Pontiff Invites Students to Consider What Christmas Is About

Notes Reason for Hope in Future, Courage in Present

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 15, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is inviting university students to ask themselves «What does Christmas mean to me?»

But the question, as the Pope posed it today at a vespers service with university students of Rome, seeks an answer that is anything but trite.

«Is [Christmas] really important for my life, for the building up of society?,» he said. «There are many persons in our time, especially in the halls of the universities, who ask whether we are to expect something or someone; whether we must look for another messiah, another god; if it is worthwhile to entrust ourselves to that Child whom we find in the manger between Mary and Joseph on Christmas night.»

The Holy Father went on to say, «We do not need a generic, indefinite god, but the living and true God, who opens the horizon of man’s future to the prospect of a firm and sure hope, a hope that is rich with eternity and that permits us to face the present in all its aspects with courage. But we must ask ourselves then: where does my seeking find the true face of this God? Or better still: where does God himself come to show me his face, revealing his mystery, entering into my history?»

The Pontiff proposed that Jesus, who «experienced human time, his growth, his immersion in history» is the «sign of the patience of God.»

The Holy Father invited the students to rekindle their hope, «because the Word of God reminds us that the coming of the Lord is near, indeed, the Lord is with us and it is possible to build together with him. In the stable of Bethlehem man’s solitude is overcome, our existence is no longer at the mercy of impersonal natural and historical forces, our house can be built upon the rock: we can plan our history, the history of humanity, not as a utopia but in the certainty that the God of Jesus Christ is present and walks with us.»

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On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full text: www.zenit.org/article-33996?l=english

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