Pope Notes Advent's Call to Patience, Constancy

Greets 2,000 Children

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 12, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is underlining the importance of patience and constancy, emphasized in a special way during the season of Advent.

The Pope made this reflection in an address today before praying the midday Angelus together with those gathered in St. Peter's Square.

The Pontiff observed, "It seems to me more important than ever in our days to underscore the importance of constancy and patience, virtues that belonged to the generation of our fathers but which are less popular today in a world that instead exalts change and the capacity always to adapt to new situations."

"Without taking anything away from these latter, which are also qualities of the human being," he continued, "Advent calls us to strengthen that interior tenacity, that resistance of the soul that permits us not to despair in waiting for some good thing that is late in coming, but to expect it, indeed, to prepare for its arrival with an active confidence."

Following the liturgy's reading from St. James, the Holy Father pointed to the example of the farmer, a comparison that he noted as "quite expressive."

Benedict XVI explained: "He who has sown seeds in the field has before him some months of patient and constant expectation, but he knows that in the meantime the seed goes through its cycle thanks to the autumn and spring rains.

"The farmer is not a fatalist, but is the model of a mentality that unites faith and reason in a balanced way because, on one hand, he knows the laws of nature and does his work well, and, on the other hand, he trusts in Providence, because certain basic things are not in his hands but in God's hands."

The Pope affirmed, "Patience and constancy are precisely the synthesis between human effort and trust in God."

He pointed to the Word of God as an aid in strengthening our hearts. "If the vicissitudes of life make us feel lost and every certainty seems to crumble, we have a compass for finding direction, we need not fear being adrift," the Pontiff said.

He added, "The prophet finds his joy and his strength in the power of the Lord's Word and, while men often seek happiness along paths that turn out to be mistaken, he announces the true hope, the one that doesn't delude because it is founded on the fidelity of God."

Blessing

After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father greeted the 2,000 children assembled in St. Peter's Square, as is tradition for this Third Sunday of Advent. The children, who came with their families or schools, brought with them statues of the Baby Jesus, which were blessed by the Pope.

The Pontiff said: "Dear Friends, the first greeting goes to the children and young people of Rome. Thank you for your presence!"

He noted, "You have come for the traditional blessing of the baby Jesus figures (bambinelli) for the crèche."

"Dear Young Friends," the Holy Father continued, "when you put the child in the cave or the stable, say a prayer for the Pope and his intentions. Thank you!"

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Full text: http://zenit.org/article-31217?l=english