Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Mary, the New Eve:
The True Mother of All the Living

Catechesis of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
Angelus, Solemnity of her Immaculate Conception

December 8, 2009

Dear brothers and sisters!

On December 8, we celebrate one of the most beautiful feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary: the Solemnity of her Immaculate Conception.

But what does it mean that Mary is the Immaculate? What does this title say to us?

First of all, let us refer to the liturgical texts for today, especially the great "fresco" from Chapter 3 of Genesis and the account of the Annunciation in the Gospel of Luke.

After the Original Sin, God turned to the serpent, who represents Satan, He curses him and adds a promise: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel"(Gn 3:15). It is the announcement of a rematch: Satan in the dawn of Creation appears to have prevailed, but a Son of woman would come who would crush his head. Thus, through the woman's race, God Himself would triumph.

That woman is the Virgin Mary, of whom was born Jesus Christ, who with His sacrifice, defeated the old tempter once and for all. That is why, in so many paintings or statues of the Immaculate, she is shown crushing a serpent under her foot.

The evangelist Luke, on the other hand, shows us the Virgin Mary as she receives the announcement of the celestial messenger (cfr Lk 1:26-38). She appears as the humble authentic daughter of Israel, the true Zion in whom God wishes to make His dwelling.

She is the shoot from which the Messiah would be born, the just and merciful King. In the simplicity of the home in Nazareth, there lived the pure remnant of Israel, in whom God wished His people to be reborn, like a new tree that would extend its branches over the whole world, offering the good fruits of salvation to all men.

Unlike Adam and Eve, Mary remains obedient to the will of the Lord, and with all her being she says "Yes" and places herself fully at the disposition of divine design. She is the new Eve, the true "mother of all the living," who, through faith in Christ, will receive eternal life.

Dear friends, what immense joy to have Mary Immaculate for our mother!

Everytime we experience our fragility and any hint of evil, we can turn to her, and our hearts will receive light and comfort. Even in the trials of life, in the tempests that may make our faith and hope waver, let us think that we are her children and that the roots of our existence are anchored in the infinite grace of God.

The Church itself, although it is exposed to the negative influences of the world, always finds in her the star to orient herself and to follow the way indicated by Christ. Mary is, in fact, the Mother of the Church, as Pope Paul VI and the Second Vatican Council solemnly proclaimed.

Therefore, as we give thanks to God for this stupendous sign of His goodness, let us entrust to the Immaculate Virgin each of us, our families and communities, the whole Church and the whole world.

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