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Pope visits Roman parish, preaches on Advent joy

Catholic World News - December 17, 2012

During a pastoral visit to a parish in Rome on December 16, Pope Benedict XVI said that the Advent season should be a time of joyous anticipation, since “awaiting the arrival of a loved one always brings joy.”

This spirit of joy, the Pope said, should remain with the faithful, “whatever situation we have to face, because we are certain of the presence of the Lord, which alone is enough to gladden and cheer the heart.” With Christ’s arrival ever nearer, he said, “We must rejoice for his closeness and his presence.” The Lord remains with us, the Pope continued, regardless of what might help. Citing St. Paul, he said that the only thing that can separate us from Christ is sin. But even when we sin, Jesus is always ready to offer his forgiveness.

“This is a great cause for joy,” the Pope said: “to know that it is always possible to pray to the Lord and that the Lord hears us, that God is not distant from us, but truly listens to us, that He knows us and never turns away from our prayers, and even if He does not always respond as we might wish, he nevertheless responds."

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