Benedict XVI pays homage to the Immaculate Virgin at the Spanish Steps
Hope in this difficult time
There is need for hope, “above all, in this moment which is so difficult for Italy, Europe and various other places in the world,” said Benedict XVI, asking the Virgin Mary to help humanity, “to see that there is a light beyond this blanket of fog that seems to be wrapped around reality.” The Pope’s prayer resounded throughout the square near the Spanish Steps, filled with thousands of Roman faithful, on Thursday afternoon, December 8th, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception.
In his reflection, the Pontiff explained the meaning of the passage in the Book of Revelation which speaks of “a great sign,” which appeared in the sky: “a women clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” This sign, “represents at the same time Mary and the Church,” the Pope said. The “woman” of the Book of Revelation appear, “clothed in sunlight,” while, “under her feet is the moon,” symbol of mortality, and on her head is “a crown of twelve stars,” as many as the tribes of Israel, which signifies her centrality in the communion of saints. But the Pope recalled, she is also the woman who carries, “Christ and must birth him to the world.” This is the labor of the pilgrim Church on earth, which must bring Christ to men and because of this, encounters, “the opposition of a ferocious adversary,” which in the apocalyptic vision is represented by a red dragon. He will be defeated once and for all, the Pontiff explained, because the Church has suffered, suffers and will suffer persecutions but will always come out the victor. “The only pitfall of which the Church can and should be afraid, is the sin of her members,” the Pope said. “Mary, on the other hand, is Immaculate, free from all stain of sin. The Church is holy, but at the same time marked by our sins.”
“This is why,” the Pope continued, “the people of God turn to their heavenly mother and ask for her help;” that she accompany them on their journey of faith and encourage them to live a Christian life in the light of hope.
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