Heavenly Mother Offered Joys and Tears of Faithful

Benedict XVI Urges Seeking Comfort in Mary

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ROME, DEC. 9, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The basket of roses Benedict XVI brought Our Lady on the feast of the Immaculate Conception represents both the good deeds and the difficulties that the faithful want to offer their heavenly Mother, he said.

The Pope made this comparison during his address Monday evening in Rome’s Piazza de Spagna during his visit to the image of the Immaculate Conception.

The feast marked the end of the year-long 150th anniversary celebrations of Our Lady’s appearances in Lourdes, where she «revealed her name, saying: ‘I am the Immaculate Conception,'» the Holy Father noted.

«Wherever there is a Catholic community, the Virgin is venerated with this wonderful and marvelous name: Immaculate Conception,» he said. «Of course, the conviction of Mary’s immaculate conception already existed many centuries before the apparitions of Lourdes, but the latter came as a heavenly seal after my venerated predecessor, Blessed Pius IX, defined the dogma on Dec. 8, 1854.»

Referring to the tradition of the popes bringing a basket of roses to Mary for the feast, Benedict XVI said that the white roses he had brought «indicate our love and devotion: the love and devotion of the Pope, of the Church of Rome and of the inhabitants of this City.»

«Symbolically, the roses can express all the beautiful and good we have carried out during the year […] convinced that we could have done nothing without her protection and without the grace that she obtains continually from God,» he added.

«However — as is usually said –there are no roses without thorns, and also on the stems of these wonderful white roses there is no lack of thorns, which represent for us the difficulties, sufferings and evils that mark the lives of persons and of our communities,» the Pontiff continued. «We present our joys to our Mother, but also entrust to her our preoccupations, confident of finding in her the comfort not to be discouraged, and the support to go forward.»

Then addressing Our Lady directly, the Pope said: «I would like to entrust to you especially the ‘little ones’ of this, our city: the children above all, especially those who are seriously ill, children who are deprived and those who suffer the consequences of harsh family situations. Watch over them and make them feel, in the affection and help of those around them, the warmth of the love of God.»

He went on to entrust to Mary the elderly, the ill, immigrants and families, particularly those facing financial burdens.

«Your beauty — ‘Tota Pulchra,’ we sing today — assures us that the victory of love is possible; what is more, that it is certain. It assures us that grace is stronger than sin and, therefore, that rescue from any slavery is possible,» the Holy Father affirmed. «Yes, O Mary, you help us to believe with greater confidence in the good and to put our faith in gratitude, service, nonviolence [and] the force of truth.»

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