General: That all peoples may grow in harmony and peace through mutual understanding and respect.
During Advent as we prepare for Christmas, we also pray for the coming of God's Kingdom. We commit ourselves to prepare the world to receive its Savior, not only in the present, but at the end of time. Only when the world receives Christ and his Kingdom is fully established will there be true peace in the world
In the meantime, we live in a kind of "armed stand-off" of powers. In 1986 Blessed Pope John Paul II wrote that devotion to the Heart of Jesus is the key to overcoming violence in our world. He said that through this devotion, "on the ruins accumulated through hatred and violence, can be built the civilization of love so greatly desired, the kingdom of the Heart of Christ."
This month of Advent and Christmas we pray with Pope Benedict that all people may grow in harmony and peace through mutual understanding and respect. Peace will come only when all people recognize the God-given rights of each person. Only through genuine dialogue will we grow in mutual understanding that leads to harmony and peace.
Missionary: That children and young people may be messengers of the Gospel and that they may be respected and preserved from all violence and exploitation.
In a Christmas message, Pope Benedict said: "God is not distant: he is 'Emmanuel,' God-with-us. He is no stranger: he has a face, the face of Jesus... 'Emmanuel' has come as King of justice and peace."
May the Heart of Christ reign over every human heart so that the daily prayer which Jesus taught his disciples and us may be fulfilled: "Thy Kingdom come!" Then we shall have peace.
A few years ago at Christmas Midnight Mass, Pope Benedict said: "In every child we see something of the Child of Bethlehem." Unfor-tunately, many in the world do not see Christ in every child; they do not see human dignity in those to whom the Christ Child joined himself.
Pope Benedict called for the safety of every child saying: "Only through the conversion of hearts, only through a change in the depths of our hearts can the cause of all this evil be overcome."
Part of our respect for children is the recognition of the essential role they play in spreading the Gospel. Jesus blessed children and pointed to them as an example of how to receive the Kingdom of God.
When Pope Benedict met with children who are part of the Pontifical Society of the Holy Childhood, a missionary group, they asked him: "How can we children help you to proclaim the Gospel?" He told them to pray, listen to Jesus, share with others, and help people who are "disagreeable." He continued: "Sharing, ...prayer, reciprocal listening, and solidarity [are] missionary work because [they help] to make the Gospel a reality in our world."
So we join the Holy Father this month in praying for conversion. We pray that all children and young people may be respected and preserved.
The Holy Father went on to pray specifically for "children who are denied the love of their parents," for “street children who do not have the blessing of a family home," for "children who are brutally exploited as soldiers," and for "children who are victims of the industry of pornography and every other appalling form of abuse."