Jesus' prayer, which often is called the Cry of Exultation, was the subject of Benedict XVI's reflection during the general audience. "The Evangelists Matthew and Luke (cf. Matthew 11:25-30 and Luke 10:21-22) have bequeathed to us a "jewel" of Jesus’ prayer", the Pope said.
"Jesus addresses God by calling Him "Father". This word expresses Jesus' awareness and certainty in being "the Son" in intimate and constant communion with Him, and this is the focus and source of all of Jesus' prayer.
This magnificent prayer has its source in Jesus’ profound communion with the Father in the Holy Spirit; as the eternal Son, Jesus alone "knows" the Father and rejoices in complete openness to his will. Indeed, "no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him" (Lk 10:22).
"Only the Son truly knows God, by being in an intimate communion of being -- only the Son can truly reveal who God is."
"Praying, He recalls the great biblical narrative of the history of God’s love for man, which begins with the act of Creation. Jesus enters into this history of love -- He is its summit and fulfillment."
"Divine revelation does not come to pass according to worldly logic, which says that it is the cultured and the powerful who possess important knowledge and who transmit it to simpler people, to the little ones". The Holy Father explained, "God used a wholly different way: The recipients of His communication were precisely the "little ones." This is the Father’s Will, and the Son joyously shares it with Him".
"But, the Pope asks, "what does it mean "to be little," to be simple? What is the "littleness" that opens man to filial intimacy with God and to the welcoming of His Will?"
"It is purity of heart that allows us to recognize the face of God in Jesus Christ -- it is having a simple heart, like those of children -- free from the presumption of the one who is closed in on himself, who thinks he has no need of anyone -- not even God."
"We too, by the gift of His Spirit, can turn to God in prayer with the confidence of children, calling upon Him with the name Father, "Abba." But we must have the heart of the little ones, of the "poor in spirit" (Matthew 5:3) -- in order to recognize that we are not self-sufficient, that we are unable to build our lives alone, that we need God -- we need to encounter Him, to listen to Him, to speak to Him." The Holy Father emphasized.
"Prayer opens us to receive the gift of God -- His Wisdom -- which is Jesus Himself, in order to accomplish the Father's Will in our lives and thus to find rest amidst the hardships of our journey." VATICAN CITY, DEC. 7, 2011
On the feast of the Immaculate Conception. At the midday Angelus Benedict XVI explained that in 1854 Pope Pius IX declared that Mary "was preserved from every stain of original sin by a special grace and privilege of almighty God in view of the merits of Jesus Christ the Savior of the human race."
"This truth of faith is contained in the Archangel Gabriel's words of greeting: "Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with thee! (Luke 1:28)" He said. "The expression "full of grace" indicates the marvelous deed of the love of God, who desired to give back to us -- through his only-begotten incarnate Son, who died and rose again -- the life and freedom that we lost with sin."
The Holy Father quoted several ancient saints who praised the greatness of Mary.
He also explained that upon us too is bestowed the "fullness of grace" that we must make shine in our life, because "the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ," St. Paul writes, "has blessed us with every spiritual blessing ... and has chosen us before the creation of the world to be holy and immaculate ... predestining us to be his adopted sons" (Ephesians 1:3-5).
We receive this filiation through the Church on the day of baptism.
In this regard, he continued, "St. Hildegard writes: "The Church is, therefore, the virgin mother of all Christians. By the secret power of the Holy Spirit she conceives them and gives them birth, offering them to God is such a way that they are also called sons of God." VATICAN CITY, DEC. 8, 2011
Other papal messages and activities
The Pope payed homage to Mary
Immaculate in the Piazza di Spagna, explaining the different symbols from the Book of
Revelation: "A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed in the sun, with the moon under her
feet and, upon her head, a crown of twelve stars" (Revelation 12:1).
This image represents
both Our Lady and the Church, he explained.
She who is "full of grace," the "Immaculate" reflects with her whole person the light of the "sun" that is God, the Holy Father said. "She is free from every shadow of death and is completely filled with life."
The moon beneath her feet is the symbol of death and mortality. "Her whole life on earth was a victory over death, because it was spent entirely in the service of God, in the complete offering of herself to God and neighbor. Because of this Mary is in herself a him to life: she is the creature in whom the word of Christ is already realized: "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it in abundance" (John 10:10).
The crown of twelve stars represents the 12 tribes of Israel and means that “the Virgin Mary is at the center of the People of God, of the whole communion of saints.”
The celestial sign of the "woman clothed in the sun" represents our Lady and personifies the Church, the Christian community of all times.
"She is pregnant, in the sense that she carries Christ in her womb and must bear him for the world: this is the suffering of the pilgrim Church on earth, who in the midst of God’s consolations and the world’s persecution must bring Jesus to men."
"The only threat the Church can and must fear is the sin of her members. While, in fact, Mary is the Immaculate, free from every stain of sin, the Church is holy, but at the same time she is stained by our sins." Benedict XVI explained. "This is why the People of God, in pilgrimage through time, turns to its heavenly Mother and implores her help; it asks this so that she might accompany us on the journey of faith, that she might encourage the undertaking of a Christian life and support our hope." ROME, DEC. 8, 2011
On ZENIT's Web page:
Full text: www.zenit.org/article-33954?l=english
The Pope revealed his 3 Christmas wishes before lighting the Christmas tree. His first wish is "that our gaze, that of our minds and our hearts, not rest only on the horizon of this world, on its material things, but that in some way, like this tree that tends upward, it be directed toward God. God never forgets us but He also asks that we don't forget Him."
"The great tree that I will light up shortly overlooks the
city of Gubbio and will illuminate the darkness of the night with its light."
"My second wish is that we recall that we also need a light to illumine the path of our lives and to give us hope," This light "is the Child whom we contemplate on Christmas, in a poor and humble manger, because He is the Lord who draws near to each of us and asks that we receive Him anew in our lives, asks us to want Him, to trust in Him, to feel His presence, that He is accompanying us, sustaining us, and helping us."
"This great tree is formed of many lights. My final wish is that each of us contribute something of that light to the spheres in which we live: our families, our jobs, our neighborhoods, towns, and cities." VATICAN CITY, DEC. 9, 2011
Benedict XVI sent a message for the 100th anniversary of the cathedral of Rangoon, Myanmar. Cardinal Renato Martino, retired president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, was his special envoy to the event. VATICAN CITY, DEC. 9, 2011
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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