Don't Be Afraid of 2009, Urges Benedict XVI
Says Hope of Eternal Life Is Bigger Than Economic Crisis
VATICAN CITY, JAN. 1, 2009 (www.Zenit.org) - Benedict XVI is inviting Christians to "be not afraid," despite economic shadows hanging over 2009.
The Pope made this exhortation Wednesday during his homily at a ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica that included first vespers for today's feast of Mary, Mother of God, and the singing of the Te Deum in thanksgiving for the graces of 2008.
"This year closes with the awareness of a growing economic and social crisis that already concerns the entire world," he said. "Though not a few shadows are appearing on the horizon of our future, we should not be afraid.
"Our great hope as believers is eternal life in communion with Christ and with the whole family of God. This great hope gives us the strength to confront and overcome the difficulties of life in this world."
The Holy Father assured that both the year that was ending and the one on the horizon are both under the gaze of the Virgin Mother of God: "The maternal presence of Mary assures us tonight that God will never abandon us, if we entrust ourselves to him and follow his teachings. To Mary, then, with filial affection and trust, let us present our hopes and desires, as well as the fears and the difficulties we carry in our hearts, as we bid farewell to 2008 and prepare ourselves to welcome 2009."
The Pontiff also affirmed that the economic crisis "asks of all of us more sobriety and solidarity to assist especially those people and families with more serious difficulties."
He recognized that the Christian community and diocesan Caritas is already involved in this task, but emphasized that "the collaboration of everyone is necessary, because no one can think of building his happiness for himself alone."