At the start of 2015, Pope Francis urges the faithful to combat every form of human slavery, and to pray for peace!
Pope Francis in his Angelus address on the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God invited the faithful to place themselves under the mantle of the Blessed Virgin and to fix their gaze on her over the course of the coming year.
In his New Year’s Day address from his window in the Apostolic Palace overlooking a packed St. Peter’s Square, the Pope also encouarged the faithful to recall the day of their Baptism and to "rediscover the gift received in the Sacrament that has regenerated us to new life: to divine life".
January 1st also marks the Church’s annual celebration of the World Day of Peace. This year Pope Francis has chosen the theme: "No longer slaves, but brother and sisters." He called everyone to work to end all forms of human slavery, to foster an atmosphere of fraternity, and to remember that the gift of peace is always possible but that true peace only comes through prayer.
Here below we publish the full text of the Pope’s Angelus address.
Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning and Happy New Year.
On this first day of the year, in the joyous — although cold — atmosphere of Christmas, the Church invites us to fix our gaze, in faith and love, on the Mother of Jesus. In her, the humble woman of Nazareth, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn 1:14). Because of this, it is impossible to separate the contemplation of Jesus, the Word of life that has become visible and tangible (cf. 1 Jn 1:1), from the contemplation of Mary, who gave him her love and human flesh.
Today we hear the words of the Apostle Paul: “God sent forth his Son, born of woman” (Gal 4:4). That “born of a woman,” in an essential and therefore even stronger manner, proclaims the true humanity of the Son of God. As one Church Father, St. Athanasius, states: “Our Savior was truly man and from this comes the salvation of all mankind "(Letter to Epictetus: PG 26).
But St. Paul also adds: “born under the law” (Gal 4:4). With this expression he emphasizes that Christ assumed the human condition, freeing it from a closed, unbearable legalistic mindset. For the law, deprived of grace, becomes an unbearable burden, and instead of benefiting us, harms us. Jesus said, “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.” This, then, is the end for which God sent his Son to earth to become man: for the purpose of liberation; indeed, of regeneration. Of liberation, “to redeem those who were under the law” (v. 5); and redemption occurred with the Death of Christ on the Cross. But especially of regeneration, “so that we might receive adoption as sons.” (v. 5). Incorporated in Him, men truly become children of God. This marvelous passage happens in us in Baptism, which grafts us as living members into Christ and inserts us into his Church.
At the beginning of a new year we do well to remember the day of our baptism: let us rediscover the gift received in the Sacrament that has regenerated us to new life: divine life. This happens through the Mother Church, whose model is Mother Mary. Through baptism we were introduced into communion with God, and we are no longer at the mercy of evil and sin; rather, we receive the love, tenderness and mercy of the heavenly Father. I ask you again: “Who among you remembers the day he was baptized, the date of his baptism? Raise your hands. There are many, but not so, so many. For those who don’t remember the date of their baptism, I am giving you a homework assignment: look for the date and keep it in your heart. You may also ask the help of your parents, your godfather or godmother, of your aunts and uncles, your grandparents. "What day was I baptized?" The date we were baptized is a day of celebration! Remember or discover the date of your Baptism; it will be very good to have, in order to thank God for the gift of Baptism.