On the Example of Mary

«A Source of Courage and Hope for All of Us»

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 16, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of Benedict XVI’s address yesterday, solemnity of the Assumption of the Virgin, before he prayed the midday Angelus together with pilgrims gathered in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo.
 
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Dear Brothers and Sisters,
 
Today, Solemnity of the Assumption into Heaven of the Mother of God, we celebrate the passage from the earthly condition to heavenly blessedness of her who engendered in the flesh and received in faith the Lord of Life.

Veneration of the Virgin Mary has accompanied the path of the Church since the beginning; Marian feasts began to appear already in the 4th century: exalted in some is the role of the Virgin in the history of salvation; celebrated in others are the principal moments of her earthly existence.

The meaning of today’s feast is contained in the final words of the dogmatic definition proclaimed by the Venerable Pius XII on Nov. 1, 1950, of which the 60th anniversary is celebrated this year: «The Ever Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, ending the course of her earthly life, was taken to heavenly glory in soul and body» (Apostolic Constitution «Munificentissiumus Deus,» AAS 42 [1950], 770).
 
Artists of all times have painted and sculpted the holiness of the Mother of the Lord adorning churches and shrines. Poets, writers and musicians have paid tribute to the Virgin with liturgical hymns and songs. From East to West the All Holy One is invoked as heavenly Mother, who holds the Son of God in her arms and under whose protection the whole of humanity finds refuge, with the very ancient prayer: «We shelter under your protection, Holy Mother of God: despise not our petitions in our needs, but deliver us from all danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.»
 
And in the Gospel of today’s Solemnity, St. Luke describes the realization of salvation through the Virgin Mary. She, in whose womb the Omnipotent became small, after the Angel’s annunciation, without any hesitation, goes in haste to her cousin Elizabeth to take to her the Savior of the world. And, in fact, «when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and [she] was filled with the Holy Spirit» (Luke 1:41); she recognized the Mother of God in her «who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord» (Luke 1:45). The two women, who were awaiting the fulfillment of the divine promises, already had a foretaste of the joy of the coming of the Kingdom of God, the joy of salvation.
 
Dear brothers and sisters, let us trust in the One who — as the Servant of God Paul VI affirmed — «assumed to heaven, has not ceased her mission of intercession and salvation» (Apostolic Exhortation «Marialis Cultus,» 18, AAS 66 [1974], 130). To her, guide of the Apostles, support of Martyrs, light of the Saints, we address our prayer, imploring that she accompany us in this earthly life, that she help us to look to Heaven and that she receive us one day together with her Son Jesus.
 [After the Angelus, the Holy Father said in English] 
I am happy to greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors. Today we join our voices to the many generations who praise the Virgin Mary and call her blessed for her glorious Assumption into Heaven. Her example of faithful perseverance in doing the will of God and her heavenly reward are a source of courage and hope for all of us. May God bless you and your families with peace and joy!
 
© Copyright 2010 — Libreria Editrice Vaticana

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