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    » 12/08/2008, 00.00

    VATICAN

    Pope: let us give Mary the roses and the "thorns," the ills of our society



    Benedict XVI asks all to express solidarity and unity with children, the elderly, immigrants, families in economic difficulty, the unemployed. The Immaculate Conception confirms for us that "the victory of love is possible," and that reality can be faced "with courage and responsibility."

    Rome (AsiaNews) - "Children . . . especially those who are seriously ill"; "young people in difficulty"; "the elderly who are alone"; "the sick"; "the immigrants struggling to situate themselves"; "nuclear families struggling to make ends meet"; "people unable to find work, or who have lost a job indispensable for continuing forward": Benedict XVI today spoke of these "thorns," when he went to offer a basket of white roses to the statue of the Immaculate in Piazza di Spagna, in the traditional act of homage celebrated every December 8. The pontiff arrived at Piazza di Spagna at about four o'clock in the afternoon, and began with a moment of prayer, surrounded by thousands of faithful, pilgrims, and tourists.

    After offering the basket of roses, the pope commented: "Roses can express everything beautiful and good that has happened during the year, because in this traditional celebration we all want to honor our Mother, convinced that we can do nothing without her protection and without the grace that she obtains for us from God every day. But - as the saying goes - every rose has its thorns, and even on the stems of these stupendous white roses there are thorns, which represent for us the difficulties, sufferings, and evils that have marked and still mark the lives of persons and of our communities. We present our joys to our Mother, but we also entrust to her our concerns, certain that we will find in her the strength not to give up, and the support to move forward."

    The list of "thorns" is an inducement to sharing and solidarity: "Teach us, Mary," the pope continued, "to have solidarity with those who are in difficulty, to bridge the increasingly vast social disparities; help us to cultivate a more lively sense of the common good, of respect for that which is public, prompt us to experience the city - and more than ever this our City of Rome - as the patrimony of all, so that each of us, with diligence and commitment, may do his part to build a more just and united society."

    Today's feast concludes the jubilee of the 150th anniversary of the apparitions in Lourdes, where the Virgin appeared to Bernadette Soubirous, calling herself the "Immaculate Conception," contained in the dogma established in 1854. Benedict XVI went to Lourdes last September.

    "Immaculate Conception: we, too, repeat with emotion this mysterious name. We repeat it here, at the foot of this monument in the heart of Rome; and countless brothers and sisters do so in thousands of other places in the world, shrines and chapels, and also in the homes of Christian families. Wherever there is a Catholic community, today Mary is venerated by this stupendous and marvelous name: Immaculate Conception."

    "In today's feast," the pope continued, "so dear to the Christian people, this expression rises from the heart and passes through the lips as the name of our heavenly Mother. Just as a child raises his eyes to the face of his mother, and, seeing her smile, forgets all of his fears and pains, so also we, looking at the face of Mary, recognize in her the 'smile of God', the immaculate reflection of the divine light, we find in her new hope even in the midst of the problems and dramas of the world."

    "Your Beauty - Tota Pulchra, as we sing today - assures us that the victory of love is possible; even more, it is certain; it assures us that grace is stronger than sin, and therefore it is possible to be redeemed from any form of slavery."

    "Yes, O Mary," he concluded, "you help us to believe with greater trust in goodness, to rely on openness, service, nonviolence, the power of the truth; you encourage us to remain vigilant, and not to give in to the temptation of easy escapes, to face reality and its problems with courage and responsibility. This is what you did, young woman called to risk everything on the Word of the Lord. Be a loving mother for our young people, so that they may have the courage to be 'sentinels of the morning', and give this virtue to all Christians, so that they may be the soul of the world in this difficult time in history. Immaculate Virgin, Mother of God and our Mother, Salus Populi Romani, pray for us!"

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    See also

    08/12/2008 VATICAN
    Pope: Immaculate Mary, reflection of the Beauty that saves the world
    On the feast of the Virgin, Benedict XVI also recalls "the overwhelming evidence" of original sin and evil in society and in ourselves. In the afternoon, the pope goes to Piazza di Spagna to honor the statue of Mary, "mother of all the redeemed."

    08/12/2003 Vatican
    Pope prays for peace among families and countries in war on the feast of the Immaculate Conception


    08/12/2011 VATICAN
    Like Mary, the Church carries Jesus, meets the opposition of a fierce adversary, pope says
    During the act of veneration of the statue of the Virgin in Rome’s Spanish Square, Benedict XVI explained the meaning of the Woman in the Book of Revelation (and the Immaculate), “clothed with the sun” but “with the moon under her feet” and “on her head a crown of twelve stars”. Although the “Church suffers persecution”, it “is victorious”, and the “only danger of which” it “can and should be afraid is the sin of its members”.

    08/12/2009 VATICAN
    Pope: Let us entrust to the Virgin Immaculate each of us, the Church and the world
    This afternoon Benedict XVI will honour the statue of the Virgin at the Spanish Steps. "In the trials of life, in the storms that shake” the Church, it is supported by Mary, Mother of the Church. Through the "seed of the woman," God overcomes the serpent. Greetings to the Pontifical Academy of the Immaculate and Italian Azione Cattolica.

    07/12/2005 VATICAN
    Plenary indulgence on the 40th anniversary of the end of the Second Vatican Council
    Pope issues the indulgence for tomorrow. In addition to the usual conditions, the faithful must offer "an open witness of Marian devotion".



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