Page 4, 7th December 2001

7th December 2001
Page 4
Page 4, 7th December 2001 — Vatican

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People: John Paul


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Prayer not in vain, says Pope

PREPARATION for Christmas is "not the vain awaiting of a faceless god" but "concrete trust" in a God who loves us, the Pope said last Sunday, the first day of Advent.

When John Paul 11 met with thousands of pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square to pray the Angelus, he invited Christians to reflect over the next few weeks "on the mystery of Christ, a mystery that is always new and that time cannot exhaust".

"Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end," he said. "Thanks to him, the history of humanity proceeds as a pilgrimage toward the fulfilment of the Kingdom, which he himself inaugurated with his incarnation and victory over sin and death.

"Because of this, Advent is synonymous with hope: not the vain awaiting of a faceless god, but concrete and certain trust in the return of him who has already visited us, of the Spouse who has sealed a pact of eternal alliance with humanity in his blood."

The hope of Advent should stimulate vigilance, the Pope continued, appealing for "vigilance in prayer, fostered by a loving expectation; vigilance in the dynamics of concrete charity, aware that the Kingdom of God comes close wherever men learn to live as brothers",

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