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Witnesses of light

· The Pope, visiting the Rome parish of Santa Maria delle Grazie, speaks of the season of Advent ·

Blessing the “bambinelli” and remembering the true meaning of Christmas at the Angelus

“In this world of darkness, we are called to be witnesses of light. This is our mission in the season of Advent: to be witnesses of light,” said Pope Benedict XVI at the Rome parish of Santa Maria dell Grazie, on Sunday morning, December 11. Speaking to the faithful gathered in the newly constructed parish church in the north of Rome, the Pope said, “In the Church, in the Word of God, in the celebration of the Sacraments, in the Sacrament of Confession with the forgiveness that we receive, in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist where the Lord gives himself to our hands and hearts, we touch the light and receive this mission: to be witnesses today that there is a light, to bring that light to our times.” The Pope echoed these same words at the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square, attended by five-thousand children from the Roman Oratory Center for the traditional blessing of the “bambinelli” or statues of Baby Jesus. Reflecting on the liturgical texts of Gaudete Sunday, “in which we joyfully prepare for the mystery of Christmas,” the Pope explained that our “external environment” offers “the usual commercial messages, albeit perhaps slightly toned down because of the economic crisis,” while Christians, “are invited to live Advent without becoming distracted by the lights, but by giving things their proper value and keeping their interior gaze fixed on Christ.” True joy, the Holy Father added, is not “the fruit of having fun, understood as being outside of daily commitments and responsibilities.” On the contrary, it is tied to something deeper. “Certainly, in our daily rhythm, which is often frenetic, it is important to find time for rest and relaxation,” he said, “but true joy depends on our relationship with God.”

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St. Peter’s Square

Sept. 19, 2019

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