VATICAN CITY, DEC. 8, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the meditation John Paul II offered today, feast of the Immaculate Conception, before a statute of the Virgin Mary in Rome’s Piazza di Spagna.
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1. “Ave Maria, gratia plena!”
Immaculate Virgin, behold, I am at your feet once again,
overwhelmed and grateful.
I return to this historic Piazza di Spagna
on the solemn day of your feast
to pray for the beloved city of Rome,
for the Church, for the whole world.
In you, “humble and the highest of creatures,”
divine grace had full victory over evil.
Preserved from every stain of guilt
You are for us, pilgrims on the paths of the world,
luminous model of evangelical consistency and precious pledge of sure hope.
2. Virgin Mother, “Salus Popoli Romani!”
Watch over, I pray you, the beloved Diocese of Rome:
over pastors and faithful, over parishes and religious communities.
Watch especially over families:
may love reign between spouses, sealed by the Sacrament,
may children walk on the paths of goodness and true freedom,
the elderly feel surrounded by attention and affection.
Inspire, Mary, in so many young hearts
radical responses to the “call for the mission,”
subject on which the diocese has been reflecting over these years.
Thanks to an intense vocational pastoral program,
may Rome be enriched by new young forces,
dedicated with enthusiasm to the proclamation of the Gospel
in the city and in the world.
3. Holy Virgin, Queen of Apostles!
Assist those who through study and prayer
are preparing to operate in the numerous frontiers
of the new evangelization.
Today I entrust to you, in a special way,
the community of the Pontifical Urban College,
whose historic headquarters are
precisely in front of this Column.
May this meritorious institution,
founded 375 years ago
by Pope Urban VIII for the formation of missionaries,
be able to continue effectively its ecclesial service.
May those it gathers, seminarians and priests,
men and women religious and laity,
be ready to put their energies
at the disposition of Christ in service of the Gospel
to the farthest ends of the earth.
4. “Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis!”
Pray, O Mother, for all of us.
Pray for humanity that suffers poverty and injustice,
violence and hatred, terror and war.
Help us to contemplate with the holy rosary
the mysteries of him who “is our peace,”
so that we will all feel involved,
in a specific effort of service to peace.
Look with special attention
upon the land in which you gave birth to Jesus,
a land that you loved together
and that is still so tried today.
Pray for us, Mother of hope!
“Give us days of peace, watch over our way.
Let us see your Son
full of joy in heaven.” Amen!
[Translation of Italian original by ZENIT]