Mary as Mother Is Close to Us, Says John Paul II

Sees Her Spiritual Maternity as a Help to Foster Fraternity

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 9, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II presented the Blessed Virgin Mary as a mother who helps human beings to reject hatred and violence and to respect the dignity of every person.



On a day celebrated in many countries as Mother's Day, the Pope evoked the role of the Mother of Jesus in the lives of believers.

"On the cross, Jesus wished to offer, in a manner accessible to all, the spiritual maternity of Mary, giving her to his beloved disciple as son," the Holy Father said before praying the midday Regina Caeli with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.

"Since then, generations upon generations of believers have invoked her and taken recourse to her with love and hope," he said.

"And the Virgin expresses her maternity 'in its exceptional closeness to man and all that happens to him,'" he explained, quoting from his first encyclical, "Redemptor Hominis."

"If human beings were aware of this extraordinary gift!" the Pope exclaimed. "They would feel themselves brothers much more easily, rejecting hatred and violence, to open their hearts to forgiveness of offenses received and to respect without reservations of the dignity of every person."

"May Jesus' Mother protect and support all the mothers of the world," the Holy Father said. "During the month of May, the People of God feel the need to intensify their devotion toward Mary, whose maternal presence is a support to Christians and to the whole world."

John Paul II also reminded his listeners that May 13, the day the Church recalls the Marian apparitions at Fatima, is a date that calls "to conversion."

It was on that date in 1981 that Mehmet Ali Agca shot the Pope in St. Peter's Square. The Holy Father attributes his survival to the intercession of Mary.