VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI called on Christians to turn to Mary, the mother of God, for help in being true friends of Jesus and courageous builders of peace.
…He invited the faithful to "carefully consider the importance of the presence of Mary in the life of the church and in our own personal life" and prayed that Mary would help "make us more keenly aware of her maternal presence."
…The incarnation through Christ's birth is not a past event, the pope said; like the Magi and the poor shepherds of Bethlehem, today's men and women drawn to the Christ Child are "full of joy because God wanted to be the God who is with us and who has a mother who is our mother."
…"In fact, being totally with God, this woman is very close to us and helps us like a mother and like a sister," he said.
Mary is also the mother of the church, the pope said, which makes her the mother of "every one of us who are members of the mystical body of Christ."
Pope Benedict asked audience participants to trust in Mary and pray to her to "guide our steps" during the new year and "help us be authentic friends of her son and that way also (be) courageous builders of his kingdom in the world, the kingdom of peace and truth."
"Supported and comforted by the Virgin's protection, we too can contemplate with renewed vision the face of her son, Jesus, and more energetically follow the path of the good," he said.