“God has left His Heaven and come down to earth for man; forged an alliance with him coming into the history of a people,” the Pope reflected Wednesday.
“He is the king who came down to this poor province that is the earth, and gifted us with His visit, taking on human flesh and becoming man like us.”
In his General Audience in Paul VI hall, Pope Benedict continued his teaching on the history of salvation, reminding the faithful that Advent presents the Church with an opportunity to reflect on God’s redeeming work in humanity.
God, he said, is “not removed from the world” nor is he “absent.” Rather, the pontiff encouraged, “He comes to us in different ways, which we need to learn to discern.”
In order to better understand this work, Christians must look at the ways in which God is present in a world which is “often superficial and distracted.”
“God comes to us in the things we know best and can verify most easily, the things of our everyday life, apart from which we cannot understand ourselves,” Pope Benedict said quoting his predecessor Bl. John Paul II’s encyclical “Fides et Ratio.”
Christians “are called everyday to see and bear witness to this presence,” Pope Benedict said, and “to reflect in our lives the light that illuminated the cave of Bethlehem.”
The “best place” to discover the revelation of God is Sacred Scripture, Pope Benedict said.
The Pope recounted the stages of salvation history, as summarized in the Catechism from the Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden to Redemption through the Incarnation of Christ.
Throughout this work, God “is always faithful” to his people and his “plan of liberation” so that man “can recognize and serve his Lord and respond with faith and love to his actions.”
Mary’s Magnificat is “one of the highest examples of the history of salvation,” Pope Benedict said, pointing out that in her prayer of thanksgiving, the Blessed Mother “praises God’s merciful action within the concrete journey of His people.”
The Incarnation, he said, presents us with the culmination of God’s saving work.
“Finally, in Christ the Revelation in its fullness is realized, God’s loving plan in which He becomes one of us,” Pope Benedict said.
During the Year of Faith, Pope Benedict said he invites everyone to “take up the Bible more often and meditate on it and pay more attention to the readings in Sunday Mass,” he said, calling Sacred Scripture, “valuable nourishment for our faith.”
In celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe Dec. 12, the Pope urged young pilgrims to “learn to love and hope at the school of Mary;” encouraged the sick to find “comfort and companionship” in their suffering; and asked newlyweds to “entrust to the Mother of Jesus” their “marital journey.”
Christians should use the time of Advent to become more aware of how God continues to carry out his plan of salvation in the world, Pope Benedict said Dec. 12.