VATICAN CITY, DEC. 24, 2011 ( Benedict XVI voiced a prayer tonight during his homily at the Christmas Eve Mass: "O mighty God, you have appeared as a child" and "we love your childish estate, your powerlessness," but we also ask you, "manifest your power."

In a radiantly illuminated St. Peter's Basilica, the Pope made this prayer, as he recalled that all three Christmas Masses present a quote from Isaiah, which "describes the epiphany that took place at Christmas in greater detail: 'A child is born for us, a son given to us and dominion is laid on his shoulders; and this is the name they give him: Wonder-Counsellor, Mighty-God, Eternal-Father, Prince-of-Peace. Wide is his dominion in a peace that has no end.'" 

The Holy Father said it is unknown if the prophet had a particular child in mind from his own period of history, but, he said, "it seems impossible. This is the only text in the Old Testament in which it is said of a child, of a human being: his name will be Mighty-God, Eternal-Father. We are presented with a vision that extends far beyond the historical moment into the mysterious, into the future."

"A child, in all its weakness, is Mighty God," the Pontiff declared. "A child, in all its neediness and dependence, is Eternal Father. And his peace 'has no end.'"

Reflecting on that peace, Benedict XVI said that God as a child "pits himself against all violence and brings a message that is peace."

"At this hour," he continued, "when the world is continually threatened by violence in so many places and in so many different ways, when over and over again there are oppressors' rods and bloodstained cloaks, we cry out to the Lord: O mighty God, you have appeared as a child and you have revealed yourself to us as the One who loves us, the One through whom love will triumph. And you have shown us that we must be peacemakers with you. 

"We love your childish estate, your powerlessness, but we suffer from the continuing presence of violence in the world, and so we also ask you: manifest your power, O God. In this time of ours, in this world of ours, cause the oppressors' rods, the cloaks rolled in blood and the footgear of battle to be burned, so that your peace may triumph in this world of ours."

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