Vatican City, 1 January 2013 (VIS) - At the end of this morning's Mass for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to pray the Angelus with faithful and pilgrims gathered below in St. Peter's Square. Before reciting the Marian prayer, the pontiff addressed a few words to them:
"Happy New Year to all! On this first day of 2013 I would like to send God's blessing to each and every man and woman in the world. I pronounce it with the old form found in Sacred Scripture: 'the Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord let His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you. The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace'.
Just as the sun's light and heat are a blessing for the earth, so is the light of God for humanity when He makes His face to shine upon us. This is what has happened with the birth of Jesus Christ! God has made His face to shine upon us: at the beginning in a very humble, hidden manner -- in Bethlehem only Mary and Joseph and a few shepherds were witness to this revelation -- but little by little, like the sun passing from dawn to noon, the light of Christ has grown and extended everywhere. Including the brief time of his earthly life, Jesus of Nazareth made God's face to shine on the Holy Land and then, through the Church enlivened by his Spirit, he extended to all peoples the Gospel of peace. 'Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests'. This is the angels' song on Christmas and it is the song of Christians under the heavens, a song that moves from our hearts and lips to concrete action, to the gestures of love that build dialogue, understanding, and reconciliation.
This is why the Church, eight days after Christmas, celebrates the World Day of Peace when, just like Mary the Virgin Mother, she shows the world the newborn child, Jesus the Prince of Peace. Yes, this child who is the Word of God made flesh, comes to bring us a peace that the world cannot offer. His mission is to break down 'the dividing wall of enmity' that separates us. And when, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he proclaims the 'Beatitudes', among these is 'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God'. Who are those who work for peace? They are all those who, day after day, try to vanquish evil through good, with the strength of truth, with the arms of prayer and forgiveness, with the job done honestly and well, with scientific research that serves life, with works of corporal and spiritual charity. The peacemakers are many but they make no noise. Like leaven in dough, they make humanity grow according to God's plan.
On this first Angelus of the new year, we ask the Most Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of God, to bless us as a mother blesses her children who are about to leave on a journey. A new year is like a journey; with God's light and grace may it be a path toward peace for all persons and all families, for all countries and the entire world."