Benedict XVI Places Synod in Hands of Mary

Offers Marian Reflection to Assembly for Mideast

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 11, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is nestling the special synod on the Middle East within the hands of Our Lady, under two of her most striking titles: Mother of God and Mother of the Church.



The Pope gave the first reflection this morning, as the synod fathers began their first working day with the hymn "Veni, Creator Spiritus." The Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops is under way in Rome through Oct. 24.

The Holy Father referenced today's date 48 years ago: Oct. 11, 1962, when Pope John XXIII inaugurated the Second Vatican Council on what was then the feast of the Divine Motherhood of Mary.

"[W]ith this gesture, with this date, Pope John wished to entrust the whole council into the motherly hands and maternal heart of the Madonna," Benedict XVI reflected. "We too begin on Oct. 11, we too wish to entrust this synod, with all its problems, with all its challenges, with all its hopes, to the maternal heart of the Madonna, the Mother of God."

The 170 synod fathers present at the general congregation went on to hear the Pontiff's reflection about Our Lady, Theotokos, and also Mother of the Church.

"With the incarnation [...] God drew us into himself and God in himself is the relationship and allows us to participate in his interior relationship," he said. "Thus we are in his being Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we are within his being in relationship, we are in relationship with him and he truly created the relationship with us. At that moment, God wished to be born from woman and remain himself: this is the great event."

Pope Paul VI would go on to close the council with reference to Mary, Mater Ecclesiae, Benedict XVI recalled.

"And these two icons, which begin and end the council, are intrinsically linked, and are, in the end, one single icon," he said. "Because Christ was not born like any other individual. He was born to create a body for himself. [...] Where Christ is born, the movement of summation begins, the moment of the calling begins, of construction of his Body, of the Holy Church. The Mother of Theos, the Mother of God, is the Mother of the Church, because she is the Mother of he who came to unite all in his resurrected body."

Powerless gods

The Bishop of Rome went on to reflect about Psalm 82 [81] from the second psalm of this morning's liturgy of the hours.

"In this Psalm, in a great concentration, in a prophetic vision, we can see the power taken from the gods," he said. "Those who seemed to be gods are not gods and lose their divine characteristics, and fall to earth."

This is the process of the history of religion, the Holy Father suggested; the "transformation of the world, the knowledge of the true God, the loss of power by the forces that dominate the world, is a process of suffering." It is achieved with the blood of martyrs that "takes the power away from the divinities, starting with the divine emperor."

"It is the blood of the martyrs, the suffering, the cry of the Mother Church that makes them fall and thus transforms the world," he said. "This fall is not only the knowledge that they are not God; it is the process of transformation of the world, which costs blood, costs the suffering of the witnesses of Christ. And, if we look closely, we can see that this process never ends."

The Pontiff went on to note the "great powers of today’s history," including "anonymous capital that enslaves man"; "the power of the terroristic ideologies" with violence in the name of God; "then drugs, this power that, like a voracious beast, extends its claws to all parts of the world and destroys it"; or "even the way of living proclaimed by public opinion: today we must do things like this, marriage no longer counts, chastity is no longer a virtue, and so on."
 "These ideologies that dominate, that impose themselves forcefully, are divinities. And in the pain of the saints, in the suffering of believers, of the Mother Church which we are a part of, these divinities must fall," he said.

The Bishop of Rome concluded, again quoting the Psalm: "'Arise, God, judge the world.' Thus we also say to the Lord: 'Arise at this moment, take the world in your hands, protect your Church, protect humanity, protect the earth.' And we once again entrust ourselves to the Mother of God, to Mary, and pray: 'You, the great believer, you who have opened the earth to the heavens, help us, open the doors today as well, that truth might win, the will of God, which is the true good, the true salvation of the world.'"

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