Speeches 2005-13 11212



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am delighted to welcome all of you and I thank you for your welcome! You have gathered here today in such great numbers to meet the Successor of St Peter and to show, also on behalf of the many who work in itinerant shows, the joy of being Christian and of belonging to the Church. I greet and I thank Cardinal Antonio Maria Vegliò, President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, who, in collaboration with the Diocese of Rome and the Foundation Migrantes of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, has organized this event. Thank you, Your Eminence! I am also grateful to your representatives, who have offered us their testimonies and a beautiful short performance, as well as those who helped prepare this meeting, set during the Year of Faith, an important occasion to openly profess our faith in the Lord Jesus.

What especially distinguishes your big family is your capacity to use the language that is particular and specific to your art. The cheerfulness of the shows, the recreational joy of playing, the grace of the choreography, the rhythm of the music — all these create a direct line of communication and place you in dialogue with both the small and the great, stirring feelings of serenity, joy and harmony. With the diversity of your professions and the originality of your feats, you know how to amaze and to inspire wonder, to offer opportunities for celebration and healthy fun.

Dear friends, starting precisely with these characteristics and with your style, you are called to witness to those values that are part of your tradition: love for the family, kindness to children, attention to the disabled, care for the sick, respect for the elderly and for their wealth of experience. In your environment dialogue between generations, the sense of friendship, a readiness for teamwork thrive. You have warmth and hospitality, as well as attentiveness to giving a response to the most authentic longings of, above all, the young generations. Your skills require renunciation and sacrifice, responsibility and perseverance, courage and generosity: virtues that today’s society does not always appreciate, but that have contributed to the forming of entire generations in your great family. I know, too, of the many problems related to your itinerancy, such as educating your children, finding suitable locations for shows, receiving authorization to perform and residence permits for foreigners. While I hope that public administrations, in acknowledging the social and cultural role of travelling shows, commit themselves to safeguarding your status, I encourage both you and civil society to overcome prejudice and always seek a healthy integration into local situations.

Dear brothers and sisters, the Church rejoices at the commitment you demonstrate and appreciates your fidelity to the traditions of which you have reason to be proud. She who is herself a pilgrim, like you, in this world, invites you to participate in her divine mission through your daily work. The dignity of every person is also expressed in the honest exercise of professional skills and in their generous practice that leaves you free from being determined only by economic gain. In this you, as you are paying attention to the quality of your achievements and performances, do not fail to ensure that, with the values of the Gospel, you continue to offer young generations the hope and encouragement they need, especially with respect to life’s challenges, the temptation to distrust, to withdraw into oneself and embrace pessimism, that stop one from seeing the beauty of life.

Although the itinerant life prevents you from being permanent members of the parish community and does not facilitate regular participation in catechesis and divine worship, in your world, too, there is need for a new evangelization. I hope that you may find, in every community where you are, people who are welcoming and open, able to come and meet your spiritual needs. Do not forget, however, that the family is the primary means for transmitting the faith, that small domestic Church called to make Jesus and his Gospel known and to educate according to the law of God, so that each one of you may achieve full human and Christian maturity (cf. John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio
FC 2). May your families always be schools of faith and love, training grounds of communion and brotherhood.

Dear artists and travelling circus performers, I repeat to you what I said at the start of my Pontificate: “There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful than to know him and to speak to others of our friendship with him... Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation” (Homily at the Mass for the inauguration of the Pontificate, Sunday, 24 April 2005). In assuring you of the closeness of the Church, which shares in your journey, I entrust you all to the Holy Virgin Mary, the “guiding star”, who with her motherly presence accompanies us in every moment of our lives.

[In French] Dear friends, your charism consists in giving to others joy, the sense of celebration and of beauty. May your joy find its source in God and may it be strongly united with trust in him and in his love, a joy full of humility and of faith. Become then imitators of God and walk in charity (cf. Ep 5,1-2), bearing the joy of the faith to all.

[In English] Dear friends, you spread around you a joyful atmosphere and you ease the burden of daily work. May you also be men and women with a strong inner self, open to contemplation and dialogue with God. I pray that your faith in Christ and your devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary may sustain you in your life and work.

[In German] Dear friends, your world can become a laboratory in the area of the great themes of ecumenism and encounter between people of different religions. May your faith guide you to be authentic witnesses of God and of his love, a community united in brotherhood, in peace and in solidarity.

[In Spanish] Dear friends, travelling showmen, in the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini, in the passage dedicated to migrants, I expressed my wish that they would “be able to be heralds of God’s word and witnesses to the Risen Jesus, the hope of the world” (n. 105). Today, with great confidence, I repeat this wish to you and to the pastoral agents who accompany you with admirable dedication.

To each one of you and to your families and communities I impart my heartfelt Apostolic Blessing. Thank you.



Dear Cardinals,
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am pleased to welcome you all on the occasion of your Plenary Assembly. I greet the Cardinal President, whom I thank for his kind words, and likewise Monsignor the Secretary, the Officials of the Dicastery and all of you, Members and Consultors, who have come together for this important moment of reflection and planning. Your Assembly is being celebrated during the Year of the Faith, after the Synod which was dedicated to the New Evangelization, and also — as was stated — on the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and — within a few months — that of the Encyclical Pacem in Terris of Blessed Pope John XXIII. It is a context which already in itself offers many incentives.

The Church’s social doctrine, as Blessed Pope John Paul II taught us, is an integral part of the Church’s evangelizing mission (cf. Encyclical Centesimus Annus
CA 54), and with all the more reason should be considered important for the new evangelization (cf. ibid., n. 5; Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, n. 15). By accepting Jesus Christ and his Gospel, not only in our personal life but also in our social relationships, we become messengers of a vision of man, of his dignity, of his freedom and of his capacity for relationships, which is marked by transcendence, in both the horizontal and vertical directions.

Just as Blessed John XXIII reminded us in Pacem in Terris (cf. n. 9), the foundation and meaning of human rights and duties depend on an integral anthropology, which derives from Revelation and from the exercise of natural reason. In fact rights and duties are not based solely on the social awareness of peoples; they depend primarily on the natural moral law, which is inscribed by God in the conscience of every person, and thus — in the final analysis — on the truth regarding man and society.

Although the defence of rights has made great progress in our time, today’s culture — characterized among other things by a utilitarian individualism and technocratic economics — tends not to value the person, who, albeit immersed in an infinite network of relations and communications, is conceived of as a “fluid” being with no permanent substance. Paradoxically, man today often seems to be an isolated being because he is indifferent to the constitutive relationship of his being, which is the root of all his other relationships: his relationship with God. The human being today is considered mainly in a biological perspective, or as “human capital”, “a resource”, part of a productive and financial mechanism that towers over him.

Even though on the one hand the dignity of the person continues to be proclaimed, on the other, new ideologies — such as the hedonistic and selfish one of sexual and reproductive rights, or a deregulated financial capitalism that abuses politics and takes the real economy apart — contribute to forming a view of the employee and of his or her work as “minor” goods. These ideologies also contribute to undermining the natural foundations of society and especially of the family.

In fact human beings — transcendent in their make up in comparison with other beings and with earthly goods — enjoy real primacy which makes them responsible both for themselves and for creation. Work, for Christianity, is a good fundamental to man, with a view to his personalization and socialization and to the formation of a family, as well as to the contribution it makes to the common good and to peace. Precisely on this account, the objective of access to work for all is always a priority, even during periods of economic recession (cf. Caritas in Veritate, n. 32).

Both a new humanism and a renewed cultural commitment and planning can come from a new evangelization of social life. This helps to dethrone the modern idols, to replace individualism, materialistic consumerism and technocracy with a fraternal culture, giving freely from a loving solidarity. Jesus Christ summed up and completed the precepts in a new commandment: “as I have loved you, that you also you love one another” (Jn 13,34); here lies the secret to all social life that is truly human and peaceful, as well as to the renewal of politics and the national and world institutions. Blessed Pope John XXIII undertook the construction of a global community, with a corresponding authority — literally motivated by love — and precisely by love for the common good of the human family. Thus we read in Pacem in Terris: “there is an intrinsic connection between... the inner significance of the common good on the one hand, and the nature and function of public authority on the other.... Public authority, as the means of promoting the common good in civil society, is a postulate of the moral order. But the moral order likewise requires that this authority be effective in attaining its end” (n. 136).

It is not, of course, the Church’s duty to suggest — from a juridical and political viewpoint — the practical configuration of such an international arrangement, but she offers to those who are responsible for it those principles for reflection, criteria for judgement, and practical guidelines that can guarantee the anthropological and ethical frame around the common good (cf. Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, n. 67). In reflection, in any case, we must bear in mind that we must not imagine a superpower, concentrated in the hands of a few, that would dominate all peoples, taking advantage of the weakest; rather, any such authority must first of all be understood as a moral force with the potential to influence in accordance with reason (cf. 27), that is, as a participatory authority, limited in competence and by law.

I thank the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace because, together with other pontifical institutions, it has set itself to delve more deeply into the directives I offered in Caritas in Veritate. And it has done this either by reflecting on a reform of the international financial and monetary system or through the Plenary Session of the past few days and the international Seminar on Pacem in Terris that will be held next year.

May the Virgin Mary, the One who with faith and love welcomed the Saviour within her in order to give him to the world, guide us as we proclaim and bear witness to the Church’s social doctrine to make the new evangelization more effective. With this wish, I very gladly impart my Apostolic Blessing to each one of you. Many thanks.


Your Eminence, dear Brother Bishops,
Monsignor Hudson,
Students and Staff of the Venerable English College,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you today to the Apostolic Palace, the House of Peter. I greet my Venerable brother, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, a former Rector of the College, and I thank Archbishop Vincent Nichols for his kind words, spoken on behalf of all present. I too look back with great thanksgiving in my heart to the days that I spent in your country in September 2010. Indeed, I was pleased to see some of you at Oscott College on that occasion, and I pray that the Lord will continue to call forth many saintly vocations to the priesthood and the religious life from your homeland.

Through God’s grace, the Catholic community of England and Wales is blessed with a long tradition of zeal for the faith and loyalty to the Apostolic See. At much the same time as your Saxon forebears were building the Schola Saxonum, establishing a presence in Rome close to the tomb of Peter, Saint Boniface was at work evangelizing the peoples of Germany. So as a former priest and Archbishop of the See of Munich and Freising, which owes its foundation to that great English missionary, I am conscious that my spiritual ancestry is linked with yours. Earlier still, of course, my predecessor Pope Gregory the Great was moved to send Augustine of Canterbury to your shores, to plant the seeds of Christian faith on Anglo-Saxon soil. The fruits of that missionary endeavour are only too evident in the six-hundred-and-fifty-year history of faith and martyrdom that distinguishes the English Hospice of Saint Thomas à Becket and the Venerable English College that grew out of it.

Potius hodie quam cras, as Saint Ralph Sherwin said when asked to take the missionary oath, “rather today than tomorrow”. These words aptly convey his burning desire to keep the flame of faith alive in England, at whatever personal cost. Those who have truly encountered Christ are unable to keep silent about him. As Saint Peter himself said to the elders and scribes of Jerusalem, “we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard” (
Ac 4,20). Saint Boniface, Saint Augustine of Canterbury, Saint Francis Xavier, whose feast we keep today, and so many other missionary saints show us how a deep love for the Lord calls forth a deep desire to bring others to know him. You too, as you follow in the footsteps of the College Martyrs, are the men God has chosen to spread the message of the Gospel today, in England and Wales, in Canada, in Scandinavia. Your forebears faced a real possibility of martyrdom, and it is right and just that you venerate the glorious memory of those forty-four alumni of your College who shed their blood for Christ. You are called to imitate their love for the Lord and their zeal to make him known, potius hodie quam cras. The consequences, the fruits, you may confidently entrust into God’s hands.

Your first task, then, is to come to know Christ yourselves, and the time you spend in seminary provides you with a privileged opportunity to do so. Learn to pray daily, especially in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, listening attentively to the word of God and allowing heart to speak to heart, as Blessed John Henry Newman would say. Remember the two disciples from the first chapter of Saint John’s Gospel, who followed Jesus and asked to know where he was staying, and, like them, respond eagerly to his invitation to “come and see” (1:37-39). Allow the fascination of his person to capture your imagination and warm your heart. He has chosen you to be his friends, not his servants, and he invites you to share in his priestly work of bringing about the salvation of the world. Place yourselves completely at his disposal and allow him to form you for whatever task it may be that he has in mind for you.

You have heard much talk about the new evangelization, the proclamation of Christ in those parts of the world where the Gospel has already been preached, but where to a greater or lesser degree the embers of faith have grown cold and now need to be fanned once more into a flame. Your College motto speaks of Christ’s desire to bring fire to the earth, and your mission is to serve as his instruments in the work of rekindling the faith in your respective homelands. Fire in sacred Scripture frequently serves to indicate the divine presence, whether it be the burning bush from which God revealed his name to Moses, the pillar of fire that guided the people of Israel on their journey from slavery to freedom, or the tongues of fire that descended upon the Apostles at Pentecost, enabling them to go forth in the power of the Spirit to proclaim the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Just as a small fire can set a whole forest ablaze (cf. Jas Jc 3,5), so the faithful testimony of a few can release the purifying and transforming power of God’s love so that it spreads like wildfire throughout a community or a nation. Like the martyrs of England and Wales, then, let your hearts burn with love for Christ, for the Church and for the Mass.

When I visited the United Kingdom, I saw for myself that there is a great spiritual hunger among the people. Bring them the true nourishment that comes from knowing, loving and serving Christ. Speak the truth of the Gospel to them with love. Offer them the living water of the Christian faith and point them towards the bread of life, so that their hunger and thirst may be satisfied. Above all, however, let the light of Christ shine through you by living lives of holiness, following in the footsteps of the many great saints of England and Wales, the holy men and women who bore witness to God’s love, even at the cost of their lives. The College to which you belong, the neighbourhood in which you live and study, the tradition of faith and Christian witness that has formed you: all these are hallowed by the presence of many saints. Make it your aspiration to be counted among their number.

Please be assured of an affectionate remembrance in my prayers for yourselves and for all the alumni of the Venerable English College. I make my own the greeting so often heard on the lips of a great friend and neighbour of the College, Saint Philip Neri, Salvete, flores martyrum! Commending you, and all to whom the Lord sends you, to the loving intercession of Our Lady of Walsingham, I gladly impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of peace and joy in the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you.



Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,
Distinguished Professors and Dear Collaborators,

I welcome you with great joy at the end of the work of your Annual Plenary Assembly. I warmly greet your new President, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, whom I thank for the words he addressed to me on behalf of all, and likewise your new General Secretary, Fr Serge Thomas Bonino.

Your Plenary Session has taken place in the context of the Year of Faith and I am really glad that the International Theological Commission has wished to express its adherence to this ecclesial event through a pilgrimage to the Papal Basilica of St Mary Major, to entrust to the Virgin Mary, Praesidium fidei, the work of your Commission and to pray for all those who, in medio Ecclesiae, are dedicated to bringing the understanding of the faith to fruition for the benefit and spiritual joy of all believers. Thank you for this extraordinary gesture. I express my appreciation of the Message you have written on the occasion of the Year of Faith. It highlights effectively the specific way in which theologians, faithfully serving the truth of the faith, can participate in the evangelizing outreach of the Church.

This Message takes up the themes you have developed more broadly in the document “Theology Today. Perspectives, Principles and Criteria”, published at the beginning of this year. Noting the vitality and variety of theology subsequent to the Second Vatican Council, this document seeks to present, so to speak, the genetic code of Catholic theology, namely, the principles that define its identity and consequently guarantee its unity in the diversity of its achievements. To this end the text clarifies the criteria for an authentically Catholic theology which is therefore capable of contributing to the Church’s mission, to the proclamation of the Gospel to all people. In a cultural context in which some are tempted either to deprive theology of an academic status because of its intrinsic connection with the faith, or to disregard theology’s believing and confessional dimension at the risk of confusing it with and reducing it to religious science, your document appropriately recalls that theology is inseparably both confessional and rational, and that its presence in the university institution guarantees, or should guarantee, a broad and integral vision of human reason itself.

Among the criteria of Catholic theology the document mentions the attention that theologians should pay to the sensus fidelium. It is most useful that your Commission has also focused on this topic which is of special importance for reflection on the faith and for the life of the Church. In reaffirming the specific and irreplaceable role that the Magisterium must play, the Second Vatican Council likewise stressed that the People of God, in its entirety, participate in the prophetic office of Christ, thereby fulfilling the inspired wish expressed by Moses: “would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!” (Nb 11,29).

The Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium teaches in this regard: “the whole body of the faithful who have an anointing that comes from the holy one (cf. 1Jn 2,20), cannot err in matters of belief. This characteristic is shown in the supernatural appreciation of the faith (sensus fidei) of the whole people, when, ‘from the bishops to the last of the faithful’ they manifest a universal consent in matters of faith and morals” (n. 12).

In the believer this gift, the sensus fidei constitutes a sort of supernatural instinct which has a vital co- naturality with the object of faith itself. We note that the simple faithful carry with them this certainty, this firm sense of faith. The sensus fidei is a criterion for discerning whether or not a truth belongs to the living deposit of the Apostolic Tradition. It also has a propositional value for the Holy Spirit never ceases to speak to the Churches and to guide them towards the whole truth. Today, however, it is particularly important to explain the criteria that make it possible to distinguish the authentic sensus fidelium from its counterfeit. It is certainly not a kind of public ecclesial opinion and invoking it in order to contest the teachings of the Magisterium would be unthinkable, since the sensus fidei cannot be authentically developed in believers, except to the extent in which they fully participate in the life of the Church, and this demands responsible adherence to the Magisterium, to the deposit of faith.

Today, this same supernatural sense of faith in believers also gives rise to vigorous reactions against the prejudice which holds that religions — and in particular the monotheistic religions — are intrinsically vehicles of violence, especially because they claim the existence of a universal truth. Some consider that the “polytheism of values” alone would guarantee tolerance and civil peace and would be in conformity with the spirit of a pluralistic democratic society. In this direction, your study on the theme, “God the Trinity, Unity of Human Beings. Christianity and Monotheism”, is particularly timely.

On the one hand, it is essential to remember that faith in the one God, Creator of heaven and earth, encounters the rational needs for metaphysical reflection, which is not weakened but reinforced and deepened by the Revelation of the mystery of God-Trinity. On the other hand, it is necessary to emphasize the form that the definitive Revelation of the mystery of the one God assumes in the life and death of Jesus Christ, who goes to the Cross like a “lamb that is led to the slaughter” (Is 53,7). The Lord testifies to a radical rejection of every form of hatred and violence in favour of the absolute primacy of agape.Hence, if in history there have been or are forms of violence perpetrated in God’s name, they must not be attributed to monotheism but rather to historical causes, and, principally, to the errors of men and women. Rather, it is forgetfulness of God itself that immerses human societies in a form of relativism which inevitably gives rise to violence. When the possibility for all to refer to an objective truth is denied, dialogue becomes impossible and violence, declared openly or hidden, becomes the rule of human relationships. Without openness to the transcendent, which enables us to find answers to the questions about the meaning of life and about the way in which to live in a moral way — without this openness human beings become incapable of acting justly and of committing themselves to peace.

While the rupture of the relationship of men and women with God brings with it a deep imbalance in relations among people themselves, reconciliation with God, brought about by the Cross of Christ, “our peace” (Ep 2,14) is the fundamental source of unity and brotherhood. Your reflection on the third theme, that of the social doctrine of the Church, in the doctrine of the faith as a whole, also fits into this perspective. It confirms that social doctrine is not an extrinsic addition, but without overlooking the contribution of a social philosophy, it draws its basic principles from the fount of faith itself. This doctrine seeks to make effective, in the vast diversity of social situations, the new Commandment that the Lord Jesus has bequeathed to us: “that you love one another; even as I have loved you” (Jn 13,34).

Let us pray to the Immaculate Virgin, a model for those who listen to and meditate on the word of God, that she may obtain for you the grace to always joyfully serve the understanding of the faith, for the benefit of the whole Church. Renewing the expression of my deep gratitude for your service to the Church, I assure you of my constant closeness in prayer and to you all I impart my heartfelt Apostolic Blessing.


Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Saturday, 8 December 2012

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It is always a special joy to meet here in Piazza di Spagna, on the Feast of Mary Immaculate. Gathering together — Romans, pilgrims and visitors — at the foot of the statue of our spiritual Mother makes us feel united in the faith. I am pleased to emphasize in the Year of Faith that the entire Church is living. I greet you with deep affection and I would like to share a few simple thoughts with you, suggested by the Gospel for this Solemnity: the Gospel of the Annunciation.

First of all, we are always struck by and made to reflect on the fact that this moment crucial to humanity’s destiny, the moment in which God was made man, is shrouded in deep silence. The encounter between the divine messenger and the Immaculate Virgin takes place completely unnoticed; nobody knows and nobody talks about it. It is an event which, were it to happen in our time, would leave no trace in the newspapers and magazines, because it is a mystery that happens in silence. What is truly great often goes unnoticed and peaceful silence proves more fruitful than the frenetic restlessness characteristic of our cities, but which — by comparison — people were already experiencing in important cities such as Jerusalem at that time; the pressure that makes us unable to stop, to be calm, to listen to the silence in which the Lord enables us to hear his discreet voice.

Mary, on the day she received the announcement of the Angel, was in deep recollection and at the same time open to listening to God. In her there was no obstacle, no screen, nothing that separated her from God. This is the meaning of her being without original sin: her relation with God was free from even the slightest flaw; there is no separation, there is not a shadow of selfishness, but perfect harmony; her small human heart is perfectly “centred” in the great heart of God. So it is, dear brothers and sisters, that coming here to this monument to Mary in the heart of Rome reminds us primarily that God’s voice is not recognized in noise and bustle; his plan for our personal and social life is not perceived by remaining on the surface but rather by descending to a deeper level, where the active power is not economic or political but moral and spiritual. There Mary invites us to come down and to put ourselves in tune with God’s action.

There is something else, something even more important which Mary Immaculate tells us when we come here, and it is that the world’s salvation is not the work of human beings — of science, of technology, of an ideology — but it comes from Grace. What does this word mean? Grace means Love in its purity and beauty, it is God himself as he revealed himself in salvation history, recounted in the Bible and in its fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Mary is called “full of grace” (
Lc 1,28) and with her specific identity she reminds us of God’s primacy in our life and in the history of the world, she reminds us that the power of God’s love is stronger than evil, that it can fill the void that selfishness creates in the history of individuals, families, nations and the world.

These forms of emptiness can become hells where human life is drawn downwards and towards nothingness, losing its meaning and its light. The world suggests filling this emptiness with false remedies — drugs are emblematic — that in reality only broaden the abyss. Only love can prevent this fall, but not just any kind of love: a love that contains the purity of Grace — of God who transforms and renews — and can thus fill the intoxicated lungs with fresh oxygen, clean air, new energy for life. Mary tells us that however low man may fall it is never too low for God, who descended even into hell; however far astray our heart may have gone, God is always “greater than our hearts” (1Jn 3,20). The gentle breath of Grace can dispel the darkest cloud and can make life beautiful and rich in meaning even in the most inhuman situations.

And from this derives the third thing that Mary Immaculate tells us. She speaks of joy, that authentic joy which spreads in hearts freed from sin. Sin brings with it a negative sadness that leads to withdrawal into self. Grace brings true joy that does not depend on possessions but is rooted in the innermost self, in the depths of the person, and nothing and no one can remove it. Christianity is essentially an “evangelo”, “Good News”, whereas some think of it as an obstacle to joy because they see it as a collection of prohibitions and rules.

Christianity is actually the proclamation of the victory of Grace over sin, of life over death. And if it entails self-denial and discipline of the mind, of the heart and of behaviour, it is precisely because in the human being there is a poisonous root of selfishness which does evil to oneself and to others. It is thus necessary to learn to say “no” to the voice of selfishness and “yes” to that of genuine love. Mary’s joy is complete, for in her heart there is not a shadow of sin. This joy coincides with the presence of Jesus in her life: Jesus conceived and carried in her womb, then as a child entrusted to her motherly care, as an adolescent, a young man and an adult; Jesus seen leaving home, followed at a distance with faith even to the Cross and to the Resurrection; Jesus is Mary’s joy and is the joy of the Church, of us all.

In this Season of Advent Mary Immaculate teaches us to listen to the voice of God who speaks in silence; to welcome his Grace that sets us free from sin and from all selfishness in order thereby to taste true joy. Mary, full of grace, pray for us!

Speeches 2005-13 11212