Pope Benedict: The Virgin Mary is a "Foundation of Peace"

Pontiff Celebrates Solemnity of the Mother of God on New Year’s Day

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Pope Benedict XVI celebrated mass at St. Peter’s Basilica yesterday for the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. The celebration also coincided with the 46thWorld Day of Peace under the theme: Blessed are the peacemakers.

Concelebrating the mass with the Holy Father was Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State; Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States. Also present were the Ambassadors of the Holy See’s Diplomatic Corp.

While acknowledging the tensions growing in the world due to a «selfish and individualistic mindset», Pope Benedict expressed his hope that peacemaking efforts in the world would testify to «mankind’s innate vocation to peace.»

«In every person the desire for peace is an essential aspiration which coincides in a certain way with the desire for a full, happy and successful human life,» the Holy Father said.

«In other words, the desire for peace corresponds to a fundamental moral principle, namely, the duty and right to an integral social and communitarian development, which is part of God’s plan for mankind. Man is made for the peace which is God’s gift. All of this led me to draw inspiration for this Message from the words of Jesus Christ: ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God’ (Mt 5:9).»

The Holy Father went on to say that the beatitude in particular is both a divine gift as well as one brought by the fruit of human effort. Citing the readings of the day, Pope Benedict said that the root of how one can obtain peace can be found in the gospel of Luke. The Holy Father recalled the Virgin Mary’s «even tempered» demeanor though not finding room at the inn.

«This is the interior peace which we ought to have amid the sometimes tumultuous and confusing events of history, events whose meaning we often do not grasp and which disconcert us,» the Pope said.

The Foundation of Peace

The Holy Father called on the faithful to contemplate on Jesus Christ. By doing so, he said, one may feel the «same security that a child feels in the arms of a loving and all-powerful Father.»

«The splendor of the face of God, shining upon us and granting us peace, is the manifestation of his fatherhood: the Lord turns his face to us, he reveals himself as our Father and grants us peace. Here is the principle of that profound peace – «peace with God» – which is firmly linked to faith and grace, as Saint Paul tells the Christians of Rome.»

Pope Benedict also said that this peace cannot be taken from believers, even in the most difficult circumstances of one’s life. Concluding his homily, the Holy Father invoked the Virgin Mary to aid all in contemplating the face of Christ. «May she sustain us and accompany us in this New Year: and may she obtain for us and for the whole world the gift of peace,» the Pope said. 

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Junno Arocho Esteves

Newark, New Jersey, USA Bachelor of Science degree in Diplomacy and International Relations.

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