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Monday, November 28, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 27 NOV 2011 (VIS) - In his remarks before praying the Angelus this morning, Benedict XVI reflected on the period of Advent, which begins the liturgical year. In Advent "people's hearts are reawakened to the expectation of Christ's return, and to the memory of His first coming, when He divested Himself of His divine glory to assume our mortal flesh", he said.

  He then went on to quote from today's Gospel reading in which Jesus tells His disciples to "keep awake". That was, said the Holy Father, "a timely reminder to us that life has not only an earthly dimension, but is projected 'beyond'".

  "Isaiah, the prophet of Advent, also makes us think today with his heartfelt prayer addressed to God. ... He dwells on the shortcomings of his people and at a certain point says: 'There is no one who calls on your name, or attempts to take hold of you; you have hidden your face from us, and have delivered us into the hands of iniquity'. How can we not be struck by this description? It seems to reflect certain aspects of the post-modern world: cities where life has become anonymous and horizontal, where God seems to be absent and only man is master, as if he were the universal architect. Building, work, economy, transport, science, technology, everything seems to depend only upon man. And at times, in this apparently perfect world, terrible things happen, either in nature or society, which make us think that God has withdrawn and has, so to say, left us to our own devices.

  "The real 'master' of the world is not man but God", the Pope added. "The Gospel says: 'keep awake for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly'. Advent comes every year to remind us of this fact, that our lives might find their just orientation towards the face of God. The face not of a 'master', but of a Father and a Friend".

  Following the Marian prayer, the Pope recalled that a United Nations conference on climate change and the Kyoto Protocol is beginning tomorrow in Durban, South Africa. "My hope", he said, "is that all the members of the international community will agree on a responsible, credible and joint response to this worrying and complex phenomenon, while taking account of the needs of the poorest people and of future generations".
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