Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Birth of Christ - Hope and Contradiction

The Holy Father's talk at the general audience today touched on the Mystery of the Incarnation. The unity of the Pope's thought and theology is breathtaking. (I've pondered recently that while John Paul the Great was Pope for a very long time, even accounting for that, his literary theological output was voluminous and complex. Benedict, on the other hand, while only Pope for a brief time thus far has revealed a genius for compact, clear and challenging theological reflection. Witness the immediately accessible Deus Caritas Est and Spe Salvi in comparison to any one of John Paul's Encyclicals.)

The Vatican Information Service has released a summary of his talk. One can hardly wait for the whole text! Below are a couple of excerpts.

"Hoping for justice in the Christian sense means ... that we too begin to live under the eyes of the Judge, ... creating justice in our own lives. ... In this way we can open the world to the coming of the Son and prepare our hearts to welcome the Lord Who comes."

"Moreover," he added, "we have formed a view of tolerance and pluralism such that to believe that Truth has been effectively manifested appears to constitute an attack on tolerance and the freedom of man. If, however, truth is cancelled, is man not a being deprived of meaning? Do we not force ourselves and the world into a meaningless relativism?"

He continued: "How important it is, then, for us to reinforce the mystery of salvation which the celebration of Christ's Nativity brings. In Bethlehem the Light that illuminates our lives was revealed to the world; we were shown the Way that leads us to the fullness of our humanity. If we do not recognize that God was made man, what sense does it have to celebrate Christmas? We Christians must reaffirm with profound and heartfelt conviction the truth of Christ's nativity, in order to bear witness before everyone of the unique gift which brings wealth not just to us, but to everyone. "

"In these days leading up to Christmas," said Pope Benedict, "the Church prays more intensely for the realization of hopes of peace and salvation, of which the world today still has such urgent need. Let us ask God for violence to be defeated with the strength of love, for contrasts to give way to reconciliation, for the desire to dominate to be transformed into a desire for forgiveness, justice and peace. May the wishes for goodness and love that we exchange over these days reach all areas of our daily lives."

UPDATE: Zenit now has the full text online.

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