(Vatican Radio) In his address to thousands of pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter's
Square for the first Angelus prayer of 2013, Pope Benedict likened the new year to
"a journey" and prayed that it may lead on a path to peace "for every person and every
family, for each country and for the whole world."
Below please find a Vatican Radio translation of his remarks:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Happy New Year to all! On this first day of 2013, I would like God’s blessing to be extended to every man and every woman in the world. I do this with the ancient formula contained in Sacred Scripture: "The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and show thee mercy. The Lord turn his face to you and give you peace "(Numbers 6:24-26).
Such as light and heat from the sun are a blessing to the earth, so the light of God is for humanity, when He shines His face upon it. This happened with the birth of Jesus Christ! God hath shown us the brilliance of His face: at the beginning in a very humble, hidden way - in Bethlehem, only Mary and Joseph and some shepherds were witnesses to this revelation -; but little by little, like the sun from dawn comes to noon, the light of Christ has grown and spread everywhere. Even in the short time of his earthly life, Jesus of Nazareth made the face of God shine in the Holy Land, and then, through the Church animated by his Spirit, extended to all peoples the Gospel of peace. "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favour rests" (Lk 2:14). This is the song of the angels at Christmas, and the song of the Christians in every clime, a song from the hearts and lips which passes into concrete actions, actions of love that build dialogue, understanding and reconciliation.
For this, eight days after Christmas, when the Church, like the Virgin Mother Mary, shows the world the infant Jesus, the Prince of Peace, we celebrate the World Day of Peace. Yes, that Child, Who is the Word of God made flesh, came to give men a peace which the world can not give (cf. Jn 14:27). His mission is to break down the "dividing wall of hostility" (Eph 2:14). And when, on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, He proclaims his "Beatitudes", among them there is also "blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God" (Mt 5:9). Who are the peacemakers? They are all those who, day by day, try to overcome evil with good, with the power of truth, with the weapons of prayer and forgiveness, with honest and well done work, with scientific research at the service of life, with the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. The peacemakers are many, but they are not loud. As leaven in dough, they raise humanity according to God's plan.
In this first Angelus of the new year, we ask the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, to bless us, like a mother blesses her children who must leave on a trip. A new year is like a journey: with the light and grace of God, may it be a path to peace for every person and every family, for each country and for the whole world.
AFTER THE ANGELUS
Dear brothers and sisters!
I share with all the most cordial good wishes for the new year: may it be a really good year, and it will be if we accept in us and among us, the love that Christ has given us. With gratitude I express my best wishes to the President of the Italian Republic and to the entire nation, as well as to other authorities who have sent me greetings.
I renew my affectionate greeting to the young people who came to Rome for the European meeting of the Taizé Community. I express my spiritual closeness to the ecclesial initiatives surrounding this World Day of Peace: I think, in particular, of the national March which took place last night in Lecce (Italy), as well as (this morning’s march) here in Rome, animated by the Community of Sant 'Egidio. I greet the members of the Family Love Movement who remained last night in prayer vigils in St. Peter's Square, in Milan and in L'Aquila. To all I repeat the words of Jesus: "Blessed are the peacemakers"!
Greetings to English speaking pilgrims:
I am pleased to greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present today for this prayer. Today, New Year’s Day, we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. With affectionate trust, Our Lady believed the message revealed to her by the angel’s word and bore Jesus Christ, true God and true man. May her powerful intercession bring you a happy and prosperous New Year!