.- Pope Benedict XVI is just days away from arriving in the U.S. for his first visit. In anticipation of his arrival he released a video message today saying he is coming to share the message of hope in Christ with all those living in the U.S.
As the Pope began his message, he offered his “heartfelt greeting and an invitation to prayer. “As you know", he continues, "I shall only be able to visit two cities: Washington and New York. The intention behind my visit, though, is to reach out spiritually to all Catholics in the United States".
After thanking the people working to organize his trip and those who are praying for its success, Benedict XVI also mentioned his conviction that prayer is the most powerful way to prepare for his visit. “Dear friends, I say this because I am convinced that without the power of prayer, without that intimate union with the Lord, our human endeavors would achieve very little. Indeed this is what our faith teaches us. It is God who saves us, he saves the world, and all of history. He is the Shepherd of his people. I am coming, sent by Jesus Christ, to bring you his word of life.”
“Christ our hope”, the theme for the Pope’s visit was also central to the Pope’s address. "Together with your bishops, I have chosen as the theme of my journey three simple but essential words: 'Christ our hope'. ... Jesus Christ is hope for men and women of every language, race, culture and social condition. ... Through him, our lives reach fullness, and together, both as individuals and peoples, we can become a family united by fraternal love, according to the eternal plan of God the Father. I know how deeply rooted this Gospel message is in your country. I am coming to share it with you, in a series of celebrations and gatherings.”
"I shall also bring the message of Christian hope to the great Assembly of the United Nations", the Pope continued, "to the representatives of all the peoples of the world. Indeed, the world has greater need of hope than ever: hope for peace, for justice, and for freedom, but this hope can never be fulfilled without obedience to the law of God, which Christ brought to fulfillment in the commandment to love one another. Do to others as you would have them do to you, and avoid doing what you would not want them to do. This 'golden rule' is given in the Bible, but it is valid for all people, including non-believers. It is the law written on the human heart; on this we can all agree, so that when we come to address other matters we can do so in a positive and constructive manner for the entire human community".
Pope Benedict also took care to address Spanish-speaking U.S. Catholics in their own language, invoking the Blessed Mother’s protection and the blessing of God upon them.
Benedict XVI concludes his message by saying, “Dear brothers and sisters, dear friends in the United States, I am very much looking forward to being with you. I want you to know that, even if my itinerary is short, with just a few engagements, my heart is close to all of you, especially to the sick, the weak, and the lonely. I thank you once again for your prayerful support of my mission. I reach out to every one of you with affection, and I invoke upon you the maternal protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary.”
To watch the video message go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=me8whJa4p9g