Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The difficulties of an economic crises that have hit so many families “can become an opportunity and a stimulus” to free Christmas from the “accumulations of consumerism” which reduce it to an occasion for the sole purpose of buying and exchanging gifts” and help us to “rediscover the warmth of solidarity, of friendship” the “warmth of Christmas”, the “message if Christ’s birth”. The “rediscovery” of the true meaning of Christ’s birth, as “an opportunity to welcome as a personal gift the message of hope that irradiates from Christ’s birth” was the appeal that Benedict XVI launched today to five thousand people present at the general audience, during which Christmas hymns resounded throughout the Paul VI hall, courtesy of a group of “zampognari”, pipe players from Northern Italy.
For the Church the beginning of the Christmas novena is moment in which it “prepares to unite itself to the joyous chorus of the angels” that “on that night invited the shepherds to make their way to the stable”. And Christmas, revealed the Pope “is a universal feast and even non believers perceive something extraordinary, something transcendent in this season, which speaks to the heart. Christmas is a feast that speaks of the gift of life. The birth of a child is always something that brings great joy, and the embrace of a newborn moves one to tenderness”. “How can we not think of those many children born into poverty throughout the world – he added -to those newborns who are rejected and not welcomed, those who will not survive because of lack of care and attention, those families who yearn for the joy of a child and have yet to see this realised”.
On the memorial of Our Lord’s birth, continued Benedict XVI, “Christians so not celebrate the birth of a great man or the end of a season", but “the pivotal moment in history: the incarnation of the Divine Word for the salvation of humanity”. “The mystery of our salvation is renewed”. St Paul comes back again and again to this truth in his letter to the Galatians, “God sent his son born of a woman”. Or in his letter to the Romans, “if we are children of God we are also heirs of God….,” but it is above all “St John who meditates on the mystery of the incarnation” and for this in the Christmas liturgy since the earliest of times his “Et Verbum caro factum est…”, the Word was made Flesh, is used.
It is “something so concrete and essential for the faith” a “historic event that Light becomes an essential and concrete part of faith” a “historical event that Light puts into a real context”, the first census. On that “historic night” in Bethlehem, “a really great light was born”: “the creator of the universe became flesh, thus irrevocably uniting himself to humanity”. “But is it possible? A God who becomes a child? We need to bow our heads and recognise the limits of our intelligence. God became a child to defeat our superbia”. He could have demonstrated his power, “but he does not want our surrender”, “he wants to set us truly free, to love Him”. “God came to communicate the truth that saves directly to us” and “make us participants in his life”.
Therefore “May Christmas be a privileged opportunity to reflect on the true meaning of our existence”, and to renew it. “Let us ready ourselves – he concluded – to receive this gift of joy, of light and of peace”, “to become people who do not think only of themselves, but who are open to the needs and expectations of others”. “Happy Christmas”.
You must've seen the Costa-Gavras film AMEN. If not, see if you can lay your hands on a copy.
- Archie under pressure
Q: Was your course online or in situ?
It seemed that you were kind of bilious when you hied out of Sam's Place last night.
Maybe just sleepy?
Hope your morning's bright and even better than expected.
Bilious, you say? Yes sometimes this same old same old government bugs me...and I despise the blog as a whole at times for being such (what I think of as) party hacks...
Thank you for posting this message, but I must reiterate that we must look deeper into the actions of the catholic church historically and currently (including the rampant disrespect of indigenous life and spirituality by the vatican in particular and the roman catholic church in general).
On another point, I challenge the pope to interpret the "real meaning of [xmas]" in a functional way that helps his followers actually apply the lessons the bible may have to offer for peace and justice to occur on the ground and in the lives of people worldwide. I challenge the pope to apply his own holy book to help us realize the spiritual call to embrace the earth as a sacred entity and to resolve the patterns of natural resource extraction, processing, production, sale and waste that is the core of the consumerism in his world.
The pope should check out "the story of stuff" on youtube, read some Nkrumah, Zinn, Ture, Deloria, LaDuke, Chomsky, THEN get back to us.
What was that story about an eye of a needle and getting into heaven?....or that thing about the plank in one's own eye?! Hmmmmm.
-rampant disrespect of indigenous life and spirituality by the vatican in particular and the roman catholic church in general-
Agreed. Today is Winter Solstice. Hope the new season brings you much happiness.
Thank you for your well thought out response on this subject.
Thanks for an always enlightening blogosphere! And the solstice greeting...may we all orient ourselves to the wonderful, loving rhythms of nature and the Spirit within.
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