VATICAN CITY — As the Church celebrates the season of Advent, Pope Benedict said that Catholics should remember “God is present” and recall his “plan of loving goodness.”
“Advent invites us, in the midst of many difficulties, to renew the assurance that God is present,” he told thousands in his general audience at the Vatican on Dec. 5.
Pope Benedict XVI called Advent the time which prepares us for the coming of Christ, which he said is “the great plan of loving goodness” that God wants to use to draw us to him.
“He came into the world, becoming a man like us, to fulfill his plan of love; and God demands we become a sign of action in the world,” he told the pilgrims at Paul VI audience hall.
“This ‘plan of loving goodness’ hasn’t remained in God’s silence, in the height of his heaven, but he has revealed it by engaging in a relationship with man, whom he has revealed himself to,” he said.
Pope Benedict noted that God has not delivered simply a set of truths, but has communicated himself to us by becoming one of us.
“God reveals his great plan of love by entering into a relationship with man, coming close to him, to the point of being himself man,” he added.
“St. John Chrysostom, in a famous comment on the beginning of the Letter to the Ephesians, invites people to enjoy all the beauty of this ‘plan of loving goodness’ of God revealed in Christ with these words:
“'What do you miss? You have become immortal; you have become free; you have become a child; you have become righteous; you’re a brother; you have become a joint heir with Christ to reign and with Christ to glorify,'” the Pope said, quoting the saint.
The Pope also reflected on how communion in Christ through the Holy Spirit is not something that overlaps with our humanity but is the fulfillment of the deepest human longings.
It is the desire for the Infinite that dwells in the depths of the human being and opens it to an eternal happiness, he said.
The Holy Father also remembered Blessed Pope John Paul II’s point that “Revelation sets within history a point of reference which man can’t ignore if he wants to come to understand the mystery of his existence.”
According to Pope Benedict, who has been delivering a series of reflections on faith at the weekly general audiences, faith is man’s response to God’s revelation, and we must do as St. Paul says and be obedient to faith.
Faith is an attitude and a change of mentality in which man freely commits himself to God, leading to a “fundamental change in how we relate to the whole of reality, as everything appears in a new light,” he noted.
Seeing with God’s eyes, the Pope asserted, is what makes life solid and allows us to stand and not fall.
“Through our faith, our hope, our love, he wants to enter the world again and again; he wants to shine his light in our night,” he concluded.
The Pope then greeted the pilgrims in different languages, including those from Australia and the United States, specifically mentioning those from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.