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Monday, January 2, 2012

TE DEUM: ENTRUST TRAGEDIES AND HOPES OF THE WORLD TO GOD


VATICAN CITY, 31 DEC 2011 (VIS) - In the Vatican Basilica at 5 p.m. today, the Pope presided at 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 for the conclusion of the year, and the Eucharistic blessing.

  Extracts from Benedict XVI's homily are given below:

  "Another year is drawing to a close, as we await the start of a new one: with some trepidation, with our perennial desires and expectations. Reflecting on our life experience, we are continually astonished by how ultimately short and ephemeral life is. So we often find ourselves asking: what meaning can we give to our days? What meaning, in particular, can we give to the days of toil and grief? This is a question that ... runs through the heart of every generation and every individual. But there is an answer: it is written on the face of a Child Who was born in Bethlehem two thousand years ago, and is today the Living One, risen for ever from the dead. From within the fabric of humanity, rent asunder by so much injustice, wickedness and violence, there bursts forth in an unforeseen way the joyful and liberating novelty of Christ our Saviour, Who leads us to contemplate the goodness and tenderness of God through the mystery of His Incarnation and Birth".

  "Since the Day of the Lord's Nativity, the fullness of time has reached us. So there is no more room for anxiety in the face of time that passes, never to return; now there is room for unlimited trust in God, by Whom we know we are loved. ... Since the Saviour came down from heaven, man has ceased to be the slave of time that passes to no avail, marked by toil, sadness and pain. Man is son of a God Who has entered time so as to redeem it from meaninglessness and negativity, a God Who has redeemed all humanity, giving it everlasting love as a new perspective of life.

  "The Church lives and professes this truth and intends to proclaim it today with fresh spiritual vigour. ... Christ's disciples are called to reawaken in themselves and in others the longing for God and the joy of living Him and bearing witness to Him. ... We must give primacy to truth, seeing the combination of faith and reason as two wings with which the human spirit can rise to the contemplation of the Truth; we must ensure that the dialogue between Christianity and modern culture bears fruit; we must see to it that the beauty and contemporary relevance of the faith is rediscovered, ... as a constant orientation, affecting even the simplest choices, establishing a profound unity within the person, so that he becomes just, hard-working, generous and good. What is needed is to give new life to a faith that can serve as a basis for a new humanism, one that is able to generate culture and social commitment".

  "To proclaim faith in the Word made flesh is ... at the heart of the Church's mission, and the entire ecclesial community needs to rediscover this indispensable task with renewed missionary zeal. Young generations have an especially keen sense of the present disorientation, magnified by the crisis in economic affairs which is also a crisis of values, and so they in particular need to recognise in Jesus Christ 'the key, the centre and the purpose of the whole of human history'".

  "Ever since God sent His only-begotten Son, so that we might obtain adoptive sonship, we can have no greater task than to be totally at the service of God's plan".

  "'Te Deum laudamus!' We praise you, O God! The Church suggests that we should not end the year without expressing our thanks to the Lord for all His benefits. It is in God that our last hour must come to a close, the last hour of time and history. To overlook this goal of our lives would be to fall into the void, to live without meaning. Hence the Church places on our lips the ancient hymn 'Te Deum'. It is a hymn filled with the wisdom of many Christian generations, who feel the need to address on high their heart's desires, knowing that all of us are in the Lord's merciful hands".

  "With hearts full of thanksgiving, let us prepare to cross the threshold of 2012, remembering that the Lord is watching over us and guarding us. To Him this evening we wish to entrust the whole world. Let us place in His hands the tragedies of this world and let us also offer Him our hopes for a brighter future".
HML/                                    VIS 20120102 (810)

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