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DUC IN ALTUM!
58 58. Let us go forward in hope! A new millennium is opening before the Church like a vast ocean upon which we shall venture, relying on the help of Christ. The Son of God, who became incarnate two thousand years ago out of love for humanity, is at work even today: we need discerning eyes to see this and, above all, a generous heart to become the instruments of his work. Did we not celebrate the Jubilee Year in order to refresh our contact with this living source of our hope? Now, the Christ whom we have contemplated and loved bids us to set out once more on our journey: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Mt 28,19). The missionary mandate accompanies us into the Third Millennium and urges us to share the enthusiasm of the very first Christians: we can count on the power of the same Spirit who was poured out at Pentecost and who impels us still today to start out anew, sustained by the hope "which does not disappoint" (Rom 5,5).
At the beginning of this new century, our steps must quicken as we travel the highways of the world. Many are the paths on which each one of us and each of our Churches must travel, but there is no distance between those who are united in the same communion, the communion which is daily nourished at the table of the Eucharistic Bread and the Word of Life. Every Sunday, the Risen Christ asks us to meet him as it were once more in the Upper Room where, on the evening of "the first day of the week" (Jn 20,19) he appeared to his disciples in order to "breathe" on them his life-giving Spirit and launch them on the great adventure of proclaiming the Gospel.
On this journey we are accompanied by the Blessed Virgin Mary to whom, a few months ago, in the presence of a great number of Bishops assembled in Rome from all parts of the world, I entrusted the Third Millennium. During this year I have often invoked her as the "Star of the New Evangelization". Now I point to Mary once again as the radiant dawn and sure guide for our steps. Once more, echoing the words of Jesus himself and giving voice to the filial affection of the whole Church, I say to her: "Woman, behold your children"(cf. Jn 19,26).
59. Dear brothers and sisters! The symbol of the Holy Door now closes behind us, but only in order to leave more fully open the living door which is Christ. After the enthusiasm of the Jubilee, it is not to a dull everyday routine that we return. On the contrary, if ours has been a genuine pilgrimage, it will have as it were stretched our legs for the journey still ahead. We need to imitate the zeal of the Apostle Paul: "Straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil 3,13-14). Together, we must all imitate the contemplation of Mary, who returned home to Nazareth from her pilgrimage to the Holy City of Jerusalem, treasuring in her heart the mystery of her Son (cf. Lc 2,51).
The Risen Jesus accompanies us on our way and enables us to recognize him, as the disciples of Emmaus did, "in the breaking of the bread" (Lc 24,35). May he find us watchful, ready to recognize his face and run to our brothers and sisters with the good news: "We have seen the Lord!" (Jn 20,25).
This will be the much desired fruit of the Jubilee of the Year 2000, the Jubilee which has vividly set before our eyes once more the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God and the Redeemer of man.
As the Jubilee now comes to a close and points us to a future of hope, may the praise and thanksgiving of the whole Church rise to the Father, through Christ, in the Holy Spirit.
In pledge of this, I impart to all of you my heartfelt Blessing.
From the Vatican, on 6 January, the Solemnity of the Epiphany, in the year 2001, the twenty-third of my Pontificate.
NOTES (1 ) Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops in the Church Christus Dominus, 11. (2 ) Bull Incarnationis Mysterium , 3: AAS 91 (1999), 132. (3 ) Ibid., 4: loc. cit., 133. (4 ) Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church LG 8. (5 ) De Civitate Dei, XVIII, 51, 2: PL 41, 614; cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 8.
(6 ) Cf. John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente (10 November 1994), 55: AAS 87 (1995), 38. (7 ) Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church LG 1. (8 ) "Ignoratio enim Scripturarum ignoratio Christi est": Commentarii in Isaiam, Prologue: PL 24,17. (9 ) Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum, 19. (10 ) "Following the holy Fathers, unanimously, we teach and confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, perfect in his divinity and perfect in his humanity, true God and true man ... one and the same Christ the Lord, the only-begotten, to be recognized in two natures, without confusion, immutable, indivisible, inseparable ... he is not divided or separated in two persons, but he is one and the same Son, the only-begotten, God, Word and Lord Jesus Christ": DS 301-302. (11 ) Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World GS 22. (12 ) Saint Athanasius observes in this regard: "Man could not become divine remaining united to a creature, if the Son were not true God": Oratio II contra Arianos, 70: PG 26, 425 B. (13 ) Cf. n. 78. (14 ) Last Conversations. Yellow Booklet (6 July 1897): Êuvres complètes (Paris, 1996), p. 1025. (15 ) Saint Cyprian, De Oratione Dominica, 23: PL 4, 553; cf. Lumen Gentium, 4. (16 ) Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church LG 40. (17 ) Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium, 10. (18 ) Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter on Certain Aspects of Christian Meditation Orationis Formas (15 October 1989): AAS 82 (1990), 362-379. (19 ) Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium, 10. (20 ) John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Dies Domini (31 May 1998), 19: AAS 90 (1998), 724. (21 ) Ibid., 2: loc. cit., 714. (22 ) Cf. ibid., 35: loc. cit., 734. (23 ) Cf. No. 18: AAS 77 (1985), 224. (24 ) Ibid., 31: loc. cit., 258. (25 ) Tertullian, Apologeticum, 50, 13: PL 1, 534. (26 ) Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church LG 1. (27 ) Manuscript B, 3vo: Êuvres complètes (Paris, 1996), p. 226. (28 ) Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, Chapter III. (29 ) Cf. Congregation for the clergy et al., Instruction on Certain Questions regarding the Collaboration of the Non-ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priests Ecclesiae de Mysterio (15 August 1997): AAS 89 (1997), 852-877, especially Article 5: "The Structures of Collaboration in the Particular Church". (30 ) Regula, III, 3: "Ideo autem omnes ad consilium vocari diximus, quia saepe iuniori Dominus revelat quod melius est". (31 ) "De omnium fidelium ore pendeamus, quia in omnem fidelem Spiritus Dei spirat": Epistola 23, 36 to Sulpicius Severus: CSEL 29, 193. (32 ) Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church LG 31. (33 ) Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity Apostolicam Actuositatem, 2. (34 ) Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church LG 8. (35 ) Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World GS 22. (36 ) Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 34. (37 ) Cf. Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Romans, Preface, ed. Funk, I, 252. (38 ) Thus, for example, SAINT AUGUSTINE: "Luna intellegitur Ecclesia, quod suum lumen non habeat, sed ab Unigenito Dei Filio, qui multis locis in Sanctis Scripturis allegorice sol appellatus est": Enarrationes in Psalmos, 10, 3: CCL 38,42. (39 ) Cf. Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions Nostra Aetate. (40 ) Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Instruction on the Proclamation of the Gospel and Interreligious Dialogue Dialogue and Proclamation: Reflections and Orientations (19 May 1991), 82: AAS 84 (1992), 444. (41 ) Cf. Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World GS 4. (42 ) Ibid., 11. (43 ) Ibid., 44. (44 ) Cf. Apostolic Letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente (10 November 1994), 36: AAS 87 (1995), 28.
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