Deus Caritas Est
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
Encyclical Letter, December 25, 2005
The Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord
42. The lives of the saints are not limited to their earthly biographies but also include their being and working in God after death. In the saints one thing becomes clear: those who draw near to God do not withdraw from men, but rather become truly close to them. In no one do we see this more clearly than in Mary.
The words addressed by the crucified Lord to his disciple — to John and through him to all disciples of Jesus: “Behold, your mother!” — are fulfilled anew in every generation. Mary has truly become the Mother of all believers. Men and women of every time and place have recourse to her motherly kindness and her virginal purity and grace, in all their needs and aspirations, their joys and sorrows, their moments of loneliness and their common endeavors. They constantly experience the gift of her goodness and the unfailing love which she pours out from the depths of her heart. The testimonials of gratitude, offered to her from every continent and culture, are a recognition of that pure love which is not self-seeking but simply benevolent.
At the same time, the devotion of the faithful shows an infallible intuition of how such love is possible: it becomes so as a result of the most intimate union with God, through which the soul is totally pervaded by him — a condition which enables those who have drunk from the fountain of God's love to become in their turn a fountain from which “flow rivers of living water.” Mary, Virgin and Mother, shows us what love is and from whence it draws its origin and its constantly renewed power. To her we entrust the Church and her mission in the service of love.