Papal Address at Conclusion of the Marian Month of May

"Her Faith Invites Us to Look Beyond Appearances"

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VATICAN CITY, June 1, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Here is the translation of the address given in the Vatican Gardens by Pope Benedict XVI at the conclusion of the procession commemorating the end of the Marian month of May.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am always very happy to take part in this Marian vigil in the Vatican, a moment that, even with the presence of so many people, always has an intimate and familiar character. The month that the devotion of the faithful dedicates in an altogether particular way, to devotion to the Mother of God, closes with the liturgical feast that recalls the “second Joyful Mystery”: Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth. This event is characterized by the joy expressed by the words with which the Holy Virgin glorifies the Almighty for the great things that He has done looking on the humility of His handmaid: “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46). The Magnificat is the canticle of praise that rises from redeemed humanity by divine mercy, it rises from the whole people of God; at the same time, it is the hymn that denounces the illusion of those who believe themselves to be lords of history and arbiters of their destiny.

Mary, on the contrary, has put God at the center of her life; she abandoned herself trustfully to His will, in an attitude of humble docility to his plan of love. Because of her poverty of spirit and humility of heart, she was chosen to be the temple that bears the Word in herself, God made man. Of her, therefore, is the figure of the “daughter of Sion” that the prophet Zephaniah invites to rejoice, to exult with joy (cf. Zp. 3:14).

Dear friends, this evening we wish to turn our gaze to Mary with renewed filial affection. We must always learn from our heavenly Mother; her faith invites us to look beyond appearances and firmly to believe that our daily difficulties are, in fact, part of a springtime which has already begun with the risen Christ. This evening we wish to draw from Mary's Immaculate Heart with renewed trust, allowing ourselves to be imbued with her joy which had its most profound source in the Lord. Joy, the fruit of the Holy Spirit, is a fundamental distinguishing characteristic of Christians. It is founded on hope in God, it draws strength from incessant prayer and it enables us to face trials and suffering with serenity. As St. Paul reminds us: 'Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer'. These words of the Apostle are like an echo of Mary's 'Magnificat' and exhort us to reproduce, in our own selves and in our everyday lives, the sentiments of joy in the faith expressed in that Marian canticle.

I would like to wish each and all of you, dear brothers and sisters, venerable Cardinals, bishops, priests, consecrated persons and all faithful, that this spiritual joy, overflowing from the heart full of gratitude of the Mother of Christ and our Mother, be at the end of this month of May more consolidated in our souls, in our personal and family life, in every environment, especially in the life of this family that, here in the Vatican, serves the universal Church. Thank you all!

[Original text: Italian]

[Translation by ZENIT]