Sunday, January 13, 2008

"Foster Always the Flame of Faith"

The Pope, from this morning's homily at the Baptism Mass:
"God wanted to save us by plunging to the bottom of the abyss of death himself, so that every man, even the one who has fallen so low that he can no longer see the sky, may find and take hold of the hand of God, rising up from the shadows to see once again the light for which he was made. We all feel, we all perceive within ourselves that our existence is a desire for life that cries out for a fullness, a salvation. This fullness of life is given to us in Baptism...."

"The Son of God, who from all eternity shares in the fullness of life together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, was 'immersed' in our reality as sinners, in order to make us share in his own life. This is why Christian parents, like you are doing today, bring their children to the baptismal font as soon as possible, knowing that the life that they have given to them calls out for a fullness, a salvation that only God can give. And in this way, the parents become co-workers with God in transmitting to their children not only physical life, but also spiritual life...."
"In order to grow up healthy and strong, these children need physical care and great attention; but what will be more necessary for them, and even indispensable, is that they know, love, and serve God faithfully, that they may have eternal life. Dear parents, be for them the first witnesses of authentic faith in God!..."

"Foster always, dear brothers and sisters, the flame of faith, by listening to and meditating on the Word of God, and through frequent communion with the Eucharistic Jesus. May you be helped in this stupendous, though not easy, mission by the patron saints whose names these thirteen children will take. May these saints help above all them, the children about to be baptised, to respond to your care as Christian parents. May the Virgin Mary in particular accompany them and you, dear parents, now and forever. Amen!"
...and the subsequent Angelus:
"In being baptised by John together with sinners, Jesus began to take upon himself the weight of the sins of all humanity, as the Lamb of God who 'takes away' the sin of the world (cf. John 1:29). He brought this work to fulfilment on the cross, when he also received his 'baptism' (cf. Luke 12:50). By dying, in fact, he 'immersed' himself in the love of the Father, and poured forth the Holy Spirit, so that those who believe in Him might be reborn in that inexhaustible fountain of new and eternal life. The entire mission of Christ is summed up in this: to baptise us in the Holy Spirit, to free us from slavery to sin and 'open heaven to us', meaning access to true and full life, which will be 'a plunging ever anew into the vastness of being, in which we are simply overwhelmed with joy' (Spe Salvi, 12)"....

(And, for the annual observance of the World Day of Migrants:) "Many young people are for various reasons driven to live far away from their families and their countries. Young women and minors are particularly at risk. Some children and adolescents are born and raised in 'refugee camps': they too have a right to a future! I express my appreciation for those who work on behalf of young migrants and their families, and for their integration into work and schooling; I invite the ecclesial communities to extend a warm welcome to these young people and their parents, seeking to understand their lives and to foster their integration. Dear young migrants! Dedicate yourselves to building together with your peers a more just and fraternal society, fulfilling your duties, respecting the laws, and not letting yourselves be carried away by violence.
PHOTOS: Maurizio Brambatti/Pool