Pope Benedict XVI - Angelus

On the First Sunday of Advent
"Man is Alive So Long as He Waits"
H.H. Benedict XVI
November 28, 2010


Dear Brothers and Sisters!

Today, the first Sunday of Advent, the Church begins a new liturgical year, a new journey of faith that, on one hand, remembers the event of Jesus Christ and, on the other, opens onto its ultimate fulfillment. It is precisely in this double perspective that the season of Advent is situated, both looking to the first coming of the Son of God, when he was born of the Virgin Mary, and to his glorious return, when he will come "to judge the living and the dead," as we say in the "Credo." I would now like to reflect briefly on this suggestive theme of "waiting" (attesa), because it involves a profoundly human reality in which the faith becomes, so to say, completely one with our flesh and our heart.

Our whole personal, familial and social existence passes through this dimension of waiting. Waiting is something that is present in a 1,000 situations, from the smallest and most banal to the most important, which draw us in completely and in the deepest way. Among these, we think of a husband and wife waiting for a child; of waiting for a relative or friend who is coming from far away to visit us; we think of a young person waiting to know his grade on a major exam or the outcome of a job interview; in romantic relationships, of waiting to meet the beloved person, of waiting for a letter, or of receiving forgiveness... One could say that man is alive so long as he waits, so long as hope is alive in his heart. And man is able to recognize that what he waits for and what he hopes for discloses something about his moral and spiritual "stature."

Everyone of us, therefore, especially in this season in which we prepare for Christmas, can ask himself: What am I waiting for? For what, in this moment of my life, does my heart long? And this same question can be posed at the level of the family, of the community, of the nation. What are we waiting for, together? What unifies our aspirations, what do they have in common? In the time before Jesus' birth the expectation of the Messiah -- that is, of an Anointed one, a descendent of King David, who would have finally liberated the people from every moral and political slavery and have founded the Kingdom of God -- was very strong in Israel. But no one could have imagined that the Messiah would be born from a humble girl like Mary, the betrothed of the just man Joseph. Not even she could have thought of it, and yet in her heart the longing for the Savior was so great, her faith and hope were so ardent, that he was able to find in her a worthy mother. After all, God himself had prepared her before all time. There is a mysterious correspondence between the waiting for God and the waiting for Mary, the creature "full of grace," totally transparent to the plan of love of the Most High. Let us learn from her, the woman of Advent, to live with a new spirit in our daily gestures, with the sentiment of a profound expectation that only the coming of God can fulfill.

[Following the recitation of the Angelus, the Holy Father greeted those present in St. Peter's Square in various languages. In English he said:]

I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking visitors gathered here today for this "Angelus" prayer. Today, Christians begin a new liturgical Year with the season of "Advent," a time of preparation to celebrate the Mystery of the Incarnation. By the grace of God, may our prayer, penance and good works in this season make us truly ready to see the Lord face to face. Upon you and your families I invoke God's gifts of wisdom, strength and peace!

[In Italian he said:]

I wish everyone a peaceful Sunday and a good journey through Advent. Thank you, happy Advent to everyone!

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]

Copyright 2010 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana


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