Back to Advent Thoughts 2012

Advent Thoughts

The Holy Father's Comments on the Season


Benedict XVI'S Prayer Intentions for December 2012

  • Migrants. That migrants throughout the world may be welcomed with generosity and authentic love, especially by Christian communities.
  • Christ, light for all humanity. That Christ may reveal himself to all humanity with the light that shines forth from Bethlehem and is reflected in the face of his Church.


Faith is nurtured by the discovery and the memory of God who is always faithful, who guides history and is the sound and stable foundation upon which life should be built".

God reveals Himself not only in the primordial act of creation, but by entering into our history... .This Revelation of God ... culminates in Jesus Christ: made flesh in Jesus and thereby shows His true face. In Jesus every promise is fulfilled; the story of God and humanity finds its culmination in Him.

God has invited mankind, since the very beginning, to engage in profound communion with Him, and even when man, through his own disobedience, lost His friendship, God did not abandon him to the force of death, but renewed His offer of alliance with man many times.

Revelation finds its full realisation in Christ, in God's benevolent plan [which demonstrates] a single salvific plan dedicated to all of humanity, progressively revealed and realised through the power of God.

The word 'Advent' means 'coming' or 'presence', and historically indicated the arrival of the king... . For us as Christians it has the wonderful and awe-inspiring meaning that God Himself has crossed over from Heaven and inclined towards man; he has made a covenant with man, entering into the history of His people. He is the king who enters into the poor province of earth, offering us the gift of His visit, taking on human flesh and becoming one of us.

Advent...reminds us again the God has not left this world, He is not absent and has not abandoned us to our own devices, but instead draws towards us in various ways that we must learn to recognise. And we too, with our faith, hope and charity, are called upon every day to perceive and witness this presence, in a world so often superficial and led astray, and to make the light that illuminated the stable in Bethlehem shine anew in our lives.

First Sunday of Advent, Angelus, St Peters, Dec 2, 2012

Advent is a time to extend God’s “kingdom of love” and to reflect on the coming of Jesus into the world.  Amid the turmoil of the world, or the deserts of indifference and materialism, Christians accept salvation from God and witness with a different way of life, like a city set on a hill.

The community of believers is a sign of the love of God, his justice that is present in the history but that is not yet fully realized, and that we must therefore must always be waiting and seeking it with courage and patience.

Advent begins a new liturgical year that this year is further enriched by the Year of Faith which marks the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council.

 The word “advent” means “coming” or “presence.” In ancient times, it originally meant the visit of a king or emperor, but for Christians it now refers to the coming of God, the Pope explained.

Advent refers to two moments related to the first and second coming of Jesus.  The first is the Incarnation and the second is his coming at the end of time. These two moments are deeply touching because Jesus’ death and resurrection has already made the transformation of man and the cosmos, which is the end for which we were created.

FIRST VESPERS OF ADVENT, Vatican Basilica, Dec 1, 2012

The entire journey of the year of the Church is directed to discovering and reliving God's trust in Jesus Christ who came to us in Bethlehem, as a child. The full history of salvation is a journey of love, mercy and benevolence. God is not closed away in heaven, but rather inclines towards the affairs of mankind, a great mystery that exceeds any possible expectation. ... He does all this out of his unwavering love for humanity.

God, in Jesus of Nazareth, takes upon himself the whole of humanity, the entire history of humanity, setting it on a decisive new course to transformation into a new human being, engendered by and tending towards God.

The liturgical year will also form part of the path in which you once more relive the mystery of this trust in God, upon whom you are called to base your life, as on a solid rock.  The liturgy, lived in its true spirit, is always the fundamental school for life in Christian faith. We live in a context in which we often encounter indifference towards God. But I believe that, in the inner depths of those people ... whose lives are distant from God, there resides a nostalgia for the infinite, for transcendence. It is your bear witness to God Who is close to us.  Faith is the door that God opens in our lives in order to lead us to the encounter with Christ. Christian faith is not the adhesion to a generic or undefined god, but rather to the living God Who in Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, entered into human history and revealed Himself as man's Redeemer. To believe means to entrust one's own life to Him, as only He can give it fullness in time and open it to hope beyond time.

The Virgin Mary perfectly embodies the spirit of Advent, which involves both listening to God and having deep desire to do his will in joyful service to others. Let us be guided by her, because some are closed to or distracted from God. May each of us extend a little of his kingdom of love, justice and peace.