The Holy Father´s Week: December 13, 2010

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

The name full of grace reveals Mary's most profound identity, the Pope said at the Angelus on the day of the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. The angel, he explained, addresses her with this name, which implicitly signifies: 'ever full of the love of God,' of his grace.

   "Mary was the object of a singular predilection on the part of God, who in his eternal plan chose her to be the mother of his Son made man and, hence, preserved her from original sin."

   Benedict XVI called the mystery of the Immaculate Conception a "source of interior light, of hope and of consolation": "In the midst of life's trials, and especially of the contradictions man experiences in his interior and around him, Mary, Mother of Christ, tells us that Grace is greater than sin, that God's mercy is more powerful than evil, and it is able to transform it into goodness."

   The Pope lamented that evil is something that is experienced everyday, and which has its root "in man's heart, a wounded, sick heart, incapable of curing itself." According to Scripture "The origin of all evil is disobedience to the will of God," and "death has prevailed because human liberty has yielded to the temptation of the Evil One."

   "However," the Pontiff continued, "God does not fail in his plan of love and life: Through a long and patient path of reconciliation, he has prepared the new and eternal Covenant, sealed with the blood of his Son, who to offer himself in expiation was born of woman."

   "This woman, the Virgin Mary, benefited in advance from the redeeming death of her Son and from conception was preserved from the contagion of guilt. Because of this, with her Immaculate Heart, she says to us: Trust Jesus, he saves you." VATICAN CITY, DEC. 8, 2010

Constancy and patience were extolled by the Pope before praying the Angelus. "Advent," he affirmed, "calls us to strengthen that interior tenacity, that resistance of the soul that permits us not to despair in waiting for some good thing that is late in coming, but to expect it, indeed, to prepare for its arrival with an active confidence."

   Learn from the farmer, as the Letter of St. James says. "The farmer is not a fatalist", Benedict XVI explained, "but is the model of a mentality that unites faith and reason in a balanced way because, on one hand, he knows the laws of nature and does his work well, and, on the other hand, he trusts in Providence, because certain basic things are not in his hands but in God's hands".

   "Patience and constancy are precisely the synthesis between human effort and trust in God."

   "Strengthen your hearts," Scripture says. The Holy Father asked: "How can we do that? How can we strengthen our hearts, which are already rather fragile, and made more unstable by the culture in which we are immersed?"

   "We do not lack help: The Word of God is there" he answered. "Indeed, while everything passes and changes, the Word of the Lord does not pass".

   The Pope spoke about the example of the prophets: "The prophet finds his joy and his strength in the power of the Lord's Word and, while men often seek happiness along paths that turn out to be mistaken, he announces the true hope, the one that doesn't delude because it is founded on the fidelity of God."

   And he reminded the faithful that every Christian, in virtue of his baptism, has received the prophetic dignity. "May every Christian rediscover it and develop it with an assiduous listening to the Divine Word. May the Virgin Mary, whom the Gospel calls blessed because she believed that the Lord's words would be accomplished (cf. Luke 1:45), obtain this for us." He ended. VATICAN CITY, DEC. 12, 2010

Other papal messages and activities.

Benedict XVI received in audience the prime minister of Hungary, whose government will hold the rotating presidency of the European Union in the first semester of 2011. Of the close to 10 million Hungarians, 54.5% are Catholics who lived for decades under Communism. The rest of the population (around 19%) belongs to communities of the Protestant Reformation. In the last census, 11.1% did not specify their religious affiliation, and 14.5% said they had no affiliation. VATICAN CITY, DEC. 6, 2010

The most precious gift one can give to Mary is prayer, the Pope affirmed as he renewed the traditional homage to the Immaculate Virgin, before the monument dedicated to her, in Piazza di Spagna. These prayers are "invocations of gratitude and supplication: of gratitude for the gift of faith and for all the good that we receive daily from God; and supplication for our different needs, for the family, health, work, for every difficulty that life has us encounter."

   The Holy Father noted that even more important than gifts or offerings is the act of listening to what Mary has to say. "She speaks to us with the Word of God, which became flesh in her womb. Her 'message' is none other than Jesus, who is her whole life."

   The Holy Father stated that Mary tells each and every person: "Fear not, son, God loves you! He loves you personally; he thought of you before you came into the world and called you into existence to fill you with love and life; and because of this, he has come to meet you, he made himself like you, he became Jesus, God-Man, in everything similar to you, but without sin; he gave himself for you, to the point of dying on the cross, and thus has given you a new life, free, holy and immaculate."

   “Who better than she knows that nothing is impossible for God, capable in fact of drawing good from evil?" he asked.

   The message of Mary "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 own history."

   He blessed a basket of roses that was later placed at the feet of the Column of the Immaculate which was erected in 1857, shortly after the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. ROME, DEC. 8, 2010

The Holy Father approved 16 decrees for saints causes. He authorized the promulgation of martyrdom of six Spanish priests who died during that country's civil war, and a German priest who was killed in a concentration camp, along with five decrees recognizing miracles, and four decrees declaring heroic virtue. VATICAN CITY, DEC. 10, 2010

Benedict XVI received the president of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskait, in audience today. Some 80% of the Lithuanian population of 3.5 million are Catholic. VATICAN CITY, DEC 10, 2010

A telegram to the prime minister of the State of Israel, conveying assurances of his prayers and his solidarity with the victims of the four-day forest fire that took the lives of more than 40 people in Israel last week,was sent by the Pope.  VATICAN CITY, DEC. 10, 2010

The Pope blessed the statues of the Baby Jesus that some 2000 children had brought with them to St. Peter's Square as is tradition for this Third Sunday of Advent.
"Dear Young Friends," the Holy Father asked, "when you put the child in the cave or the stable, say a prayer for the Pope and his intentions. Thank you!" VATICAN CITY, DEC. 12, 2010

It is important that the Eucharist always be at the heart of the life of the faithful the Pontiff said in a homily during a pastoral visit to the parish of St. Maximilian Kolbe of the Diocese of Rome "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." He encouraged his listeners to know "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."

   "Advent is a powerful invitation to everyone to allow God to enter more and more into our life, into our houses, into our neighbourhoods, into our communities, to have a light in the midst of many shadows, the many daily toils."

   The Pontiff addressed "a special thought to families," affirming, "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," he said, "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." VATICAN CITY, DEC. 12, 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.

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