09/07/2008, 00.00
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Pope: laypeople needed to evangelize the world of work, the economy, politics

On a pastoral visit to Sardinia for the hundredth anniversary of the shrine of Our Lady of Bonaria, on the eve of the feast of the birth of Mary, Benedict XVI stresses her role in the divine plan of Redemption. May Mary give "suppport, comfort, hope" to all the mothers of the world.

Cagliari (AsiaNews) - Just before the celebration of the birth of Mary, Benedict XVI asked that her example and her support "make you capable of evangelizing the world of work, the economy, politics, which requires a new generation of committed Christian laypeople capable of seeking with competency and moral rigor solutions of sustainable development".

The pope's visit to Sardinia today was dedicated to Mary and to her role in the work of Redemption. The visit was motivated by the celebration of the hundredth anniversary of the shrine of Our Lady of Bonaria, near Cagliari. It was a brief visit, beginning this morning and ending in the afternoon, and had its central moment in the Mass that Benedict XVI celebrated in the square of the shrine church. There, before the recitation of the Angelus, he addressed a thought to the mothers of the whole world: "those who, together with their husbands, raise their children in a harmonious family context, and those who, for so many reasons, find themselves facing this difficult task alone. May all of them carry out their daily service in the family, the Church, and society with dedication and fidelity. May the Virgin Mary be support, comfort, and hope for all!".

Almost 100,000 faithful came to listen to him, some of them participating in the celebration from the sea, where many boats full of sailors and fishermen gathered.

On the eve of the feast of the birth of Mary, which has been observed on September 8 for centuries, the pope emphasized at the Angelus how "this event constitutes a fundamental step for the Family of Nazareth, the cradle of our redemption; it is an event that concerns all of us, because every gift that God granted to Her, the Mother, was granted with us, Her children, in mind as well".

Shortly before this, during the Mass, a few passages referring to her birth and life were read. "May we thus, once again", the pope said, "contemplate the place that Mary occupies in God's plan of salvation, the 'plan' that we find in the second reading, taken from the letter to the Romans. Here, the apostle Paul expresses in two verses of exceptional density this synthesis of human existence from a meta-historical point of view: a parabola of salvation that begins from God and returns to Him again; a parabola entirely moved and governed by His love. This plan of salvation is entirely permeated by the divine freedom, which makes room for a fundamental contribution from human freedom: the loving response of the creature to his Creator. And it is here, in this space of human freedom, that we perceive the presence of the Virgin Mary, even though She is never named: She is, in fact, in Christ, the first fruits and model of ' those who love God' (Rm. 8:28)".

"In the predestination of Jesus", he then highlighted, "the predestination of Mary is inscribed, as is that of every human person. In the 'here I am' of the Son there echoes the 'here I am' of the Mother (cf. Heb. 10:6), and also the 'here I am' of all the adopted sons in the Son".

Benedict XVI then dedicated a reflection to the "figure of Joseph, his interior drama, his robust faith, and his exemplary rectitude. Behind his thoughts and his deliberations is love for God and the firm will to obey Him. But how can we not feel that the unease, and therefore the prayer and decision of Joseph, are moved at the same time by respect and love for his promised spouse? The beauty of God and of Mary are, in the heart of Joseph, inseparable; he knows that there can be no contradiction between these two; he seeks the answer in God and finds it in the light of the Word and of the Holy Spirit: 'behold, the Virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and he shall be called Emmanuel' (Mt. 1:23; cf. Is. 7:14)".

Finally, addressing those present, "after one hundred years", he said, "today we wish to thank Her for Her protection, and renew our trust in Her, recognizing in Her the 'Star of the new evangelization', in whose school we learn how to bring Christ the Savior to contemporary men and women. May Mary help you bring Christ to the families, the little domestic churches and cells of society, which today more than ever need trust and support on both the spiritual and social level. May She help you to find the right pastoral strategies to bring Christ to young people, who by their nature are the bearers of a new dynamic impulse, but are often the victims of widespread nihilism, thirsty for truth and ideals precisely when they seem to reject these. May She make you capable of evangelizing the world of work, the economy, politics, which requires a new generation of committed Christian laypeople capable of seeking with competency and moral rigor solutions of sustainable development. In all of these aspects of Christian commitment, you can always count on the guidance and support of the Holy Virgin. And so, let us entrust ourselves to Her maternal intercession".

Benedict XVI finally addressed a thought to the "dear people of Haiti, harshly tried in recent days by the passage of three hurricanes. I pray for the victims, who unfortunately have been numerous, and for those left homeless. I am close to the whole country, and I hope that it may receive the necessary aid as soon as possible. I entrust all to the maternal protection of Our Lady of Bonaria".

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