When I went to bed last Sunday night, I had scheduled my blog post – “Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of Lourdes to publish at 5:00 a.m. as I always do. Never did I think that Pope Benedict XVI would drop an ecclesiastical bomb on the world. Since the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes was overshadowed by the Holy Father’s announcement, I am choosing to re-post my writings on this memorial (see link above) as well as provide you with the words of Pope Benedict XVI from February 11, 2010, the Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes and the 18th World Day of the Sick –
“The Church, entrusted with the task of extending Christ’s mission in time and space, cannot neglect these two essential tasks: evangelization and the care of the sick in body and in mind. Indeed, God wants to heal the whole of man and in the Gospel the healing of the body is a sign of the deeper recovery that is the forgiveness of sins (cf. Mk 2: 1-12). It is therefore not surprising that Mary, Mother and model of the Church, is invoked and venerated as “Salus infirmorum Health of the sick”. As the first and perfect disciple of her Son, in guiding the Church on her journey she has always shown special solicitude for the suffering. Witness to this are the thousands of people who go to Marian shrines to invoke the Mother of Christ and find in her strength and relief. The Gospel account of the Visitation (cf. Lk 1: 39-56) shows us how, after the announcement of the Angel, the Virgin did not keep the gift she had received to herself but immediately set out to go and help her elderly cousin Elizabeth, who was six months pregnant with John. In the support that Mary offered this relative who was experiencing a delicate condition such as pregnancy at an advanced age, we see prefigured the whole of the Church’s action in support of life that is in need of care…
…The Liturgy of the Word today presents two main themes: the first is Marian in character and links the Gospel and the First Reading, from the last chapter of the Book of Isaiah, as well as the Responsorial Psalm taken from the Judith’s canticle of praise. The other theme, which we find in the passage from the Letter of James, is that of the Church’s prayer for the sick and, in particular, the sacrament reserved for them. On the Memorial of the apparitions in Lourdes, where Mary chose to manifest her maternal solicitude for the sick, the Liturgy appropriately echoes the Magnificat, the canticle of the Virgin who exalts the wonders of God throughout salvation history: the humble and the poor, like all who fear God, experience his mercy which overturns earthly destinies, thus showing the holiness of the Creator and Redeemer…
…The Church’s motherhood is a reflection of God’s tender love of which the Prophet Isaiah speaks: “As one whom his mother comforts, / so I will comfort you; / you shall be comforted in Jerusalem” (Is 66: 13). It is a motherhood that speaks without words, that awakens in hearts consolation, deep joy, a joy that paradoxically lives side by side with pain, with suffering. The Church, like Mary, preserves within her the tragedies of humankind and the consolation of God, she keeps them together on the pilgrimage through history. The Church down the centuries has shown the signs of the love of God who continues to work great things in humble and simple people. Suffering, when accepted and offered up, and solidarity, when sincere and selfless: are these not perhaps miracles of love? Is not the courage to face evil unarmed like Judith with the power of faith and hope in the Lord alone a miracle that God’s grace continuously inspires in so many people who spend their time and energy helping those who are suffering?”
As we watch the Papacy of Pope Benedict XVI come to a close, let us pray for his intentions, his life of prayer that he will engage, and the Church as a universal whole. Let us pray for the conclave of Cardinals that will gather in the weeks ahead, that through their guidance and understanding of the Church today, they will choose a worthy successor with the direction of the Holy Spirit. We are clearly living in epic times with epic Popes. Let us pray that Benedict XVI will continue to write for his knowledge, wisdom, and guidance can still impact the Church today…even if he is retired.
Categories: Mariology, Pope Benedict XVI
Dear Tom, You write well. Great insights about Mother Mary and the resignation of Pope Benedict. See you tomorrow.
Give to God all the Glory. May God Bless you! Matthew 11:28 Sincerely, Howard Smith