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We are already on the threshold of the month of October, which, with the liturgical memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary, inspires us to rediscover this traditional prayer, so simple yet so profound.

The Rosary is a way of contemplating the face of Christ, seeing him—we may say—with the eyes of Mary. For this reason, it is a prayer that drawing upon the core of the Gospel is in full accord with the inspiration of the Second Vatican Council and very much in keeping with the direction I gave in the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte: the Church has to launch out “into the deep” in the new millennium beginning with the contemplation of the face of Christ.

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The Rosary is… and always has been, a prayer of and for the family. At one time this prayer was particularly dear to Christian families, and it certainly brought them closer together. It is important not to lose this precious inheritance. We need to return to the practice of family prayer and prayer for families, continuing to use the Rosary.

In my Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte I encouraged the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours by the lay faithful in the ordinary life of parish communities and Christian groups; (1) I now wish to do the same for the Rosary. These two paths of Christian contemplation are not mutually exclusive; they complement one another. I would therefore ask those who devote themselves to the pastoral care of families to recommend heartily the recitation of the Rosary.

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Message of Blessed John Paul II to the Carmelite Family on the 750th Anniversary of the Bestowal of the Scapular

To the Most Reverend Fathers
Joseph Chalmers
Prior General of the Order of Brothers
of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel (O.Carm.)

and

Camilo Maccise
Superior General of the Order of Discalced Brothers
of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel (O.C.D.)

1. The providential event of grace, which the Jubilee Year has been for the Church, prompts her to look with trust and hope to the journey we have just begun in the new millennium. “At the beginning of this new century”, I wrote in the Apostolic Letter Novo millennio ineunte, “our steps must quicken…. On this journey we are accompanied by the Blessed Virgin Mary, to whom … I entrusted the third millennium” (n. 58).

I therefore learned with deep joy that the two branches of the Order of Carmel, the ancient and the reformed, intend to express their filial love for their Patroness by dedicating the year 2001 to her, invoked as the Flower of Carmel, Mother and Guide on the way of holiness. In this regard, I cannot fail to stress a happy coincidence: the celebration of this Marian year for the whole of Carmel is taking place, according to a venerable tradition of the Order itself, on the 750th anniversary of the bestowal of the Scapular. This celebration is therefore a marvellous occasion for the entire Carmelite Family to deepen not only its Marian spirituality, but to live it more and more in the light of the place which the Virgin Mother of God and of mankind holds in the mystery of Christ and the Church, and therefore to follow her who is the “Star of Evangelization” (cf. Novo millennio ineunte, n. 58).

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After Jesus had been laid in the tomb, Mary “alone remains to keep alive the flame of faith, preparing to receive the joyful and astonishing announcement of the Resurrection.” (1) The expectation felt on Holy Saturday is one of the loftiest moments of faith for the Mother of the Lord: in the darkness that envelops the world, she entrusts herself fully to the God of life, and thinking back to the words of her Son, she hopes in the fulfillment of the divine promises.

The Gospels mention various appearances of the risen Christ, but not a meeting between Jesus and his Mother. This silence must not lead to the conclusion that after the Resurrection Christ did not appear to Mary; rather it invites us to seek the reasons why the Evangelists made such a choice.

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In this extraordinary homily given at the Marian shrine in Guayaquil, Ecuador, Pope John Paul II not only uses the Marian title, “Co-redemptrix,” but also provides a larger theological context which makes unquestionably clear the doctrinal legitimacy of both the title and coredemptive role of the Woman who was, in the words of the Holy Father, “crucified spiritually with her crucified Son.” -Ed.

Most Reverend Archbishop, Brother Bishops, Authorities, Beloved Brothers and Sisters:

1…You have chosen for this sanctuary the significant title of Our Lady of Alborada, which with symbolic beauty speaks to us of the first light that announces the day. Mary is, in fact, the light that announces the nearness of the Sun about to rise, who is Christ. Where Mary is, Jesus will soon appear. With her luminous and resplendent presence, the Most Holy Virgin shines brightly with the light that awakens faith, prepares hope, and enkindles charity. For her part, she is only and nothing more than a reflection of Christ, “the rising Sun, splendor of eternal light and sun of justice” (Liturgy of the Hours, Magnificat Antiphon, 21 December): like the dawn which, without the sun, would not be what it is.

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On June 4, 1979 at the Marian Shrine of Jasna Gora (Czestochowa) John Paul II presided at a concelebrated Mass in the vast open space before the Pauline Monastery, at which an innumerable crowd of people assisted. After the Gospel the Holy Father delivered the following homily.

1.   “Holy   Virgin   guarding   bright   Czestochowa….”

To my mind come back these words of the poet Mickiewicz, who in an invocation to the Virgin at the beginning of his “Pan Tadeusz” expressed what then beat and still beats in the hearts of all Poles, by making use of the language of faith and that of our national tradition. It is a tradition that goes back some 600 years to the time of the blessed Queen Hedwig at the dawn of the Jagellonian dynasty. The image of Jasna Gora expresses a tradition and a language of faith still more ancient than our history and also reflecting the whole of the content of the Bogurodzica, on which we meditated yesterday at Gniezno, recalling the mission of St. Wojciech (Adalbert) and going back to the first moments of the proclamation of the Gospel in the land of Poland.

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Introduction

1. The Rosary of the Virgin Mary, which gradually took form in the second millennium under the guidance of the Spirit of God, is a prayer loved by countless Saints and encouraged by the Magisterium. Simplae yet profound, it still remains, at the dawn of this third millennium, a prayer of great significance, destined to bring forth a harvest of holiness. It blends easily into the spiritual journey of the Christian life, which, after two thousand years, has lost none of the freshness of its beginnings and feels drawn by the Spirit of God to “set out into the deep” (duc in altum!) in order once more to proclaim, and even cry out, before the world that Jesus Christ is Lord and Saviour, “the way, and the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6), “the goal of human history and the point on which the desires of history and civilization turn.” (1)

The Rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christocentric prayer. In the sobriety of its elements, it has all the depth of the Gospel message in its entirety, of which it can be said to be a compendium. (2) It is an echo of the prayer of Mary, her perennial Magnificat for the work of the redemptive Incarnation which began in her virginal womb. With the Rosary, the Christian people sits at the school of Mary and is led to contemplate the beauty on the face of Christ and to experience the depths of his love. Through the Rosary the faithful receive abundant grace, as though from the very hands of the Mother of the Redeemer.

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The following is an excerpt taken from the:

 Encyclical Letter of John Paul II

on the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Life of the Pilgrim Church

Mother of the Redeemer – Redemptoris Mater

 promulgated on 25 March 1987

21. From this point of view, particularly eloquent is the passage in the Gospel of John which presents Mary at the wedding feast of Cana. She appears there as the Mother of Jesus at the beginning of his public life: “There was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples” (Jn. 2:1-2). From the text it appears that Jesus and his disciples were invited together with Mary, as if by reason of her presence at the celebration: the Son seems to have been invited because of his mother. We are familiar with the sequence of events which resulted from that invitation, that “beginning of the signs” wrought by Jesus–the water changed into wine–which prompts the Evangelist to say that Jesus “manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him” (Jn. 2:11).
Mary is present at Cana in Galilee as the Mother of Jesus, and in a significant way she contributes to that “beginning of the signs” which reveal the messianic power of her Son.

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“Joseph did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took his wife” (cf. Mt 1 :24).

Inspired by the Gospel, the Fathers of the Church from the earliest centuries stressed that just as St. Joseph took loving care of Mary and gladly dedicated himself to Jesus Christ’s upbringing (1), he likewise watches over and protects Christ’s Mystical Body, that is, the Church, of which the Virgin Mary is the exemplar and model.

On the occasion of the centenary of Pope Leo XIII’s Encyclical Epistle Quamquam Pluries (2), and in line with the veneration given to St. Joseph over the centuries, I wish to offer for your consideration, dear brothers, and sisters, some reflections concerning him “into whose custody God entrusted his most precious treasures” (3). I gladly fulfill this pastoral duty so that all may grow in devotion to the Patron of the Universal Church and in love for the Savior whom he served in such an exemplary manner.

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John Paul the Great’s Apostolic Letter, Salvifici Doloris, “On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering,” ranks among the greatest spiritual documents from the papal magisterium ever written. It is second to none in capturing the redemptive value of human suffering, and constitutes a quintessential spiritual meditation for our Lenten season. – Ed.

1. Declaring the power of salvific suffering, the Apostle Paul says: “In my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church” (1).

These words seem to be found at the end of the long road that winds through the suffering which forms part of the history of man and which is illuminated by the Word of God. These words have as it were the value of a final discovery, which is accompanied by joy. For this reason Saint Paul writes: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake” (2). The joy comes from the discovery of the meaning of suffering, and this discovery, even if it is most personally shared in by Paul of Tarsus who wrote these words, is at the same time valid for others. The Apostle shares his own discovery and rejoices in it because of all those whom it can help—just as it helped him—to understand the salvific meaning of suffering.

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Contemplation of the mystery of the Savior’s birth has led Christian people not only to invoke the Blessed Virgin as the Mother of Jesus, but also to recognize her as Mother of God. This truth was already confirmed and perceived as belonging to the Church’s heritage of faith from the early centuries of the Christian era, until it was solemnly proclaimed at the Council of Ephesus in 431.

In the first Christian community, as the disciples became more aware that Jesus is the Son of God, it became ever clearer that Mary is the Theotokos, the Mother of God. This is a title which does not appear explicitly in the Gospel texts, but in them the “Mother of Jesus” is mentioned and it is affirmed that Jesus is God (Jn 20:28; cf. 5:18; 10:30, 33). Mary is in any case presented as the Mother of Emmanuel, which means “God with us” (cf. Mt 1:22-23).

Read more: Mary, “Mother of God”

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The following homily was delivered by Pope John Paul II at the Mass of Canonization for St. Juan Diego, given at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine, Mexico City, July 31, 2002.

“I thank you, Father…that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was your gracious will” (Mt 11:25-26).

Dear Brothers and Sisters, these words of Jesus in today’s Gospel are a special invitation to us to praise and thank God for the gift of the first indigenous Saint of the American Continent. With deep joy I have come on pilgrimage to this Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Marian heart of Mexico and of America, to proclaim the holiness of Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, the simple, humble Indian who contemplated the sweet and serene face of Our Lady of Tepeyac, so dear to the people of Mexico….

Read more: St. Juan Diego, “True and Faithful Man”

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Our Mother’s participation in the Redemption has been profoundly expressed by our Holy Father in his Wednesday Audience of April 2, 1997, in which he said the following about Our Lady’s participation in the historic redemptive act of Jesus Christ:

 

“Mary joins her suffering to Jesus’ priestly sacrifice. With our gaze illumined by the radiance of the Resurrection, we pause to reflect on the Mother’s involvement in her Son’s redeeming Passion, which was completed by her sharing in his suffering. Let us return again, but now in the perspective of the Resurrection, to the foot of the Cross, where the Mother endured ‘with her only begotten Son the intensity of His suffering, associated herself with His sacrifice in her Mother’s heart, and lovingly consented to the immolation of this victim which was born of her’ (Lumen Gentium, n.58).

With these words, the Council reminds us of ‘Mary’s compassion’; in her heart reverberates all that Jesus suffers in body and soul, emphasizing her willingness to share in her Son’s redeeming sacrifice and to join her own maternal suffering to his priestly offering.

The Council text also stresses that her consent to Jesus’ immolation is not passive acceptance but a genuine act of love, by which she offers her Son as a ‘victim’ of expiation for the sins of all humanity.

Lastly, Lumen Gentium relates the Blessed Virgin to Christ, who has the lead role in Redemption, making it clear that in associating herself ‘with his sacrifice’ she remains subordinate to her divine Son.

. . . Mary’s hope at the foot of the Cross contains a light stronger than the darkness that reigns in many hearts: in the presence of the redeeming Sacrifice, the hope of the Church and of humanity is born in Mary.” (3)

 

In his Wednesday Audience of April 9th, 1997, the Holy Father further elucidates:

 

“Mary’s co-operation is unique and unrepeatable. However, applied to Mary, the term ‘co-operator’ acquires a specific meaning. The collaboration of Christians in salvation takes place after the Calvary event, whose fruits they endeavor to spread by prayer and sacrifice. Mary, instead, co-operated during the event itself and in the role of mother; thus her co-operation embraces the whole of Christ’s saving work. She alone was associated in this way with the redemptive sacrifice that merited the salvation of all mankind. In union with the Christ and in submission to him, she collaborated in obtaining the grace of salvation for all humanity.” (4)

 

Not only is our Mother the Mediatrix of all grace, distributing the grace of Calvary, but the Pope tells us here that she also (and first of all) participates sacrificially in the event, she actively participates in the acquisition of the graces of the Redemption. In the obtaining of the graces of Calvary as the New Eve with the New Adam, she takes an intimate part in what has been called “objective redemption.” She is Mediatrix of all grace because she is first the Coredemptrix.

 

To reject the gift of Mary Coredemptrix is to reject the final gift of the crucified Lord to each human heart. Why do many have difficulty accepting this gift? We are living in a time of great confusion, and thus some think that to speak the whole truth about Mary is a violation of authentic Catholic ecumenism. I would say in the most explicit terms that in order to be fully ecumenical we must be fully Marian. It is only through the full truth about the Mother that we find the foundation for ultimate Christian unity.

 

During times of doubt we can hear the words of the Savior saying to us, and saying to our separated brothers and sisters from Calvary, “It is I who give you my Mother. It is I” (cf. Jn 19:26). The gift of Mary’s motherhood comes from the merciful heart of the Crucified, and it is given to every single human being. This is not a gift initiated by the Mother; it is initiated by our Savior himself.

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Part of an address delivered by the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, to a group of Italian legionaries on 30th October 1982

1. My welcome is addressed to each and every one of you. It is reason for joy for me to see you in this hall in such great numbers from various regions of Italy, more so in that you are only a small part of that apostolic movement, that in the span of sixty years has rapidly spread in the world and today, two years from the death of its founder, Frank Duff, is present in so many dioceses in the universal Church.

My predecessors, beginning with Pius XI, have addressed words of appreciation to the Legion of Mary, and I myself on 10 May 1979, when receiving one of your first delegations, recalled with great pleasure the occasions I had previously had to come in contact with the Legion, in Paris, Belgium and Poland, and then, as Bishop of Rome, in the course of my pastoral visits to the parishes of the city.

Today, therefore, as I receive in audience the Italian pilgrimage of your movement, I would like to emphasise those aspects which constitute the substance of your spirituality and your modus essendi within the Church.

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The Mysteries of Light

Published on October 24, 2009 by in Papal Excerpts

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The following excerpt is from the Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, where Pope John Paul II made history by providing the additional “Mysteries of Light” to the Rosary, Our Lady’s favored prayer. – Ed.

Of the many mysteries of Christ’s life, only a few are indicated by the Rosary in the form that has become generally established with the seal of the Church’s approval. The selection was determined by the origin of the prayer, which was based on the number 150, the number of the Psalms in the Psalter.

I believe, however, that to bring out fully the Christological depth of the Rosary it would be suitable to make an addition to the traditional pattern which, while left to the freedom of individuals and communities, could broaden it to include the mysteries of Christ’s public ministry between his Baptism and his Passion. In the course of those mysteries we contemplate important aspects of the person of Christ as the definitive revelation of God. Declared the beloved Son of the Father at the Baptism in the Jordan, Christ is the one who announces the coming of the Kingdom, bears witness to it in his works and proclaims its demands. It is during the years of his public ministry that the mystery of Christ is most evidently a mystery of light: “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (Jn 9:5).

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Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae 

 Prayer for peace and for the family

6. A number of historical circumstances also make a revival of the Rosary quite timely. First of all, the need to implore from God the gift of peace. The Rosary has many times been proposed by my predecessors and myself as a prayer for peace. At the start of a millennium which began with the terrifying attacks of 11 September 2001, a millennium which witnesses every day innumerous parts of the world fresh scenes of bloodshed and violence, to rediscover the Rosary means to immerse oneself in contemplation of the mystery of Christ who “is our peace,” since he made “the two of us one, and broke down the dividing wall of hostility” (Eph 2:14). Consequently, one cannot recite the Rosary without feeling caught up in a clear commitment to advancing peace, especially in the land of Jesus, still so sorely afflicted and so close to the heart of every Christian. 

A similar need for commitment and prayer arises in relation to another critical contemporary issue: the family, the primary cell of society, increasingly menaced by forces of disintegration on both the ideological and practical planes, so as to make us fear for the future of this fundamental and indispensable institution and, with it, for the future of society as a whole. The revival of the Rosary in Christian families, within the context of a broader pastoral ministry to the family, will be an effective aid to countering the devastating effects of this crisis typical of our age.

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The following is the Prayer of Consecration with which Pope John Paul II consecrated the world, inclusive of Russia, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25, 1984, in fulfillment of the Fatima request. – Ed.

“We have recourse to your protection, holy Mother of God.”

As we utter the words of this antiphon with which the Church of Christ has prayed for centuries, we find ourselves today before you, Mother, in the Jubilee Year of the Redemption.

We find ourselves united with all the pastors of the Church in a particular bond whereby we constitute a body and a college, just as by Christ’s wish the Apostles constituted a body and college with Peter.

In the bond of this union, we utter the words of the present Act, in which we wish to include, once more, the Church’s hopes and anxieties for the modern world.

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On May 13, 2000, John Paul II delivered the following homily in honor of Jacinta and Francisco, the two Fatima visionaries, on the occasion of their beatification in Fatima. – Ed.

“Father… to you I offer praise; for what you have hidden from the learned and the clever you have revealed to the merest children” (Mt 11:25).

With these words, dear brothers and sisters, Jesus praises the heavenly Father for his designs; he knows that no one can come to him unless he is drawn by the Father (cf. Jn 6:44); therefore he praises him for his plan and embraces it as a son: “Yes, Father, for such was your gracious will” (Mt 11:26). You were pleased to reveal the kingdom to the merest children.

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John Paul the Great’s Apostolic Letter, Salvifici Doloris, “On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering,” ranks among the greatest spiritual documents from the papal magisterium ever written. It is second to none in capturing the redemptive value of human suffering, and constitutes a quintessential spiritual meditation for our Lenten season. – Ed.

1. Declaring the power of salvific suffering, the Apostle Paul says: “In my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church” (1).

These words seem to be found at the end of the long road that winds through the suffering which forms part of the history of man and which is illuminated by the Word of God. These words have as it were the value of a final discovery, which is accompanied by joy. For this reason Saint Paul writes: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake” (2). The joy comes from the discovery of the meaning of suffering, and this discovery, even if it is most personally shared in by Paul of Tarsus who wrote these words, is at the same time valid for others. The Apostle shares his own discovery and rejoices in it because of all those whom it can help—just as it helped him—to understand the salvific meaning of suffering.

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Pope John Paul II, on the first pilgrimage of his pontificate, gave the following homily in the basilica of Guadalupe on January 27, 1979.
—Asst. Ed
.

Hail Mary!

Dear Brothers in the episcopate and dear sons and daughters, how deep is my joy that the first steps of my pilgrimage, as Successor of Paul VI and John Paul I, bring me precisely here. They bring me to you, Mary, in this shrine of the people of Mexico and of the whole of Latin America, the shrine in which for so many centuries your motherhood has been manifested.

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The first part of Saint John Paul II’s Rosarium Virginis Mariae appeared in the previous Mother of All Peoples Bi-Monthly Issue.

CHAPTER II – MYSTERIES OF CHRIST—MYSTERIES OF HIS MOTHER

The Rosary, "a compendium of the Gospel"

18. The only way to approach the contemplation of Christ’s face is by listening in the Spirit to the Father’s voice, since "no one knows the Son except the Father" (Mt 11:27). In the region of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus responded to Peter’s confession of faith by indicating the source of that clear intuition of his identity: "Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven" (Mt 16:17). What is needed, then, is a revelation from above. In order to receive that revelation, attentive listening is indispensable: "Only the experience of silence and prayer offers the proper setting for the growth and development of a true, faithful and consistent knowledge of that mystery" (27).

The Rosary is one of the traditional paths of Christian prayer directed to the contemplation of Christ’s face. Pope Paul VI described it in these words: "As a Gospel prayer, centered on the mystery of the redemptive Incarnation, the Rosary is a prayer with a clearly Christological orientation. Its most characteristic element, in fact, the litany-like succession of Hail Marys, becomes in itself an unceasing praise of Christ, who is the ultimate object both of the Angel’s announcement and of the greeting of the Mother of John the Baptist: ‘Blessed is the fruit of your womb’ (Lk 1:42). We would go further and say that the succession of Hail Marys constitutes the warp on which is woven the contemplation of the mysteries. The Jesus that each Hail Mary recalls is the same Jesus whom the succession of mysteries proposes to us now as the Son of God, now as the Son of the Virgin" (28).

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1. The Rosary of the Virgin Mary, which gradually took form in the second millennium under the guidance of the Spirit of God, is a prayer loved by countless Saints and encouraged by the Magisterium. Simple yet profound, it still remains, at the dawn of this third millennium, a prayer of great significance, destined to bring forth a harvest of holiness. It blends easily into the spiritual journey of the Christian life, which, after two thousand years, has lost none of the freshness of its beginnings and feels drawn by the Spirit of God to “set out into the deep” (duc in altum!) in order once more to proclaim, and even cry out, before the world that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, “the way, and the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6), “the goal of human history and the point on which the desires of history and civilization turn” (1).

The Rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christocentric prayer. In the sobriety of its elements, it has all the depth of the Gospel message in its entirety, of which it can be said to be a compendium (2). It is an echo of the prayer of Mary, her perennial Magnificat for the work of the redemptive Incarnation which began in her virginal womb. With the Rosary, the Christian people sits at the school of Mary and is led to contemplate the beauty on the face of Christ and to experience the depths of his love. Through the Rosary the faithful receive abundant grace, as though from the very hands of the Mother of the Redeemer.

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Mother of the Redeemer

Published on March 24, 2007 by in Papal Excerpts

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In special honor of the Feast of the Annunciation, we are happy to present John Paul II’s monumental Marian encyclical, Redemptoris Mater, which celebrates its 20th anniversary on March 25. – Ed.

1. The Mother of the Redeemer has a precise place in the plan of salvation, for “when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!'” (Gal. 4:4-6)

With these words of the Apostle Paul, which the Second Vatican Council takes up at the beginning of its treatment of the Blessed Virgin Mary, (1) I too wish to begin my reflection on the role of Mary in the mystery of Christ and on her active and exemplary presence in the life of the Church. For they are words which celebrate together the love of the Father, the mission of the Son, the gift of the Spirit, the role of the woman from whom the Redeemer was born, and our own divine filiation, in the mystery of the “fullness of time.” (2) […]

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On April 9, 1997, Pope John Paul II offered the following commentary on Our Lady’s role as unique “co-operator” in the Redemption. Msgr. Brunero Gherardini, a Consultor to the Holy See, testified that during the actual audience on April 9 the word “Co-redemptrix” (in Italian, Corredentrice) was the actual term used three times by Pope John Paul II. Unfortunately the later English translation, as issued by the Secretary of State, opted for the term “co-operator,” which in itself has not been used with any frequency in the Church’s Tradition. We here offer the April 9 audience in its final English translation. – Ed.

Down the centuries the Church has reflected on Mary’s co-operation in the work of salvation, deepening the analysis of her association with Christ’s redemptive sacrifice. St Augustine already gave the Blessed Virgin the title “co-operator” in the Redemption (cf. De Sancta Virginitate, 6; PL 40, 399), a title which emphasizes Mary’s joint but subordinate action with Christ the Redeemer.

Reflection has developed along these lines, particularly since the fifteenth century. Some feared there might be a desire to put Mary on the same level as Christ. Actually the Church’s teaching makes a clear distinction between the Mother and the Son in the work of salvation, explaining the Blessed Virgin’s subordination, as co-operator, to the one Redeemer.

Moreover, when the Apostle Paul says: “For we are God’s fellow workers” (1 Cor 3:9), he maintains the real possibility for man to co-operate with God. The collaboration of believers, which obviously excludes any equality with him, is expressed in the proclamation of the Gospel and in their personal contribution to its taking root in human hearts.

Mary’s Co-operation Is Unique and Unrepeatable

However, applied to Mary, the term “co-operator” acquires a specific meaning. The collaboration of Christians in salvation takes place after the Calvary event, whose fruits they endeavor to spread by prayer and sacrifice. Mary, instead, co-operated during the event itself and in the role of mother; thus her co-operation embraces the whole of Christ’s saving work. She alone was associated in this way with the redemptive sacrifice that merited the salvation of all mankind. In union with Christ and in submission to him, she collaborated in obtaining the grace of salvation for all humanity.

The Blessed Virgin’s role as co-operator has its source in her divine motherhood. By giving birth to the One who was destined to achieve man’s redemption, by nourishing him, presenting him in the temple and suffering with him as he died on the Cross, “in a wholly singular way she co-operated … in the work of the Savior” (Lumen Gentium, n. 61). Although God’s call to co-operate in the work of salvation concerns every human being, the participation of the Savior’s Mother in humanity’s Redemption is a unique and unrepeatable fact.

Despite the uniqueness of her condition, Mary is also the recipient of salvation. She is the first to be saved, redeemed by Christ “in the most sublime way” in her Immaculate Conception (cf. Ineffabilis Deus, in Pius IX, Acta, 1, 605) and filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit.

This assertion now leads to the question: what is the meaning of Mary’s unique co-operation in the plan of salvation? It should be sought in God’s particular intention for the Mother of the Redeemer, whom on two solemn occasions, that is, at Cana and beneath the Cross, Jesus addresses as “Woman” (cf. Jn 2:4, 19, 26). Mary is associated as a woman in the work of salvation. Having created man “male and female” (cf. Gn 1:27), the Lord also wants to place the New Eve beside the New Adam in the Redemption. Our first parents had chosen the way of sin as a couple; a new pair, the Son of God with his Mother’s co-operation, would re-establish the human race in its original dignity.

Mary, the New Eve, thus becomes a perfect icon of the Church. In the divine plan, at the foot of the Cross, she represents redeemed humanity which, in need of salvation, is enabled to make a contribution to the unfolding of the saving work.

Mary Is Our Mother in the Order of Grace

The Council had this doctrine in mind and made it its own, stressing the Blessed Virgin’s contribution not only to the Redeemer’s birth, but also to the life of his Mystical Body down the ages until the “eschaton”: in the Church Mary “has co-operated” (cf. Lumen Gentium, n. 63) and “co-operates” (cf. ibid., n. 53) in the work of salvation. In describing the mystery of the Annunciation, the Council states that the Virgin of Nazareth, “committing herself wholeheartedly and impeded by no sin to God’s saving will, devoted herself totally, as a handmaid of the Lord, to the person and work of her Son, under and with him, serving the mystery of Redemption by the grace of Almighty God” (ibid., n. 56).

The Second Vatican Council moreover presents Mary not only as “Mother of the divine Redeemer,” but also “in a singular way (as) the generous associate,” who “co-operated by her obedience, faith, hope and burning charity in the work of the Savior.” The Council also recalls that the sublime fruit of this co-operation is her universal motherhood: “For this reason she is a mother to us in the order of grace” (ibid., n. 61).

We can therefore turn to the Blessed Virgin, trustfully imploring her aid in the awareness of the singular role entrusted to her by God, the role of co-operator in the Redemption, which she exercised throughout her life and in a special way at the foot of the Cross.

This text was first published in the April 16, 1997, English edition of L’Osservatore Romano.

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The following is the Prayer of Consecration with which Pope John Paul II consecrated the world, inclusive of Russia, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25, 1984, in fulfillment of the Fatima request. – Ed.

“We have recourse to your protection, holy Mother of God.”

As we utter the words of this antiphon with which the Church of Christ has prayed for centuries, we find ourselves today before you, Mother, in the Jubilee Year of the Redemption.

We find ourselves united with all the pastors of the Church in a particular bond whereby we constitute a body and a college, just as by Christ’s wish the Apostles constituted a body and college with Peter.

In the bond of this union, we utter the words of the present Act, in which we wish to include, once more, the Church’s hopes and anxieties for the modern world. […]

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We here present the Third Secret of Fatima, revealed by Pope John Paul II during the year 2000. – Ed.

At the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendor that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: “Penance, Penance, Penance!” And we saw in an immense light that is God, “something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it,” a bishop dressed in White, “we had the impression that it was the Holy Father” and other bishops, priests, men and women religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other bishops, priests, men and women religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.

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Today, on the first of May, we observe Labor Day. We Christians place the celebration under the patronage of St. Joseph the Worker. We observe such an important day with initiatives that tend to emphasize the importance and value of the work by which the human person, transforming nature and adapting it to his needs, realizes himself as a human being.

The Lord’s invitation to subdue the earth (cf. Gen 2:28), that we find at the beginning of the history of salvation, holds a definitive and contemporary importance. Creation is a gift that God entrusts to the human being so that by carefully cultivating and safeguarding it, it can supply his needs. From our work comes the “daily bread” that we pray for in the Our Father.

One can say that through his work the human person becomes more human. This is why industriousness is a virtue. For industriousness effectively to permit the person to become more human, it must always be joined with the social disposition of work. Only in this way will we protect the inalienable dignity of the person and the human and social value of the work that is done. To the watchful protection of St. Joseph the Worker we entrust those who belong to the great family of work in every place in the world.

Today we begin the month dedicated to Our Lady a favourite of popular devotion. In accord with a longstanding tradition of devotion, parishes and families continue to make the month of May a “Marian” month, celebrating it with many devout liturgical, catechetical and pastoral initiatives!

May it really be a month of intense prayer with Mary! This is the wish I wholeheartedly formulate for each of you, Brothers and Sisters, recommending to you once again the daily prayer of the Rosary. It is a simple and repetitive prayer but very profitable for drawing us into the mysteries of Christ and of his and our Mother. It is also a way of praying that the Church knows is pleasing to Our Lady. We are invited to make use of it, especially in the more difficult moments of our earthly pilgrimage.

Beginning the month of Mary, I invite all of you to join with me in praying for workers, especially those who experience difficulties in the workplace. We also need to intensify our confident and unceasing prayer for peace in the Holy Land where we hope that the Israeli and Palestinian peoples, who are so dear to me, will come to live in security and serenity. May the intercession of Our Lady and of St. Joseph, her Spouse and the Guardian of the Redeemer, obtain it for us…

– Excerpted from May 1, 2002 General Audience.

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A work destined to become a classic of Marian spirituality was published 160 years ago. St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort wrote the Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin at the beginning of the 1700s, but the manuscript remained practically unknown for more than a century. When, almost by chance, it was at last discovered in 1842 and published in 1843, the work was an instant success, proving extraordinarily effective in spreading the “true devotion” to the Most Holy Virgin. I myself, in the years of my youth, found reading this book a great help. “There I found the answers to my questions,” for at one point I had feared that if my devotion to Mary “became too great, it might end up compromising the supremacy of the worship owed to Christ.” (1) Under the wise guidance of St. Louis Marie, I realized that if one lives the mystery of Mary in Christ this risk does not exist. In fact, this Saint’s Mariological thought “is rooted in the mystery of the Trinity and in the truth of the Incarnation of the Word of God.” (2)

Since she came into being, and especially in her most difficult moments, the Church has contemplated with special intensity an event of the Passion of Jesus Christ that St. John mentions: “Standing by the Cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary, the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, “‘Woman, behold, your son!’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home” (Jn 19: 25-27). Throughout its history, the People of God has experienced this gift of the crucified Jesus: the gift of his Mother. Mary Most Holy is truly our Mother who accompanies us on our pilgrimage of faith, hope and charity towards an ever more intense union with Christ, the one Savior and Mediator of salvation. (3) […]

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Guardian of the Redeemer

Published on March 18, 2006 by in Papal Excerpts

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“Joseph did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took his wife” (cf. Mt 1 :24).

Inspired by the Gospel, the Fathers of the Church from the earliest centuries stressed that just as St. Joseph took loving care of Mary and gladly dedicated himself to Jesus Christ’s upbringing, (1) he likewise watches over and protects Christ’s Mystical Body, that is, the Church, of which the Virgin Mary is the exemplar and model.

On the occasion of the centenary of Pope Leo XIII’s Encyclical Epistle Quamquam Pluries, (2) and in line with the veneration given to St. Joseph over the centuries, I wish to offer for your consideration, dear brothers, and sisters, some reflections concerning him “into whose custody God entrusted his most precious treasures.” (3) I gladly fulfill this pastoral duty so that all may grow in devotion to the Patron of the Universal Church and in love for the Savior whom he served in such an exemplary manner. […]

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On November 6, 1994, Pope John Paul II discussed the tears of Mary in a scriptural and mystical context. While referring to historical occasions, like Syracuse, Italy, where weeping statues of Our Lady have been authenticated, John Paul tells us, “These are tears of sorrow for all those who refuse the love of God, for those families who are broken or in difficulty, for the young people seduced by a consumerist civilization and so often disoriented, for the violence that still spills so much blood and for the misunderstandings and hate which dig deep trenches between individuals and peoples.” – Ed.

Dominus flevit (cf. Lk 19:41).

There is a place in Jerusalem, on the slopes of the Mount of Olives, where according to tradition Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem. In those tears of the Son of Man there was almost a distant echo of other weeping, which is spoken of in the first reading taken from the Book of Nehemiah. After their return from the Babylonian captivity, the Israelites prepared to rebuild the temple. But first they listened to the words of the Holy Scriptures and of Ezra the priest, who then blessed the people with the Book of the Law. Then they all broke into tears. In fact we read that the governor Nehemiah and the priest Ezra said to those present: “Today is holy to the Lord your God. Do not be sad, and do not weep… do not be saddened this day, for rejoicing in the Lord must be your strength” (Neh 8:9, 10). […]

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…I wish to draw your attention to the rosary. In fact, throughout the whole Church, October is the month dedicated to the rosary.

The rosary is my favorite prayer. A marvelous prayer! Marvelous in its simplicity and in its depth. In this prayer we repeat many times the words that the Virgin Mary heard from the Archangel, and from her kinswoman Elizabeth. The whole Church joins in these words. It can be said that the rosary is, in a certain way, a prayer-commentary on the last chapter of the Constitution Lumen gentium of Vatican II, a chapter which deals with the wonderful presence of the Mother of God in the mystery of Christ and the Church.

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Mary, my Mother. Live in me. Act in me. Speak in and through me. Think your thoughts in my mind. Love, through my heart. Give me your dispositions and feelings. Teach, lead and guide me to Jesus. Correct, enlighten and expand my thoughts and behavior. Possess my soul. Take over my entire personality and life. Replace it with yourself. Incline me to constant adoration and thanksgiving. Pray in me and through me. Let me live in you and keep me in this union always.

– Pope John Paul II

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The following is an excerpt from Pope John Paul II’s first encyclical, Redemptoris Hominis, where he immediately identifies the central importance of Our Lady as Mother of the Church and the spiritual Mother of all peoples. – Ed.

When therefore at the beginning of the new pontificate I turn my thoughts and my heart to the Redeemer of man, I thereby wish to enter and penetrate into the deepest rhythm of the Church’s life. Indeed, if the Church lives her life, she does so because she draws it from Christ, and he always wishes but one thing, namely that we should have life and have it abundantly. (1) This fullness of life in him is at the same time for man. Therefore the Church, uniting herself with all the riches of the mystery of the Redemption, becomes the Church of living people, living because given life from within by the working of “the Spirit of truth” (2) and visited by the love that the Holy Spirit has poured into our hearts. (3) The aim of any service in the Church, whether the service is apostolic, pastoral, priestly or episcopal, is to keep up this dynamic link between the mystery of the Redemption and every man. […]

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The Tears of Mary

Published on April 16, 2005 by in Papal Excerpts

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On November 6, 1994, Pope John Paul II dedicated the Shrine of Our Lady of Tears in Syracuse, Italy. The following is the homily he delivered during the dedication Mass. – Ed.

Dominus flevit (cf. Lk 19:41).

There is a place in Jerusalem, on the slopes of the Mount of Olives, where according to tradition Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem. In those tears of the Son of Man there was almost a distant echo of other weeping, which is spoken of in the first reading taken from the Book of Nehemiah. After their return from the Babylonian captivity, the Israelites prepared to rebuild the temple. But first they listened to the words of the Holy Scriptures and of Ezra the priest, who then blessed the people with the Book of the Law. Then they all broke into tears. In fact we read that the governor Nehemiah and the priest Ezra said to those present: “Today is holy to the Lord your God. Do not be sad, and do not weep (…) do not be saddened this day, for rejoicing in the Lord must be your strength” (Neh 8:9, 10). […]

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Mary, Mediatrix

Published on April 9, 2005 by in Papal Excerpts

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Among the titles attributed to Mary in the Church’s devotion, chapter eight of Lumen gentium recalls that of “Mediatrix.” Although some Council Fathers did not fully agree with this choice of title, (1) it was nevertheless inserted into the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church as confirmation of the value of the truth it expresses. Care was therefore taken not to associate it with any particular theology of mediation, but merely to list it among Mary’s other recognized titles.

Moreover the conciliar text had already described the meaning of the title “Mediatrix” when it said that Mary “by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation.” (2) […]

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In this extraordinary homily given at the Marian shrine in Guayaquil, Ecuador, Pope John Paul II not only uses the Marian title, “Co-redemptrix,” but also provides a larger theological context which makes unquestionably clear the doctrinal legitimacy of both the title and coredemptive role of the Woman who was, in the words of the Holy Father, “crucified spiritually with her crucified Son.” -Ed.

Most Reverend Archbishop, Brother Bishops, Authorities, Beloved Brothers and Sisters:

…You have chosen for this sanctuary the significant title of Our Lady of Alborada, which with symbolic beauty speaks to us of the first light that announces the day. Mary is, in fact, the light that announces the nearness of the Sun about to rise, who is Christ. Where Mary is, Jesus will soon appear. With her luminous and resplendent presence, the Most Holy Virgin shines brightly with the light that awakens faith, prepares hope, and enkindles charity. For her part, she is only and nothing more than a reflection of Christ, “the rising Sun, splendor of eternal light and sun of justice” (1): like the dawn which, without the sun, would not be what it is. […]

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The following prayer is the Act of Entrusting of the Third Millennium to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, made by Pope John Paul II on October 8, 2000. – Ed.

“Woman, behold your son!” (Jn 19:26).
As we near the end of this Jubilee Year,
when you, O Mother, have offered us Jesus anew,
the blessed fruit of your womb most pure,
the Word made flesh, the world’s Redeemer,
we hear more clearly the sweet echo of his words
entrusting us to you, making you our Mother:
“Woman, behold your son!”
When he entrusted to you the Apostle John,
and with him the children of the Church and all people,
Christ did not diminish but affirmed anew
the role which is his alone as the Savior of the world.
You are the splendor which in no way dims
the light of Christ,
for you exist in him and through him.
Everything in you is fiat: you are the Immaculate One,
through you there shines the fullness of grace.
Here, then, are your children, gathered before you
at the dawn of the new millennium.
The Church today, through the voice
of the Successor of Peter,
in union with so many Pastors assembled here
from every corner of the world,
seeks refuge in your motherly protection
and trustingly begs your intercession
as she faces the challenges which lie hidden in the future. […]

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If we wish to rediscover in all its richness the profound relationship between the Church and the Eucharist, we cannot neglect Mary, Mother and model of the Church. In my Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, I pointed to the Blessed Virgin Mary as our teacher in contemplating Christ’s face, and among the mysteries of light I included the institution of the Eucharist. (1) Mary can guide us towards this most holy sacrament, because she herself has a profound relationship with it.

At first glance, the Gospel is silent on this subject. The account of the institution of the Eucharist on the night of Holy Thursday makes no mention of Mary. Yet we know that she was present among the Apostles who prayed “with one accord” (cf. Acts 1:14) in the first community which gathered after the Ascension in expectation of Pentecost. Certainly Mary must have been present at the Eucharistic celebrations of the first generation of Christians, who were devoted to “the breaking of bread” (Acts 2:42). […]

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In the mystery of Christ’s Birth the encounter of God with man takes place and the earthly journey of the Son of God begins, a journey which will culminate in the gift of his life on the Cross. By his death Christ will conquer death and become for all humanity the source of new life.

The one who accepted “Life” in the name of all and for the sake of all was Mary, the Virgin Mother; she is thus most closely and personally associated with the Gospel of life. Mary’s consent at the Annunciation and her motherhood stand at the very beginning of the mystery of life which Christ came to bestow on humanity (cf. Jn 10:10). Through her acceptance and loving care for the life of the Incarnate Word, human life has been rescued from condemnation to final and eternal death.

For this reason, Mary, “like the Church of which she is the type, is a mother of all who are reborn to life. She is in fact the mother of the Life by which everyone lives, and when she brought it forth from herself she in some way brought to rebirth all those who were to live by that Life.” (1) […]

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Mediatrix of Mercy

Published on March 12, 2005 by in Papal Excerpts

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During the years of Jesus’ hidden life in the house at Nazareth, Mary’s life too is “hid with Christ in God” (cf. Col. 3:3) through faith. For faith is contact with the mystery of God. Every day Mary is in constant contact with the ineffable mystery of God made man, a mystery that surpasses everything revealed in the Old Covenant. From the moment of the Annunciation, the mind of the Virgin-Mother has been initiated into the radical “newness” of God’s self-revelation and has been made aware of the mystery. She is the first of those “little ones” of whom Jesus will say one day: “Father, …you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes” (Mt. 11:25). For “no one knows the Son except the Father” (Mt. 11:27). If this is the case, how can Mary “know the Son”? Of course she does not know him as the Father does; and yet she is the first of those to whom the Father “has chosen to reveal him” (cf. Mt. 11:26-27; 1 Cor. 2:11). If though, from the moment of the Annunciation, the Son—whom only the Father knows completely, as the one who begets him in the eternal “today” (cf. Ps. 2:7) was revealed to Mary, she, his Mother, is in contact with the truth about her Son only in faith and through faith! She is therefore blessed, because “she has believed,” and continues to believe day after day amidst all the trials and the adversities of Jesus’ infancy and then during the years of the hidden life at Nazareth, where he “was obedient to them” (Lk. 2:51). He was obedient both to Mary and also to Joseph, since Joseph took the place of his father in people’s eyes; for this reason, the Son of Mary was regarded by the people as “the carpenter’s son” (Mt. 13:55). […]

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Mother of Mercy

Published on February 26, 2005 by in February 2005, Papal Excerpts

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These words of the Church at Easter re-echo in the fullness of their prophetic content the words that Mary uttered during her visit to Elizabeth, the wife of Zechariah: “His mercy is…from generation to generation.” (1) At the very moment of the Incarnation, these words open up a new perspective of salvation history. After the resurrection of Christ, this perspective is new on both the historical and the eschatological level. From that time onwards there is a succession of new generations of individuals in the immense human family, in ever-increasing dimensions; there is also a succession of new generations of the People of God, marked with the Sign of the Cross and of the resurrection and “sealed” (2) with the sign of the Paschal Mystery of Christ, the absolute revelation of the mercy that Mary proclaimed on the threshold of her kinswoman’s house: “His mercy is…from generation to generation.” (3) […]

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The witnesses of the Cross and Resurrection of Christ have handed on to the Church and to mankind a specific Gospel of suffering. The Redeemer himself wrote this Gospel, above all by his own suffering accepted in love, so that man “should not perish but have eternal life.” (1) This suffering, together with the living word of his teaching, became a rich source for all those who shared in Jesus’ sufferings among the first generation of his disciples and confessors and among those who have come after them down the centuries. […]

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After recognizing in Jesus “a light for revelation to the Gentiles” (Lk 2:32), Simeon announces to Mary the great trial to which the Messiah is called and reveals her participation in that sorrowful destiny.

His reference to the redeeming sacrifice, absent at the Annunciation, has shown in Simeon’s prophecy almost a “second Annunciation” (Redemptoris Mater, n. 16), which will lead the Virgin to a deeper understanding of her Son’s mystery.

Simeon, who up to that moment had addressed all those present, blessing Joseph and Mary in particular, now prophesies to the Virgin alone that she will share in her Son’s destiny. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, he announces to her: “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed” (Lk 2:34 35).

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In accepting with complete availability the words of the Angel Gabriel, who announced to her that she would become the Mother of the Messiah, Mary began her participation in the drama of Redemption. Her involvement in her Son’s sacrifice, revealed by Simeon during the presentation in the Temple, continues not only in the episode of the losing and finding of the twelve-year-old Jesus, but also throughout his public life.

However, the Blessed Virgin’s association with Christ’s mission reaches its culmination in Jerusalem, at the time of the Redeemer’s Passion and Death. As the Fourth Gospel testifies, she was in the Holy City at the time, probably for the celebration of the Jewish feast of Passover.

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CHAPTER III

“FOR ME, TO LIVE IS CHRIST”

The Rosary, a way of assimilating the mystery

26. Meditation on the mysteries of Christ is proposed in the Rosary by means of a method designed to assist in their assimilation. It is a method based on repetition. This applies above all to the Hail Mary, repeated ten times in each mystery. If this repetition is considered superficially, there could be a temptation to see the Rosary as a dry and boring exercise. It is quite another thing, however, when the Rosary is thought of as an outpouring of that love which tirelessly returns to the person loved with expressions similar in their content but ever fresh in terms of the feeling pervading them.

In Christ, God has truly assumed a “heart of flesh.” Not only does God have a divine heart, rich in mercy and in forgiveness, but also a human heart, capable of all the stirrings of affection. If we needed evidence for this from the Gospel, we could easily find it in the touching dialogue between Christ and Peter after the Resurrection: “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Three times this question is put to Peter, and three times he gives the reply: “Lord, you know that I love you” (cf. Jn 21:15-17). Over and above the specific meaning of this passage, so important for Peter’s mission, none can fail to recognize the beauty of this triple repetition, in which the insistent request and the corresponding reply are expressed in terms familiar from the universal experience of human love. To understand the Rosary, one has to enter into the psychological dynamic proper to love. […]

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CHAPTER II

MYSTERIES OF CHRIST—MYSTERIES OF HIS MOTHER

The Rosary, “a compendium of the Gospel”

18. The only way to approach the contemplation of Christ’s face is by listening in the Spirit to the Father’s voice, since “no one knows the Son except the Father” (Mt 11:27). In the region of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus responded to Peter’s confession of faith by indicating the source of that clear intuition of his identity: “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” (Mt 16:17). What is needed, then, is a revelation from above. In order to receive that revelation, attentive listening is indispensable: “Only the experience of silence and prayer offers the proper setting for the growth and development of a true, faithful and consistent knowledge of that mystery.” (27) […]

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CHAPTER I

CONTEMPLATING CHRIST WITH MARY

A face radiant as the sun

9. “And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun” (Mt 17:2). The Gospel scene of Christ’s transfiguration, in which the three Apostles Peter, James and John appear entranced by the beauty of the Redeemer, can be seen as an icon of Christian contemplation. To look upon the face of Christ, to recognize its mystery amid the daily events and the sufferings of his human life, and then to grasp the divine splendor definitively revealed in the Risen Lord, seated in glory at the right hand of the Father: this is the task of every follower of Christ and therefore the task of each one of us. In contemplating Christ’s face we become open to receiving the mystery of Trinitarian life, experiencing ever anew the love of the Father and delighting in the joy of the Holy Spirit. Saint Paul’s words can then be applied to us: “Beholding the glory of the Lord, we are being changed into his likeness, from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Cor 3:18). […]

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Introduction

1. The Rosary of the Virgin Mary, which gradually took form in the second millennium under the guidance of the Spirit of God, is a prayer loved by countless Saints and encouraged by the Magisterium. Simple yet profound, it still remains, at the dawn of this third millennium, a prayer of great significance, destined to bring forth a harvest of holiness. It blends easily into the spiritual journey of the Christian life, which, after two thousand years, has lost none of the freshness of its beginnings and feels drawn by the Spirit of God to “set out into the deep” (duc in altum!) in order once more to proclaim, and even cry out, before the world that Jesus Christ is Lord and Saviour, “the way, and the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6), “the goal of human history and the point on which the desires of history and civilization turn.” (1)

The Rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christocentric prayer. In the sobriety of its elements, it has all the depth of the Gospel message in its entirety, of which it can be said to be a compendium. (2) It is an echo of the prayer of Mary, her perennial Magnificat for the work of the redemptive Incarnation which began in her virginal womb. With the Rosary, the Christian people sits at the school of Mary and is led to contemplate the beauty on the face of Christ and to experience the depths of his love. Through the Rosary the faithful receive abundant grace, as though from the very hands of the Mother of the Redeemer. […]

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Mary Mediatrix

Published on September 25, 2004 by in Papal Excerpts

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1. Among the titles attributed to Mary in the Church’s devotion, chapter eight of Lumen gentium recalls that of “Mediatrix.”  Although some Council Fathers did not fully agree with this choice of title (cf. Acta Synodalia III, 8, 163-164), it was nevertheless inserted into the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church as confirmation of the value of the truth it expresses.  Care was therefore taken not to associate it with any particular theology of mediation, but merely to list it among Mary’s other recognized titles.
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The Two Columns

Published on September 25, 2004 by in General Mariology

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Pope John Paul II continues to amaze the world and silence his critics.  Approaching his twenty-sixth anniversary as the Vicar of Jesus (October 16), and in his eighty-fourth year of life, this “giant of history,” as biographer George Weigel describes him, continues to guide the Church in innovative and dynamic ways towards the sanctification that our present Church and world situation so desperately call for.

Even though various media sources continue to emphasize his physical frailty in tones that imply his inability to govern, John Paul “the Great” (as Crisis Magazine referred to him) perseveres with new and historical initiatives of grace for the Church in the third millennium. […]

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