness, the steps of their brothers”; and it is also the confirmation that each man is restless in “the search for truth”.

Benedict XVI thus explains to pilgrims gathered in St Peter’s to pray the Angelus on the feast of the Epiphany , that celebration that recalls the arrival of the Three Wise Men, or Magi Bethlehem from the East to “honour the King of the Jews”. The light of the star – followed by the Magi – is a sign that “the light of Christ has begun to draw men to Him…. Of all tongues, peoples and cultures”.

 “It is the force of the Holy Spirit – explains the pope – which moves hearts and minds to search for the truth, beauty, justice and peace. That is what the Servant of God, John Paul II affirms in his encyclical Fides et ratio: ‘Man finds himself on a journey that is endless in the human sense: the search for truth and for a person to trust in" (n. 33): the Magi found both of these in the Infant Child of Bethlehem.

And he continues: “Men and women of every generation, need to be guided on their journeys: what star therefore can they follow?”.

The answer is clear: That same star that guided the Magi ceased it function, but the spiritual light is always present in the words of the Gospel, which even today is capable of guiding men to Christ.  This same world, that is the reflection of Christ true man and true God, is echoed with authority by the Church for all welcoming souls”.

Thus the Church “carries out the mission of that star for all humanity.  But the same could be said of every Christian, called to illuminate through words and witness the steps of all of his brethren.  How important it is then that we Christians are faithful to our vocation!  Each authentic believer is always on a journey of personal faith and at the same time with the same flame that he bears he can and must help all of those who surround him and perhaps have difficulty in finding the path that leads to Christ”.

The pontiff asked all Christian children to be missionaries.  Following the Angelus prayer he recalled that today the World Day of Missionary Childhood is celebrated, an event that is over 160 years old, and was initiated by the French Bishop Charles de Forbin Janson. “Jesus’ childhood – explained the pope – has become a symbol for commitment for Christian children who help the Church in its duty to evangelise through prayer, sacrifice and gestures of solidarity.  Thousands of children help the needs of other children, urged on by the love which the Son of God, who became a child, brought to the earth.  I thank all of these small children and I pray that they may always be missionaries of the Gospel.  I also thank all of their animators, who accompany them on the road of generosity, fraternity and joyous faith which generates hope”.

Benedict XVI also sent greetings to the Eastern Churches – first among them the Russian Church – who following the Julian calendar celebrate Christmas tomorrow. Apart from underling the joy of sharing the faith “in the multi-form wealth of rites”, the pope asked that “together with the Community of the Christian east, …. We invoke the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the universal Church, so that the Gospel of Christ Lumen gentium, the light of all peoples, may be spread throughout the world”.


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