Bookmark and Share


Catechesis by Pope St John Paul II
in his series in the Jubilee of the Redemption
General Audience, Wednesday 4 May 1983 - also in Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

""I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your offspring and her offspring: she will crush your head" (Gen 3, 15).

1. Dearest brothers and sisters, in this month of May we raise our eyes to Mary, the Woman who was associated in a unique way with the work of reconciliation of humanity with God. According to the Father's plan, Christ had to accomplish this work through his sacrifice; with him, however, would be associated a Woman, the Immaculate Virgin, who stands thus before our eyes as the highest model of cooperation in the work of salvation.

The account of the fall of Adam and Eve shows the participation of the woman in sin; but it also recalls God's intention to take the woman as ally in the fight against sin and its consequences. A manifestation all of its own/totally peculiar of this intention took place in the episode of the Annunciation, in which God offered to the Virgin of Nazareth the highest maternity, asking for her consent to the coming of the Saviour into the world. The Second Vatican Council very appropriately underlineid this: "The Father of mercies wanted the acceptance of the predestined mother to precede the incarnation, so that, just as a woman had contributed to giving death, a woman contributed to giving life "(Lumen Gentium, 56).

How can we not see in this a singular validation of the female personality? In Mary you have/there is the complete emancipation of woman: it is in the name of all humanity that the Maiden of Nazareth is invited to pronounce the "Yes" awaited by God. She becomes God's privileged collaborator in the new covenant.

2. Mary did not disappoint Him who solicited her cooperation. Her response marked a decisive moment in the history of humanity, and Christians justly/rightly take pleasure in repeating it in prayer, seeking to assimilate the disposition of soul that inspired it: "Behold the Handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to your word" (Lk 1, 38).

The Second Vatican Council comments on these words indicating their vast scope/far-reaching significance: "As Mary, daughter of Adam, by/in consenting to the divine word, became mother of Jesus, embracing, with all her soul and without any weight of sin, the salvific will of God, she consecrated herself totally as the Handmaid of the Lord to the person and work of her Son, serving the mystery of redemption under him and with him, with the grace of Almighty God” (LG, 56).

The "Yes" of the Annunciation did not only constitute acceptance of the proposed maternity, but meant above all Mary's commitment at/to the service of the mystery of redemption. The redemption was (the) work of the Son; Mary joined in it at a subordinate level. Her participation, however, was real and demanding. By giving her consent to the Angel's message, Mary accepted to collaborate with the whole work of the reconciliation of humanity with God, just as her Son would have in fact implemented it.

Mary had a first clear hint of which way would have been chosen by Jesus during the presentation in the Temple. After having exposed the contradictions that the Child would encounter in his mission, Simeon turned to her to say: "And a sword will pierce your soul too" (Lk 2, 35). The Holy Spirit had prompted/pushed Simeon to go to the Temple just at the moment when Mary and Joseph arrived there to present the Child. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Simeon pronounced the prophetic words which illuminated Mary on the sorrowful destiny of the Messiah and on the great drama in which the maternal heart would be involved. Mary then understood more clearly the meaning of the gesture of the presentation. To offer her Son was to voluntarily expose herself to the sword. Committed from/since the "Yes" of the Annunciation, and disposed to go all the way to the very end in the gift of herself for the work of salvation, Mary did not back away in front of the prospect of the great suffering that was announced to her.

3. The orientation towards the redemptive sacrifice dominated all Mary's maternal life. Unlike other mothers who cannot know in advance the pains that will derive from their children, Mary knew already from those first days that her motherhood was setting her on the path towards a supreme test.

For her, the participation in the redemptive drama was the terminus/end of a long pathway. After having observed how the prediction of the contradictions that Jesus would suffer was coming about/taking place in the events of his public life, she understood more vividly, at the foot of the Cross, what these words meant: "A sword will pierce your soul". The presence at Calvary, which allowed her to unite herself with all her heart to the sufferings of the Son, belonged to the divine design: the Father wished that she, (who was) called to the most total cooperation in the mystery of redemption, be integrally associated with the sacrifice and share all the sorrows/pains of the Crucified One, uniting her own will with his, in the desire to save the world.

This association of Mary with the sacrifice of Jesus highlights a truth that finds its application also in our lives: those who live profoundly united with Christ are destined to share in depth his redemptive suffering.

Thanking Mary for her cooperation in the redemptive work, we cannot fail to ask (for) her fraternal help so that, in our turn, we can follow the pathway of the Cross and obtain, through the offering of our sufferings, a more fruitful life."


"Chers Fils et chères Filles, Je vous accueille tous avec une grande joie: prêtres, religieux, religieuses, laïcs, personnes âgées, pères et mères de familles, enfants et jeunes, venant de France, de Belgique, du Luxembourg, de Suisse et d’autres pays de langue française. A tous je souhaite un heureux séjour à Rome, et à ceux qui viennent y vivre un temps fort de l’Année sainte un fructueux pèlerinage. En ce mois de mai, les catholiques aiment lever les yeux vers Marie. La Rédemption, vous le savez, c’est l’œuvre de réconciliation de l’humanité avec Dieu, par le sacrifice du Christ, comme je l’ai expliqué les mercredis précédents. Dieu a voulu associer une Femme à cette lutte contre le péché et ses conséquences. En ce sens, nous avons ici le type de la complète émancipation de la Femme, de celle qui a su dire “oui” à Dieu, au nom de l’humanité, pour collaborer à la nouvelle alliance en dépendance de son Fils et avec lui. Marie se consacra totalement, comme servante du Seigneur, à la personne et à l’œuvre de son Fils. Dés la présentation de Jésus au Temple, Siméon lui révéla les contradictions que rencontrerait son Fils. Et au terme, sur le Calvaire, elle s’unit de tout son cœur aux souffrances du Christ crucifié qui sauvait le monde. Remercions-la, louons-la, et prions-la de nous aider nous-mêmes à savoir offrir au Christ nos souffrances pour en obtenir une vie plus féconde. En la priant avec vous, de tout cœur, je vous donne ma Bénédiction Apostolique.

My dear brothers and sisters, In this month of May we raise our eyes towards Mary, the woman who was associated in a unique way in Christ’s work of reconciling humanity with God. By her unconditional acceptance of the will of God Mary stands before us as the highest model for Christian living. She teaches us that whoever wishes to live closely united to Christ is destined to share deeply in his redemptive suffering. As we thank our Mother Mary for her co-operation in the work of Redemption, let us seek her motherly help to follow the way of Christ’ cross and thereby share fully in the risen life he promises. I am happy to greet all the visitors and Holy Year pilgrims who have come from countries of the English-speaking world: from England and Scotland, from Ireland, from Canada and the United States. I greet all the priests present here today, and in a special way my blessing goes to all of you who are sick. I wish to extend a warm welcome to the group of Pastors of the Church of Sweden, as well as the Young People’s Choir from the Church of Malúng. You have come to Rome to celebrate the X anniversary of the dedication of the Lutheran chapel of St. Catherine of Sweden located in the Brigidine Sisters’ Convent in Piazza Farnese. May your visit to Rome express our shared desire for unity in truth and charity according to the mind of our Risen Saviour.

Liebe Brüder und Schwestern! Herzlich willkommen zu der heutigen Audienz und zur Feier des Jubiläumsjahres der Erlösung in der Ewigen Stadt. Ich grüsse euch alle und jeden einzelnen; besonders die Teilnehmer der grossen Romwallfahrten der Marianischen Bürgersodalität Trier und der katholischen Wochenzeitung”Neue Bildpost“, die Gruppe des Internationalen Katholischen Missionswerkes Aachen sowie die anwesenden Missionsbenediktinerinnen von Tutzing. Der Monat Mai lenkt unsere Gedanken auf Maria, die in einer besonderen Weise mit dem Erlösungswerk ihres Sohnes verbunden ist. Von Anfang an steht Maria ganz im Dienst des Erlösers. Sie empfängt ihn durch ihr”Fiat“stellvertretend für die ganze Menschheit. Schon bei der Darstellung Jesu im Tempel verheisst ihr der greise Simeon, dass ein Schwert ihre Seele durchdringen wird. Ihr”Ja“zur Menschwerdung Christi ist Zugleich Ausdruck ihrer Bereitschaft zum Mitleiden mit ihm bis zum Kreuzesopfer auf Golgota. Maria steht nicht nur unter dem Kreuze, sondern sie leidet und opfert mit Christus für die Erlösung der Menschheit. Erbitten wir uns von ihr die Gnade, dass wir auch mit unseren persönlichen Leiden und Prüfungen Christus auf seinem Kreuzweg begleiten, um dadurch mit dem auferstandenen Herrn zum unvergänglichen, vollkommenen Leben zu gelangen. Das schenke euch Gott mit meinem besonderen Apostolischen Segen.

Amadisimos hermanos y hermanas, Esta audiencia del Año Santo tiene lugar al principio del mes de mayo, que la piedad del pueblo fiel consagra de manera especial a la devoción a la Virgen María. Tal circunstancia nos lleva a pensar en la presencia particular de la Madre de Cristo en toda la obra de la Redención, que conmemoramos en este Año Jubilar. En efecto la Virgen Santísima se asoció con libre y amorosa entrega a la tarea redentora de su Hijo mediante el sufrimiento. Y con ello se convirtió en el modelo acabado del cristiano, que es llamado a compartir en su vida el dolor redentor de Cristo. En este mes, pidamos insistentemente a nuestra Madre del cielo que Ella nos ayude a mirar con sentido de fe nuestros sufrimientos, a fin de transformarlos en redención para nosotros mismos y para el mundo. Con este deseo saludo y bendigo a todos los grupos y personas de lengua española aquí presentes. A los procedentes de varias ciudades y lugares de España, a los de Chile o de los otros Países latinoamericanos.

Amados irmãos e irmãs de língua portuguesa, peregrinos do Ano Santo, Ao saudar e desejar a todos felicidades, com afecto em Cristo, nesta celebração jubilar, em tempo pascal e no início de Maio, convido a elevar a mente e o coração para Nossa Senhora e vê-la no quadro da reconciliação da humanidade com Deus. Após a queda de Adão e Eva, é predita a participação da mulher na luta contra o pecado: como uma mulher tinha contribuído para dar a morte, uma outra mulher contribuiria para dar a vida ao homem decaído. Maria Santíssima é esta segunda Mulher, com o sim dado na Anunciação, esclarecido na Apresentação de Jesus no templo e vivido ao lado do divino Redentor, até ao sacrifício do Calvário. “Eis a Serva do Senhor”: foi a resposta que comprometeu Maria para o dom de si mesma, associada ao seu Filho Jesus Cristo, na obra da Salvação divina. O seu exemplo tem sido, ao longo dos séculos, e permanece caminho apontado a todos os Cristãos: viver, em generosa aceitação da vontade de Deus, uma vida fecunda de graça, participando do sofrimento redentor de Cristo. Para isso, ao abençoar-vos, imploro que a todos ajude a protecção materna de Nossa Senhora.

Duchowo łączę się z wszystkimi, którzy dziś pielgrzymują do sanktuarium na Jasnej Górze, do stolicy Maryi Królowej Polski. Ileż razy tam bywałem w tym uroczystym dniu. Ileż razy sprawowałem Najświętszą Ofiarę. Boże, który dałeś narodowi polskiemu w Najświętszej Maryi Pannie przedziwną pomoc i obronę, spraw łaskawie, aby za wstawiennictwem naszej Matki i Królowej, religia nieustannie cieszyła się. wolnośćią, a ojczyzna bezpieczeństwem. Oto słowa modlitwy liturgicznej z uroczystości 3 maja. Dzień pamiętny w dziejach Narodu. Uchwalona w tym dniu 1791 roku Konstytucja miała dokonać naprawy Rzeczypospolitej wówczas, gdy groziło jej śmiertelne niebezpieczeństwo. Choć niebezpieczeństwo okazało się silniejsze - to przecież Konstytucja przetrwała jako dowód woli życia Narodu i stganowienia o sobie. Dziś, w uroczystość Trzeciego Maja prosimy Cię, Matko Jasnogórska, Królowo Polski, abyś nas wszystkich, jako swoje duchowe dziedzictwo, ogarnęła Twoim macierzyńskim Sercem. Niech Twoja pomoc i obrona odnawia stale w całym Narodzie Polskim wolę życia i stanowienia o sobie. Na koniec Pani Jasnogórska polecam Tobie wszystkich w mojej Ojczyźnie, którzy ucierpieli w związku z wydarzeniami ostatnich dni. Maryjo, Królowo Polski, jestem przy Tobie, pamiętam, czuwam!

Il mio pensiero si rivolge ora ai giovani e alle giovani, ai ragazzi ed alle ragazze, qui venuti da ogni parte per allietare questo incontro e per dare testimonianza della loro fede cristiana. Rivolgo uno speciale saluto ai pellegrinaggi scolastici, che sono i più numerosi. Fra essi mi piace ricordare gli alunni e gli insegnanti della Scuola “Gauss” di Asti, per Odontotecnici e Operatori Chimico-Biologici. L’entusiasmo e i sacrifici con cui avete compiuto il pellegrinaggio per il Giubileo vi otterrà dal Signore tanta ricchezza spirituale per la vostra preparazione alle responsabilità del domani. A tutti voi, giovani, che insieme mi ascoltate in questa Piazza, dirò una parola di esortazione, tratta dalla Bibbia: “State saldi nella fede, comportatevi da uomini, siate forti”. In questa stagione così bella e così importante per la vostra formazione ai valori umani e spirituali, siate sempre docili e corrispondete generosamente agli insegnamenti dei vostri genitori ed educatori. In questo mese mariano, mettete ogni vostro sforzo di miglioramento umano e spirituale sotto la protezione della Vergine Santissimae ed Ella non mancherà di venirvi incontro in ogni vostra necessità.

Un pensiero del tutto speciale va agli ammalati, qui presenti, ed a quelli degenti negli ospedali o nelle proprie case. Voi che soffrite, unitevi al Cristo, dando al vostro patire un risvolto soprannaturale, secondo le parole di Pietro: “Poiché Cristo soffrì nella carne, anche voi armatevi degli stessi sentimenti; chi ha sofferto nel corpo ha rotto definitivamente col peccato”. Ne verrà a voi la pace interiore ed alla Chiesa intera una grande ricchezza spirituale. Vi conforti la mia Benedizione.

Anche ai novelli sposi porgo sincere felicitazioni per il passo compiuto ed auguri di felicità, esortandoli ad essere sempre memori della grandezza e della dignità del sacramento che ha da poco unito e consacrato il loro amore. Carissimi, se volete assicurare il pieno successo alla vostra unione matrimoniale, corrispondete sempre fedelmente alla grazia che vi è stata conferita nel sacramento; in tal modo sarete sempre fedeli al vostro patto ed affronterete le eventuali difficoltà con ottimismo. Vi accompagni la mia Benedizione.

Rivolgo ora un saluto particolare al folto gruppo dei pellegrini provenienti dalla diocesi di Bovino, i quali accompagnati dal proprio Vescovo, Monsignor Salvatore De Giorgi, sono presenti a questa Udienza per acquistare l’Indulgenza giubilare e per far benedire una statua di S. Alfonso Maria de’ Liguori, che sarà collocata nel Santuario mariano di Deliceto. Benedico volentieri la statua che avete qui portato e vi esorto a nutrire la stessa pietà verso la Vergine Santissima che tanto distinse la devozione di quel grande Dottore della Chiesa. Saluto anche le Delegate del “Patronato per l’Assistenza Spirituale alle forze Armate d’Italia”. Sono lieto di accogliervi e di esprimere l’auspicio che possiate trovare nella fede cristiana, che vi anima, sempre nuove energie nel vostro meritorio servizio verso i fratelli. Un cordiale saluto rivolgo ai Membri del “Comitato Onoranze ai Caduti d’Africa”, i quali hanno patrocinato, tra l’altro, la fusione della Campana, denominata “L’Africana”; questa sarà collocata sulla torre del castello-chiesa di Santa Severa, e ricorderà tutti i caduti italiani in Africa: militari, missionari, missionarie, civili. Nell’esprimere vivo compiacimento per questa commovente iniziativa di pace e di solidarietà cristiana, mi è gradito benedire personalmente questa Campana, che con i suoi rintocchi inviterà tutti a pregare per il riposo eterno dei nostri fratelli scomparsi.

In questi giorni l’opinione pubblica mondiale rivolge l’attenzione, con rinnovata e comprensibile sensibilità, al doloroso dramma dei “desaparecidos” in Argentina, esprimendo solidarietà per le famiglie provate da quell’angosciosa vicenda. Il problema assillante degli scomparsi è sempre stato - e lo è ancora più ora - dentro il mio animo, e desidero rinnovare alle famiglie che hanno nel cuore una spina così acuta per la sorte dei loro cari la mia commossa partecipazione alle loro sofferenze, in un momento in cui sembra che anche la lieve speranza che ancora nutrivano sia stata infranta.

Imploro con tutto il cuore Maria santissima” “Mater dolorosa”, perché ottenga consolazione ad ogni famiglia in tal modo provata e l’assista con il suo materno saluto in quest’ora di amaro sconforto. Invito tutti ad unirsi a me in questa accorata e fervida invocazione."