On Gaudete Sunday, the Holy Father blessed statues of Baby Jesus.to be put in Italian creches.
Quoting a passage from St. James - "Be patient therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord" - the Holy Father said: "I believe it is important, in our time, to underline the value of constancy and patience, virtues which were part of the everyday baggage of our forebears, but which seem less popular today in a world which exalts change and the capacity to adapt to new and diverse situations. Without detracting from these aspects, which are also human qualities, Advent calls us to strengthen that inner tenacity, that resistance of heart which enables us not to lose hope as we wait for a good that is late in coming, but to await it - indeed, to prepare for its arrival - with confidence".
Continuing his commentary on the Letter, in which the Apostle proposes the example of the patience of farmers as they await their crop, Benedict XVI said: "Farmers are not fatalists but the model of a mentality which harmoniously unites faith and reason. On the one hand they know the laws of nature and skilfully carry out their work while, on the other, they trust in Providence because certain fundamental things are not in their hands but in the hands of God. Patience and constancy are, indeed, a blend of human commitment and trust in God.
"'Strengthen your hearts' says the Scripture. How can we do this?" the Pope asked. "How can we strengthen our hearts which, in themselves, are somewhat fragile and become even more instable in the culture which surrounds us? Help is not wanting: we have the Word of God. For indeed, while everything else passes and changes, the Word of the Lord does not pass. If the events of life make us feel lost and all our certainties seem to crumble, we have a compass to find our way, we have an anchor so as not to drift with the current".
In this context, the Holy Father recalled "the model of the prophets; that is, of the people whom God has call to speak in His name. The prophet finds his joy and strength in the Word of the Lord and, while men and women often seek happiness by following ways which turn out to be mistaken, he announces the true hope, the hope that does not delude because it is founded on the faithfulness of God. All Christians, by virtue of their Baptism, have received prophetic dignity. May each of us rediscover this and nourish it by listening assiduously to the divine Word".
After praying the Angelus the Pope addressed some words to the children of Rome. "Dear young friends", he said, "when you place the statuette of the Baby Jesus in the grotto or the manger, say a prayer for the Pope and for his intentions. Thank you!"