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Mary in the trinitarian perspective

Pope John Paul II's Catechesis
General Audience, Wednesday, 10 January 1996 - in Italian & Spanish

"1. The eighth chapter of the Constitution Lumen gentium shows in the mystery of Christ the absolutely necessary reference to Marian doctrine. In this regard, the first words of the Introduction are significant: "Wishing in his supreme goodness and wisdom to effect the redemption of the world, 'when the fullness of time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman ... that we might receive the adoption of sons' (Gal 4:4-5)" (Lumen gentium, n. 52). This son is the Messiah awaited by the people of the Old Covenant, sent by the Father at a decisive moment of history, the "fullness of time" (Gal 4:4), which coincides with his birth in our world from a woman. She who brought the eternal Son of God to humanity can never be separated from him who is found at the centre of the divine plan carried out in history.

The primacy of Christ is shown forth in the Church, his Mystical Body: in her "the faithful are joined to Christ the Head and are in communion with all his saints" (cf. Lumen gentium, n. 52). It is Christ who draws all men to himself. Since in her maternal role she is closely united with her Son, Mary helps direct the gaze and heart of believers towards him.

She is the way that leads to Christ: indeed, she who "at the message of the angel received the Word of God in her heart and in her body" (Lumen gentium, n. 53) shows us how to receive into our lives the Son come down from heaven, teaching us to make Jesus the centre and the supreme "law" of our existence.

2. Mary also helps us discover, at the origin of the whole work of salvation, the sovereign action of the Father who calls men to become sons in the one Son. Recalling the very beautiful expressions of the Letter to the Ephesians: "God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ" (Eph 2:4), the Council gives God the title "most merciful": the Son "born of a woman" is thus seen as the fruit of the Father's mercy and enables us to understand better how this Woman is the "mother of mercy".

In the same context, the Council also calls God "most wise", suggesting a particular attention to the close link between Mary and the divine wisdom, which in its mysterious plan willed the Virgin's motherhood.

3. The Council's text also reminds us of the unique bond uniting Mary with the Holy Spirit, using the words of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed which we recite in the Eucharistic liturgy: "For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man".

In expressing the unchanging faith of the Church, the Council reminds us that the marvellous incarnation of the Son took place in the Virgin Mary's womb without man's co-operation, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Introduction to the eighth chapter of Lumen gentium thus shows in a Trinitarian perspective an essential dimension of Marian doctrine. Everything in fact comes from the will of the Father, who has sent his Son into the world, revealing him to men and establishing him as the Head of the Church and the centre of history. This is a plan that was fulfilled by the Incarnation, the work of the Holy Spirit, but with the essential co-operation of a woman, the Virgin Mary, who thus became an integral part in the economy of communicating the Trinity to mankind.

4. Mary's threefold relationship with the divine Persons is confirmed in precise words and with a description of the characteristic relationship which links the Mother of the Lord to the Church: "She is endowed with the high office and dignity of the Mother of the Son of God, and therefore she is also the beloved daughter of the Father and the temple of the Holy Spirit" (Lumen gentium, n. 53).

Mary's fundamental dignity is that of being "Mother of the Son", which is expressed in Christian doctrine and devotion with the title "Mother of God".

This is a surprising term, which shows the humility of God's only-begotten Son in his Incarnation and, in connection with it, the most high privilege granted a creature who was called to give him birth in the flesh.

Mother of the Son, Mary is the "beloved daughter of the Father" in a unique way. She has been granted an utterly special likeness between her motherhood and the divine fatherhood.

And again: every Christian is a "temple of the Holy Spirit", according to the Apostle Paul's expression (1 Cor 6:19). But this assertion takes on an extraordinary meaning in Mary: in her the relationship with the Holy Spirit is enriched with a spousal dimension. I recalled this in the Encyclical Redemptoris Mater: "The Holy Spirit had already come down upon her, and she became his faithful spouse at the Annunciation, welcoming the Word of the true God..." (n. 26).

5. Mary's privileged relationship with the Trinity therefore confers on her a dignity which far surpasses that of every other creature. The Council recalls this explicitly: because of this "gift of sublime grace" Mary "far surpasses all creatures" (Lumen gentium, n. 53). However, this most high dignity does not hinder Mary's solidarity with each of us. The Constitution Lumen gentium goes on to say: "But, being of the race of Adam, she is at the same time also united to all those who are to be saved" and she has been "redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son" (LG, 53).

Here we see the authentic meaning of Mary's privileges and of her extraordinary relationship with the Trinity: their purpose is to enable her to co-operate in the salvation of the human race. The immeasurable greatness of the Lord's Mother therefore remains a gift of God's love for all men. By proclaiming her "blessed" (Lk 1:48), generations praise the "great things" (Lk 1:49) the Almighty has done in her for humanity, "in remembrance of his mercy" (Lk 1:54)."

After the Catechesis, Pope John Paul II greeted the pilgrims in various languages

Chers frères et soeurs, Je souhaite la bienvenue aux pèlerins de langue française, en particulier aux jeunes du séminaire interdiocésain de Lille et aux prètres qui les accompagnent. Je les invite à approfondir leur étude du mystère du salut, et à demeurer fidèles dans la prière, pour être, comme la Vierge Marie, toujours disponibles à la volonté de Dieu et à l'oeuvre dе l'Esprit Saint. À tous, j'accorde de grand coeur ma Bénédiction Apostolique.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, the celebration in Rome during these days of the Synod of the Syro-Malabar Church offers me this occasion to meet the Indian community present in great numbers in the City of the Apostles Peter and Paul and in other parts of Italy. I greet each one of you, and through you I send my prayerful greetings to your families at home. The Syro-Malabar community represents a vital force in the lifе and activity of the Church in your country, and it is especially meritorious for its missionary commitment. To the special intercession of Blessed Kuriakosa and Blessed Alphonsa I commend the whole Syro-Malabar Church at this time when it is growing not just in numbers but above all in awareness of its specific identity and character. I also greet the students from Denmark and the pilgrim groups from Korea, Japan, Australia and the United States. Upon you and your families, I cordially invoke the joy and peace of Jesus Christ our Saviour.

A un gruppo di pellegrini svedesi

I söndags firade vi Kristi dop, Låt oss inför böneveckan om kristen enhet påminnas om Pauli ord: "En är Herren, en är tron, ett är dopet". Gud välsigne er och hela Sverige!

Liebe Schwestern und Brüder! Indem ich unser aller Anliegen der Fürbitte der Mutter Gottes anvertraue, grüße ich Euch, liebe deutschsprachige Pilger und Besucher, sehr herzlich. Einen besonderen Gruß richte ich an die Gruppe der Schönstatt-Priesterliga sowie an die Ordensschwestern, die an einem geistlichen Kurs in La Storta teilnehmen. Möge der Herr Euch, Eure lieben Angehörigen und Freunde in der Heimat sowie alle, die uns im Glauben an den menschgewordenen Gott verbunden sind, durch den Alltag des neuen Jahres geleiten. Dazu erteile ich von Herzen den Apostolischen Segen.

Queridos hermanos y hermanas, saludo ahora con afecto cordial a los visitantes y peregrinos de América Latina y España. En particular a los empleados de la Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo (de Valencia) y a los grupos venidos de Argentina y Colombia. A todos os invito a proclamar dichosa a María, porque el Poderoso ha hecho obras grandes por ella en favor de toda la humanidad. Con estos deseos os imparto complacido la Bendición Apostólica.

Amadíssimos Irmãos e Irmãs, ao saudar, cordialmente, todos os peregrinos e ouvintes de língua portuguesa, quero dar as boas-vindas, em particular ao numeroso grupo de Juristas Brasileiros participantes de um Seminário promovido pela Pontifícia Universidade Urbaniana: Agradeço a vossa visita, e desejo que leveis avivada, deste encontro, a idéia da nobreza do vosso trabalho, a serviço da pessoa humana. As leis, de facto, não podem ter outro objectivo senão o bem comum, referido à estrutura global da pessoa humana, com dimensões e aspirações transcendentes. E enquanto princípio, sujeito e finalidade de todas as instituições sociais, segundo o desígnio de Deus, a pessoa representa o ponto de encontro de todos os homens de boa vontade, para a salvaguarda ou reconstrução de uma moral objectiva, fundamento da serena convivência de todos, como irmãos, na sociedade. Que Deus vos assista e abençoe, bem como às vossas famílias!

Ai pellegrini croati

Srdačno pozdravljam nastavnike iz Bedekovčine i Katedralni zbor iz Dubrovnika. Predagi, uz želju da vam ovo hodočašće na grobove svetih apostola Petra i Pavla budе novi poticaj na rast u vjeri i na zalaganje u društvenom životu, vrlo rado udijeljujem apostolski blagoslov svakomu od vas i vašim obiteljima. Hvaljen Isus i Marija!

Ai fedeli di espressione linguistica ceca

Srdečně vítám poutníky z farnosti Bučovice! Chvála Kristu! Přeji vam všem, abyste prožili tento právě začatý nový rok ve světle Božím a v duchu služby bližnímu. K tomu vám rád žehnám!

Ai pellegrini polacchi

Pozdrawiam pielgrzymów z Polski, a w szczególności księży biskupów z Legnicy —ordynariusza i sufragana - oraz chór Szkoły Podstawowej nr 3 z Torunia (bardzo dziękuję za kolędę). Pozdrawiam także wszystkich innych pielgrzymów nie objętych wymienionymi grupami. Ażeby streścić dzisiejszą katechezę pragnę przypomnieć słowa, które od dziecka słyszałem ku czci Bogarodzicy: « Bądź pozdrowiona, Córko Boga Ojca! Bądź pozdrowiona, Matko Syna Bożego! Bądź pozdrowiona Oblubienico Ducha Świętego! Bądź pozdrowiona, Kościele w Świątyni Trójcy Przenajświętszej! ». Te słowa najlepiej reasumują to, co było treścią dzisiejszej katechezy o Matce Bożej, a mianowicie Jej szczególne pokrewieństwo z Trójcą Przenajświętszą: Ojcem i Synem, i Duchem Świętym. Zyczę wam, ażeby okres Bożego Narodzenia wyrażał się w dalszym ciągu kolędami w naszej Ojczyżnie. Niech będzie pochwalony Jezus Chrystus!

Ai gruppi di lingua italiana

Saluto con affetto i pellegrini di lingua italiana, in particolare le Religiose, i gruppi parrocchiali e i bambini.

Sono lieto di accogliere i dirigenti, gli artisti ed il personale del Circo « Moira Orfei », che incoraggio a tenere viva la tradizione circense, portatrice di un sano divertimento, apprezzato dalle diverse generazioni. Auguro loro di vivere in serena armonia come una grande famiglia e di coltivare sempre la dimensione spirituale della vita.

Ai giovani, agli ammalati e agli sposi novelli

Il miо pensiero si rivolge infinе ai giovani, ai malati ed agli sposi novelli.

Nell'auspicare che quello da poco iniziato sia un anno di grazia e di serenità, invito voi giovani ad operare sempre nella novità di vita che ci indica il Figlio di Dio, incarnatosi per salvare l'uomo; esorto voi malati a rinnovare la vostra adesione a Cristo, coscienti che le sofferenze, se unite al Redentore, contribuiscono efficacemente alla santificazione vostra e di tanti fratelli. Il modello della Santa Famiglia di Nazaret sia per voi sposi novelli un esempio per edificare la vostra famiglia nell'amore, nel rispetto della vita, nella generosa apertura agli altri, specialmente ai più bisognosi.

A tutti, di cuore, imparto la mia Benedizione.


© Copyright 1996 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana