Mary Found Favor in God's Eyes, Says Pope
Highlights Humility of Mother of Redeemer
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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 8, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Why Mary of Nazareth was chosen among all women to be the mother of God is a mystery, but her humility could be one reason, says Benedict XVI.
Before praying the Angelus today on the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception with the crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father said the feast is "one of the most beautiful and popular feasts of the Blessed Virgin."
Speaking from the window of his study, the Pope said: "Not only did Mary not commit any sin, but she was also preserved from that common inheritance of the human race which is original sin, because of the mission to which God had destined her from all eternity: to be the mother of the Redeemer."
According to the Bishop of Rome, the biblical foundation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception "is found in the words the angel addressed to the maiden of Nazareth: 'Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!'"
"Full of grace," the Pontiff said, "is Mary's most beautiful name, the name God himself gave her to indicate that from all eternity and forever she is the beloved, the chosen one, chosen to receive the most precious gift, Jesus, 'the incarnate love of God.'"
Benedict XVI asked: "Why did God choose, among all women, Mary of Nazareth specifically?"
"The answer," said the Pope, "is hidden in the unfathomable mystery of the divine will."
However, the Holy Father added, "there is a reason that the Gospel highlights: her humility."
Benedict XVI said that Mary herself expresses her humility in the Magnificat, her canticle of praise: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord ... For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness."
"Yes, God was captivated by Mary's humility, who found favor in his eyes. In this way she became the mother of God, image and model of the Church, chosen among the peoples to receive the Lord's blessing and radiate it to the whole human family," the Pope said.
"This 'blessing' is Jesus Christ himself. He is the source of 'grace,' of which Mary was full from the first instance of her existence," said the Holy Father.
The Pontiff added: "With faith she received Jesus and with love she gave him to the world. This is also our vocation and our mission, the vocation and mission of the Church: to receive Christ in our lives and to give him to the world 'so that the world might be saved by him.'"
Benedict XVI said that "the feast of the Immaculate Conception illuminates like a beacon the season of Advent, which is a time of vigilant and confident awaiting of the Savior."