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The Spirit helps Mary understand

Catechesis by Pope John Paul II on the Holy Spirit
General Audience, 4 July 1990 - in Italian & Spanish  

"1. A manifestation of the wisdom and grace of the teenage Jesus is found in the episode of Jesus' debate with the doctors in the Temple. Luke inserts this between two texts on Jesus' growth "before God and the people." The Holy Spirit is not mentioned by name in this passage either, but his activity seems to shine through what occurred during the event. The evangelist says that "all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and answers" (Lk 2:47). They were astonished by a form of wisdom which is perceived as coming from on high (cf. Jgs 3, 15, 17; Jn 3:34), that is, from the Holy Spirit.

2. After having sought him for three days, his parents found Jesus in the Temple in the midst of the doctors. The question they asked him is also significant. Mary complained affectionately to him: "Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety." Jesus answered with another serene question: "Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" (Lk 2:48-49). In that "did you not know" one can perhaps see a reference to what Simeon had foretold to Mary during the presentation of the child Jesus in the Temple. It explains that preview of the future separation, of that first blow of the sword to the mother's heart. It can be said that the words of the holy old man Simeon, inspired by the Holy Spirit, echoed once again at the moment among that group gathered in the Temple, the place where they had been pronounced twelve years earlier.

But Jesus' response also manifested his awareness that he was "the Son of God" (cf. Lk 1:35) and thus his duty to be "in his Father's house," the Temple, to "take care of his Father's business" (according to another possible translation of the Gospel phrase). Thus Jesus publicly declared his Messiahship and his divine identity perhaps for the first time. That happened by strength of the knowledge and wisdom which, under the Holy Spirit's influence, was poured out in his soul, united to the Word of God. At that moment he spoke as one "filled with the Holy Spirit."

3. Luke calls attention to the fact that Mary and Joseph "did not understand what he said to them" (Lk 2:50). Their astonishment at what they had seen and felt were part of that condition of "being in the dark" in which his parents remained. But we must take into account even more that they, Mary included, were standing before the mystery of the Incarnation and the redemption. Although they were involved in it, that did not mean that they understood it. They too were within the light and the shadow of faith. Mary was the first on faith's pilgrimage (cf. Redemptoris Mater, nn. 12-19). She was the most enlightened, but also the one most subject to the test of accepting the mystery. It was her task to remain faithful to the divine plan which she adored and meditated on in the silence of her heart. Luke adds: "His mother kept all these things in her heart" (Lk 2:18-19). Here we hear the echo of Mary's words uttered in confidence. We can call them her "revelations" to Luke and to the early Church from which we receive the "Gospel of Jesus' infancy and childhood." Mary had kept it in her memory and sought to understand, but above all she believed and meditated on it in her heart. For Mary, sharing in the mystery did not consist only in accepting it and passively holding on to it. She exerted a personal effort: "She meditated," a word which in the original Greek (symballein) literally means to put together, to compare. Mary tried to make connections between the events and the words in order to grasp their meaning as well as she could.

4. This meditation, this interior study, took place under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Mary was the first to benefit from the light which one day her Jesus would promise to the disciples: "The Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name will teach you everything and remind you of all I have taught you" (Jn 14:26). The Holy Spirit who makes the Church and believers understand the meaning and the worth of Christ's words was already working in Mary who as mother of the Word Incarnate was the Sedes Sapientiae, the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, the bearer and the first mediatrix of the Gospel concerning Jesus' origins.

5. Even during the successive years in Nazareth, Mary stored in her heart all that regarded the person and destiny of her son and reflected on it silently. Perhaps she could not confide in anyone. Perhaps only at some particular moment was it granted her to grasp the meaning of certain words, of certain glances given by her son. But the Holy Spirit never stopped reminding her in the intimate depths of her soul of the things she saw and experienced. Mary's memory was enlightened by the light which came from above. That light is at the origin of Luke's narrative, which seems to want to help us understand by insisting on the fact that Mary kept these things and meditated on them. Under the influence of the Holy Spirit's action, she was able to discover the higher meaning of the words and the events, through a reflection which she engaged in, in order to "put everything together."

6. Thus Mary appears to us to be the model of those who like the good seed (cf. Mt 13:23), allow themselves to be led by the Holy Spirit. They accept and keep in their hearts the words of revelation, making every effort to understand them as much as possible in order to penetrate the depths of Christ's mystery."

After the Catechesis, Papa Giovanni Paolo II greeted the pilgrims in various languages

Ai pellegrini di espressione francese 

Chers Frères et Sœurs,J’adresse mon salut cordial à tous les francophones présents à cette audience. En particulier, j’offre mes voeux aux Frères du Sacré-Cœur, en session spirituelle, pour leur vie spirituelle et leur apostolat. Je suis heureux d’accueillir à nouveau un groupe nombreux des diocèses de Rouen et du Havre, avec leurs évêques: que cette expérience spirituelle à la suite des Apôtres Pierre et Paul vous fortifie dans votre participation active à la mission de l’Eglise!Avec plaisir, je salue le groupe venu de Segré, dans le diocèse d’Angers: je vous encourage volontiers dans vos activités au service des familles de votre région. Je voudrais aussi dire aux étudiants africains, venus prier pour la future assemblée synodale de leur continent, que je les félicite pour leur démarche. Que la Bénédiction de Dieu vous accompagne tous sur vos routes!

Ai fedeli di lingua inglese

Dear Brothers and Sisters,Iextend a warm welcome to the English-speaking visitors and pilgrims who are present at today’s audience. My special greeting goes to the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions, the Sisters of the Resurrection, the White Fathers, and those on pilgrimage with the Franciscan Friars. I pray that your stay in Rome may lead you to a deeper love for the Church and a renewed commitment to her mission as a sacrament of salvation for the whole world. To all of you I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.

Ai gruppi di lingua tedesca

Liebe Schwestern und Brüder!Mit dieser kurzen Betrachtung grüße ich alle Pilger und Besucher deutscher Sprache sehr herzlich. Mein besonderer Gruß gilt den zahlreichen Schülerund Ministrantengruppen aus der Bundesrepublik Deutschland und der Republik Österreich. Ich wünsche Euch auch eine innere Bereicherung aus Eurer Romreise und jetzt bereits erholsame und angenehme Ferien. Euch und Euren lieben Angehörigen in der Heimat sowie den mit uns über Radio Vatikan verbundenen Hörerinnen und Hörern erteile ich von Herzen meinen Apostolischen Segen.

Ai pellegrini di lingua spagnola 

Amadísimos hermanos y hermanas,Deseo ahora saludar afectuosamente a todos los peregrinos y visitantes procedentes de los diversos países de América Latina y de España. En particular, a los misioneros Combonianos que celebran el veinticinco aniversario de Ordenación sacerdotal y al grupo del movimiento Schönstatt de Puerto Rico. Igualmente, mi cordial bienvenida a los jóvenes del “Club Guatemalteco Amigos del Deporte y la Cultura - Legión Juventus” y a las peregrinaciones de México y Colombia. A todos bendigo de corazón. 

Ai fedeli di espressione portoghese 

Amadíssimos irmãos e irmãs,Aos peregrinos que vieram de São Paulo do Brasil, e especialmente ao Comandante do navio-escola “Brasil” junto com seus oficiais e marinheiros, concedo benevolamente a todos minha Bênção Apostólica. 

Ai fedeli di espressione polacca 

Dziś przypomnimy Chrzest Litwy. Obchodziliśmy jego sześćsetlecie w roku 1986. Obchodziliśmy w Bazylice św. Piotra i obchodzono na Litwie. Nie było wówczas dane Następcy św. Piotra być razem z Litwą w dniu, który równocześnie przypominał więź zadzierzgniętą w roku 1386. Więź z Kościołem rzymskim. Więź z łacińską tradycją i kulturą.

Był to czas zamkniętych granic. Czas rozdzielania tego, co zjednoczone. Podobnie było w roku 1984: pięćset lat od śmierci świętego Kazimierza. Ten święty z dynastii Jagiellonów, urodzony na Wawelu, powrócił po swej młodej śmierci do miasta, skąd na Wawel przybył jego litewski pradziad Jagiełło-Jogaila. Święty Kazimierz spoczął w Wilnie - i trwa tam wśród swego narodu jako Patron Litwy.

Wtedy też granice były zamknięte. Jednakże przy ołtarzu Piotrowej Bazyliki Eucharystię sprawowali wraz z Papieżem biskupi europejscy z różnych krajów. Stolica Piotrowa świadczyła, że ten kraj oddzielony zamkniętą granicą trwa we wspólnocie Kościoła, z którym się związał od dnia swego Chrztu.

Lietuva . . . Litwa, ojczyzna . . .

Po stuleciach nowej wymowy nabierają słowa poety: “Panno święta, co Jasnej bronisz Częstochowy i w Ostrej świecisz Bramie”.

Zanim będzie mi dane ponowić wobec Ostrobramskiej dziękczynienie za te wszystkie stulecia, ponawiam je dzisiaj wobec Jasnogórskiej. Za Litwę - za naród i kraj naznaczony krzyżem wielkich prób i znakiem niezłomnej nadziei.

Pozdrawiam pielgrzymów z Polski: w szczególności pielgrzymów z kościoła oo. reformatów w Kętach: z archidiecezji gnieźnieńskiej; z Leśnej Polany; z Piekar Śląskich; z Rudy Śląskiej z parafii Najświętszego Serca Pana Jezusa; z Lublina z parafii św. Pawła; z Zamościa z parafii św. Michała Archanioła; z Bychawki z parafii Wszystkich Świętych; z Radomia z parafii Chrystusa Nauczyciela; z diecezji łomżyńskiej oraz z kilku parafii diecezji siedleckiej; z Drolowa; z Radzikowa z parafii św. Jana Chrzciciela; z Gołdapi z parafii Najświętszej Maryi Panny Matki Kościoła; z Olsztyna z parafii Matki Bożej Saletyńskiej; z Morąga z parafii bł. Michała Kozala; z Lichnowa z parafii św. Urszuli; z Szymankowa z parafii św. Floriana, z diecezji gdańskiej; następnie z Lęborka z parafii Matki Bożej Królowej Polski; z Kostkowa z parafii św. Ottona, z diecezji koszalińsko-kołobrzeskiej; z parafii Matki Boskiej Nieustającej Pomocy w Zielonej Górze; grupę nauczycieli z Babimostu; pielgrzymów z Poznania z parafii św. Michała Archanioła; z Kocianowa z parafii Wniebowzięcia Matki Bożej; pielgrzymów z kościoła Wspomożycielki Wiernych z Poznania; z Legnicy z parafii św. Jana Chrzciciela - franciszkanie; z Kluczborka z parafii Najświętszego Serca Pana Jezusa; uczestników Uniwersytetu Letniego Kultury Polskiej w Rzymie; grupę turystyczną “Anda” z Miejskiej Górki; grupę przewodników turystycznych PTTK z Tarnowa; grupę turystyczną OLTUR z Olsztyna; Orkiestrę Dętą Kopalni Węgla Kamiennego “Katowice”; prócz tego siostry zmartwychwstanki przebywające w Rzymie na odnowie zakonnej; grupę esperantystów “Corlando” z Nowego Sącza oraz innych pielgrzymów z kraju i emigracji, nie objętych tymi grupami. 

Ai giovani, agli ammalati e agli sposi novelli 

Saluto tutti i gruppi di lingua italiana, che ringrazio per la loro partecipazione. Saluto, in particolare, i giovani, gli ammalati e gli sposi novelli. Carissimi: ieri abbiamo celebrato la festa di San Tommaso, l’Apostolo che nel Cenacolo espresse la prima professione di fede nel Cristo risorto con le parole: “Signore mio, Dio mio”, che la Chiesa ripete in atto di adorazione del Maestro divino. L’Apostolo Tommaso vi ottenga di rafforzare la vostra fede, specialmente quando tutto potrebbe apparire oscuro ed incomprensibile. Venga in aiuto al vostro itinerario spirituale, cari giovani, così spesso al confronto con difficoltà e dubbi; vi renda generosi nel dedicare le vostre energie al servizio del Signore. Tra voi ci sono i ragazzi e le ragazze partecipanti al “Meeting europeo di cultura e sport - Eli ‘90”, promosso dalla prematura dell’“Opus Dei”. Vi auguro che in questi giorni di attività sportive e formative possiate crescere nella reciproca conoscenza e sperimentare la gioia di approfondire il senso della vita e il valore della vocazione cristiana.

A voi, cari ammalati, auspico di non smarrire la serenità del cuore, pur in mezzo alle prove fisiche e spirituali che la vostra infermità vi riserva. Guardate anche voi, come Tommaso, al Risorto e confidate in Lui, che ha vinto il dolore.

E voi, sposi novelli, chiamati con il sacramento del matrimonio a vivere per tutta la vostra esistenza nell’autentico amore coniugale, sforzatevi di rendere credibile questa vostra testimonianza, realizzando con gioia la missione affidatavi dalla divina provvidenza. A tutti auguro un sereno periodo di riposo che vi serva a ritemprare il vostro spirito. Vi accompagni la mia Benedizione Apostolica.

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