(Vatican Radio) The figure of the Christ-child was the focus of Pope Francis’ catechesis on Wednesday at the weekly General Audience.
The humility of Our Divine Lord in the manger, and its stark contrast with our own often grandiose self-appraisal was a particular motif of the catechetical reflection the Holy Father offered to the pilgrims and visitors gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the event.
“This is a great mystery,” said Pope Francis, departing from his prepared text in Italian, “God is humble.” He went on to say, “We, who are proud, full of vanity, and who think ourselves great stuff – we are nothing. He is the great one: He is humble, and He makes Himself a child.”
“This,” repeated Pope Francis, “is a true mystery: God is humble – and it is a beautiful thing.”
Below, please find the official English-language summary of the Holy Father’s catechesis, which was read following the main reflection at the audience on Wednesday
Dear Brothers and Sisters: During this holy season it is customary in many places for each home to set up a Christmas crib, following a tradition begun by Saint Francis of Assisi. The crib scene invites us to adore the Child Jesus and to contemplate the mystery of the Incarnation as a revelation of God’s saving love. Devotion to the Child Jesus can teach us much about our faith. Although the Gospels tell us little about our Lord’s childhood, we know from experience the message which all newborn babies bring. By contemplating the Infant Jesus, we come to understand more fully the meaning of his coming among us. Like every baby, the Infant Jesus cries out for our attention; he asks us to care for and protect him. Like every baby, he wants us to smile at him, as a sign of our delight in him and our sharing in the mystery of his love. Finally, he wants us to play with him, to enter into his world and to become like a child ourselves, in order to please him. In these days of Christmas, let us not only gaze upon the Child Jesus, but also take him into our arms and allow him to give us the joy and freedom born of the Father’s merciful love.
After the summary, Pope Francis greeted Anglophone pilgrims and visitors with the following words, through his interpreter
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, including the pilgrimage groups from Norway, the Philippines and the United States of America. I thank the choirs for their praise of God in song. With prayerful good wishes that the the Church’s celebration of the Jubilee of Mercy will be a moment of grace and spiritual renewal for all, I invoke upon you and your families an abundance of joy and peace in the Lord. Happy New Year!