Pope to Children: Tell Your Friends You Have Found Jesus

Invites Them to Assure Child in the Crib, «I Will Listen to You Always»

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 19, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is inviting children to a missionary spirit, encouraging them to tell their friends that they have found a great Friend in Jesus.

This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received a delegation of children from Italian Catholic Action, with whom he exchanged Christmas greetings.

The Holy Father thanked the group for their visit, then went on to remark on a theme they have been studying this year, the invitation made to Bartimaeus in the Bible: «Arise, He is calling.»

This call, the Pontiff explained, «has already been repeated often in your lives, and it is repeated again today. The first call was in the gift of life. Always be attentive to this great gift, appreciate it and be grateful to the Lord. Ask Him to give a joyful life to all the boys and girls of the world, that they may all be respected and none may lack what they need to live.»

«Another important call was baptism,» the Pope continued. «At that moment you became brothers and sisters of Jesus Who loves you more than anyone else and wants to help you to grow. Another call was First Communion. On that day your friendship with Jesus became closer and more intimate. … Respond generously to the Lord Who calls you to be friends with Him. He will never let you down.»

«Dear friends,» the Holy Father concluded, «I would like to ask you for one thing. Take this beautiful invitation — ‘Arise, He is calling’ — to your own friends and tell them: Look, I have responded to Jesus’ call and I am happy because I have found a great Friend in Him, a Friend I meet in prayer, Who I see among my friends, to Whom I listen in the Gospel. My Christmas wish for you is that, when you make your nativity scenes, you imagine you are saying to Jesus: come into my life and I will listen to you always.»

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