Benedict XVI recalls trip to Turkey, reminds Christians that Advent is a time of hope

Benedict XVI recalls trip to Turkey, reminds Christians that Advent is a time of hope

.- Prior to praying the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI briefly recalled last week’s trip to Turkey, expressing his thanks to the Turkish people and reminding Catholics to follow the example of Turkish Christians who, “always live the experience of Advent.”

The Holy Father began by expressing his hope that the trip to Turkey would continue to produce, “fruits of goodness for ever more sincere cooperation among all Christ's disciples and for a productive dialogue with Muslim believers."

He thanked the Turkish authorities and people for, “a welcome worthy of their traditional spirit of hospitality," and thanked those who were praying for him during his trip, saying, “I felt how I was accompanied and supported by the prayers of the entire Christian community.”

The Pope then considered how the Catholic community in Turkey, “often finds itself in difficult conditions.”  The Pontiff noted that they are, “a small but varied flock, rich in enthusiasm and faith, who ... always live the experience of Advent intensely, sustained by hope.”

The Advent liturgy, the Pope noted, assures the Church, “almost as if to overcome our natural diffidence, that God 'comes:' He comes to be with us. ... He comes to bridge the distances that divide and separate us. He comes to reconcile us with Him and among ourselves. He comes into the history of humanity ... to bring the gift of fraternity, harmony and peace."
For this reason, "Advent is, par excellence, the time of hope," he said. And to live it fully, "the liturgy exhorts us to look to Mary Most Holy and to walk…with her towards the manger of Bethlehem.”

“When God knocked at the door of her young life, she accepted Him with faith and love,” the Pope said of Mary. “Let us allow ourselves to be attracted by her beauty, a reflection of divine glory, so that 'the God Who comes' may find in each of us a good and open heart He can fill with His gifts."

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