The Holy Father´s Week: January 11, 2010
A report on Benedict XVI´s messages and activities.
by Maribel de Torres | Source: Zenit.org
The Pope reflected on the true wisdom of the Magi when he addressed those gathered to pray the midday Angelus. The Wise Men from the East were truly wise, avoiding self-sufficiency, Benedict XVI affirmed "In fact, they were not ashamed to ask for instructions from the religious leaders of the Jews. They could have said: We can do it alone, we have no need of anyone, avoiding, according to our mentality today, every 'contamination' between science and the Word of God.”
“…The Magi listened to the prophecies and welcomed them and, no sooner were they on the way to Bethlehem, than they again saw the star, almost as a confirmation of the perfect harmony between human seeking and divine Truth, a harmony that filled the hearts of these genuine wise men with joy.”
The search undertaken by the Magi culminated "when they found themselves before 'the Child with Mary, his Mother,'" Benedict XVI added, noting that this was a further indication of their humility.
"They could have remained disappointed, even scandalized," he said. "Instead, as true wise men, they were open to the mystery manifested in a surprising way, and with their symbolic gifts, demonstrated that they recognized in Jesus the King and Son of God."
“They had discovered a new face of God, a new royalty: that of love."
"May the Virgin Mary, model of true wisdom, help us to be genuine seekers of the truth of God, capable of living always the profound harmony that exists between reason and faith, science and revelation." The Holy Father concluded. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 6, 2010
"Many Have Seen the Star, but Few Have Understood Its Message" Benedict XVI reflected on the Magi in his homily for the solemnity of the Epiphany. “What is the reason that some see and others do not? What is it that opens the eyes and heart? What is missing in those who remain indifferent, from those who indicate the way but do not move?”
The Pope noted some reasons as being "excessive certainty in themselves, the pretension of knowing reality perfectly, the presumption of already having formulated a definitive judgment on things, thus making their hearts closed and insensitive to the novelty of God."
He also noted that some “place more confidence in themselves than in him, and they do not consider it possible that God, being so great, can make himself small, that he can really come close to us.”
“In the end, what is missing is genuine humility, which is able to submit to what is greater, but also the genuine courage that leads one to believe what is really great, even if it is manifested in a defenseless child.”
“Lacking is the capacity to be children at heart, to be amazed, and to come out of oneself to undertake the way indicated by the star, the way of God.”
The Magi, he said, are : “the first of the great procession of those who, through all the periods of history, know how to recognize the message of the star, know how to follow the ways indicated by sacred Scripture, and thus are able to encounter him who is apparently weak and fragile, but who instead is able to give the greatest and most profound joy to man's heart.”
He urged the faithful to ask God for "a wise and innocent heart, which will allow us to see the star of his mercy, which will lead us on his way, to meet him and be inundated by the great light and the true joy that he has brought to this world." VATICAN CITY, JAN. 7, 2010
"We have the gift and task of living as sons of God" The Pope said as he reflected on the sacrament of baptism before praying the Angelus in St. Peter's Square. In the morning, the Pontiff had baptized 14 newborn babies in the Sistine Chapel, a tradition on the feast of the Baptism of Our Lord.
“With this sacrament man really becomes son -- son of God.” He affirmed, “From that point the goal of his life consists in arriving at, in a free and conscious way, that which from the very beginning was his destination as man.”
"Become what you are" -- represents the basic educational principle of the human person redeemed by grace.” He explained, “ Such a principle has many analogies with human growth, where the relationship between parents and children passes, through separation and crisis, from total dependence to the awareness of being children, to recognition through the gift of life received and to the maturity and capacity to give one's life.”
“As Christians, thanks to the gift of the Holy Spirit received in baptism, we have the gift and task of living as sons of God, and brothers and sisters, to be like 'leaven' in a new humanity, united and rich in peace and hope.
"We are helped in this by the consciousness of having, besides a Father in heaven, a mother too, the Church, of whom the Virgin Mary is the perennial model." VATICAN CITY, JAN. 10, 2010
Other papal messages and activities
Benedict XVI had lunch with Rome's Poor. After he prayed the midday Angelus on Dec. 27, the Pope visited the traditional Roman neighbourhood of Trastevere, the location of a soup kitchen and education center run by the Catholic lay Community of San'Egidio. Around 200 poor people and the Pope enjoyed a meal of lasagna, meatballs, lentils and mashed potatoes. After eating, Benedict XVI distributed gifts to the 31 children present. “For me”, the Holy Father said, “it is a moving experience to be with you, to be here in the family of Sant'Egidio Community, to be with Jesus' friends, because Jesus especially loves those who suffer, persons who are in difficulties, and he wishes to relate to them as his brothers and sisters.”
He told them that he came to visit "precisely on the feast of the Holy Family because in a certain way, that family is similar to you. ""Jesus' family, from the very beginning, also ran into difficulties: It endured the worry of not finding hospitality, it found itself obligated to emigrate to Egypt because of the violence of King Herod."
“The commitment to make those who are alone or in a situation of need feel at home, which Sant'Egidio Community carries out in such a praiseworthy way, is born from attentive listening to the Word of God and from prayer. I wish to encourage everyone to persevere in this way of faith.”
"In this time of particular economic difficulties," the Pope continued, "each one [of you] should be a sign of hope and a witness of a new world for those who, enclosed in their egoism and the illusion of finding happiness alone, live in sadness or in a passing gladness that leaves the heart empty." ROME, JAN. 6, 2010
Some 2.2 million people gathered last year with Benedict XVI in his public audiences and liturgical celebrations held in the Vatican or the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household reported. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 6, 2010
The Holy Father sent condolences for 2 Cardinals. He sent telegrams after the deaths of Cardinal Seiichi Shirayanagi, retired archbishop of Tokyo, Japan, and Cardinal Cahal Brendan Daly, retired archbishop of Armagh, Ireland. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 6, 2010
The Pope received the Carabinieri in audience and thanked them for their "humble and indispensable" service of patrolling St. Peter's Square and its environs. The Carabinieri is a uniformed national police force, founded in 1814, and a branch of Italy's armed forces (alongside the Army, Navy and Air Force). VATICAN CITY, JAN. 7, 2010
Benedict XVI received in audience Turkey´s Ambassador. He recalled his visit to Turkey in 2006 and renewed his appreciation for the warm welcome that he received. The Holy Father noted that Turkey and the Holy See established diplomatic relations almost 50 years ago. While he acknowledged that "much has been achieved" during the past years, the Pontiff expressed a desire to continue making the ties between the two sides "deeper and stronger”. He also pointed out to the nation's new envoy to the Holy See that, while Catholics in Turkey enjoy religious freedom, they are still waiting for civil juridical recognition. "This would help her to enjoy full religious freedom," the Pope said, "and to make an even greater contribution to society." VATICAN CITY, JAN. 7, 2010
The Holy Father thanked members of the Inspectorate for Public Security at the Vatican for their work. It is made up of 150 officers and is a civil national police force.
Benedict XVI called their work a "valuable service," and said that he hopes "the Lord will repay you for the often hidden sacrifices" made by the officers. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 8, 2010
Antonio Paolucci, director of the Vatican Museums, was appointed by the Pope as president of the Permanent Commission for the Protection of Historical and Artistic Monuments of the Holy See. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 8, 2010
Youngest Australian Bishop Named to Parramatta. Benedict XVI appointed Auxiliary Bishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney as head of the Parramatta Diocese. Bishop Fisher, 49, succeeds Bishop Kevin Manning, 76, who is retiring. PARRAMATTA, Australia, JAN. 8, 2010
The world has need of rediscovering the joy of faith, Benedict XVI said as he presided over the baptism of 14 infants in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel. Baptism, he explained, is an event that suggests quite well "the general sense of Christmas festivity in which the theme of 'becoming sons of God' thanks to the only-begotten Son's taking on of our humanity constitutes a dominant element."
He further pointed out that a model of society is also derived from Baptism: "that of being brothers." Fraternity, the Pope said, "cannot be established through an ideology, much less through the decree of just any power that has been set up."
"We recognize ourselves as brothers through a humble but profound awareness of being sons of the one heavenly Father," he added. "As Christians, thanks to the gift of the Holy Spirit received in Baptism, we have the gift and task of living as sons of God and brothers, to be like 'leaven' in a new humanity, solidary and rich in peace and hope." VATICAN CITY, JAN. 10, 2010
Benedict XVI visited Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, 87, who is recovering from injuries incurred on Christmas Eve when he fell down in St. Peter's Basilica fell during the entrance procession for the Christmas Vigil when a young Italian-Swiss woman climbed over a barrier in an attempt to reach the Pope. He is at the Gemelli Polyclinic. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 10, 2010
"Violence must never be the way for anyone to solve problems," the Pope said in a plea to stop attacks against migrants and Christians after praying the Angelus in St. Peter's Square.
"It is necessary that both political and religious institutions -- I emphasize this -- do not neglect their responsibility. There cannot be violence in the name of God, nor can we think that we honor him by offending the dignity and freedom of our equals." VATICAN CITY, JAN. 10, 2010
North American College trains worthy Priests, the Pope said upon receiving in audience at the Vatican the superiors, students and alumni of the college, who had gathered in Rome for an alumni weekend to celebrate the institute's 150th anniversary. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 10, 2010
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.