A ‘santon’ of a pregnant Virgin Mary, is seen in Nice, southern France, Friday, Dec. 22, 2006. Santons are traditional colored figurines usually set in Christmas Nativity scenes. This santon, designed by Christmas figurine maker, France‘s Dominique Coulomb of Aubagne, will be replaced by a post natal Virgin Mary at midnight on Dec. 24, Christmas Eve. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)
Pope Paul VI was born September 26, 1897 and died August 6, 1978. In his Apostolic Exhortation on Mary he points to the wonderful example of faith and prayer that Mary gave to all Christians when she conceived and carried Jesus in her womb. Let us have faith like Mary, that God wills that the children of our time have their right to life respected, and like Mary let us prayerfully exalt in the mercy and power of God.
- Mary is the attentive Virgin, who receives the word of God with faith, that faith which in her case was the gateway and path to divine motherhood, for, as Saint Augustine realized, “Blessed Mary by believing conceived Him (Jesus) whom believing she brought forth.”
- In fact, when she received from the angel the answer to her doubt (cf. Lk. 1:34-37), “full of faith, and conceiving Christ in her mind before conceiving Him in her womb, she said, ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord, let what you have said be done to me’ (Lk. 1:38).”
- It was faith that was for her the cause of blessedness and certainty in the fulfillment of her promise: “Blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled” (Lk. 1:45).
- Similarly, it was faith with which she, who played a part in the Incarnation and was a unique witness to it, thinking back on the events of the infancy of Christ, meditated upon these events in her heart (cf. Lk. 2:19,51).
- Mary is also the Virgin in prayer. She appears as such in the visit to the mother of the precursor, when she pours out her soul in expressions glorifying God, and expressions of humility, faith and hope.
- This prayer is the Magnificat (cf. Lk. 1:46-55), Mary’s prayer par excellence, the song of the messianic times in which there mingles the joy of the ancient and the new Israel. As St. Irenaeus seems to suggest, it is in Mary’s canticle that there was heard once more the rejoicing of Abraham who foresaw the Messiah (cf. Jn. 8:56 Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad.)
- “In her exultation Mary prophetically declared in the name of the Church: ‘My soul proclaims the glory of the Lord….’ And in fact Mary’s hymn has spread far and wide and has become the prayer of the whole Church in all ages.
February 2, 1974 taken from sections 17 and 18.
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