Benedict XVI: John Paul II Was Gift to Church

Notes Month of Mary Began With Papal Beatification

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 1, 2011 ( As the month of May came to an end Tuesday, Benedict XVI expressed gratitude that the Marian month began with the beatification of Pope John Paul II, who he called «a great gift of grace for the whole Church.»

The Pope said this Tuesday evening in the Vatican Gardens at a traditional Marian celebration to conclude the month of May.

The Pontiff urged the faithful to «join our voices to Mary’s, in her own canticle of praise […] for the wonders [God] continues to do in the life of the Church and of each one of us.»

«In particular,» he added, «it has been and continues to be for all of us a motive of great joy and gratitude, to have begun this Marian month with the memorable beatification of John Paul II. What a great gift of grace for the whole Church was the life of this great Pope!

«His testimony continues to illumine our lives and drives us to be true disciples of the Lord, to follow him with the courage of faith, to love him with the same enthusiasm with which he gave his own life.»

After a procession and recitation of the rosary, Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica, as well as numerous cardinals, bishops and faithful, gathered at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes to hear the Holy Father’s meditation on the mystery of the Visitation.

«Meditating today on Mary’s Visitation, we are impelled to reflect on this courage of faith,» he said. «She whom Elizabeth received in her home is the Virgin who believed in the Angel’s annunciation and responded with faith, accepting with courage the plan of God for her life and thus receiving, in herself, the Eternal Word of the Most High.»

«Mary truly believed that with God nothing will be impossible,» the Holy Father continued. «And firm in this confidence, she allowed herself to be led by the Holy Spirit in the daily obedience of his plans.»

Benedict XVI asked, «How can we not desire to have the same confident abandonment in our life? How can we oppose this happiness born from a profound and intimate familiarity with Jesus?

«Because of this, addressing ourselves to her ‘full of grace,’ we pray that she will obtain for us also, from Divine Providence, the ability to say every day our ‘yes’ to God’s plans with the same humble and sincere faith with which she pronounced hers.

«May she who, receiving in herself the Word of God, abandoned herself to him without reservations, lead us to a more generous and unconditional response to his plans, also when we are called to embrace the cross.»

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