|We believe that Mary follows our footsteps from
on high with gentle concern and is the model for patient living amid all
distress and suffering
At the General Audience on
Wednesday, 16 August, the faithful gathered in the courtyard of the Papal
Summer Residence at Castel Gandolfo for the Pope's Catechesis on the
Assumption. The Holy Father ended by recalling Frére Roger, Founder of the
Taizé Community, on the anniversary of his death. The following is a
translation of the Holy Father's Catechesis, which was given in Italian.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today, our customary weekly Wednesday appointment is again taking place
in the atmosphere of the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary's
Assumption. I would therefore like to ask you to turn your gaze once again
to our heavenly Mother, whom yesterday's liturgy helped us to contemplate
triumphant with Christ in Heaven.
Since the first centuries of Christianity, the Christian people has
always found this feast deeply stirring; as is well known, it celebrates
the glorification, also in body, of that creature whom God chose as Mother
and whom Jesus on the Cross gave as Mother to the whole of humanity.
The Assumption evokes a mystery that concerns each one of us because,
as the Second Vatican Council affirms, Mary "shines forth on earth... a
sign of certain hope and comfort to the pilgrim People of God" (Lumen
Gentium, n. 68).
However, taken up by the events of each day, one can sometimes forget
this comforting spiritual reality that constitutes an important truth of
faith; so how can it be ensured that this luminous sign of hope is ever
more clearly perceived by all of us and by contemporary society?
Is there room for God?
Some people today live as if they never had to die or as if, with
death, everything were over; others, who hold that man is the one and only
author of his own destiny, behave as though God did not exist, and at
times they even reach the point of denying that there is room for him in
Yet, the great breakthroughs of technology and science that have
considerably improved humanity's condition leave unresolved the deepest
searchings of the human soul.
Only openness to the mystery of God, who is Love, can quench the thirst
for truth and happiness in our hearts; only the prospect of eternity can
give authentic value to historical events and especially to the mystery of
human frailty, suffering and death.
Mary guides us from Heaven
By contemplating Mary in heavenly glory, we understand that the earth
is not the definitive homeland for us either, and that if we live with our
gaze fixed on eternal goods we will one day share in this same glory and
the earth will become more beautiful.
Consequently, we must not lose our serenity and peace even amid the
thousands of daily difficulties. The luminous sign of Our Lady taken up
into Heaven shines out even more brightly when sad shadows of suffering
and violence seem to loom on the horizon.
We may be sure of it: from on high, Mary follows our footsteps with
gentle concern, dispels the gloom in moments of darkness and distress,
reassures us with her motherly hand.
Supported by awareness of this, let us continue confidently on our path
of Christian commitment wherever Providence may lead us. Let us forge
ahead in our lives under Mary's guidance. Thank you.