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Pope at Audience: 'This Christmas, Open Up Your Heart'

Tells Faithful About Joy of Christmas

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This Christmas, open up your heart.
Pope Francis gave this encouragement during this morning’s General Audience in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall, as he continued his new series of catecheses on Christian hope. 
Reminding those present that we are approaching Christmas, he noted how the prophet Isaiah can help us again to open ourselves up to the hope of the Good News of the coming of salvation.
Francis used the reading to illustrate how God never abandons His people, and Whose grace surpasses all and any sin.
“I will pose the question: who is greater, God or sin? God! And who wins in the end? God or sin? God,” Francis stressed, saying, God’s love has the power to conquer the biggest, most terrible sin.
“The most beautiful of Christmas joys,” Francis went on to say, “is the joy of inner peace: ‘the Lord has blotted out my sins, the Lord has forgiven me, the Lord has had mercy on me, he came to my rescue.'”
“This is the joy of Christmas!” he said.
Reasons for Hope
“When everything seems to be over, when, in front of so many negative realities, faith becomes tiring and is tempted to say that nothing else makes sense, here was the good news.”
God, the Argentine Pontiff added, is coming to do something new. While he comes to establish a kingdom of peace, and bring freedom and consolation, we must realize evil will not triumph forever, he noted.
Since “the desperation is conquered, for God is with us,” the Pope observed, “we are also urged “to wake up a bit” and “become men and women of hope.”
“How bad when we find a Christian who has lost hope! “But I do not hope anything, everything is over for me”: so says a Christian who is not able to look at horizons of hope and in front of his heart only a wall.”
“But God destroys these walls with forgiveness!” he continued. “And for this we must pray that God will give us every day and give hope to all, the hope that comes when we see God in the manger in Bethlehem.”
Urgent
The message of the Good News entrusted to us, the Pontiff exclaimed, is “urgent,” as the world cannot wait for justice, truth, and peace.
“And seeing the little Child of Bethlehem, the little ones of the world will know that the promise was fulfilled,” Pope Francis concluded, “the message has come true.”
“In a newborn baby, in need of everything, wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger, found inside is all the power of the God who saves.”
***
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full text: https://zenit.org/articles/general-audience-on-christmas-joy/

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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