VATICAN CITY — The birth of Jesus causes joy because it gives us the certainty that God “works wonders in weakness,” Pope Benedict XVI said Jan. 2.
“The Nativity of the Lord once again illuminates the darkness that often surrounds our world and our hearts with his light, bringing hope and joy,” he said during his weekly general audience in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall.
The Pope opened and closed his remarks with Pilate’s question to Christ at his trial: “Where do you come from?”
Pope Benedict answered that the Gospels show Christ’s “true origin” is from God the Father and that he “comes entirely from him.”
That Christ “by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,” is a mystery “central to our profession of faith,” he stated.
“At this phrase, we kneel because the veil which hid God is, so to speak, lifted, and his unfathomable and inaccessible mystery touches us directly,” the Pope reflected.
The Pope mentioned Mozart’s Coronation Mass as an example of the beautiful expression of the Incarnation in sacred music.
He said that sacred music composed by the “great masters … lingers especially on this phrase, as if to try to express in the universal language of music what words cannot: the great mystery of God who becomes Incarnate, becomes man.”
The Holy Father also reflected on how the Creed gives particular importance to Mary, the Mother of God.
“Without her, the entry of God into human history would not have come to its end.”
Mary’s acceptance of God into her life is an example for us when we are discouraged, he told his listeners. When we feel inadequate, we can look to the humble maid of Nazareth and take heart.
“God chose a humble woman, in an unknown village, in one of the most distant provinces of the great Roman Empire. Always, even in the midst of the most difficult problems to face, we must trust in God, renewing faith in his presence and action in our history, like in that of Mary.”
With God, the Pope affirmed, our lives are built on solid ground, and we can be “open to a future of firm hope.”
He said that the Holy Spirit “overshadowing” Mary as she conceived Christ is an image of the creation of the world and of the cloud that led the Israelites through the exodus from Egypt.
The gift of faith given in baptism, Pope Benedict recalled, allows believers to share in Christ’s relationship with God the Father.
“Only if we open ourselves to God … our life takes on a new meaning and a new face: that of the children of a Father who loves us and never abandons us.”