Wednesday, January 12, 2000

1. In order to complete our reflection on Mary, at the end of the cycle
of catechesis dedicated to the Father, today we wish to underline her
role in our journey towards the Father.

He himself willed Mary's presence in the history of salvation. When he
decided to send his Son into the world, he willed that he should come to
us by being born of a woman (Cf. Gal 4,4). Thus he willed that this
woman -- the first to welcome his Son, should communicate him to all

Therefore, Mary is on the road that goes from the Father to humanity, as
the mother who gives everyone her Savior Son. At the same time, she is
on the road that men must take to go to the Father through Christ in the
Spirit (Cf. Eph. 2,18).

2. In order to understand Mary's presence in the journey toward the
Father, with the whole Church we must acknowledge that Christ is "the
way, the truth and the life" (Jn, 14,6) and the only Mediator between
God and men (Cf. 1 Tm 2,5). Mary is inserted in Christ's unique
mediation and is totally at his service. Consequently, as the Council
emphasized in "Lumen Gentium," "Mary's function as mother of men in no
way obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather
shows its power" (N. 60). We are very far from assigning a role to Mary
in the life of the Church outside of Christ's mediation or next to it,
as though it were a parallel or concurrent mediation.

(Comment: The "Lumen Gentium" also says this... John Paul II, Dives in Misericordia, 1980, quoting Lumen Gentium, "In fact, by being assumed into heaven she has not laid aside the office of salvation but by the manifold intercession she continues to obtain for us the grace of eternal salvation.")

As I said expressly in the encyclical "Redemptoris Mater," Mary's
maternal mediation "is mediation in Christ" (N. 38). The Council
explains: "The Blessed Virgin's salutary influence on men originates not
in any inner necessity but in the disposition of God. It flows forth
from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on his mediation,
depends entirely on it and draws all its power from it. It does not
hinder in any way the immediate union of the faithful with Christ but on
the contrary fosters it"  (LG, 60).

Mary herself was redeemed by Christ and thus is the first of the
redeemed, because the grace given her by God the Father at the beginning
of her existence is due to the "merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the
human species," as Pius IX's bull "Ineffabilis Deus" states (DS, 2803).
All Mary's cooperation in salvation is based on Christ's mediation
which, as the Council specifies again, "does not exclude but rather
gives rise to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this one
" (LG, 62).

Considered from this point of view, Mary's mediation appears as the
highest fruit of Christ's mediation
and is essentially oriented to
making our encounter with Him more intimate and profound. "The Church
does not hesitate to profess this subordinate role of Mary, which it
constantly experiences and recommends to the heartfelt attention of the
faithful, so that encouraged by this maternal help they may the more
closely adhere to the Mediator and Redeemer" (Ibid.).

3. In fact, Mary does not wish to draw attention to her person. She
lived on earth with her gaze fixed on Jesus and the Heavenly Father. Her
strongest desire is to make all turn their gazes in the same direction.
She wishes to promote a look of faith and hope in the Savior sent to us
by the Father.

She was a model of the gaze of faith and hope above all when, in the
tempest of the passion of the Son, she kept in her heart total faith in
him and in the Father. While the disciples, greatly distressed by the
events, were profoundly shaken in their faith, Mary, also tried by
sorrow, remained integral in the certainty that Jesus' prediction would
come true: "
The Son of Man ... will be raised on the third day" (Matt.
17, 22-23). This certainty did not leave her even when she took the
lifeless body of her crucified son in her arms.

4. With this gaze of faith and hope, Mary encourages the Church and
believers to always do the Father's will, manifested to us by Christ.

The words spoken to the servants at the miracle of Cana reecho in every
generation of Christians: "Do whatever he tells you" (Jn 2,5).

Her advice was followed when the servants filled the jars to the brim.
Mary makes the same request of us today. It is an exhortation to enter
into the new period of history with the determination to do all that
Christ has said in the Gospel in the Father's name, which at present is
inspired in us through the Spirit who dwells in us. If we do what Christ
asks us to do, the millennium that is approaching will be able to have a
new face, more evangelical and more genuinely Christian, and so respond
to Mary's most profound aspirations.

5. The words: "Do whatever he tells you," with reference to Christ, also
recall us to the Father, toward whom we are journeying. They coincide
with the Father's voice that resounded on the Mount of the
Transfiguration: "This is my beloved Son... listen to him"
(Matt. 17,5).
With the word of Christ and the light of the Holy Spirit, this Father
himself calls us, guides us, cares for us.

Our holiness consists in doing all that the Father has said. Here is the
value of Mary's life: fulfillment of the divine will. Accompanied and
sustained by Mary
, by way of acknowledgment let us receive the new
millennium from the Father's hands and be determined to correspond to
his grace with humble and generous devotion.
(ZENIT Translation)

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