The Holy Father´s Week: January 12, 2009

A report on Pope Benedict XVI´s messages and activities.
by Maribel de Torres | Source: Zenit.org

The Pope spoke about True worship.  During Wednesday’s general audience in Paul VI Hall, at the beginning of the New Year, he offered all his fervent best wishes for the New Year. Continuing the catechesis dedicated to St. Paul, the Holy Father reflected on the meaning of "true worship", “the worship that Christians are called to offer.”
Referring to the Old Testament, the Pontiff noted how the sacrifice of animals as expiation for human sins could never be sufficient. It was a symbolic worship, “worship of desire”.
"A more real contact between human fault and divine love was necessary," he said. "This contact has taken place with the cross of Christ. Christ, Son of God, who has become true man, has assumed in himself all our faults. He himself is the place of contact between human misery and divine mercy; in his heart, the sad multitude of evil carried out by humanity is undone, and life is renewed."
"In communion with Christ, accomplished in the faith and in the sacraments, we transform, despite our deficiencies, into living sacrifice: 'True worship' is fulfilled."
 “Through baptism, we have become "one in Christ Jesus" (Gal 3:28), who took upon himself our human nature and has thus "assumed" us into himself.” “In the holy Eucharist, the self-gift of Christ, his true sacrifice, is made present.”
The Pope said, “Only he has the power, by joining us to his body, to unite all people.”
“The self-gift of Christ implies the tendency to attract everyone to communion in his body, to unite the world. Only in communion with Christ, the model man, one with God, the world comes to be just as we all want it to be: a mirror of divine love. This dynamism is always present in Scripture; this dynamism should inspire and form our life” The Holy Father affirmed.
The Holy Father invited to renew our determination to open mind and heart to Christ, “to be and live as his true friends.”   “His company will make this year, even with its inevitable difficulties, be a path full of joy and peace. In fact, only if we remain united to Jesus will the New Year be good and happy.” VATICAN CITY, JAN. 7, 2009

Papal State of the Planet Address.  During his traditional annual address to the members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See, the Pontiff took up the theme of his message for the Jan. 1 World Peace Day, considering the need to fight poverty to build peace.
In a discourse that touched on some of the most problematic areas of the planet, the Holy Father first expressed his affection for many of those who suffered in a particular way in 2008, whether from natural causes or as a result of violent  conflicts or of terrorist attacks.
 “Despite so many efforts,” he lamented, “the peace we so desire still remains distant!”
 “Faced with this reality, we must not grow discouraged or lessen our commitment to a culture of authentic peace, but rather redouble our efforts on behalf of security and development” The Holy Father exhorted.
Benedict XVI specially mentioned the suffering of the poor.
“It is towards the poor, the all too many poor people on our planet, that I would like to turn my attention today.” The Pope affirmed, “To build peace, we need to give new hope to the poor.”
“On a deeper level, bolstering the economy demands rebuilding confidence.” He said, “This goal will only be reached by implementing an ethics based on the innate dignity of the human person. I know how demanding this will be, yet it is not a utopia!”
“ Today, more than in the past, our future is at stake,” The Pope affirmed, “ as well as the fate of our planet and its inhabitants, especially the younger generation which is inheriting a severely compromised economic system and social fabric.”
The Holy Father asserted that “if we wish to combat poverty, we must invest first and foremost in the young, setting before them an ideal of authentic fraternity” .
 Speaking about Religion, Benedict XVI reminded those present that “religion– is not an obstacle but rather a solid foundation for the building of a more just and free society.”
”Acts of discrimination and the very grave attacks directed at thousands of Christians in this past year show to what extent it is not merely material poverty, but also moral poverty, which damages peace.”
 He further explained that “Christianity is a religion of freedom and peace, and it stands at the service of the true good of humanity” and “Christ’s Gospel is a saving message meant for all; that is why”, the Pope continued, “it cannot be confined to the private sphere, but must be proclaimed from the rooftops, to the ends of the earth.”
With regard to the situation in the Holy Land, the Pontiff repeated that “military options are no solution and that violence, wherever it comes from and whatever form it takes, must be firmly condemned.” He expressed his hope that, “with the decisive commitment of the international community, the ceasefire in the Gaza strip will be re-established – an indispensable condition for restoring acceptable living conditions to the population –, and that negotiations for peace will resume, with the rejection of hatred, acts of provocation and the use of arms.”
Mentioning another region plagued by conflict, Benedict XVI turned his attention to Africa, speaking of his upcoming trip to the continent, "which I have so greatly desired."
In this context, he raised his voice in defence of children, saying that 20 years after the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, "they remain very vulnerable."
The Pope said that "the poorest human beings are unborn children."
The Pope did not fail to mention others that are poor, “like the infirm, the elderly left to themselves, broken families and those lacking points of reference.”
 “Poverty is fought if humanity becomes more fraternal as a result of shared values and ideals, founded on the dignity of the person, on freedom joined to responsibility, on the effective recognition of the place of God in the life of man.” 
He also mentioned other areas of our planet as Asia and Latin America. 
He invited all to fix their gaze on “the lowly infant lying in the manger. Because he is the Son of God, he tells us that fraternal solidarity between all men and women is the royal road to fighting poverty and to building peace. May the light of his love illumine all government leaders and all humanity! May that light guide us throughout this year which has now begun !”   VATICAN CITY, JAN. 8, 2009 

13 Babies baptized by the Holy Father. “Baptism restores to God that which has come from Him.” Benedict XVI said at the Mass he celebrated in the Sistine Chapel on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord where he administered the sacrament of baptism to 13 newborns.
”From the time that the only-begotten Son of the Father was baptized, heaven has truly opened and continues to open itself, and we can entrust every new life that blossoms to the hands of God, who is stronger than the dark powers of evil. This in effect leads to baptism: We restore to God that which has come from him.”
The Pope noted that “The child is not the parents' property, but is rather entrusted by the Creator to their responsibility, freely and in an ever new way, so that they help him to be a free child of God.”
It is this awareness that can help parents strike the right balance between treating their children as if they were a possession or allowing them total freedom, satisfying their every whim.
"If," the Bishop of Rome emphasized, "with this sacrament, the newly baptized infant becomes an adoptive child of God, object of his infinite love that safeguards and defends him, then he must be taught to recognize God as his Father and to know how to relate to him with a filial attitude." VATICAN CITY, JAN. 11, 2009 

Baptism is Stupendous.  Before praying the Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI spoke about the Baptism of the Lord, which is celebrated today. “In these words: "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased," the nature of eternal life is revealed: It is the filial relationship with God, as Jesus lived, revealed, and gave it to us.” He noted.
 “This is a stupendous thing: Through Baptism the human person is brought into Jesus' unique and singular relationship with the Father, in such a way that the words that are spoken from heaven about the only-begotten Son become true for every man and woman who is reborn from the water of the Holy Spirit: You are my sons and daughters, my beloved.” The Pope affirmed.
“How great is the gift of baptism! If we make ourselves fully aware of it, our life will become a continual "grace."
 The Holy Father explained that this is a joy for Christian parents: “Gift, joy, but also responsibility! The parents, in fact, together with the godparents, must bring up their children according to the Gospel.”
The Pontiff ended his address with a reference to the 6th World Meeting of Families in Mexico City, which will take place next week, its theme is "The Family as Educator in Human and Christian Values." The Pope said he will follow this event “with lively participation, accompanying it with prayer and through a televised talk." VATICAN CITY, JAN.11, 2009 
________________________________________________________________________
A prayer for the Holy Father 
 
Christ Jesus, King and Lord of the Church, in your presence I renew my unconditional loyalty to your Vicar on earth, the Pope. In him you have chosen to show us the safe and sure path that we must follow in the midst of confusion, uneasiness, and unrest. I firmly believe that through him you govern, teach, and sanctify us; with him as our shepherd, we form the true Church: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. Grant me the grace to love, live, and spread faithfully our Holy Father’s teachings. Watch over his life, enlighten his mind, strengthen his spirit, defend him from calumny and evil. Calm the erosive winds of infidelity and disobedience. Hear our prayer and keep your Church united around him, firm in its belief and action, that it may truly be the instrument of your redemption. Amen.



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