Pope Benedict XVI used his Sunday Angelus address to remind Christians of the joy of being “children of God,” courtesy of baptism.
“God is the origin of the existence of every creature, and the Father in a unique way of every human being: he has a unique, personal relationship with him or her,” said the Pope from the window of his apostolic palace overlooking St. Peter’s Square Jan 8.
Earlier in the morning the Pope had baptized 16 newborn infants in the Sistine Chapel to mark the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord.
Reflecting upon that event, he observed that being a child is “the fundamental condition that binds us together,” for while “not all of us are parents,” we are all children.
“Coming into the world is never a choice; we are not asked first if we want to be born,” he said.
During life, though, we can develop an attitude toward life itself so that we “welcome it as a gift and, in a sense, ‘become’ what we already are: we become children.”
The development of this attitude marks “a maturity in our souls and our relationships with our parents, which is filled with gratitude.”
It is this attitude that makes people capable of being parents themselves “not biologically, but morally.”
In God “we are all children,” as he is “the origin of the existence of every creature,” who has a “unique, personal relationship with him or her.”
“Each of us is willed, is loved by God,” such that it is appropriate to speak of being ‘born again,” as children of God.
This happens through faith, explained the Pope, and in our “deep and personal ‘yes’ to God as the source and foundation of our existence.”
“What is the basis of this faith in God the Father?” asked the Pope. “It is based in Jesus Christ,” he answered.
“His person and history has shown us the Father, it has made Him known to us, as far as possible, in this world.” Therefore, believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, allows us to be ‘born again.’”
Quoting the words of St. John, the Pope said that “to all who received him, he gave the power to become children of God.” This is the “new birth,” that occurs in baptism “through the Holy Spirit and in the womb of the Church.”
The Pope urged Christians worldwide to give thanks to God for the “great mystery” of baptism which “is a source of regeneration for the Church and for the whole world.”
“God became the son of man, because man becomes a child of God,” and so Christians should rejoice for being “born of love of a father and a mother, and born again by God’s love through baptism.”
The Pope concluded his comments by commending all present to “the Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ,” before leading the pilgrims in the praying of the Angelus.
Today’s Feast of the Baptism of the Lord concludes the Church’s Christmas season.