DAILY CATHOLIC   CHRISTMAS-NEW YEAR'S ISSUE   December 24, 1999 - January 2, 2000   vol. 10, no. 245


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Holy Father's Pre-Christmas Message

    Dear Brothers and Sisters

        The novena of the Holy Birth that we are living these days is a liturgical itinerary that supports us in our effort to prepare for the celebration of the great "event" that took place twenty centuries ago: it invites us to meditate on the profound aspects of the mystery of the Incarnation and to welcome it in our life.

        We are preparing to live an extraordinary event during Christmas of this year 1999. Indeed, on Christmas Eve, which is upon us, the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 will begin, for which the Church has been preparing with faith for a long time, and this gives additional vigor to our expectation.

        At the end of this time of Advent, the liturgy highlights the expectation of the whole of creation. It is as if after 2000 years, creation felt renewed joy at the arrival of him who in his fullness even more perfectly restores the primordial harmony upset by sin.

    2. Dearest Brothers and Sisters! Let us begin to live the saving event of Christmas with intense participation, by beginning the Jubilee Year with profound joy. In the poverty of the manger let us contemplate the great "event" of the Incarnation: God became man to come to each one of us. Let us allow this great mystery to transform our existence during the whole time of grace of the Jubilee. Let us relive the moving and exalting experience of the shepherds, who promptly welcomed the announcement brought by the angels, and went without delay to adore the Savior, thus becoming the first witnesses of his presence in the world.

    3. The Virgin Mary, who was the first to prepare a worthy dwelling for the promised Messiah and continues to give him to the world today, teaches us to open -- more than that -- to open wide the doors of our heart to the message of light and peace of Christmas.

        With such sentiments and in the context of spiritual joy for the imminent opening of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, it gives me pleasure to wish each one of you my most affectionate best wishes, extending these heartfelt sentiments to all those oppressed by suffering, to those who must bear the heavy consequences of war, and those who find themselves in particular difficulties. I hope that, during the coming festivities, all will experience comfort from the Lord's presence, expressed by significant acts of love and solidarity.

John Paul II

       A special gift from the Holy Father for Christmas is a special Christmas Poem he wrote. From 1950 to 1966, Father Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II, wrote poetry under the pseudonym "Andrzej Jawien." His literary career covers the time period from four years after his ordination as a priest up to the year before he became a Cardinal. ZENIT permits us to print the following from one of the Pope's early poems, published December 10, 1950, on the theme of the Incarnation. (Taken from "Easter Vigil and Other Poems," translated by Jerzy Peterkiewicz - ZE99122221.)

Her Amazement at her Only Child

      Light piercing, gradually, everyday events;
      a woman's eyes, hands
      used to them since childhood.
      Then brightness flared, too huge for simple days,
      and hands clasped when the words lost their space.

      In that little town, my son, where they knew us together,
      you called me mother; but no one had eyes to see
      the astounding events as they took place day by day.
      Your life became the life of the poor
      in your wish to be with them through the work of your hands.

      I knew: the light that lingered in ordinary things,
      like a spark sheltered under the skin of our days --
      the light was you;
      it did not come from me.

      And I had more of you in that luminous silence
      than I had of you as the fruit of my body, my blood.

December 24, 1999 - January 2, 2000      volume 10, no. 245
Christmas Message


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