GOD OFFERS HIMSELF AS SURE HOPE FOR SALVATION
VATICAN CITY, DEC 25, 2007 (VIS) - At midday today, Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, the Holy Father pronounced his traditional Christmas Message from the central loggia of the Vatican Basilica, and imparted the "Urbi et Orbi" blessing.
Extracts of the Message are given below:
"'A holy day has dawned upon us.' A day of great hope: today the Savior of mankind is born. The birth of a child normally brings a light of hope to those who are waiting anxiously.
"The Creator of man became man in order to bring peace to the world. ... It is only the 'great' light manifested in Christ that can give 'true' peace to men: that is why every generation is called to welcome it, to welcome the God Who in Bethlehem became one of us." And, "if we are to recognize it, if we are to receive it, faith is needed and humility is needed."
"Now, on this Christmas Day, when the joyful news of His saving birth continues to resound, who is ready to open the doors of his heart to the holy Child? ... Who is waiting for the dawn of the new day, keeping alight the flame of faith? Who has time to listen to His word and to become enfolded and entranced by His love? Yes! His message of peace is for everyone; He comes to offer himself to all people as sure hope for salvation."
"May the light of Christ, which comes to enlighten every human being, shine forth and bring consolation to those who live in the darkness of poverty, injustice and war; to those who are still denied their legitimate aspirations for a more secure existence, for health, education, stable employment, for fuller participation in civil and political responsibilities, free from oppression and protected from conditions that offend against human dignity.
"It is the most vulnerable members of society - women, children, the elderly - who are so often the victims of brutal armed conflicts, terrorism and violence of every kind, which inflict such terrible sufferings on entire populations. At the same time, ethnic, religious and political tensions, instability, rivalry, disagreements, and all forms of injustice and discrimination are destroying the internal fabric of many countries and embittering international relations. Throughout the world the number of migrants, refugees and evacuees is also increasing because of frequent natural disasters, often caused by alarming environmental upheavals.
"On this day of peace, my thoughts turn especially to those places where the grim sound of arms continues to reverberate; to the tortured regions of Darfur, Somalia, the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the border between Eritrea and Ethiopia; to the whole of the Middle East - especially Iraq, Lebanon and the Holy Land; to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, to the Balkans and to many other crisis situations that unfortunately are frequently forgotten.
"May the Child Jesus bring relief to those who are suffering and may He bestow upon political leaders the wisdom and courage to seek and find humane, just and lasting solutions.
"To the thirst for meaning and value so characteristic of today's world, to the search for prosperity and peace that marks the lives of all mankind, to the hopes of the poor: Christ - true God and true Man - responds with His Nativity. Neither individuals nor nations should be afraid to recognize and welcome Him."
"Brothers and sisters from every continent, allow the light of this day to spread everywhere: may it enter our hearts, may it brighten and warm our homes, may it bring serenity and hope to our cities, and may it give peace to the world. This is my earnest wish for you who are listening. A wish that grows into a humble and trustful prayer to the Child Jesus, that His light will dispel all darkness from your lives and fill you with love and peace."
Following his Message, the Pope extended Christmas greetings in 63 languages and imparted the "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) blessing.
MESS/URBI ET ORBI/... VIS 071228 (690)
Source: Vatican Information Service
Sent to me by Sr. Margaret Charles, fsp