Castel Gandolfo (AsiaNews) - In a papal courtyard full of young people, mostly from Spain and Poland, Benedict XVI today offered a meditation on the presence of Mary in the Church, from antiquity until today. "To her - he said – guide of the Apostles, support of Martyrs, Light of the Saints, we lift our prayer, imploring her to join us in this life, to help us look towards Heaven and greet us one day next to Her Son Jesus."
Earlier this morning, the pope celebrated Mass in the pontifical parish of "St. Thomas of Villanova" at Castel Gandolfo. During his homily explaining the mystery of Mary, who body and soul was taken into Heaven close to God, he mentioned the human inheritance that belongs to us, with "suffering, death, sin," but also the gift of "incorporation" in Christ "who gives life."
"Christianity – he underlined – does not only announce a partial salvation of the soul in a vague afterlife, in which everything that was dear and precious to us in this life will be cancelled, rather it promises eternal life," the life of the world to come ": nothing that is precious and dear to us in this life will be ruined, but will find fullness in God." Here are the words of the Pope at the Angelus today:
Dear brothers and sisters, Today, in the Solemnity of the Assumption into Heaven of the Mother of God, we celebrate the transition from her earthly condition to heavenly beatitude the One who generated in the flesh and accepted in faith the Lord of Life. The veneration of the Virgin Mary accompanies the journey of the Church from the beginning and Marian feasts appear as early as the fourth century: some exalt the role of the Virgin in salvation history, others celebrate key moments of her earthly existence. The significance of today's feast is contained in the concluding words of the dogmatic definition, promulgated by the Venerable Pius XII on 1 November 1950 that which celebrated its 60th anniversary this year, "The Immaculate Ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of God, completed the course of earthly life, was assumed into heavenly glory, body and soul "(Apostolic Constitution. Munificentissimus Deus: AAS 42 , 770).
Artists of all ages have painted and sculpted the sanctity of the Mother of the Lord adorning churches and shrines. Poets, writers and musicians have paid tribute in honour of the Virgin with hymns and chants. From East to West, the All-Holy is invoked as Mother in Heaven, who sustains the Son of God in her arms and in whose protection all humanity finds refuge, with the ancient prayer: " Under thy protection, our refuge, our refuge, Holy Mother of God, Holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions, in our need, but from all dangers, deliver us always".
And in the Gospel of today's solemnity, St. Luke describes the fulfilment of salvation through the Virgin Mary. She, in whose womb, the Almighty has become small, after the Annunciation of the Angel, went without delay to her cousin Elizabeth to bring her the Saviour of the world. And, in fact, "When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb ... [and] was filled with the Holy Spirit" (Lk 1:41); she recognized the Mother of God "who believed that what was spoken […] by the Lord would be fulfilled "(Lk 1:45). The two women, awaiting the fulfillment of divine promises, enjoy a foretaste, now, of the joy of the coming of the Kingdom of God, the joy of salvation.
Dear brothers and sisters, let us consider that to her - as stated by the Servant of God Paul VI - "assumed into heaven, has not abandoned her mission of intercession and salvation" (Ap. Ex. Marialis Cultus, 18, AAS 66 [1974 ], 130). To her, the guide of the Apostles, support of Martyrs, light of the Saints, we turn our prayer, imploring her to join us in this life, to help us look toward Heaven and greet us one day next to Here Son Jesus”.