THE VATICAN EMPLOYEES FOR THE PRESENTATION OF THE CHRISTMAS GREETINGS
Paul VI Hall
Monday, 21 December 2020
Dear brothers and sisters ,
It is a joy for me to meet with you Vatican employees and with your family members, near the Christmas holidays. I thank your medical colleague who spoke on behalf of all of you: his words have done us good and give us hope. I am grateful to each of you for the work you carry out with passion in the service of the Roman Curia and the Vatican City.
The pandemic has caused not only a health problem but also not a few economic difficulties for many families and institutions. The Holy See has also suffered from this and is making every effort to address this precarious situation in the best possible way. It is a question of complying with the legitimate needs of you employees and those of the Holy See: we must meet each other and go forward in our common work, but always. Our collaborators, you who work in the Holy See, you are the most important thing: no one should be left out, no one should leave their job; the superiors of the Governorate and also of the Secretariat of State, all of them, are looking for ways not to decrease your income and not to decrease anything, nothing at this moment so bad for the fruit of your work. We look for a lot of ways, but the principles are the same: don't quit your job; no one should be fired, no one should suffer the ugly economic effect of this pandemic. But all together we must work harder to help us solve this problem which is not easy, because you know: here, both in the Governorate and in the Secretariat of State, there is no Mandrake, there is no magic wand and we must look for the ways to solve this and with good will, all together, we will solve it. Help me in this and I help you: all together we help each other to go forward as one family. Thanks.
Christmas is a feast of joy "because Jesus was born for us" (cf. Is 9,5) and we are all called to go towards him. The shepherds give us the example. We too must go to Jesus: shake ourselves from our numbness, boredom, apathy, disinterest and fear, especially in this time of health emergency, in which it is difficult to find the enthusiasm of life and faith. It is tiring: it is a time that tires. Imitating the shepherds, we are called to assume three attitudes, three verbs: rediscover , contemplate and announce . Each of us sees in his life how he can rediscover , how he can contemplate and how he can announce .
It is important to rediscover the birth of the Son of God as the greatest event in history. It is the event foretold by the prophets centuries before it happened. It is the event that is still talked about today: what is the historical figure of which we speak as we speak of Jesus? Twenty centuries have passed and Jesus is more alive than ever - and even more persecuted, many times; even more soiled by the lack of testimony of so many Christians. Twenty centuries have passed. And those who turn away from him, with their behavior, give a further witness to Jesus: without him man falls into evil: into sin, into vice, into selfishness, into violence, into hatred. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us: this is the event that we must rediscover.
The second attitude is that of contemplation . The first was to rediscover , the second to contemplate . The shepherds say: "We see this event that the Lord has made known to us" ( Lk 2:15 ): that is, let us meditate, contemplate, pray. And here the most beautiful example is given to us by the mother of Jesus, by Mary: she kept in her heart, she meditated ... And by meditating what do we discover? St. Paul tells us: "When the goodness of God, our Savior, and his love for men appeared, he saved us not by just works we did, but by his mercy, with a water that regenerates and renews in the Holy Spirit "( Tt3.4-5). We discover that God manifests his goodness in the Child Jesus. He manifests his mercy for each of us, we know we need mercy in life. Everyone knows, and can give name and surname to the things that are in their heart and that need the mercy of God. Who does not feel moved by tenderness in front of a small child? In the Child Jesus God shows himself to be lovable, full of goodness, of meekness. We can truly love such a God with all our hearts. God manifests his goodness to save us. And what does it mean to be saved? It means entering into God's own life, becoming God's adopted children through baptism. This is the great meaning of Christmas: God becomes man so that we can become children of God.
The Second Person of the Trinity became man, to become the elder brother, the firstborn of a multitude of brothers. And God therefore saves us through baptism and makes us all enter as brothers: contemplate this mystery, contemplate the Child. And for this reason, the catechesis that the crib gives us is so beautiful, because it shows us the tender Child who announces God's mercy to us. Contemplating the cribs. And when the other day I blessed the Bambinellis: it was a "contemplate". The Child of the crib is a figure, but it is a figure that makes us think of this great mercy of God who became a Child.
And faced with this reality, the third attitude is: to announce. This is the attitude that helps us move forward. The three attitudes that help us right now, and get on with that. How should we do? Let us look once again at the shepherds: "The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as they were told" ( Lk2.20). They went back to their everyday life. We too must return to our everyday life: Christmas passes. But we must return to family life, work, transformed, we must return glorifying and praising God for all we have heard and seen. We must bring the good news to the world: Jesus is our savior. And this is a duty. Why do I have hope? Because the Lord saved me. Remember what we contemplate and go on announcing it. Announce it with the word, with the testimony of our life. However, difficulties and sufferings cannot obscure the light of Christmas, which arouses an intimate joy that no one can take away from us.
So, let's go on, with these three attitudes: rediscover , contemplate and announce .
Dear brothers and sisters, I renew my gratitude, I renew my appreciation for your work. Many of you are an example for others: they work for the family, with a spirit of service to the Church and always with the joy that comes from the awareness that God is always among us, he is God-with-us. And don't forget: joy is contagious and is good for the entire working community. Just as, for example, the sadness that comes from chattering is ugly and takes you down. Joy is contagious and makes you grow. Be joyful, be witnesses of joy! And from the heart, Merry Christmas to all.
FULL TEXT Source: Vatican.va - Image Source: Screen Shot from Vatican.va