MARY SHINES AS A SIGN OF CERTAIN HOPE
Pope John Paul II
Angelus 14 August 1996
"Signum magnum apparuit in caelo...": "And a great sign appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars" (Rv 12: 1).
Dear brothers and sisters, tomorrow, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we will repeat these words from the Book of Revelation. With them the Church shows that the messianic expectations were fulfilled in Mary. Preserved from original sin as the virginal temple of the Incarnation of God's Son, with her whole life Our Lady became that great "sign" which illumines the destiny of every human being. In her, believers can see the promises of salvation fulfilled: deliverance from sin and the resulting victory over death.
Sublimely redeemed, in view of her Son's merits, with him Mary conquered death. In faith she followed the Redeemer's entire journey. The Christian people have perceived ever more clearly that this total communion with Jesus' destiny could not fail to be expressed in sharing his final glory and has recognized Mary's Assumption, body and soul, into heaven.
Dear brothers and sisters, today we raise our eyes to the Blessed Virgin, who from heaven shines before us, pilgrims on earth, "as a sign of certain hope and comfort until the day of the Lord shall come" (Lumen gentium, n. 68). Mary accompanies us on the path of life and supports us even in the most difficult and complex situations.
A few months before his martyrdom, St Maximilian Kolbe wrote in January 1941: "Let us be led by her either along a good, smooth, asphalt road, or one which is rough and difficult. Even those who stumble should never despair. A single act of love suffices of love which comes not from sentiment but from the will alone, that is, an act of religious obedience undertaken for her sake so that a fall may turn into an even greater benefit" (Letter to Fr Cassian Tetich, 19 January 1941).
Knowing we can count on this attentive and caring Mother, we turn to her to tell her with confidence:
"We fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God:
Despise not our petitions in our necessities,
But in thy mercy hear and answer us, O glorious and blessed Virgin".
I extend warm greetings to the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at this Angelus prayer. Tomorrow the Church will celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into the glory of heaven. Just as Mary shared by faith in the earthly journey of Christ her Son, so now she shares, body and soul, in the fullness of his eternal glory. From her place in heaven, may she guide us, amid the trials and difficulties of our earthly pilgrimage, towards the glorious destiny which is ours in Christ. Upon you and your families I cordially invoke God's abundant blessings of joy and peace.
Weekly Edition in English
21 August 1996
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