08/15/2006, 00.00
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Pope: to Mary, Queen of peace, I entrust anxieties of world rent by violence

Benedict XVI drew special attention to the mission of Cardinal Etchegaray in Lebanon and to mass in Nazareth, and he also mentioned Iraq and Sri Lanka. The Assumption teaches us that we should not allow daily difficulties and concerns to suffocate us: "this world" is not "the ultimate scope of human existence".

Castel Gandolfo (AsiaNews) – The feast of the Assumption of Mary, a "certain sign of our hope", is an opportunity to entrust to the "Queen of Heaven" the "anxieties of mankind for all places in the world rent by violence". In his reflection before the Angelus, Benedict XVI recalled the Holy Land, Iraq and Sri Lanka. But he mentioned especially Lebanon and Israel, where masses were being celebrated at the same time at the Shrine of Harissa on Mount Lebanon and at the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth. The pope said: "We unite with our brothers and sisters who at this very moment are gathered in the Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon in Harissa for a Eucharistic celebration presided over by Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, who went to Lebanon as my special envoy to take comfort and concrete solidarity to all victims of the conflict and to pray for the great intention of peace. We are in communion also with the pastors and faithful of the Church in the Holy Land, who gathered together in the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, around the pontifical representative in Israel and Palestine, Archbishop Antonio Franco, to pray for the same intentions." And referring to all the ethnic and religious tensions and conflict prevailing in such situations, he said: "May Mary obtain for all sentiments of understanding, a will to agree and a desire for harmony!"

Moreover, said the pope, the feast of the Assumption is the feast in which Christians discern a "certain sign" of hope.

"Mary encourages us not to lose faith in the face of the difficulties and inevitable problems of daily life," continued Benedict XVI. "She assures us of her help and reminds us that the essential thing is to seek and to think 'of things that are above, not of things that are on earth' (cfr Col 3:2).  Taken up with daily worries, we run the risk of maintaining that it is here, in this world where we are only passing through, that the ultimate scope of human existence lies. However Paradise is the true goal of our earthly pilgrimage. How different our days would be if they were animated by this perspective! This is how it was for the saints. Their existence testifies how, when one lives with one's heart constantly turned towards heaven, earthly realities are experienced according to their proper value because they are illuminated by the eternal truth of divine love."

After the Angelus prayer, the pope greeted pilgrims in different languages. Several groups improvised slogans, sang songs and applauded. In the morning, Benedict XVI celebrated mass in the parish of St Thomas in Castel Gandolfo.

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