January 17, 2000
volume 11, no. 11

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    Today, we bring you the words from His Holiness Pope John Paul II for his Weekly General Papal Audience of 2000 at Paul VI Hall where His Holiness continued his catechesis on God the Father and the Blessed Virgin Mary's role in this journey as guide and mediatrix. He pointed out there have been many misconceptions over the centuries as to her vital role in all of this and reaffirmed the importance of her as Advocate, Redemptrix, and Mediatrix of all graces without actually saying those words, giving speculation that the Holy Father has not given up the campaign to proclaim the Fifth Dogma in God's time. The full English text was translated and provided by ZENIT news agency, article ZE00011222.

Mary's Role in our Journey to the Father

    1. In order to complete our reflection on Mary, at the end of the cycle of catechesis dedicated to the Father, today we wish to underline her role in our journey towards the Father.

    He himself willed Mary's presence in the history of salvation. When he decided to send his Son into the world, he willed that he should come to us by being born of a woman (Cf. Gal 4,4). Thus he willed that this woman -- the first to welcome his Son, should communicate him to all humanity.

    Therefore, Mary is on the road that goes from the Father to humanity, as the mother who gives everyone her Savior Son. At the same time, she is on the road that men must take to go to the Father through Christ in the Spirit (Cf. Eph. 2,18).

2. In order to understand Mary's presence in the journey toward the Father, with the whole Church we must acknowledge that Christ is "the way, the truth and the life" (Jn, 14,6) and the only Mediator between God and men (Cf. 1 Tm 2,5). Mary is inserted in Christ's unique mediation and is totally at his service. Consequently, as the Council emphasized in "Lumen Gentium," "Mary's function as mother of men in no way obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its power" (N. 60). We are very far from assigning a role to Mary in the life of the Church outside of Christ's mediation or next to it, as though it were a parallel or concurrent mediation.

    As I said expressly in the encyclical "Redemptoris Mater," Mary's maternal mediation "is mediation in Christ" (N. 38). The Council explains: "The Blessed Virgin's salutary influence on men originates not in any inner necessity but in the disposition of God. It flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on his mediation, depends entirely on it and draws all its power from it. It does not hinder in any way the immediate union of the faithful with Christ but on the contrary fosters it" (LG, 60).

    Mary herself was redeemed by Christ and thus is the first of the redeemed, because the grace given her by God the Father at the beginning of her existence is due to the "merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human species," as Pius IX's bull "Ineffabilis Deus" states (DS, 2803). All Mary's cooperation in salvation is based on Christ's mediation which, as the Council specifies again, "does not exclude but rather gives rise to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this one source." (LG, 62).

    Considered from this point of view, Mary's mediation appears as the highest fruit of Christ's mediation and is essentially oriented to making our encounter with Him more intimate and profound. "The Church does not hesitate to profess this subordinate role of Mary, which it constantly experiences and recommends to the heartfelt attention of the faithful, so that encouraged by this maternal help they may the more closely adhere to the Mediator and Redeemer" (Ibid.).

3. In fact, Mary does not wish to draw attention to her person. She lived on earth with her gaze fixed on Jesus and the Heavenly Father. Her strongest desire is to make all turn their gazes in the same direction. She wishes to promote a look of faith and hope in the Savior sent to us by the Father.

    She was a model of the gaze of faith and hope above all when, in the tempest of the passion of the Son, she kept in her heart total faith in him and in the Father. While the disciples, greatly distressed by the events, were profoundly shaken in their faith, Mary, also tried by sorrow, remained integral in the certainty that Jesus' prediction would come true: "The Son of Man ... will be raised on the third day" (Matt. 17, 22-23). This certainty did not leave her even when she took the lifeless body of her crucified son in her arms.

4. With this gaze of faith and hope, Mary encourages the Church and believers to always do the Father's will, manifested to us by Christ.

    The words spoken to the servants at the miracle of Cana reecho in every generation of Christians: "Do whatever he tells you" (Jn 2,5).

    Her advice was followed when the servants filled the jars to the brim. Mary makes the same request of us today. It is an exhortation to enter into the new period of history with the determination to do all that Christ has said in the Gospel in the Father's name, which at present is inspired in us through the Spirit who dwells in us. If we do what Christ asks us to do, the millennium that is approaching will be able to have a new face, more evangelical and more genuinely Christian, and so respond to Mary's most profound aspirations.

5. The words: "Do whatever he tells you," with reference to Christ, also recall us to the Father, toward whom we are journeying. They coincide with the Father's voice that resounded on the Mount of the Transfiguration: "This is my beloved Son... listen to him" (Matt. 17,5). With the word of Christ and the light of the Holy Spirit, this Father himself calls us, guides us, cares for us.

    Our holiness consists in doing all that the Father has said. Here is the value of Mary's life: fulfillment of the divine will. Accompanied and sustained by Mary, by way of acknowledgment let us receive the new millennium from the Father's hands and be determined to correspond to his grace with humble and generous devotion.


January 17, 2000
volume 11, no. 11

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