VATICAN CITY, DEC. 21, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address John Paul II delivered today before praying the Angelus with several thousand pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
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Dear Brothers and Sisters!
1. Christmas is already near. When giving the final touches to the crib and the Christmas tree, which are also here in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican, it is necessary to predispose one’s spirit to live intensely this great mystery of the faith.
During the last days of Advent, the liturgy gives particular prominence to the figure of Mary. In her heart, from her “here I am,” full of faith, in response to the divine call, the incarnation of the Redeemer takes its beginning. Thus, she is the one to whom we must look, whom we must invoke if we wish to know the real meaning of Christmas.
2. Mary, Mother par excellence, helps us to understand the key words of the mystery of the birth of her divine Son: humility, silence, wonder, joy.
She exhorts, above all, to humility so that God will find room in our hearts, not darkened by pride and arrogance. She shows us the value of silence, which hears the song of the angels and the whimpering of the Child, not suffocating them in noise and confusion. We will stand with her before the crib in profound wonder, enjoying the simple and pure joy that that Child brings to humanity.
3. On that Holy Night, the rising Star “splendor of eternal light, sun of justice” (see antiphon to the Magnificat, Dec. 21), will enlighten those who lie in darkness and in the shadow of death. Guided by today’s liturgy, let us make our own the sentiments of the Virgin and rest in bold anticipation of the nativity of Christ.
[Translation by ZENIT]