Pope’s three wishes for CHRISTmas * Benedict XVI – This time, that year *The market must never neglect solidarity – Community Co-operatives

December 14, 2011 by  
Filed under Church, newsletter-world, Vatican, World

The Pope is Set to FinVatican, December 9, 2011: Late Wednesday afternoon, 7 December, thanks to a “tablet” connected to the power grid, Benedict XVI lit the largest Christmas tree in the world from the papal apartments. This electronic “tree” is located in the Italian town of Gubbio. Before flipping the switch he addressed a few words – by television – to those attending the ceremony.

“Before lighting the tree”, he said, “I would like to express three wishes. This Christmas tree is formed on the slopes of Mt. Ingino at whose summit is found the basilica of Gubbio’s patron saint, St. Ubaldo. When we look at it our eyes are lifted up, raised toward the sky, toward the world of God”.

“My first wish, therefore, is that our gaze, that of our minds and our hearts, not rest only on the horizon of this world, on its material things, but that it in some way, like this tree that tends upward, be directed toward God. God never forgets us but He also asks that we don’t forget Him”.

“The Gospel recounts that, on the holy night of Christ’s birth, a light enveloped the shepherds, announcing a great joy to them: the birth of Jesus, the one who brings us light, or better, the One who is the true light that illuminates all. The great tree that I will light up shortly overlooks the city of Gubbio and will illuminate the darkness of the night with its light”.

“My second wish is that we recall that we also need a light to illumine the path of our lives and to give us hope, especially in this time in which we feel so greatly the weight of difficulties, of problems, of suffering, and it seems that we are enshrouded in a veil of darkness. But what light can truly illuminate our hearts and give us a firm and sure hope? It is the Child whom we contemplate on Christmas, in a poor and humble manger, because He is the Lord who draws near to each of us and asks that we reeceive Him anew in our lives, asks us to want Him, to trust in Him, to feel His presence, that He is accompanying us, sustaining us, and helping us”.

“But this great tree is formed of many lights. My final wish is that each of us contribute something of that light to the spheres in which we live: our families, our jobs, our neighbourhoods, towns, and cities. That each of us be a light for those who are at our sides; that we leave aside the selfishness that, so often, closes our hearts and leads us to think only of ourselves; that we may pay greater attention to others, that we may love them more. Any small gesture of goodness is like one of the lights of this great tree: together with other lights it illuminates the darkness of the night, even of the darkest night”.

Benedict XVI – This time, that year


Holy tablet batmanThe Holy Father’s comment on December 11, 2005  hit me once again this year to prompt me do our humble bit of sharing them around. So here are excerpts of what Pope Benedict XVI said, following the Angleus, in St. Peter’s Square:“The true spirit of Christmas is one of reflection, sobriety & a joy that does not come from outside but from within. But that attitude is under assault by “today’s consumer society.” The crib can help us, in fact, to understand the secret of the true Christmas, because it speaks of humility and the merciful goodness of Christ, who “though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor” (2 Corinthians 8:9).His poverty enriches those who embrace it and Christmas brings joy and peace to those who, as the shepherds, accepted in Bethlehem the words of the angel: “And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12). It continues to be a sign for us also – men and women of the 21st century. There is no other Christmas.The Pope said that the Christmas crib is “a simple but effective way to introduce the faith to children,” adding that the scene brings home “the humility and merciful goodness of Christ.” “The Nativity scene helps us contemplate the mystery of the love of God, which is revealed to us in the poverty and simplicity of the grotto in Bethlehem. Assembling the Nativity scene in the home can turn out to be a simple but effective way of presenting the faith to pass it on to one’s children,” he addedThe Holy Father warned that commercialization is polluting the true, religious meaning of Christmas. He said at the Vatican: “It is unfortunate that in today’s society of consumer ism, the Christmas season suffers from… Commercial pollution. This risks [changing] it’s spiritual authenticity, which is characterized by meditation…and by a joy that is not exterior but intimate.”The Pope told Christians worldwide to celebrate Christmas by setting up scenes in their homes showing the birth of Christ. It is easy to agree with Pope Benedict when we look at the madness of Christmas shopping and the stress it causes. It is becoming more and rarer in stores to see any connection between Christmas and the Bible. Consumers must look at thousands of ads as companies do their best to sell their non-Biblical goods. The true spirit of Christmas seems to be hidden by the special offers, non-CHRISTmassy Christmas songs and orgies or drunken office parties.What’s the purpose of Christmas, anyway? Is it a time for sharing warm, joyous times with our friends and family? And expressing love and appreciation? Or is it an opportunity for self-indulgence/receiving/acquisition? If it’s the former, there must be better ways of achieving the objective.

The market must never neglect solidarity – Community Co-operatives
 Benedict XVI
Vatican City, December 10, 2011: This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received representatives from the Confederation of Italian Cooperatives, and from the Italian Federation of Cooperative Credit Banks, who were accompanied by their ecclesiastical assistant Msgr. Adriano Vincenzi.

In his remarks to them the Pope dwelt on the importance Catholic cooperatives have had in Italy since their emergence in the wake of Leo XIII’s Encyclical “Rerum novarum”. That document, the 120th anniversary of which falls this year, “favoured the fruitful presence of Catholics in Italian society through the promotion of cooperative and mutual societies, the development of social enterprises and many other public works characterised by various forms of participation and self-management. The purpose of such activity has always been to provide material support for people and constant attention to families, drawing inspiration from the Magisterium of the Church”, he said.

“The heart of cooperative efforts has always lain in the search for harmony between the individual and community dimensions. This is a concrete expression of the complementarity and subsidiarity which Church social doctrine has always sought to promote between citizens and the State, a balance between safeguarding the rights of the individual and promoting the common good, in order to develop a local economy capable of responding to community needs. Cooperative activities are likewise characterised by their great concern for solidarity, while still respecting the due autonomy of the individual”.

 “In a period of great change, of persistent economic uncertainty, and of difficulties in the world of work, the Church feels the need to announce Christ’s message with renewed vigour. … And you, dear friends, must be aware that Catholic cooperatives have an important role to play in this field”, the Holy Father told his audience.

 Benedict XVI invited members of cooperatives to make their specific contribution “to ensure that the economy and the market never neglect solidarity”, in order “to promote a culture of life and the family, and to favour the creation of new families with access to dignified work which respects the creation that God has entrusted to our responsibility and care”. He also invited them “to value man in his entirety, irrespective of any difference in race, language or religion”.

Finally, the Pope recalled how Catholic cooperatives are characterised by their “Christian inspiration, which must constantly guide them”, because “for Christians loving others is not mere philanthropy but an expression of the love of God. … Never forget the importance of developing this spiritual dimension as you seek to respond to contemporary challenges and social emergencies, in order to continue to work in the logic of gratuitousness and responsibility, promoting wise and sober consumption”.

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