Mary Is Image of True Liberation, Pope Says

Focuses on Apocalypse in General Audience

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VATICAN CITY, MAR. 14, 2001 ( In a world where the believer may feel the weight of lack misunderstanding, or even the violence of persecution, John Paul II presented the comfort of a powerful force: the figure of Mary.

Addressing pilgrims who filled Paul VI Hall for the midweek general audience today, the Pope said: “For the Church, which often feels the weight of history and the siege of evil, the Mother of Christ is the luminous emblem of humanity redeemed and enveloped in saving grace.”

The Bishop of Rome addressed a topic characterized by mystical overtones. The book he quoted most often was the Apocalypse. He described the struggle between good and evil, represented by the woman who gives birth to a son, and the raging dragon bent on destroying them.

Both against the Church, and the Mother, of which she is a figure, “is unleashed the monstrous devastating energy of violence, falsehood and injustice,” the Pontiff said.

In the great battle, John Paul II added, “Mary, her Son and the Church represent the apparent weakness and littleness of love, truth and justice.” Nevertheless, “the final verdict is entrusted to ´the salvation, strength, the Kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ.”

However, like the woman of Apocalypse, John Paul II said that one must keep in mind that “in the time of history the Church might be obliged to seek refuge in the desert, as ancient Israel did on the way to the promised land.”

Yet, “the woman remains in this shelter … only for a limited period,” he said. The sacred book itself states, he noted, that the “time of anguish, of persecution, of trial is not, therefore, indefinite: In the end there will be deliverance and it will be the hour of glory.”

Thus, the Holy Father was able to affirm that, “Mary, next to her Son, is the most perfect icon of the liberty and deliverance of humanity and the cosmos.”

He added: “Let us fix our gaze, then, on Mary, icon of the pilgrim Church in the desert of history, but outstretched to the glorious end of the heavenly Jerusalem where she will shine as the Bride of the Lamb, Christ the Lord.”

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