Pope Benedict XVI- Audiences

General Audience
On the Assumption
"Mary Follows Our Steps With Gentle Trepidation"
H.H. Benedict XVI
August 15, 2006

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

Our usual weekly Wednesday meeting is taking place today in the climate of the solemnity of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. I would like to invite you therefore to turn your gaze once again to our heavenly mother, whom the liturgy presented to us as victorious with Christ in heaven.

This feast has always been greatly cherished by the Christian people since the first centuries of Christianity. As is already known, it celebrates the glorification, including corporal, of that creature whom God chose as his mother, and that Jesus on the cross gave as mother to the whole of humanity.

The Assumption evokes a mystery that affects each one of us because, as the Second Vatican Council affirmed, Mary "precedes with her light the people of God as a sign of hope and consolation" ("Lumen Gentium," No. 68). We are so immersed in everyday struggles that at times we forget this consoling spiritual reality, which is an important truth of faith.

How is it possible to make this luminous sign of hope be increasingly perceived by present-day society? Today there are those who live as if they should never die, or as if all ends with death. Some behave as if man is the sole author of his destiny, as if God did not exist, at times even denying that there is a place for him in our world.

The great successes of technology and science, which have notably improved humanity's conditions of life, do not give solutions to the most profound questions of the human spirit. Only by openness to the mystery of God, who is love, can our hearts' thirst for truth and happiness be satisfied; only the perspective of eternity can give authentic value to historical events and above all to the mystery of human frailty, suffering and death.

On contemplating Mary in heavenly glory, we also understand that the earth is not our definitive homeland and that, if we live constantly oriented to eternal goods, one day we will share in her same glory. For this reason, despite the many daily difficulties, we must not lose serenity or peace.

The luminous sign of the Assumption to heaven shines even more when it seems that sad shadows of grief and violence loom over the horizon. We are sure that, from on high, Mary follows our steps with gentle trepidation, gives us serenity in the hour of darkness and storm, and gives us security with her maternal hand.

Supported by this conviction, we continue with confidence on our way of Christian commitment where providence leads us.

[Translation by ZENIT]

[At the end of the audience, the Holy Father greeted pilgrims in several languages. In English, he said:]

I am happy to greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at this audience, including the altar servers from Malta, and the groups from England, Ireland, Canada, Nigeria and the United States of America.

Yesterday we contemplated the Virgin Mary's assumption into heaven. This mystery reminds us that our definitive homeland is not here on earth, and that our longing for fulfillment finds complete satisfaction only in eternal happiness. May our mother in heaven, who guides us on our way, inspire us with courage and hope through the struggles of our daily life! I wish you a pleasant stay, and may God bless you all!

[In Italian, he said:]

I would like to end our meeting with a special remembrance of Brother Roger Schutz, founder of Taizé, murdered on Aug. 16 of last year during evening prayer. His testimony of Christian faith and ecumenical dialogue was a precious teaching for entire generations of young people. We pray to the Lord that the sacrifice of his life will contribute to consolidate the commitment to peace and solidarity of all those who have the future of humanity at heart.

© Copyright 2006 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana [adapted]

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