Monday, November 30, 2009
Zenit News Agency (http://www.zenit.org/)
'The Lord Jesus came in the past, he comes in the present and will come in the future'.
'This Sunday we begin, by the grace of God, a new liturgical year, which opens naturally with Advent, a time of preparation for the Lord's nativity'.
VATICAN CITY (Zenit.org) - Here is a translation of Benedict XVI's address before praying the Angelus at midday with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
This Sunday we begin, by the grace of God, a new liturgical year, which opens naturally with Advent, a time of preparation for the Lord's nativity. In the constitution on the Liturgy, the Second Vatican Council states that the Church "presents in the annual cycle the whole mystery of Christ, from the incarnation and the nativity, to the ascension, the day of pentecost, and the expectation of the blessed hope and return of the Lord."
In this way, "recalling the mysteries of the redemption, it opens to the faithful the riches of the salvific actions and the merits of their Lord, so that they are present in some way in all times, so that the faithful can approach them and be filled with the grace of salvation" ("Sacrosantum Concilium," 102).
The council insists on the fact that Christ is the center of the liturgy. It is similar to the sun, around which rotate the planets. Around the liturgy rotate the Blessed Virgin Mary -- she is the closest -- and the martyrs and the other saints that "in heaven sing to God the perfect praise and intercede for us" (Ibidem, 104).
This is the reality of the liturgical year seen, so to speak, "from God's side." And from the side -- shall we say -- of man, of history and of society? What importance can it have? The answer is suggested properly by the advent journey, which we undertake today.
The contemporary world needs above all hope: It is needed by developing peoples, but also by those economically developed. We increasingly see that we are in the same boat and that we must all be saved together. Above all, seeing so many false securities crumble, we realize that we need a trustworthy hope, and this is found only in Christ, who, as the Letter to the Hebrews says, "is the same yesterday, today and always" (13:8).
See also from Catholic World News, "Pope opens Advent preparation, speaks of "joy of waiting".