Mary Is the Mother of Missionaries, Says Pope

Reflects on Mystery of Visitation at Prayer Vigil

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 1, 2010 ( Christians are asked to go beyond their comfort zone to bring Christ to others, and it is Mary who is their companion and «solicitous mother» in their missionary endeavors, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope said this Monday evening in the Vatican Gardens at a traditional Marian celebration to conclude the month of May. After a procession and recitation of the rosary, pilgrims gathered at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes to hear the Holy Father’s meditation on the mystery of the Visitation.

«In the Virgin Mary who goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth, we recognize the most limpid example and the truest meaning of our journey of believers and the journey of the Church herself,» the Pontiff said. «The Church is missionary by nature; she is called to proclaim the Gospel everywhere and always, to transmit the faith to every man and woman, and to every culture.»
«Mary’s is an authentic missionary journey,» the Holy Father continued. «It is a journey that takes her far from home, drives her to the world, to places that are foreign to her daily customs, makes her reach, in a certain sense, the limits of what she could reach.

«Herein lies, also for us, the secret of our lives as individuals and as Christians. […] We are asked to come out of ourselves, of the places of our security, to go to others, to different places and realms. It is the Lord who asks this of us.»

And it is the Lord, Benedict XVI said, who gives us «Mary as a traveling companion and solicitous mother. She gives us security, because she reminds us that her Son Jesus is always with us.»

Service and evangelization

The Pope noted how Mary had gone to visit Elizabeth, and stayed with her for three months. Elizabeth, he said, is «the symbol of all elderly and sick persons, more than that, of all persons in need of help and love.»

«And Mary — who described herself as «the handmaid of the Lord» — makes herself the handmaid of men,» he added. «More precisely, she serves the Lord whom she finds in brothers.»
The Holy Father explained that Mary’s charity did not stop with service, but rather «reaches its culmination in giving Jesus himself.»

When the unborn child in Elizabeth’s womb jumped upon hearing Mary’s voice, «we are, thus, at the heart and culmination of the evangelizing mission,» the Pope said. «We are in the truest meaning and the most genuine objective of all missionary endeavor: to give men the living and personal Gospel, which is the Lord Jesus himself.»

«Jesus is the true and only treasure that we have to give to humanity,» the Pontiff continued. «It is of him that the men and women of our time have profound nostalgia, even when they seem to ignore or reject him. It is of him that the society in which we live, Europe, the whole world, is in great need.
«To us has been entrusted this extraordinary responsibility. Let us live it with joy and commitment, so that ours will truly be a civilization in which truth, justice, liberty and love reign, fundamental and irreplaceable pillars of a true orderly and peaceful coexistence.»

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