gift God can give us is his friendship. The Pope affirmed continuing with his catechesis on
Jesus' prayer during the general audience. He reflected on the Evangelist Mark's account of the
healing of the deaf man (Mark 7:32-37). This passage shows that Jesus' healing action is connected
to His intense relationship both with His neighbor -- the man who is ill -- and with the Father.
The central focus of this episode "is the fact that Jesus -- at the moment He performs the healing -- looks directly to His relationship with the Father. The account says in fact that, "looking up to heaven, He sighed" (Verse 34). The attention given to the man who is ill, Jesus' care for him, is tied to a profound attitude of prayer to God."
Certainly, the power that healed the deaf-mute was caused by Jesus' compassion for him, but it finds its origin in His recourse to the Father. The two relationships meet: the human relationship of compassion with the man, which enters into the relationship with God and thus becomes a healing.
"In Him, through His person, God's healing and beneficent action is made present."
Jesus' bond with a friend and his suffering -- and on the other -- His filial relationship with the Father is attested to with still greater evidence in the account of the raising of Lazarus.
Jesus' involvement and emotion before the suffering of Lazarus' relatives and acquaintances, is interlinked throughout the narrative with a continual and intense relationship with the Father.
The Holy Father noted how each one of us is called to understand that in the prayer of petition to the Lord, we must not expect an immediate fulfillment of our requests, of our will; rather, we must entrust ourselves to the Father's Will, interpreting each event within the perspective of His glory, of His design of love, which is often mysterious to our eyes.
We too must join petition, praise and thanksgiving in every prayer, knowing that the greatest gift God can give us is his friendship, and that our example of prayer can open our hearts to our brothers and sisters in need and point others to God's saving presence in our world. VATICAN CITY, DEC. 14, 2011.
"The Virginity of Mary and the Divinity of Jesus are Reciprocally Guaranteed" Benedict XVI affirmed at the Angelus. "That Mary conceives while remaining a virgin is essential for knowing Jesus and for our faith, because it shows that the initiative is God's and above all it reveals who it is that is conceived. As the Gospel says: "For this reason he who will be born will be holy and will be called Son of God" (Luke 1:35). In this sense, the virginity of Mary and the divinity of Jesus are reciprocally guaranteed."
"In her simplicity Mary is very wise: She does not doubt God's power, but wants to understand his will better so that she can completely conform to this will. Mary is infinitely surpassed by the mystery and yet, she perfectly occupies the post that she is assigned at its center."
"Her heart and her mind are completely humble, and, precisely because of her singular humility, God awaits this young woman's "yes" to realize his design." The Holy Father explained, "He respects her freedom. Mary's "yes" implies both maternity and virginity, and it desires that everything in her is for God's glory, and that the Son whom she will bear will be wholly the gift of grace."
"Mary's virginity is unique and
unrepeatable, but its spiritual significance regards every Christian." He continued, "It, in
substance, is linked to faith: In fact, those who deeply trust in the love of God welcome Jesus
within themselves, his divine life, through the action of the Holy Spirit. This is the mystery of
"I hope that you will all live it with profound joy." VATICAN CITY, DEC. 19, 2011
Other papal messages and activities
For Christians loving others is not mere philanthropy but an expression of the love of God, the Holy Father said when he met with representatives of the Confederation of Italian Cooperatives, and of the Italian Federation of Cooperative Credit Banks, He invited the cooperatives "to ensure that the economy and the market never neglect solidarity," in order "to promote a culture of life and the family, and to favor the creation of new families with access to dignified work which respects the creation that God has entrusted to our responsibility and care." VATICAN CITY, DEC. 13, 2011
The Pope invited the students to consider what Christmas is about. At a vespers service with university students of Rome he said the answer is anything but trite. He said one must ask ¿Where does God himself come to show me his face, revealing his mystery, entering into my history?"
"In the stable of Bethlehem man's solitude is overcome, our existence is no longer at the mercy of impersonal natural and historical forces, our house can be built upon the rock: we can plan our history, the history of humanity, not as a utopia but in the certainty that the God of Jesus Christ is present and walks with us." VATICAN CITY, DEC. 15, 2011
The interdependence of the human family, brought about by modern technology, is not a threat, but an opportunity, the Holy Father affirmed in an address to 11 new ambassadors to the Holy See.
"The pluralism of cultures and religions does not contradict the joint search for truth, goodness and beauty. ... The Church, illuminated and upheld by the light of Revelation, encourages men and women to entrust themselves to a reason which, purified by faith ... becomes capable of seeing beyond partisan interests in order to discern the universal good necessary to all human beings: social and religious harmony and peace." VATICAN CITY, DEC. 15, 2011
"Educating Young People in Justice and Peace." Is the theme
of Benedict XVI's message for the 2012 World Day of Peace, which will be celebrated Jan. 1.
In the message he explains their concerns expressed in recent times by many young people: they desire to look to the future with solid hope, they want to receive an education which prepares them more fully to deal with the real world, they see how difficult it is to form a family and to find stable employment; they wonder if they can really contribute to political, cultural and economic life in order to build a society with a more human and fraternal face.
Education is the most interesting and difficult adventure in life, he said.
"The first step in education is learning to recognize the Creator's image in man, and consequently learning to have a profound respect for every human being and helping others to live a life consonant with this supreme dignity," the Holy Father proposed.
He went on to explain the importance of taking into account "every single dimension" of the person, including the transcendent one.
The Pontiff's statement speaks of educating in freedom, and educating in justice, and finally of educating in peace. VATICAN CITY, DEC. 16, 2011
"Christmas is a Christian feast," the Holy Father
stated as he received a delegation from Ukraine, the country which donated this year's main
Christmas tree for St. Peter's Square. He affirmed that Christmas symbols are important
references to the great mystery of the incarnation and birth of Jesus, which the liturgy constantly
The symbols of Christmas -- such as the tree and the crib -- point to the great
mystery of the Incarnation and are important references, he affirmed. This tree, said the Holy
Father, is "a significant symbol of Christ's nativity because, with its evergreen boughs, it reminds
us of enduring life.
The 30.5-meter (100-foot) spruce, with its 2,500 ornaments, came
from the Ukrainian region of the Zakarpattia. Several thousand people watched as the lights were
turned on by a small Ukrainian boy dressed in his country's national costume.
Bishops from the Catholic and Orthodox bishops from Ukraine were present at the event. VATICAN CITY, DEC. 16, 2011
The Pope visited Rebbibia prison in the north of Rome. He explained that divine justice and human justice are very different, "Justice and mercy, justice and charity, the hinges upon which the social doctrine of the Church turns, are two different realities only for men, who carefully distinguish a just act from an act of love," the Pontiff explained. "For us justice is 'what is owed to another' and mercy is what is given out of goodness. And the one seems to exclude the other. But it is not so for God: in him justice and mercy coincide; there is no just action that is not also an act of mercy and forgiveness and, at the same time, there is no act of mercy that is not perfectly just."
"The Child of Bethlehem will be happy when all men return to God with a renewed heart. Let us ask him in silence and in prayer for us all to be released from the prison of sin, from haughtiness and pride," he said. "Everyone in fact needs to leave this interior prison to be truly free from evil, from anxiety and from death. Only that Child who was laid in a manger is able to bestow upon all this complete liberation!" VATICAN CITY, DEC. 19, 2011
Benedict XVI received a delegation of children from Italian Catholic Action, with whom he exchanged Christmas
He invited children to a missionary spirit, he encouraged them to tell their friends that Jesus is a great Friend, "a Friend I meet in prayer, Who I see among my friends, to Whom I listen in the Gospel." VATICAN CITY, DEC. 19, 2011
Benedict XVI had comforting words for a group of newly ordained priests from the Legion of Christ. The 49 priests were ordained Dec. 12 at Rome's Basilica of St. John Lateran by Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, the papal delegate overseeing the reform of the congregation.
The Pope said he wished God to support them in their ministry, so that they can carry out their mission of evangelical service with joy and fidelity. VATICAN CITY, DEC. 19, 2011
A prayer for the Holy
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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