Address in Reference to Immaculate Conception

Pope Reflects on Mary as Model of Adherence to Will of God

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 8, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of John Paul II’s address before praying the Angelus today with several thousand pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square. He gave the address in Italian.

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1. Every day, when reciting the Angelus, we repeat three times: “Et Verbum caro factum est — And the Word was made flesh.” During the time of Advent, these evangelical words assume even more intense meaning, because the liturgy makes us relive the atmosphere of awaiting the Incarnation of the Word.

Because of this, Advent is the ideal context for the solemnity of Mary Immaculate. The humble maiden of Nazareth, who with her “yes” to the angel changed the course of history, was preserved from her conception from every stain of sin. She was, in fact, the first to benefit from the salvation wrought by Christ, chosen from all eternity to be his Mother.

2. For this reason, our attention is fixed today on the mystery of her Immaculate Conception, while our heart opens in a common canticle of thanksgiving. The liturgy evidences the wonders God accomplished through her: “The joy that Eve took away from us, is given back to us in your Son, and opens wide the way toward the Kingdom of Heaven” (hymn of lauds).

At the same time, we are invited to imitate her: Mary was pleasing to God because of her docile humility. To the heavenly message, she responded: “Ecce Ancilla Domini, fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum” (Luke 1:38). “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord!” It is with these same interior dispositions that believers are called to accept the divine will in every circumstance.

3. “We follow you, Immaculate Virgin, attracted by your holiness” (antiphon of lauds). So today, we turn to Mary, conscious of our weakness, but certain of her maternal and constant help.

This afternoon, I will joyfully renew the traditional homage to her in Piazza di Spagna, making myself the interpreter of the devotion of the Diocese of Rome and of the whole Church. I invite you, dear brothers and sisters, to join me in this act of Marian faith.

Let us now ask the Immaculate Virgin to help all Christians to be authentic disciples of Christ, so that in them faith will be ever more pure, hope more firm, and charity more generous.

[Translation by ZENIT]

[After reciting the Angelus, and before bidding the pilgrims farewell, the Holy Father said in Spanish:]

I greet with all affection the Spanish-speaking pilgrims, in a special way the members of the Work of the Church. The feast of the Immaculate Conception is deeply felt by so many peoples and cities of Spain and of Latin America.

On this day I wish to express my closeness to the dear Galician people, who live moments of uncertainty given the grave catastrophe that has affected their coasts and endangers the abnegated work of seamen and the progress of that community. While I encourage all to commit themselves with determination to this difficult problem, I also pray to God that pertinent solutions will soon be found, so that Galicia will see its future with renewed hope.

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