Christmas, waiting and hope

Published : 12/11/2020 14:03:18
Categories : News

Christmas, waiting and hope

December is the month of Advent, the strong time of the liturgical year before Christmas. Four weeks - in the Roman rite - in which we prepare for the arrival of Jesus, lived between hope and repentance. In the Angelus of 29 November last year, Pope Francis drew attention to the situation we are experiencing, marked by the pandemic, recalling how Advent is a time of waiting, "an unceasing call to hope". The Christmas we are about to experience will be a time of great spirituality, reflection and encounter with faith for each of us.

This time of introspection and meditation could be experienced in the company of a good book. In order to live these days of expectation and hope, Libreria Editrice Vaticana proposes five titles of preparation for Holy Christmas and its meaning.

"Venite adoriamo. Con papa Francesco verso il Natale" (p. 62; Euro 5.00) is a collection of thoughts, dedicated to the Advent season, taken from the words of Pope Francis contained in his Homilies and his Magisterial documents with a preface by Cardinal Angelo Comastri. The small volume, conceived as an 'Advent calendar', covers the period from 1 December to 25 December. It is a small meditation tool that guides us day by day through the period leading up to Christmas and the arrival of Jesus. It is enriched by the presence of evocative images of the cribs in St Peter's Square. The volume is completed by a space where you can write your own prayer in front of the crib at home.

"È nato per noi! Il Natale con papa Francesco" (pg. 50; Euro 5.00) contains one thought a day taken from the words of Pope Francis. A thought a day to accompany everyone from 25 December to 6 January. The text is enriched by a selection of images of the Nativity that have accompanied the Christian tradition, and is opened by the preface of Monsignor Rino Fisichella. Christmas is at the heart of the Christian faith and the arrival of the Son of God is an eagerly awaited moment, full of hope. "With these simple thoughts," writes Monsignor Fisichella, "Pope Francis intends to accompany the days of Christmas by showing the way of salvation that is given" (pp. 7-8).

"Il Signore verrà e ci salverà. Omelie poetiche sul Natale" (pg. 72; Euro 6.00) is a text edited by Lucio Coco containing two homilies, translated for the first time into Italian, the first on Christmas and the second on the Mother of God, Simeon and Anna by the fifth-century Bishop of Iconium Amphilochius, a Cappadocian Father. The preface signed by Cardinal Angelo Comastri highlights the topicality and freshness of these two vibrant sermons (p. 9). In the homily On the Christmas of the Lord, the author focuses on the mystery of Christmas, suggesting that we "allow ourselves to be 'illuminated' by its depth and unfathomability, knowing how to scrutinise the mystery of the Incarnation" (pg. 21). The second homily, On the Mother of God, Simeon and Anna, also maintains a close link with the feast of Christmas. "In fact, it closes the cycle of Christmas celebrations and is a prelude to Christ's Passover, as foretold in Simeon's prophecy (cf. Lk 2:34-35). This moment in the life of Jesus provides the author with a further opportunity to speak about the birth of Christ and to explore its unfathomability" (p. 22).

"La meraviglia del Natale. Il Signore ha reso pura la nostra carne" (pg. 80; Euro 6.50). The Lord has made our flesh pure (pg. 80; Euro 6.50) is a text by the great St John Chrysostom edited in its Italian translation by Lucio Coco with a preface by Cardinal Angelo Comastri. It is a book that invites us to reflect on Christmas and the date of Christmas. The main theme of the homily reaffirms the profound meaning of God becoming man, reiterating the theological significance of Christmas. The great wonder of Christmas consists in the fact that the Lord Jesus - by becoming man, one of us - has taken us with him into his home, indeed has made man, every human being, the dwelling place of God, the home of eternity. With this beautiful and unprecedented Christmas homily, St John Chrysostom renews us in this faith and allows us to draw in a simple and direct way from the treasure of the ancient wisdom of the Fathers of the Church, a source of ever new creativity and spiritual inspiration.

"Dio si mescola alla natura umana. Omelia sul Natale" (p. 88; Euro 8.00) offers the current Italian translation, edited by Lucio Coco, of Gregory of Nyssa's Homily on Christmas. "God mingles with human nature" is a statement that sums up the joy and amazement of Christians of all times who have contemplated the will of God who became one of us. In this homily, the Nisseno "touches on the most relevant points of the Incarnation both from a purely theological and doctrinal point of view, through a reflection on the divine-human nature of Christ, and from an anthropological and moral point of view, through an examination of the effects that the advent of the Lord has on man's destiny, earthly and afterlife" (p. 7). The homily is inserted "within the reflection of the Cappadocian Fathers on the Birth of Jesus" (pg. 14).

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