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Mary, Mother of all the redeemed

Catechesis by Pope St John Paul II
in the Jubilee of the Redemption
General Audience, Wednesday 11 May 1983 - also in Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"“Jesus said to his mother: "Woman, behold your son!" Then he said to the disciple: "Behold your mother!"” (Jn 19, 26-27).

1. In this Holy Year we turn with more ardour to Mary, because a very special sign of the reconciliation of humanity with God was the task entrusted to her on Calvary, to be the Mother of all the redeemed.

The circumstances in which this motherhood of Mary was proclaimed show the importance that the Redeemer attributed to it. At the moment itself in which he consummated his sacrifice, Jesus said to his mother these fundamental words: "Woman, behold your son", and to the disciple: "Behold your mother" (Jn 19, 26-27). And the Evangelist notes that, after pronouncing them, Jesus was aware that everything was accomplished. The gift of the/his Mother was the final gift that he accorded to humanity as fruit of his sacrifice.

It is thus a gesture that wants to crown the redemptive work. By asking Mary to treat the beloved disciple as her son, Jesus invites her to accept the sacrifice of his death, and, as (the) price of such an/this acceptance, he invites her to assume a new motherhood. As Saviour of the whole of humanity, he wants to give to Mary's motherhood the greatest extension. He therefore chooses John as (the) symbol of all the disciples whom he loves, and makes it understood/clear that the gift of his mother is the sign of a special intention of love, with which he embraces all those whom he desires to attract to himself as disciples, that is, all the Christians and all men & women/mankind. Moreover by giving this motherhood an individual form, Jesus manifests the will to make Mary not simply the mother of all his disciples together, but of each of them in particular, as if he were her only son, who takes the place of her one/unique Son.

2. This universal motherhood, of a spiritual order, was the ultimate consequence of Mary's cooperation in the work of the divine Son, a cooperation begun in the trepid joy of the Annunciation, and developed all the way to the boundless sorrow/pain of Calvary. This is what the Second Vatican Council underlined, when it showed the role to which Mary was destined in the Church: "By conceiving Christ, generating him, feeding him, presenting him to the Father in the temple, suffering with his Son dying on the cross, she cooperated in a totally special way in the work of the Saviour, with obedience, faith, hope and ardent charity, so as to restore the supernatural life of souls. For this she was for us mother in the order of grace" (Lumen Gentium, 61).

Mary's motherhood in the order of grace "continues without interruption" until the end of the world, affirms the Council, which underlines in particular the help the Blessed Virgin brings to the brothers (& sisters) of her Son in their dangers and troubles (cf LG 2). Mary's mediation constitutes a singular participation in the one/unique mediation of Christ, which therefore does not remain in the least blurred/clouded, but rather remains as (the) central fact in all the work of salvation.

Devotion to Our Lady therefore does not contrast with devotion to her Son. Rather/Indeed, it can be said that, by asking the beloved disciple to treat Mary as his mother, Jesus founded the Marian cult. John hastened to apply the Master's will: from that moment he took Mary into his home, witnessing to her a filial affection, which responded to her maternal affection and inaugurating in this way/thus a rapport/relationship of spiritual intimacy which contributed to deepening the one/that with the Master, whose unmistakable features he refound on the face of the Mother. On Calvary, therefore, the movement of Marian devotion began, which has not ceased to grow since in the Christian community.

3. The words, addressed by Christ crucified to his Mother and to the beloved disciple, have brought a new dimension to the religious condition of men & women/mankind. The presence of a Mother in the life of grace is source of comfort and joy. In the maternal face of Mary, Christians recognize a very particular expression of God's merciful love, which, with the mediation of a maternal presence, makes the Father's own solicitude and goodness better understood. Mary appears as the one who attracts sinners and reveals to them, with her sympathy and indulgence, the divine offer of reconciliation.

Mary's motherhood is not only individual. It has a collective merit/worth/value which is expressed in the title of Mother of the Church. On Calvary in fact she united herself to the sacrifice of the/her Son which looked to/aimed at the formation of the Church; her maternal heart shared through and through/until the end Christ's will to "reunite/gather together the children of God who were scattered" (Jn 11, 52). Having suffered for the Church, Mary merited/deserved to become the mother of all the disciples of her Son, the mother of their unity. For this reason the Council affirms that "the Catholic Church, educated by the Holy Spirit, with affection of filial piety venerates her as most loving mother" (LG 53).

The Church recognizes in her a Mother who keeps watch over her development and who does not cease to intercede beside/with her Son so as to obtain for Christians deeper dispositions of faith, hope and love. Mary seeks to favour/foster the unity of Christians as much as possible, because a mother strives to ensure accord/agreement between her children. There is no ecumenical heart greater, nor more ardent, than that of Mary.

It is to this perfect Mother that the Church has recourse in all her difficulties; she entrusts to her her projects, because by praying to her and loving her, she knows that she is responding to the desire manifested by the Saviour on the Cross, and she is certain of not being disappointed in her invocations."


"Chers Frères et Sœurs, Aujourd’hui, j’ai médité sur la maternité de Marie à l’égard de l’Eglise et à l’égard de chacun des disciples de Jésus. Car, au pied de la croix, Jean était le symbole de tous les disciples “que Jésus aime”. Et Jésus, ayant consommé son sacrifice pour racheter toute l’humanité du péché, lui le seul Sauveur et l’unique Médiateur, a fait ce don final aux hommes: il a invité sa Mère à assumer une nouvelle maternité, comme ultime conséquence de sa coopération tout à fait spéciale à toute l’œuvre du salut.

La dévotion mariale ne s’oppose donc pas au culte dû au Christ Jésus; c’est bien plutôt Jésus qui l’a, pour ainsi dire, fondée au Calvaire. A la suite de Jean, nous sommes invités à aimer filialement Marie, à mieux comprendre la miséricorde de Dieu à travers sa présence maternelle. L’Eglise a fait l’expérience que Marie attire les pécheurs et leur révèle l’offre divine de la réconciliation. Qu’elle nous obtienne, à tous, les dispositions plus profondes de foi, d’espérance et d’amour, et même la grâce de l’unité des chrétiens!

Cette méditation, je la confie à tous les pèlerins de langue française ici présents, notamment ceux venus de France, de Belgique, du Canada, aux groupes diocésains et paroissiaux, aux élèves de diverses institutions. J’ai noté en particulier le groupe des travailleurs sociaux des Associations “Ilot” et “Frères d’espérance”, issues d’une même initiative admirable, pour donner aux personnes sortant de prison, aux sans-abri, aux populations en détresse, un toit, une possibilité de réinsertion, une amitié, bref une charité qui témoigne à sa façon de l’Amour dont Jésus et sa mère ont donné le goût au monde. A tous ma cordiale Bénédiction Apostolique.

Dear brothers and sisters, In this jubilee year of the Redemption, we turn with even greater love and trust to Mary, the Mother of our Saviour. We approach her with great confidence, mindful of her special role as Mother of the Church, the role which her divine Son entrusted to her on Calvary. In the very moment when Jesus was consummating his sacrifice on the Cross, he gave his mother to us his disciples to be our mother also. Thus, in all our difficulties, we know that she will intercede for us with her divine Son, our Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ.

I welcome all the visitors who are present here today, especially those from England, Ireland, Sweden, the Philippines, Canada and the United States. I offer special greetings to the members of the International Federation of Business and Professional Women, and to the Directors of the International House Schools. And I extend a word of welcome to the participants in the Allied Air Forces Chaplain’s Consultative Committee. I wish to greet in a special way the Filipino-Chinese pilgrims from the Philippines, and the members of the Stockholm Holy Year Pilgrimage led by Bishop Hubert Brandenburg. I pray that your visit to the tombs of Saint Peter and Saint Paul will renew your faith and deepen your love for our Saviour Jesus Christ. May God bless you all.

Liebe Brüder und Schwerstern! Euch allen ein herzliches Willkommen zur heutigen Audienz. Ich grüße euch aus Deutschland, Osterreich, aus der Schweiz und den Niederlanden. Einen besonderen Willkommensgruß richte ich an die große Romwallfahrt der Kirchenzeitung für das Bistum Aachen, an die Mitglieder des Rundfunkrates im Bayerischen Rundfunk zusammen mit der Agrippina-Gruppe au Köln sowie an die wiederum zahlreichen Jugendlichen.

Die Feier des Heiligen Jahres richtet unseren Blick auf Maria, die Mutter des Erlösers, die unter dem Kreuz die Mutter aller Erlösten geworden ist. Stellvertretend für alle Menschen empfiehlt Christus ihr auf Golgota seinen Lieblingsjünger Johannes an:”Frau, dies ist dein Sohn . . . Dies ist deine Mutter“. Wie Maria auf das engste beim Erlösungswerk Christi mitgewirkt hat, soll auch ihre Mutterschaft ohne Unterbrechung fortdauern und alle Menschen umfassen. Ihre mütterliche Liebe und Sorge richtet sich auf jeden einzelnen ganz persönlich. Zugleich ist sie auch in einer besonderen Weise die Mutter der ganzen Kirche. Sie führt uns den Weg zu Christus, dem einzigen Vermittler des Heiles. In diesem Jubiläumsjahr der Erlösung empfehle ich euch alle ihrem besonderen mütterlichen Schutz und erteile euch von Herzen meinen Apostolischen Segen.

Amadísimos hermanos y hermanas, Como hago con cada uno de los grupos lingüísticos, doy ahora mi bendición y mi cordial saludo a cada persona y grupo de lengua española que participa en la Audiencia de esta mañana. De modo particular saludo a los Hermanos Maristas, alentándolos a aprovechar bien el curso de espiritualidad que están haciendo, a fin de enriquecer más sus recursos interiores. Aliento también en su vida cristiana a los peregrinos de las parroquias españolas del Valle de Benasque y de Rosas, así como a los grupos procedentes de México, de Ecuador y de Argentina.

Estamos en el mes de mayo del Año Santo de la Redención. Desde la cruz, Jesús nos dio a su Madre come Madre nuestra y Madre de la Iglesia. Era una invitación a amar e imitar a Aquella, que con su ejemplo nos impulsa hacia metas cada vez más altas de fe, de esperanza y de amor. Un amor mutuo que es vinculo de unión entre todos sus hijos, y que debe conducirlos hacia la plena fidelidad a Cristo.

Amados irmãos e irmãs de língua portuguesa, peregrinos de Ano Santo, No clima da Páscoa, ao saudar-vos com afecto no Senhor, nesta celebração jubilar, estando no mês de Maria, convido a reflectir sobre um especialíssimo sinal da reconciliação da humanidad com Deus: Nossa Senhora, proclamada por Jesus Cristo Mãe espiritual de todos os remidos com o seu Sacrifício.

“Mulher, eis o teu filho!”. Foram as palavras do nosso Redentor na Cruz, que conferiram à sua Mãe Santíssima esta maternidade espiritual de todos e de cada um dos discípulos, pelo apóstolo João; e esta maternidade, na ordem da graça, “continua sem interrupção até ao fim do mundo”, sem ensombrar a Mediação única de Cristo: Maria, nossa Mãe, é dom do mesmo Cristo à humanidade, com uma especial intenção de amor, como fruto do seu Sacrifício redentor. Começou assim no Calvário e perdura a devoção mariana dos discípulos de Jesus, como novo aspecto na relação do homem com Deus, que passa por Nossa Senhora e Mãe, Mãe da Igreja e Mãe da unidade na fé, na esperança e no amor dos cristãos. Peçamos-lhe com fervor que, juntos como irmãos, tenhamos todos parte na Salvação divina em Cristo e por Cristo: o que vos desejo, com a Bênção Apostólica.

Na doroczną uroczystość świętego Stanisława, Biskupa Krakowskiego i Męczennika, Patrona Polski, pragnę przypomnieć słowa, jakie dane mi było wypowiedzieć na Błoniach Krakowskich w czasie mojej pierwszej pielgrzymki do Ojczyzny: “Proszę was, abyście całe to duchowe dziedzictwo, któremu na imię "Polska" raz jeszcze przyjęli z wiarą, nadzieją i miłością - taką, jaką zaszczepia w nas Chrystus:
- abyście nigdy nie zwątpili i nie znużyli się i nie zniechęcili,
- abyście nie podcinali sami tych korzeni, z których wyrastamy.

Proszę was:
- abyście mieli ufność nawet wbrew każdej swojej słabości, abyście szukali zawsze duchowej mocy u Tego, u którego tyle pokoleń ojców naszych i matek ją znajdowało,
- abyście od Niego nigdy nie odstąpili,
- abyście nigdy nie utracili tej wolności ducha, do której On "wyzwala" człowieka,
- abyście nigdy nie wzgardzili tą Miłością, która jest "największa", która się wyraziła przez krzyż, a bez której życie ludzkie nie ma ani korzenia, ani sensu”.

Te słowa wypowiedziałem na dziewięćsetną rocznicę męczeńskiej śmierci świętego Stanisława. Dzisiaj je składam w Twoim Sercu, o Pani Jasnogórska, i błagam, abyś strzegła tych słow w sercach moich Rodaków.

Saluto di cuore il pellegrinaggio diocesano di Vercelli, guidato dall’Arcivescovo Albino Mensa, e al quale partecipa un cospicuo gruppo di ammalati. Cari fratelli e sorelle, voi siete venuti a Roma per celebrare l’Anno Santo, e quindi per rinnovare la vostra fede in Cristo Signore, nostro Redentore. Io vi auguro che tutta la vostra vita, specialmente quella dei sofferenti, trascorra alla luce e con la forza del Signore Gesù, crocifisso e risorto per noi. E sempre vi accompagni la mia benedizione, che volentieri estendo a tutti i vostri Cari.

Rivolgo anche un saluto al gruppo degli Ufficiali e Sottufficiali, con i loro familiari, della Scuola Addestramento Reclute e Centro Radar di Macerata, accompagnati dal loro Cappellano. Carissimi, unite sempre alla disciplina militare, che vi caratterizza, un genuino amore per la pace, che è un concetto centrale dell’annuncio evangelico. Il Signore vi arricchisca con le sue grazie, di cui è pegno la benedizione, che di cuore vi imparto con speciale pensiero all’Ordinario militare, che è qui presente.

Saluto poi il gruppo della Parrocchia di Barile, il quale ogni anno nella cittadina lucana rappresenta la Passione di nostro Signore. Carissimi, mi compiaccio per la vostra tradizione ed auspico di cuore che la meditazione della Passione di Cristo sia invito e corrispondere generosamente alla grazia divina e a vivere con coerenza la vocazione cristiana.

Con sincera gioia accolgo e saluto i numerosi fanciulli che hanno ricevuto recentemente la Prima Comunione. Fra essi desidero ricordare, perché particolarmente numerosi, i figli dei dipendenti dell’Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato, i quali hanno avuto il loro primo incontro con Gesù presente nell’Eucaristia Domenica scorsa. Saluto insieme con essi i tanti gruppi di giovani venuti d’ogni parte. Il mio benvenuto è di esultanza per tutti. La Chiesa, infatti, celebra domani l’“ammirabile ascensione” al Cielo di Cristo risorto. E’ la definitiva glorificazione del Figlio di Dio, voluta dal Padre celeste, il quale ha disposto che il medesimo trionfo fosse partecipato da tutti gli uomini per mezzo del battesimo, che li rende “nati da Dio”. Come prega la Chiesa nella liturgia dell’Ascensione, in “Cristo asceso al cielo la nostra umanità è innalzata accanto (a lui) e noi, membra del suo corpo, viviamo nella speranza di raggiungere il nostro capo nella gloria”. Questa esaltante realtà deve animarvi sempre, carissimi giovani, a considerare la grande dignità di figli di Dio, che dall’anima in grazia si riflette anche nel corpo in tutta la persona e in tutta la vita. A tutti voi la mia Benedizione Apostolica.

Un pensiero di affettuosa considerazione rivolgo ora a voi, carissimi infermi presenti a questo incontro, e lo estendo a coloro che, come voi, sono afflitti dalla malattia o segnati dalla tristezza per conseguenze talora tragiche di eventi straordinari. Voi, diletti fratelli e sorelle, meritate dal Signore uno speciale riguardo perché, a somiglianza di Gesù, offrite per la salvezza dei vostri fratelli le vostre umiliazioni; mentre supplico il divin Salvatore perché vi conceda largamente la grazia della luce e della forza spirituale per la generosa accettazione delle prove da lui permesse, vi esorto a sollevare con la vostra preghiera propiziatrice gli animi di tutti i sofferenti. Con la mia Benedizione Apostolica.

Anche a voi, novelli sposi, il mio cordiale benvenuto, con l’auspicio che il Signore vi largisca i continui aiuti della sua assistenza, perché possiate sentire sempre di più l’importanza della vostra missione coniugale. Vi benedico di cuore ed estendo la mia benedizione a tutti i vostri Cari."