· The Pope at the Conclusion of the Marian Month of May in front of the Lourdes Grotto at the Vatican ·
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am pleased to join you in prayer, at the feet of the Holy Virgin, whom we contemplate today on the Feast of the Visitation. I greet and thank Cardinal Angelo Comastri, Archpriest of the Basilica of St. Peter, the Cardinals and Bishops present and all of you who have gathered here tonight. At the conclusion of this month of May, we wish to unite our voice to Mary’s in her hymn of praise; with Her, we magnify the Lord for the wonders He continues to perform in the life of the Church and in each of our lives. In particular, the memorable Beatification of John Paul II which began this Marian month, was and remains a reason for great joy and gratitude. What a gift of grace the life of this great Pope was for the entire Church! His testimony continues to illuminate our existence and encourages us to be true disciples of the Lord, to follow him with the courage of the faith, to love him with the same enthusiasm with which he gave his own life to Him.
Meditating today on the Visitation of Mary, brings us to reflect on this courage of the faith. She whom Elizabeth welcomes into her home is the Virgin “who believed” the Angel’s announcement and responded with faith, courageously accepting God’s plan for her life and so welcomed within her very self, the eternal Word of the Most High. As my Blessed Predecessor underscored in the Encyclical, Redemptoris Mater , Mary pronounced her fiat in faith, “In faith she entrusted herself to God without reserve and "devoted herself totally as the handmaid of the Lord to the person and work of her Son." (n. 13, cf. Conc Ecum. Vat. II, Cost. Dogm. Lumen gentium , 56). This is why Elizabeth, in greeting her, exclaims, "And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord." (Lk. 1:45). Mary truly believed that “nothing is impossible with God.” (v.37) and with total trust she allowed herself to be guided by the Holy Spirit in daily obedience to his plan. How can we not desire the same trusting abandon for our own lives? How could we preclude ourselves from that blessing which is born of such an intimate and profound daily relationship with Jesus? So it is that we turn today to she who is “full of grace” and ask her to obtain for us too from Divine Providence, the ability to pronounce our “yes” every day to God’s plan, with the same humble and honest faith with which she pronounced hers. That she who, welcoming the Word of God within herself, entrusted herself to Him without reserve, guide us to a increasingly generous and unconditional response to His plans, even when we are called to embrace the cross.
In this Eastertime, while we pray to the Risen Christ for the gift of His Spirit, we entrust the Church and the entire world to the maternal intercession of the Madonna. Mary, Most Holy, who in the Upper Room together with the Apostles invoked the Paraclete, grant to all the baptized, the grace of a life illuminated by the mystery of the crucified and resurrected God, the gift of increasingly knowing how to welcome into each life the lordship of He who conquered death with His resurrection. Dear friends, on each of you and on your loved ones, and in particular on those who suffer, I impart my Apostolic Benediction.
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