Pontiff Speaks to Children of Catholic Action

«Jesus Sees You and Hears You, Even Though You Are Little»

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 20, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave Saturday to a delegation of the children of Italian Catholic Action upon receiving them in audience at the Vatican.

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Dear Children of Catholic Action,

I greet you with great affection. For me it is always wonderful to meet with you for this pre-Christmas occasion, so long awaited and desired by all of you. I cordially greet the national president of Italian Catholic Action, Dr. Franco Miano, and the assistant general, Bishop Domenico Sigalini. Through them I thank those who generously give their time and personal resources to your worthy association for your religious and human education.

I know that this year you have been especially focusing on the theme «We Are on the Air,» to put yourselves in communication with Jesus and with others, having as your point of reference the biblical figure of Zacchaeus, the man who meets the Lord and welcomes him with joy.

You too are a little like Zacchaeus, who climbed a tree because he wanted to see Jesus. But the Lord, looking up, noticed him immediately, in the midst of the crowd. Jesus sees you and hears you even though you are little, even if the grown-ups do not take account of you as you would like. Not only does Jesus see you, but he tunes in to you, he wants to stop at your place and spend time with you, to establish a true friendship with you.

Dear friends, before Jesus always imitate the example of Zacchaeus, who immediately came down from the tree, full of joy he welcomed him into his house and did not cease to celebrate him! Welcome him into your life every day, in games and in chores, in prayer, when he asks for your friendship and your generosity, when you are happy and when you are afraid. During Christmas, once again, Jesus the friend comes to meet you and calls you! He is the Son of God, he is the Lord whom you see every day in the images in churches, along the street, in houses. He speaks to you always of the love that is «greater,» able to give itself without limit, to bring peace and forgiveness.

Only Jesus’ presence in your lives gives complete joy, because he is able to make everything always new and beautiful. He never forgets you. If you tell him every day that you are «on the air,» you must certainly expect that he will call you to send a message of friendship and affection. He does it when you participate in Holy Mass, when you dedicate yourselves to your studies, to your daily chores and when you perform acts of sharing, solidarity, generosity and love toward others. Thus you can say to your friends, your parents, your group leaders, and your teachers, that you were able to take the call with Jesus in your prayer, in your chores, and when you are able to stand with boys and girls who suffer, especially with those from far away countries and are often alone, without parents and without friends.

Dear children, with these sentiments I wish you a happy and holy Christmas. I extend my wishes to your families and to all of Catholic Action and, entrusting you to the protection of the Mother of Jesus, I bless you all from my heart.

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]
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