Angelus, 8 December 2005

[The Angelus is a short practice of devotion in honor of the Incarnation - Latin incarnatio (in: caro, flesh) -
repeated three times each day, morning, noon, and evening, at the sound of the bell]

The Immaculate Conception - Satan's Mighty Foe - by Piola, Domenico -
from Church of Santissima Annunziata del Vastato, Genoa

This depiction is filled with Symbolism.  At the instant of her conception within the womb of Saint Anne, at the instant her soul was created by Almighty God, Mary's soul  is shown being crowned by her Father and filled with grace by her Spouse, the Holy Spirit. Mary tramples on the head of the Evil Beast, assisted by an angel carrying her Son's Cross of Redemption. Satan sits, very much confused by the soul of  Mary (the New Eve) over which he has no power because of the absence of Original Sin; and behind Satan is the "Old Eve" receiving the "Apple of Temptation" from the Evil Beast, which has no power over Mary. Jesus' (the New Adam) Crucifixion and Mary's role as Auxiliatrix was a triumph over Satan, Sin and Death, necessary to correct the Sin of both Adam and Eve.


Angelus of His Holiness Benedict XVI

Saint Peter's Square
Thursday, 8 December 2005
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today, we are celebrating the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. It is a day of intense spiritual joy when we contemplate the Virgin Mary, "high beyond all other, lowlier is none... the consummation planned by God's decree", as is sung by the great poet Dante (Par., XXXIII, 3).

In Mary shines forth the eternal goodness of the Creator Who chose her in His plan of salvation to be the mother of His Only-begotten Son; God, foreseeing His death, preserved her from every stain of sin (cf. Concluding Prayer). In this way, in the Mother of Christ and our Mother the vocation of every human being is perfectly fulfilled. All men and women, according to Saint Paul, are called to be holy and blameless in God's sight, full of love (cf. Ephesians 1:4,5).

Looking at Mary, how can we, her children, fail to let the aspiration to beauty, goodness and purity of heart be aroused in us? Her heavenly candor draws us to God, helping us to overcome the temptation to live a mediocre life composed of compromises with evil, and directs us decisively towards the authentic good that is the source of joy.

Today, my thought goes to 8 December 1965, when the Servant of God, Paul VI solemnly closed the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, the greatest ecclesial event of the 20th century which Blessed John XXIII had opened three years earlier. Amid the exultation of numerous faithful in Saint Peter's Square, Paul VI entrusted the implementation of the conciliar Documents to the Virgin Mary, calling upon her with the dear title of "Mother of the Church".

Presiding at a solemn Eucharistic celebration in the Vatican Basilica this morning, I wanted to give thanks to God for the gift of the Second Vatican Council.

Furthermore, I wished to pay homage to Mary Most Holy for having accompanied these 40 years of the Church's richly eventful life. In a special maternal way, Mary has kept watch over the Pontificates of my venerable Predecessors, each one of whom, with great pastoral wisdom, steered the boat of Peter on the course of authentic conciliar renewal, ceaselessly working for the faithful interpretation and implementation of Vatican Council II.

Dear brothers and sisters, to crown this day entirely dedicated to the Holy Virgin, following an ancient tradition I will go this afternoon to Piazza di Spagna, to the feet of the statue of the Immaculate. I ask that you spiritually unite with me in this pilgrimage, intended to be an act of filial devotion to Mary in order to entrust to her the beloved city of Rome, the Church and all of humanity.