Pope at Angelus: We thank God for the gift of Benedict XVI

At the midday Angelus following the morning Mass on New Year's Day, Pope Francis calls on us to invoke the Blessed Mother's intercession for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who died Saturday morning.

By Vatican News staff writer

Speaking to the crowds gathered in Saint Peter's Square on New Year's Day, Pope Francis recalled that the start of the new year is entrusted to Mary Most Holy, whom we celebrated today as Mother of God. He invited everyone to invoke her intercession, especially for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who died Saturday morning. 

“Let us all join together, with one heart and one soul, in thanking God for the gift of this faithful servant of the Gospel and of the Church.”

Learning from Mary

The Pope encouraged everyone to look to Mary, whom we contemplate on this day, and ask how we can learn from her experience and how we should move forward in our own lives in the new year.

In today's liturgy, we note how Mary does not speak, but welcomes the mystery she is experiencing in her heart. The language proper to Mary, the Pope observed is "maternal," as she tenderly cares for the Christ Child, showing her greatness, humbly and silently, with the Child at the centre of everyone's attention. 

“After having borne the gift of a mysterious prodigy in their wombs for nine months, mothers constantly put their babies at the centre of their attention: they feed them, they hold them in their arms, they tenderly lay them down in the crib. To take care of: this is the language of the Mother of God, a language of mothers. To take care of.”

Mary's example reminds us that if we wish the new year to be good and for hope to take root, we must abandon actions that are only self-serving, and "learn the language of love, which is to 'take care of'," which counters the languages of egoism, the Pope explained. 

We must be committed to caring for one another and our own lives, he added, which means using our time well in caring for our souls, creation, our neighbors and our brothers and sisters in need call on our care and compassion. 

“Looking at Our Lady with the Child, there taking care of her Child, let us learn to take care of others, even of ourselves, caring for our interior health, our spiritual life, charity.”

World Day of Peace

Recalling today's World Day of Peace, the Pope underscored the importance of the need to regain "awareness of the responsibility that has been entrusted to us to construct the future." We need "a spirit of responsibility and compassion" and solidarity to confront the crises in our lives and societies, especially in the face of the tragedy of war, said the Pope. 

“Let us implore Mary Most Holy, the Mother of God, so that in this epoch, polluted by diffidence and indifference, she might make us capable of being compassionate and providing care – capable of being compassionate and providing care – capable of “looking more closely and sympathetically at others whenever necessary.””

Happy New Year

Following the recitation of the Angelus prayer, the Pope once again wished the thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square his best wishes for the New Year, and mentioned, in particular, the President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, and the people of Italy. 

War in Ukraine and other regions

The Pope renewed his support for all efforts being used to stop wars, which are even now sowing death and destruction, not only in Ukraine but throughout the world.

“Nevertheless, let us not lose hope because we have faith in God who in Jesus Christ has opened for us the way of peace.”

The pandemic also showed us that "no one can save him or herself alone, but that together we can pursue the paths of peace and development," he added.

“Throughout the entire world, from every people, the cry is rising: No to war! No to rearmament! May resources go toward development, health, food, education, employment.”

Greetings the many groups present in the Square for the Angelus, the Pope offered his special greetings to those taking part in Italy's peace march in Altamura, who also offered caravans of humanitarian help to Ukraine. He also mentioned the Sant'Egidio community present and witnessing on this day in a special way to their commitment to peace in every part of the world.


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01 January 2023, 12:25