VATICAN CITY, NOV. 30, 2008 ( We may not take time for God, but he takes time for us, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope spoke about God's availability for his creatures today before he prayed the midday Angelus with crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square. On the first day of the new liturgical year, the Holy Father reflected on the gift of time.

"We all say 'I don't have time' because the rhythm of daily life has become too frenetic for everyone," he reflected. "The Church has 'good news' to announce about this too: God gives us his time. We always have little time. Especially in regard to the Lord, we do not know how to find him, or, sometimes, we do not want to find him. And yet God has time for us!

"This is the first thing that the beginning of a liturgical year makes us rediscover with an ever new wonder. Yes: God gives us his time, because he has entered into history, with his Word and his works of salvation, to open it to eternity, to make it into a covenant history."

The Holy Father said that in this perspective, time itself is already "a basic sign of God's love."

"It is a gift that man can, like everything else, appreciate or, on the contrary, squander; he can grasp its meaning, or neglect it with obtuse superficiality," he noted.

Benedict XVI reflected that Advent "celebrates God's coming in its two moments: First it invites us to awaken the expectation of Christ's glorious return; then, nearing Christmas, it calls us to welcome the Word made man for our salvation."

"But," he said, "the Lord comes constantly into our lives. How opportune, then, is Jesus' call, which is more powerfully proposed than ever this Sunday: 'Be vigilant!' It is addressed to the disciples, but also to 'everyone,' because everyone, at the hour that God alone knows, will be called to give an account of his own life. This entails a proper detachment from worldly goods, a sincere repentance for one's errors, an active charity toward one's neighbor and above all a humble and confident placing of oneself into God's hands, our tender and merciful Father."

"The Virgin Mary is the icon of Advent," the Pope concluded. "Let us call upon her to help us to become an extension of humanity for the Lord who comes."