VATICAN CITY — During the first Angelus of 2013, Pope Benedict XVI asked Mary to bless the world “like a mother blesses her children who must leave on a trip,” since “a new year is like a journey” which we must face “with the light and grace of God.”
Pope Benedict’s full Angelus address follows:
Dear brothers and sisters,
Happy New Year to all! On this first day of 2013, I would like God’s blessing to be extended to every man and every woman in the world. I do this with the ancient formula contained in sacred Scripture: “The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face shine upon thee and show thee mercy. The Lord turn his face to you and give you peace" (Numbers 6:24-26).
Such as light and heat from the sun are a blessing to the earth, so the light of God is for humanity, when he shines his face upon it. This happened with the birth of Jesus Christ. God hath shown us the brilliance of his face: at the beginning in a very humble, hidden way — in Bethlehem, only Mary and Joseph and some shepherds were witnesses to this revelation — but little by little, like the sun from dawn comes to noon, the light of Christ has grown and spread everywhere. Even in the short time of his earthly life, Jesus of Nazareth made the face of God shine in the Holy Land, and then, through the Church animated by his Spirit, extended to all peoples the Gospel of peace. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14). This is the song of the angels at Christmas and the song of the Christians in every clime, a song from the hearts and lips which passes into concrete actions, actions of love that build dialogue, understanding and reconciliation.
For this, eight days after Christmas, when the Church, like the Virgin Mother Mary, shows the world the Infant Jesus, the Prince of Peace, we celebrate the World Day of Peace. Yes, that Child, who is the Word of God made flesh, came to give men a peace which the world cannot give (John 14:27). His mission is to break down the “dividing wall of hostility” (Ephesians 2:14). And when, on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, he proclaims his beatitudes, among them there is also “blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).
Who are the peacemakers? They are all those who, day by day, try to overcome evil with good, with the power of truth, with the weapons of prayer and forgiveness, with honest and well-done work, with scientific research at the service of life, with the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. The peacemakers are many, but they are not loud. As leaven in dough, they raise humanity according to God’s plan.
In this first Angelus of the new year, we ask the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, to bless us, like a mother blesses her children who must leave on a trip. A new year is like a journey: With the light and grace of God, may it be a path to peace for every person and every family, for each country and for the whole world.