Santa María della Scala, Rome
June 23rd, 2010
Very dear brothers and sisters:
Today in this Eucharistic celebration, I join myself to the thanksgiving for the pontifical approval as a gift for all the Church, of the new Public International Association of Faithful, Home of the Mother. We make our own the canticle of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, the canticle of the Magnificat, and with Holy Mary ever Virgin we proclaim the greatness of the Lord because He works great deeds in favor of His Church, in favor of humanity, and also through the Home of the Mother. We sing and proclaim the glory of the Lord who shows Himself always to the humble and simple of heart.
This approval is a new manifestation of the love and mercy of God for us, manifested in Christ Jesus our Redeemer, in which we are blessed with all kinds of spiritual and celestial goods. Also in this act of approval we can see the protection of Our Lady, the ever Virgin Mary, Mother of the one true God through whom we live, Mother of the Creator, Lord of heaven and earth. Our Mother too, Mother of those who have received her in our house, in our home. She is for all a sign and message of total trust. She is the manifestation of the eternal tenderness of God in the midst of all men’s many sorrows, sufferings and contradictions. She is given to us always and in every moment as our Mother beside the cross of Jesus. And she invites us to trust, to abandonment in her Mother’s heart and hands. Just as Psalm 90 invites us to trust in the Almighty who covers us with his feathers, with his wings, and we live under his shadow, now the Virgin Mary also is shown to be our powerful intercessor, offering herself as our refuge, inviting us to abandon ourselves and all our problems in her, all our inquietudes, so that nothing may worry or upset us because in her we have the Redeemer who gives himself to men as salvation and the surest of hopes.
The joy, the consolation and the confidence in this maternal solicitude of Mary is reflected in the Gospel scene of Mary’s visitation as also in the wedding feast of Cana or alongside the Lord’s cross where she is given to us as Mother. Before this Gospel scene of the visitation, Mary had received the announcement of the Angel Gabriel who greets her as “full of grace” and communicates to her that she is to be Mother of Jesus, the one Savior of all men. When Mary arrives at the house of Elizabeth in the hill country, practically the most central and stellar event of all human history had taken place: the Incarnation of the Son of God in the virginal womb of Mary. The fullness of time had commenced, the true presence of God among us, with us and for us. God with us, Emmanuel. That moment occurred in silence; an unforgettable hour. Mary had received all from God in that silence, in that peace of Nazareth. She, ever Virgin, will be Mother by the power and grace of the Holy Spirit. In her all is grace, work of God’s grace. Just as everything in us is the work of God’s grace and mercy. Just as everything in this Association of the Home of the Mother is God’s grace, mercy and self-giving in favor of us whom He loves.
The mystery of Mary, the Virgin Mother, has been prepared also in other moments of the history of salvation. Remember those other passages concerning the mother of Isaac who was sterile and who by the power of God conceived Isaac, thus becoming mother of the chosen people when she was elderly and her capacity to become a mother had disappeared. The story of salvation continues also with Anna, the mother of Samuel, who gives birth in spite of having been sterile, and the same happens in the case of the mother of Samson and with Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, whose feast-day we celebrate tomorrow. In all of these cases the significance of what happens is the same. Salvation in no way comes from man himself and his power, but from God, from his action entirely by grace. So, God’s action occurs where humanly speaking it would be impossible to expect anything. He brings forth from the maternal womb of Sarah the heir of the promise and this same law recurs in the birth of the Lord from the womb of the Virgin Mother. This is significant too for the Home of the Mother that the salvation of the world, the future of the world, the future of the Home of the Mother too, is exclusively the work of God and that is why it arises out of the midst of weakness and even sometimes out of human fragility. The birth of the Lord from the womb of the Virgin signifies the gratuitous character of this event. It is a symbol of grace, the most genuine fulfillment of the words that the Virgin Mary would later say in the Magnificat. He has scattered the proud, He has raised up the humble.
But this mystery of grace, which has occurred in Mary, does not distance her from us, does not make her inaccessible, but rather makes her a consoling sign of grace. She announces God, who is greater than our heart. His grace is stronger than our weakness. She, Virgin and Mother, is sign of the hidden glory, hidden but profound. That is why she is greeted as “full of grace,” full of joy. She carries joy everywhere she goes, because she carries the Son of God and makes him present and is with him, in him, He who is all grace, all the blessings of God, all mercy, all love. Where God is Christ is, joy is, grace, love, and therefore hope.
The Virgin Mary carrying in her womb the newly conceived Jesus, visits the house of her elderly cousin Elizabeth, considered sterile by all. But she was already in the sixth month of a pregnancy given her by God for whom nothing is impossible, as the Angel says in the Annunciation. Mary is a young girl but she has no fear, because God is with her, within her. Mary, living tabernacle of the incarnate God, is the arc of the covenant by whom the Lord has visited and redeemed his people. The presence of Jesus fills her with the Holy Spirit. When she enters the house of Elizabeth, her greeting expresses her fullness of grace, of joy, and John leaps with joy in his mother’s womb, as though perceiving the arrival of the one whom he must one day proclaim to Israel. The children exult, full of joy, and full of joy the mothers exult too. This encounter finds its expression in the canticle of the Magnificat, which is a song of joy, of praise and of recognition that it is God who does everything, who has compassion and mercy, who is with us and in our favor. The presence of Jesus, full of joy, is the great joy that fills everyone. It is the joy that we feel too when his presence is manifested in the approval of the mother’s joy. This is the profound joy that Mary carries, as in this scene of Ain Karen together with Elizabeth, because She carries Jesus, She carries consolation, joy for the world, the splendor of the Father’s glory. The Virgin Mary continues today to be the great sign of the proximity of Jesus Christ, of the closeness of Christ, who invites all men to enter into communion with him in order to have access to God who is love, rich in mercy and compassion and attentive to all of those who call upon his name and trust in him.
May the Virgin Mary show us the ways that we must walk. May she indicate to the Home of the Mother also the paths that you must follow to proclaim and bring the news of the Gospel which brings peace, consolation and joy for all, as occurs in this scene of the Gospel of the visitation and as is shown by her tenderness as Mother of God and our Mother. May she help us to carry the profound joy that she herself carries in her womb, the blessed fruit of her blessed womb, Jesus. May she give us strength to carry the profound joy of having come to know God, love and mercy, in his Son Jesus Christ, his human face. May she help us to transmit in all things this presence of liberating grace and the consolation of God with us, of Emmanuel. This becomes possible when, as is seen in the Gospel of Mary’s visitation, we believe and trust fully in God; “Blessed are you who have believed because what the Lord has told you will be fulfilled”, Elizabeth says to Mary. We too will be joyful then, if we trust God entirely, if we believe completely in him, because then joy and consolation are made manifest in tribulation, when we know and comprehend that He loves us without any limit, infinitely, in a true outpouring of grace and generosity in his Son Jesus Christ. Be witnesses of this, dear brothers and sisters of the Home of the Mother.
We do not know what we have in the faith. Faith is the greatest, the most important thing, for all men, the greatest of the riches we have received. The way of the future is the way of faith, is the way of trust in God, and in his merciful tenderness. We see and palpate this in the Virgin Mary. The hope of a new future lies in following the way of faith that the Most Holy Virgin Mary teaches us and revives in us unceasingly. When we walk this way we become capable of seeing the wonders of God’s grace and we learn that there is no glory or joy more luminous for man in the world, than the joy, the light and the grace of God’s love, His goodness and His tenderness which has been revealed in Jesus Christ through that yes of the Virgin Mary to the Lord’s call.
May your International Association of the Home of the Mother, now with pontifical approval, be in the whole world a true Home of the Mother and a manifestation of Mary, a way of receiving Mary in everything and a testimony of what we see in Mary. And so in this celebration we ask: Holy Mary ever Virgin, pray for this association, your home; pray for us and for all the Church that we may feel the joy of the visitation of the Mother of God our Lord, and of Our Lord himself in these times so needful of his presence. Amen.
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