VATICAN CITY, DEC. 25, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Before giving the traditional Christmas blessing to the City of Rome and the world (“urbi et orbi”), Benedict XVI today reflected on the Child of Bethlehem as Savior.
“He was sent by God the Father to save us above all from the evil deeply rooted in man and in history: the evil of separation from God, the prideful presumption of being self-sufficient, of trying to compete with God and to take his place, to decide what is good and evil, to be the master of life and death,” the Pope said in his address, following this morning’s Christmas Mass.
The Holy Father said that human beings cannot save themselves from this sin, “unless we rely on God’s help, unless we cry out to him: ‘Veni ad salvandum nos! — Come to save us!'”
He affirmed, though, that “the very fact that we cry to heaven in this way already sets us aright; it makes us true to ourselves: We are in fact those who cried out to God and were saved.”
The Bishop of Rome spoke of God as the physician, while we are the infirm. And to realize this, he said, “is the first step towards salvation, towards emerging from the maze in which we have been locked by our pride. To lift our eyes to heaven, to stretch out our hands and call for help is our means of escape, provided that there is Someone who hears us and can come to our assistance.”
“Jesus Christ is the proof that God has heard our cry,” the Pope declared. “And not only this! God’s love for us is so strong that he cannot remain aloof; he comes out of himself to enter into our midst and to share fully in our human condition. The answer to our cry which God gave in Jesus infinitely transcends our expectations, achieving a solidarity which cannot be human alone, but divine. Only the God who is love, and the love which is God, could choose to save us in this way, which is certainly the lengthiest way, yet the way which respects the truth about him and about us: the way of reconciliation, dialogue and cooperation.”
Benedict XVI went on to mention some specific regions of the world in need of God’s saving grace.
He spoke of the Horn of Africa, with the peoples there suffering from hunger, in a situation aggravated by insecurity.
“May the international community not fail to offer assistance to the many displaced persons coming from that region and whose dignity has been sorely tried,” he said.
The Pope spoke also of Southeast Asia, the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, the bloodshed in Syria, and the violence in Iraq and Afghanistan. “May he grant renewed vigor to all elements of society in the countries of North Africa and the Middle East as they strive to advance the common good,” he said.
The Pontiff also remembered the situation in Myanmar, in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, and particularly in South Sudan.
“Dear Brothers and Sisters, let us turn our gaze anew to the grotto of Bethlehem,” he invited. “The Child whom we contemplate is our salvation! He has brought to the world a universal message of reconciliation and peace. Let us open our hearts to him; let us receive him into our lives. Once more let us say to him, with joy and confidence: ‘Veni ad salvandum nos!'”
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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-34057?l=english