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That voice in the silence

· Pope Benedict XVI's traditional meeting with the Romans in Piazza di Spagna to pay homage to Mary Immaculate ·

God's love can fill the emptiness caused by selfishness in the history of individuals and of the world

Today's world needs to savour once again the atmosphere of that “moment crucial to humanity’s destiny”, in which “God was made man”. It is a mystery that “is enveloped in silence”, and only in silence can it be relived in all its fullness, to perceive the deepest meaning of a great expression of God's love.

Surrounded by the glittering windows that dazzle passers-by and by the Christmas lights that decorate Rome's elegant shopping streets,  the Pope – kneeling in front of the pillar of the Immaculate Virgin on Saturday, 8 December, in the late afternoon – called for silence, without a doubt, “more fruitful than the frantic frenzy characteristic of our cities”, to ensure that people could hear God's voice.

“What is truly great”, the Pope said during the traditional encounter in Piazza di Spagna with the Roman faithful for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, “often passes unnoticed”; and today even the encounter between the “divine messenger and the Immaculate Virgin”, in which the history of salvation began would leave would leave “no trace in the newspapers and magazines”, because it is a mystery that happened far from the din of our cities.

Yet it was not so different in Jerusalem then, when Mary received the Angel's announcement. And she received it “because she was open to listening to God”. Mary, the Pope repeated, makes us understand the need to descend to a deeper level, where the effective powers are not economic and political but moral and spiritual”, to put ourselves in tune “with God's action”.

A little earlier Benedict XVI, at his meeting with the faithful for the recitation of the Angeles, drawing inspiration from a writing by Ephraim the Syrian, compared the body of Mary to “a land blessed from the outset”. And in greeting the groups gathered in St Peter's Square for the Marian prayer, he then invited them to pray for the victims of the hurricane that has devastated the Philippines, at the same time expressing his wish that “a solution may be found to the problems that various Catholic health-care institutions are facing”.

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St. Peter’s Square

Sept. 18, 2019

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