31-December-2012 -- Vatican Information Service |

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Te Deum: The Christian Is A Person Of Hope Even In The Face Of The Darkness That Exists In The World

Vatican City, 31 December 2012 (VIS) - Today at 5:00pm in the Vatican Basilica, the Holy Father presided over first vespers for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. This was followed by the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, the singing of the traditional "Te Deum" of thanksgiving on the conclusion of the calendar year, and the Eucharistic blessing.

Following are extracts from the homily given by Pope Benedict XVI:

"We cannot rely solely on the news if we want to understand the world and life. We must be able to remain in silence, in meditation, in calm and prolonged reflection; we must know how to stop and think. In this way, our mind can find healing from the inevitable wounds of daily life, can go deeper into the events that occur in our lives and in the world, and come to the knowledge that allows us to evaluate things with new eyes. Especially in the recollection of conscience, where God speaks to us, we learn to look truthfully at our own actions, even at the evil within us and around us, to begin a journey of conversion that makes us wiser and better, more capable of creating solidarity and communion, of overcoming evil with good. The Christian is a person of hope, even and especially in the face of the darkness that often exists in the world, not as a consequence of God's plans but because of the wrong choices of man, because the Christian knows that the power of faith can move mountains, the Lord can brighten even the deepest darkness."

"The Year of Faith, which the Church is living," the pontiff continued, "should arouse in the heart of each believer a greater awareness that the encounter with Christ is the source of true life and a solid hope. Faith in Jesus allows a constant renewal of goodness and of the ability to rise from the quicksand of sin and to begin anew. In the Word made flesh it is always possible to rediscover our true human identity, to find ourselves destined for God's infinite love and called to a personal communion with Him. This truth, which Jesus Christ came to reveal, is the certainty that compels us to confidently face the year we are about to begin."

"The Church, which has received from her Lord the mission to evangelize, knows well that the Gospel is destined to all people, especially the younger generations, to quench that thirst for truth that everyone carries in their heart and that is often obscured by all those things that occupy life. This apostolic commitment is all the more necessary when the faith risks being obscured in cultural contexts that hinder its personal roots and its social presence. Rome, too, is a city where the Christian faith must be proclaimed again and again and witnessed in a credible manner. On the one hand, there is the growing number of believers of other religions, the difficulties parish communities have in attracting young people, the spread of lifestyles marked by individualism and moral relativism; on the other, the quest, in so many people, for a sense of their own existence and for a hope that will not disappoint, that cannot leave us indifferent. Like the Apostle Paul, all the faithful of this city should consider themselves under obligation of the Gospel towards the other inhabitants!"

The Pope concluded his homily by enjoining the dioceses "to support and accompany parents in their spiritual life ... in order to keep the flame of faith alive". To this end it is important "to build a relationship of cordial friendship with those of the faithful who, after having baptised their child, distracted by the demands of everyday life, do not show great interest in living this experience. They will thus be able to experience the love of the Church who, as a caring mother, stands by them to promote their spiritual life."

After of the ceremony, Benedict XVI visited the nativity scene at the foot of the obelisk located at the centre of St. Peter's square.

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