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ADVENT WITH BENEDICT XVI

 

 

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HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI AT THE CELEBRATION OF FIRST VESPERS OF ADVENT

Vatican Basilica Saturday, 1st December 2012

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
With this evening celebration the Lord gives us the grace and joy of opening the new Liturgical Year, starting with its first season: Advent, the period that commemorates the coming of God among us. Every beginning brings a special grace, because it is blessed by the Lord.
In this Advent Season we shall be granted once again to experience the closeness of the One who created the world, who guides history and who cared for us to the point of deigning to become a man....

 

 


 

 

 

HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI AT THE CELEBRATION OF FIRST VESPERS OF ADVENT Vatican Basilica Saturday, 27 November 2010 

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
With this evening celebration the Lord gives us the grace and joy of opening the new Liturgical Year, starting with its first season: Advent, the period that commemorates the coming of God among us. Every beginning brings a special grace, because it is blessed by the Lord.
In this Advent Season we shall be granted once again to experience the closeness of the One who created the world, who guides history and who cared for us to the point of deigning to become a man.
This great and fascinating mystery of the God-with-us, indeed, of the God who becomes one of us, is what we shall celebrate in the coming weeks journeying towards holy Christmas. During theSeason of Advent we shall feel the Church which takes us by the hand and — in the image of Mary Most Holy, expresses her motherhood, enabling us to experience the joyful expectation of the coming of the Lord, who embraces us all in his love that saves and consoles.

While our hearts look forward to the annual celebration of Christ’s Birth, the Church’s Liturgy directs our gaze to the final goal: our encounter with the Lord who will come in the splendour of glory. For this reason in every Eucharist we “announce his death, proclaim his Resurrection until he comes again”, we watch in prayer.
The Liturgy does not cease to encourage and support us, putting on our lips, in the days of Advent, the cry with which the whole of Sacred Scripture ends, on the last page of the Revelation to St John: “Come, Lord Jesus” (22:20).
Dear brothers and sisters, our gathering this evening for the beginning of the journey through Advent is enriched by another important reason: together with the whole Church we wish to celebrate a solemn prayer vigil for unborn life. I would like to express my gratitude to all those who have accepted this invitation and to those who are specifically dedicated to welcoming and safeguarding human life in its various situations of frailty, especially when it is newly conceived and in its early stages.



 

Precisely, the beginning of the Liturgical Year helps us live anew the expectation of God who took flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary, God who makes himself little, who becomes a child; it speaks to us of the coming of a God who is close, who chose to experience human life from the very beginning in order to save it totally, in its fullness. And so the mystery of Lord’s Incarnation and the beginning of human life are closely and harmoniously connected and in tune with each other in the one saving plan of God, the Lord of the life of each and everyone.
The Incarnation reveals to us, with intense light and in a surprising way, that every human life has a very lofty and incomparable dignity.
In comparison with all the other living beings that populate the earth man has an unmistakable originality. He is presented as the one unique being, endowed with intelligence and free will, as well as consisting of material reality. He lives simultaneously and inseparably in both the spiritual and the corporal dimension.

This is also suggested in the text of the First Letter to the Thessalonians that has just been proclaimed: “May the God of peace himself”, St Paul writes, “sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (5:23).
We are therefore spirit, soul and body. We are part of this world, tied to the possibilities and limitations of our material condition, while at the same time we are open to an infinite horizon, able to converse with God and to welcome him within us. We are active in earthly realities and through them we are able to perceive God’s presence and to reach out to him, Truth, Goodness and absolute Beauty. We savour fragments of life and happiness and yearn for complete fulfilment.
God loves us deeply, totally and without making distinctions. He calls us to friendship with him, he makes us part of a reality beyond every imagination and every thought and word: his divine life itself.

With feeling and gratitude, let us be aware of the value of every human person’s incomparable dignity and of our great responsibility to all. “Christ, the final Adam”, the Second Vatican Council states, “by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and his love, fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear… by his Incarnation, the Son of God has in a certain way united himself with each man” (Gaudium et Spes, n. 22).
Believing in Jesus Christ also means seeing man in a new way, with trust and hope. Moreover, experience itself and right reason testify that the human being is capable of understanding and of wanting, conscious of himself and free, unrepeatable and irreplaceable, the summit of all earthly realities, and who demands to be recognized as a value in himself and deserves always to be accepted with respect and love. He is entitled not to be treated as an object to be possessed or a thing to be manipulated at will, and not to be exploited as a means for the benefit of others and their interests.
The human person is a good in himself and his integral development must always be sought. Love for all, moreover, if it is sincere, tends spontaneously to become preferential attention to the weakest and poorest. This explains the Church’s concern for the unborn, the frailest, those most threatened by the selfishness of adults and the clouding of consciences.


The Church continually reasserts what the Second Vatican Council declared against abortion and against every violation of unborn life: “from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care” (ibid., n. 51).
Cultural trends exist that seek to anaesthetize consciences with spurious arguments. With regard to the embryo in the mother's womb, science itself highlights its autonomy, its capacity for interaction with the mother, the coordination of biological processes, the continuity of development, the growing complexity of the organism.
It is not an accumulation of biological material but rather of a new living being, dynamic and marvelously ordered, a new individual of the human species. This is what Jesus was in Mary’s womb; this is what we all were in our mother’s womb. We may say with Tertullian, an ancient Christian writer: “the one who will be a man is one already” (Apologeticum IX, 8), there is no reason not to consider him a person from conception.
Unfortunately, even after birth, the lives of children continue to be exposed to neglect, hunger, poverty, disease, abuse, violence and exploitation. The many violations of their rights sorrowfully wound the conscience of every person of good will.
In the face of the sad view of injustices committed against human life, before and after birth, I make my own Pope John Paul II’s passionate appeal to the responsibility of each and every individual: “respect, protect, love and serve life, every human life! Only in this direction will you find justice, development, true freedom, peace and happiness!” (Encyclical Evangelium vitae, n. 5).
I urge politicians, leaders of the economy and of social communications to do everything in their power to promote a culture ever respectful of human life, to obtain favourable conditions and support networks for the acceptance and development of life.
Let us entrust our prayers and our commitment to unborn life to the Virgin Mary, who welcomed the Son of God made man with her faith, with her maternal womb, with her attentive care, with her nurturing support, vibrant with love.
Let us do so in the Liturgy — which is the place where we live the truth and where truth lives with us — adoring the divine Eucharist in which we contemplate Christ’s Body, that Body which took flesh from Mary through the action of the Holy Spirit, and was born of her in Bethlehem for our salvation. Ave, verum Corpus, natum de Maria Virgine!

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Angelus Message His Holiness Benedict XVI

First Sunday of Advent, 2nd December 2012

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today, together with the Church, we are beginning the new liturgical year: a new journey of faith to experience together in Christian communities but, as always, also to be taken within world history so as to open it to God's mystery, to the salvation that comes from his love. The liturgical year begins with the Season of Advent....
I wish everyone a good Sunday and a good journey through Advent.

 

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2nd Week of Advent Pictorial Meditation: click here>>>

ANGELUS OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI SECOUND SUNDAY OF ADVENT

9th December 2012

 

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This Sunday marks the second stage of Advent. ...

To the maternal intercession of Mary, the Virgin who awaits, we entrust our journey towards the Lord who comes, as we continue our journey of Advent to prepare our hearts and our lives for the coming of Emmanuel, God-with-us.

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After the Angelus the Pope said:
...
I wish you all a good Sunday.


 

 

 

 

 

“As we prepare for Christmas, it is important that we find time for self contemplation and carry out an honest assessment of our lives”, said Pope Benedict XVI Sunday, in his reflections before the midday Angelus prayer on this second Sunday of Advent.




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SOLEMNITY OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY - ANGELUS

8th December 2012

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

After the Angelus:

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ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI Solemnity of the Immaculate of the Blessed Virgin Mary

ACT OF VENERATION OF THE IMMACULATE VIRGIN IN PIAZZA DI SPAGNA

Solemnity of the Immaculate of the Blessed Virgin Mary8th December 2010

Wednesday, 8 December 2010
(Video)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This year too we have arranged to meet here, in Piazza di Spagna, to pay homage to the Immaculate Virgin on the occasion of her solemn Feast. I address my cordial greeting to all of you who have come here in great numbers, as well as to those who are taking part via radio and television. We are gathered round this historic monument, which today is surrounded by a mass of flowers, a sign of the love and devotion of the Roman People for the Mother of Jesus. The most beautiful gift, the most pleasing to her and which we are offering to her, is our prayer, the prayers we carry in our hearts and entrust to her intercession. They are invocations of thanksgiving and petition: thanksgiving for the gift of faith and for all the good we receive from God; and petition for the various needs, for the family, for health and for work, for every difficulty that life makes us encounter.
But when we come here, especially on this occasion of 8 December, what we receive from Mary is far more important than what we offer her. In fact, she gives us a message destined for each one of us, for the City of Rome and for the whole world. I, who am the Bishop of this City, also come to listen, not only for myself, but for everyone. And what does Mary say? She speaks to us with the Word of God who was made flesh in her womb. Her “message” is nothing other than Jesus, the One who is the whole of her life. It is thanks to him and for him that she is Immaculate. And just as the Son of God became a man for our sake, so too she, the Mother, was preserved from sin for our sake, for everyone, in anticipation of God’s salvation for every human being.
Thus Mary tells us that we are all called to open ourselves to the action of the Holy Spirit in order, in our ultimate destiny, to attain an immaculate state, fully and definitively free from evil. She tells us this with her own holiness, with her gaze full of hope and compassion which evokes words such as these: “Do not fear, my child, God loves you; he loves you personally; he thought of you before you came into the world and called you into being to fill you with love and with life; and for this reason he came to meet you, he made himself like you, he became Jesus, God-man, like you in all things but without sin; he gave himself for your sake to the point of dying on the Cross, and thus he gave you a new life, free, holy and immaculate” (cf. Eph 1:3-5).
Mary gives us this message and, when I come here on this Feast, it impresses me because I feel it is addressed to the whole City, to all the men and women who live in Rome: even to those who do not think of it, who do not even remember that today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception; to those who feel lonely and forsaken.
Mary’s gaze is God’s gaze upon each one of us. She looks at us with the Father’s love itself and blesses us. She acts as our “advocate” and we invoke her thus in the Salve, Regina: Advocata nostra. Even if everyone were to speak badly of us, she, the Mother, would speak well of us because her immaculate Heart is in tune with God’s mercy. So it is that she sees the City: not as an anonymous agglomeration but as a constellation in which God knows each one personally by name, one by one, and calls us to shine with his light. And those who in the world’s eyes are the first, to God are the lowliest; those who are little to God are great.
The Mother looks at us as God looked at her, a humble young girl of Nazareth, insignificant in the world’s eyes but chosen and precious to God. He recognizes in each one his or her likeness to his Son Jesus, even though we are so different! But who knows the power of divine Grace better than her? Who knows better than her that nothing is impossible for God who can even draw good from evil?
This, dear brothers and sisters, is the message we receive here, at the feet of Mary Immaculate.
It is a message of trust for every person of this City and of the whole world; a message of hope not made of words but of her history itself. She, a woman of our lineage, who gave birth to the Son of God and shared her whole life with him! And today she tells us: this is also your destiny, your own destiny and the destiny of all: to be holy like our Father, to be immaculate like our Brother Jesus Christ, to be loved children, all adopted in order to form a great family with no boundaries of colour or language, because God, Father of every human being, is one.
Thank you, O Mother Immaculate, for being with us always! May you never cease to watch over our City: comfort the sick, encourage the young and sustain families. Instill in them the strength to reject evil in all its forms and to choose good, even when it comes at a cost and entails going against the tide. Give us the joy to feel loved by God, blessed by him, predestined to be his children.
Immaculate Virgin, our sweetest Mother, pray for us!

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HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI AT THE CELEBRATION OF THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT

Parish of Saint Maxinilian Kolbe Saunday, 12th December 2010

(Video)

Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Parish of San Massimiliano Kolbe! Live this personal and communal path of following the Lord in a committed way. Advent is a powerful invitation to everyone to allow God to enter more and more into our life, into our houses, into our neighborhoods, into our communities, to have a light in the midst of many shadows, the many daily toils.
Dear Friends, I am very happy to be among you today to celebrate the Lord's Day, the Third Sunday of Advent, Sunday of joy. I cordially greet the cardinal vicar, the auxiliary bishop of the sector, your parish priest, whom I thank for the words that he addressed to me in the name of all of you, and the parish vicar. I greet those who are active in the parish: the catechists, the members of various groups, along with the numerous members of the Neocatechumenal Way. I greatly appreciate the decision to give a place to Eucharistic adoration, and I thank you for your prayers that you offer for me before the Blessed Sacrament. My thoughts are with all the inhabitants of this quarter, especially the elderly, the sick, the people are alone and in difficulty. I remember all and each in this Mass.
Together with all of you I admire this new church and the parish buildings and with my presence I desire to encourage you to realize in an ever better way the Church of living stones that you yourselves are. I know the many and significant efforts at evangelization that you are engaged in. I exhort all of the faithful to make your own contribution to the building up of the community, in particular in the field of catechesis, the liturgy and charity -- pillars of the Christian life -- in communion with the whole Diocese of Rome. No community can live as a cell that is isolated from the diocesan context; it must rather be a living expression of the beauty of the Church that, under the bishop's leadership -- and in the parish, under the pastor's leadership -- walks in communion toward the Kingdom of Heaven.




 

I address a special thought to families; I accompany them with the wish that they may fully realize their vocation of love with generosity and perseverance. Even when difficulties in conjugal life and in the relationships with their children present themselves, the spouses must never cease to remain faithful to that fundamental "yes" that they pronounced before God and each other on their wedding day, recalling that faithfulness to their vocation demands courage, generosity and sacrifice.
Your community includes within it many families who have come from central and southern Italy in search of work and better conditions of life. With the passing of time the community has grown and it has changed in part with the arrival of many people from Eastern Europe and other countries. Precisely starting from this concrete situation of the parish you must try to grow evermore in communion with everyone: it is important to create occasions of dialogue and to promote mutual understanding between persons from different cultures, models of life and social conditions. But it is above all necessary to help them become involved in the Christian life through care that is attentive to the real needs of each person. Here, as in every parish, it is necessary to leave those who are "near" to reach out to those who are "far away," to bring an evangelical presence to the realms of life and work. All must be able to find in the parish adequate paths of formation and experience that communal dimension that is a fundamental characteristic of Christian life. In this way they are encouraged to rediscover the beauty of Christ and of being part of his Church.
Know, then, how to form a community with everyone, united in listening to the Word of God and in the celebration of the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist. In this respect the diocesan pastoral verification that is underway on the theme "Sunday Eucharist and the Witness of Charity" is a propitious occasion to reflect upon and better live these two fundamental components of the life and mission of the Church and of every individual believer, that is, the Sunday Eucharist and the practice of charity. Gathered around the Eucharist we more easily feel that the mission of every Christian community is that of bringing the message of God's love to all men. This is why it is important that the Eucharist always be at the heart of the life of the faithful.
I would like to offer a special word of affection and friendship to you, dear young people who are listening to me and to your peers who live in this parish. The Church expects much from you, from your enthusiasm, from your capacity to look ahead and from your desire for radicality in the choices of life. Feel that you are true protagonists in the parish, putting all of your fresh energies and your life at the service of God and the brothers.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, along with the invitation to joy, today's liturgy -- with the words of St. James that we have heard -- tells us also to be constant and patient in waiting for the Lord who comes, and to be this together, as a community, avoiding complaining and judging others (cf. James 5:7-10).
We have heard in the Gospel the question of the Baptist who finds himself in prison; the Baptist announced the coming of the Judge who changes the world, and now it feels as if the world has stayed the same. He makes his disciples ask Jesus: "Are you the one who must come? Or must we look for another? Are you he or must we look for another?" In the last two or three centuries many have asked: "But are you really the one? Or must the world be changed in a truly radical way? Are you not doing it?" And many prophets, ideologies and dictators have come and said: "It isn't him! He didn't change the world! We are the ones!" And they created their empires, their dictatorships, their totalitarianism that was supposed to change the world. And they changed it, but in a destructive way. Today we know that of these great promises there has only remained a great void and great destruction. They were not the ones.



And so we must again see Christ and ask Christ: "Are you the one?" The Lord, in the silent way that is characteristic of him, answers: "See what I have done. I did not start a bloody revolution, I did not change the world by force, but I lit many lights that form, in the meantime, a great path of light through the centuries."
Let us begin here, in our parish: St. Maximilian Kolbe, who offered to starve to death to save the father of a family. What a great light he became! What light has come from this figure and encouraged others to give themselves, to be near to the suffering, to the oppressed! Let us think of Damien de Veuster who was a father to the lepers. He lived and died with and for the lepers and thus brought light into this community. Let us think of Mother Teresa, who gave so much light to people, who, after a life without light, died with a smile, because they were touched by the light of God's love.
We could go on and we would see how the Lord said in his answer to John, that it is not the violent revolution in the world, it is not the great promises that change the world, but it is the silent light of the truth, of the goodness of God that is the sign of his presence and that gives us the certainty that we are loved completely and that we are not forgotten, we are not a product of chance, but of a will of love.
In this way we can live, we can feel God's nearness. "God is near," today's first reading tells us, he is near, but we are often far away. Let us draw near, let us go to the presence of his light, we pray to the Lord and in the contact of prayer we ourselves become light for others.
And this is precisely also the meaning of the parish Church: Enter here, enter into dialogue, into contact with Jesus, with the Son of God, so that we ourselves become one of those little lights that he has lit and carry light into the world that feels that it has been redeemed.
Our spirit must open up to this invitation and thus we walk with joy to meet Christmas, imitating the Virgin Mary, who waited in prayer, with intimate and joyous trepidation, the birth of the Redeemer. Amen!

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic] © Copyright 2010 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

 

 


 

 

 

4th Week of Advent Pictorial Meditation : click here>>>

ANGELUS OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI FORTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT

St Peter's Square Sunday, 23rd December 2012

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3rd Week of Advent Pictorial Meditation: click here>>>

ANGELUS OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT

16th December 2012

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters!


[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic] © Copyright 2009 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana