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As relevant today in 2014 as it was last year.

Pope Francis’ message on Christmas Day 2013

“I take up the song of the angels who appeared to the shepherds in Bethlehem on the night when Jesus was born. It is a song which unites heaven and earth, giving praise and glory to heaven, and the promise of peace to earth and all its people.” In his traditional Urbi et Orbi Christmas message, Pope Francis dwelt on the announcement of the angels to the shepherds of Bethlehem: Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors (Lk 2:14).

“Above all else,” the Pope said, Christmas calls us “to give glory to God, for He is good, He is faithful, He is merciful.” He prayed that all people would come to know “the true face of God the Father, who has given us Jesus.” And he encouraged everyone to glorify God by spending their lives “for love of Him and of all our brothers and sisters.”

The majority of the Holy Father’s message was taken up with the theme of “Peace to mankind.” Pope Francis reminded us that “true peace . . . is not a balance of opposing forces,” a façade hiding conflicts and divisions. Rather “peace calls for daily commitment . . . starting from God’s gift, from the grace which He has given us in Jesus Christ.”

He called to mind children who are victims of wars, the elderly, battered women, the sick. He made particular mention of those affected by the ongoing conflict in Syria, and called on the Lord to help all sides of the conflict “to put an end to all violence and guarantee access to humanitarian aid.” Recalling the power of prayer, he expressed his happiness that followers of different religions were all praying together for peace in Syria; he also invited non-believers “to desire peace with that yearning that makes the heart grow: all united, either by prayer or by desire. But all of us, for peace!”

...Pope Francis invoked the “Prince of Peace” to lead people to give up their arms and “undertake the path of dialogue,” mentioning especially Nigeria and the Holy Land. And he prayed that God would “heal the wounds of the beloved country of Iraq, once more struck by frequent acts of violence.”

…He prayed the “Child of Bethlehem” to “touch the hearts of all those engaged in human trafficking,” which he called a crime against humanity. Pope Francis also recalled the many children who are victims of armed conflicts, especially those forced to become child soldiers.

...Pope Francis concluded his message with an appeal to allow our hearts to be touched by God: “Dear brothers and sisters, today, in this world, in this humanity, is born the Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Let us pause before the Child of Bethlehem. Let us allow our hearts to be touched, let us not fear this. Let us not fear that our hearts be moved. We need this! Let us allow ourselves to be warmed by the tenderness of God; we need his caress. God’s caresses do not harm us. They give us peace and strength. We need his caresses. God is full of love: to him be praise and glory forever! God is peace: let us ask him to help us to be peacemakers each day, in our life, in our families, in our cities and nations, in the whole world. Let us allow ourselves to be moved by God’s goodness.” Pope Francis concluded his message with an appeal to allow our hearts to be touched by God: “Dear brothers and sisters, today, in this world, in this humanity, is born the Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Let us pause before the Child of Bethlehem. Let us allow our hearts to be touched, let us not fear this. Let us not fear that our hearts be moved. We need this! Let us allow ourselves to be warmed by the tenderness of God; we need his caress. God’s caresses do not harm us. They give us peace and strength. We need his caresses. God is full of love: to him be praise and glory forever! God is peace: let us ask him to help us to be peacemakers each day, in our life, in our families, in our cities and nations, in the whole world. Let us allow ourselves to be moved by God’s goodness.”

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"Nothing should
frighten or grieve you.
Let not your heart be troubled. Am I, your Mother,
not here with you?"

"Nothing should
frighten or grieve you.
Let not your heart be troubled. Am I, your Mother,
not here with you?"

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