Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In the heart of the month of
August, a holiday period for many families and also for
me, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Assumption of
the Blessed Virgin. This is a privileged opportunity to meditate
on the ultimate meaning of our existence, helped by today´s
Liturgy which invites us to live in this world oriented
to eternal happiness in order to share in the same
glory as Mary, the same joy as our Mother (cf.
Let us, therefore, turn our gaze to Our Lady,
Star of Hope, who illumines us on our earthly journey,
and follow the example of the Saints who turned to
her in every circumstance.
You know that we are celebrating the
Year for Priests in remembrance of the Holy Curé d´Ars,
and I would like to draw from the thoughts and
testimonies of this holy country parish priest some ideas for
reflection that will be able to help all of us
especially us priests to strengthen our love and veneration for
the Most Holy Virgin.
His biographers claim that St John Mary
Vianney spoke to Our Lady with devotion and, at the
same time, with trust and spontaneity. "The Blessed Virgin", he
used to say, "is immaculate and adorned with all the
virtues that make her so beautiful and pleasing to the
Blessed Trinity" (B. Nodet, Il pensiero e l´anima del Curato
d´Ars, Turin 1967, p. 303).
And further: "The heart of this
good Mother is nothing but love and mercy, all she
wants is to see us happy. To be heard, it
suffices to address oneself to her" (ibid., p. 307). The
priest´s zeal shines through these words. Motivated by apostolic longing,
he rejoiced in speaking to his faithful of Mary and
never tired of doing so. He could even present a
difficult mystery like today´s, that of the Assumption, with effective
images, such as, for example: "Man was created for Heaven.
The devil broke the ladder that led to it. Our
Lord, with his Passion, made another.... The Virgin Most Holy
stands at the top of the ladder and holds it
steady with both hands" (ibid.).
The Holy Curé d´Ars was attracted
above all by Mary´s beauty, a beauty that coincides with
her being Immaculate, the only creature to have been conceived
without a shadow of sin.
"The Blessed Virgin", he said, "is
that beautiful Creature who never displeased the good Lord" (ibid.
p. 306). As a good and faithful pastor, he first
of all set an example also in this filial love
for the Mother of Jesus by whom he felt drawn
toward Heaven. "Were I not to go to Heaven", he
exclaimed, "how sorry I should be! I should never see
the Blessed Virgin, this most beautiful creature!" (ibid., p. 309).
on several occasions he consecrated his parish to Our Lady,
recommending that mothers in particular do the same, every morning,
with their children.
Dear brothers and sisters, let us make our
own the sentiments of the Holy Curé d´Ars. And with
his same faith let us turn to Mary, taken up
into Heaven, in a special way entrusting to her the
priests of the whole world.
[After praying the Angelus, the Holy
Father addressed the crowd in various languages. In English, he
I am happy to greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and
visitors gathered here at Castel Gandolfo and also in St
Peter´s Square. As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption
of the Blessed Virgin, we are invited to raise our
eyes to Heaven and contemplate Mary, the Mother of Jesus
and our Mother. She who on earth believed in God´s
word is now glorified in body and soul. May Mary´s
intercession and example guide you always and renew your hearts
in faith and hope. May God grant you and your
families abundant blessings of peace and joy!
I wish you all
a good Feast of the Assumption!