On Beginning a New Year
"Thank You, Holy Mother, Who Gave Birth to the Savior"
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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 1, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter's Square.
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Today the Lord gives us the gift of beginning a new year in his name and under the gaze of the Most Holy Virgin, whom we celebrate with the solemnity of the Mother of God. I am happy to be with you for this first Angelus of 2010. I address you who are gathered in a great number in St. Peter's Square and also those who are united with our prayer through radio and television: To all of you I express my wish that the year just begun will be a time in which, with the help of the Lord, we can find Christ and the will of God and thus as well improve our common home, which is the world.
An objective shared by everyone, an indispensable condition for peace, is that of administering with justice and wisdom the natural resources of the earth. "If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation" is the very relevant theme to which I have dedicated my message for the 43rd World Day of Peace, [celebrated] today.
As the message was being published, the leaders of states and governments were gathered in Copenhagen for the summit on climate [change], where once again the urgency of common accords at the global level was discussed. Nevertheless, in this moment, I would like to highlight the importance that each one's decisions have in defending the environment -- the decisions of families and local administrations. "We can no longer do without a real change of outlook which will result in new lifestyles" (cf. Message, No. 11). In reality, all of us are responsible for the protection and care of the created world. Therefore, in this field too, education is fundamental: to learn to respect nature, to direct oneself ever more to build peace "begin[ning] with far-reaching decisions on the part of individuals, families, communities and states" (ibid.).
If we should care for the creatures that surround us, what consideration we should have for people, our brothers and sisters! What respect for human life! On the first day of the year, I would like to call out to the consciences of those who form part of armed groups of any kind.
To each and every one, I say: Stop, reflect and abandon the path of violence! At first, this step could seem impossible to you, but if you have the courage to do it, God will help you, and you will feel return to your hearts joy and peace, which perhaps you've forgotten for a long time now. I entrust this call to the intercession of the Most Holy Mother of God, Mary.
Today, the liturgy reminds us that eight days after the birth of the Child, she and her husband Joseph brought him to be circumcised, according to the Law of Moses, and gave him the name Jesus, which had been given him by the angel (Luke 2:21). This name, which means "God saves," is the fulfillment of the revelation of God. Jesus is the face of God. He is the blessing for each person and for all populations. He is the peace of the world.
Thank you, Holy Mother, who gave birth to the Savior, the Prince of Peace!
[Translation by ZENIT]
[After the Angelus, the Holy Father greeted the people in several languages. In English, he said:]
I am happy to greet all the English-speaking visitors present at today's Angelus prayer and I wish you all a blessed New Year filled with abundant joy and consolation in Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! On this World Day of Peace I pray that Christians everywhere, through the intercession of Mary the Mother of God, may be careful stewards of nature and diligent promoters of forgiveness, reconciliation and peace!
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