Saturday, November 26, 2005

The New Year

Big Daddy opened the ecclesiastical year in style on this vigil of the First Sunday of Advent, wearing a cope, stole and mitre from the winter collection of the House of Marini (yes, thank God, he's still there) and a morse of the Lamb of God last worn by John Paul at, I think, the consistory in 2001. No comment on the allegedly Prada shoes.

Some of you might've seen the Evening Prayer, which ran this morning US time. If you didn't see it, you should've seen it. As the Pope was coming down the aisle, the cellphone-cameras being trained at him by people either jumping on chairs or sitting on the shoulders of others -- this was inside the Basilica, mind you -- the casual observer might've thought that an XBox360 or something was being processed in.

Your typical Italian pandemonium means that, seven months in, the natives love this guy.

In his homily, the Pope said (all translations are my own):

"God calls us to communion with himself, one fully realized at the return of Christ, and he calls us to do that which enables us to be ready for this final, decisive encounter. The future is, so it's said, contained in the present or, better still, in the presence of this same God, in his unfailing love, which never leaves us lonely, which doesn't abandon us even for an instant, but as a father and mother never fail to guide their children in their growth."

Benedict XVI went on to speak of the Pauline delineation of man as "'spirit, soul and body'... a unity articulated in somatic, psychic and spiritual dimensions. Sanctification is given of God and is his initiative, but the human being is called to correspond with his whole self, leaving nothing excluded."

PHOTO: AP/Pier Paolo Cito