Sunday, December 23, 2007

Angelus: Great Mystery of Love


Pope Benedict XVI gives his blessing during the angelus prayer from his studio overlooking St. Peter's square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2007. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)

~via Papa Ratzinger Forum

Dear brothers and sisters !

Just one day separates this fourth Sunday of Advent from Christmas Eve. Tomorrow night, we shall reunite to celebrate the great mystery of love which never ceases to astound us: God became the Son of man so that we can become children of God.

During Advent, from the heart of the church, we implored "come, Lord, to visit us with your peace, your presence, and fill us with joy."

The evangelizing mission of the Church is the answer to the cry "Come, Lrod Jesus!" which runs throughout the history of salvation and continues to arise from the lips of believers.

Come, Lord, to transform our hearts so that justice and pace may spread throughout the world. This is the significance behind the doctrinal note on some aspects of evangelization, recently issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

In effect, the document serves to remind all Christian - in a situation where, often the very reason for evangelization is no longer clear even to many faithful - that "the acceptance of the Good News in faith' by itself urges us to communicate the salvation we have received as a gift.

Indeed,"the truth which saves one’s life inflames the heart of the one who has received it with a love of neighbour that motivates him to pass on to others in freedom what he has freely been given." (No. 7).

Having received it from the presence of God, who is particularly near us at Christmas time, it is a priceless gift. A gift that enables us to "live in the universal embrace of the friends of God" (ibid), in that "network of friendship with Christ that links heaven and earth' (ibid, 9), which impels human freedom towards its fulfillment and which, if lived in truth, will flourish in "a love that is freely given and which overflows with care for the good of all people" (ibid.,7).

Nothing is more beautiful, urgent and important than to give back freely to other what we have freely received from God! Nothing can exempt or relieve us of this onerous but fascinating task. The joy of Christmas, of which we already have a foretaste, fills us with hope but also urges us to announce to all the presence of God in our midst.

The unequalled model of evangelization is the Virgin Mary who communicated to the world not an idea, but Jesus himself, the Word incarnate. Let us invoke her with confidence so that the Church may announce, even in our time, Christ the Savior.

May every Christian and every Christian community feel the joy of sharing with others the Good News that "God so loved the world he gave his only Son so that the world may be saved through him" (Jn 3,16-17).

This is the authentic sense of Christmas, which we should always rediscover and live intensely.

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