At his weekly Angelus this weekend, Pope Benedict blessed the Baby Jesus for nativity scenes. His little address is very interesting. If what he says is true (I’ll let the reader judge that), it contains the key to true joy:

“It is a source of joy for me”, said the Holy Father, “to know that your families still conserve the custom of making nativity scenes. Yet it is not enough to repeat the traditional gesture, however important it may be. We must seek to live what the nativity scene represents in the reality of our everyday lives: that is, the love of Christ, His humility and His poverty”.

“The blessing of the ‘Bambinelli’ – as they are called in Rome – reminds us that the nativity scene is a school of life where we can learn the secret of true joy. This does not consist in possessing many things but in feeling ourselves to be loved by the Lord, in making ourselves a gift for others, and in loving one another

Let us consider the nativity scene: the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph do not appear to be a very privileged family, they had their first child amidst great hardship, yet they are full of intimate joy because they love one another, they help one another and, above all, they are certain that God is at work in their story”.

“And the shepherds”, the Pope asked, “what reason do they have to be happy? That newborn infant will certainly not alter their poverty and marginalisation. Yet faith helps them to recognise in the ‘child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger’, the ‘sign’ of the fulfilment of God’s promises for all the men and women ‘whom He favours’, even for them!”

For this reason, Benedict XVI explained, true joy consists in “feeling that our individual and community lives are touched by and filled with a great mystery, the mystery of the love of God. In order to be joyful we need … love and truth, we need a God Who is near, Who warms our hearts and responds to our most profound expectations.”

Benedict XVI, Angelus, 13 Dec 2009
 

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