DAILY CATHOLIC    MONDAY     December 13, 1999     vol. 10, no. 236


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      Today, we bring you the words from His Holiness Pope John Paul II from last Wednesday December 8th in which he replaced his regular weekly Wednesday Papal Audience with a special Angelus for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception showering honor on Our Lady as the first one who went through the portal of the Holy Door as the Immaculate one and providing us with a special blessing that would culminate with her Divine Son redeeming us. He invites all of us to pass through the Holy Door with Mary who lights the way to her Divine Son for us to follow confidently into the new millennium with renewed hope and dedication to her holy cause. The full English text was translated and provided by ZENIT news agency, article ZE99120922.

Mary, "Full of Grace," Light of the Jubilee

    Dearest Brothers and Sisters,

        Today we celebrate the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, especially dear to Christian people. In Jesus' Mother, the first fruit of redeemed humanity, God works wonderful things, filling her with grace and preserving her from every stain of sin.

        At Nazareth, Mary was called "full of grace" by the Angel: in these words were enclosed her singular destiny but also, in a more general sense, that of every man. "Fullness of grace," which for Mary is the starting point, is the goal for all men and women: in fact, as the apostle Paul says, God has created us "to be holy and immaculate in his presence" (Ephesians 1,4). Because of this, He "blessed" us before our earthly existence, and sent His Son into the world to rescue us from sin. Mary is the masterpiece of this salvific work, the "all beautiful," "all holy" creature.

    2. The Immaculate reminds every human being, no matter what his conditions, that God loves him personally, that He only wants his good and follows him constantly with a plan of grace and mercy that culminated in the redeeming sacrifice of Christ.

        The reality of Mary points us toward Jesus Christ, sole Mediator of salvation, and helps us to look at life as a design of love, with which we must cooperate responsibly. Mary is the model, not only of the call but also of the response. Indeed, she said "yes" to God, at the beginning and in every successive moment of her life, completely following His will, even when it was dark and difficult for her to accept.

    3. The feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary takes on special meaning this year in view of the forthcoming Great Jubilee. Mary illuminates the steps of our pilgrimage toward the Holy Door, and points out that "Door," which is Christ and which she was the first to go through, to every person, inviting everyone to go through, and to be "holy and immaculate in love."

        What we contemplate and celebrate in Mary today, in other words, her being "full of grace" and free of sin, is the mature fruit of the Jubilee. The icon of the Immaculate, which tradition depicts in the act of crushing Satan -- the serpent's head, seems more eloquent than ever, therefore, during this time of Advent, which is like the courtyard of entry to the Great Jubilee.

        Dearly beloved, let us turn to Mary, the sign of sure hope! The Immaculate Virgin helps each of us to be converted to Jesus, to experience the healing force of His love. This is the wish I have today for all believers, inviting them to enter the Holy Year, which is imminent, with determination.

December 13, 1999       volume 10, no. 236


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