The Archbishop of Barcelona, Cardinal Lluis Martinez Sistach, encouraged the Spanish faithful this week to turn to the intercession of Mary in the difficulties of daily life, especially by visiting Marian shrines. He noted that these shrines are not tokens of the past, but are places filled with life.
In a letter to mark the Birth of Mary on September 8, the cardinal wrote that Marian shrines are also places of evangelization, as they are often visited by non-believers.
“These Marian shrines are not only vestiges of the past, they are filled with life. People visit them because they have a sense that they are a spiritual reality that belongs very much to them, as they belonged to their ancestors, their grandparents and parents.”
He continued, “Christians visit these sacred places and celebrate their faith and the most important events of their Christian lives there.”
Cardinal Sistach noted that the Gospel passage on the wedding feast at Cana teaches us that the Blessed Mother is man’s intercessor before her Son, and thus Marian shrines are places where people bring their spiritual and material needs to her.
Cardinal Sistach invited the Spanish faithful to “rediscover the human and Christian meaning of the Marian shrines of our land, so that we will visit them and seek out moments of silence, reflection, prayer, and all that which modern man has difficulty finding amidst the stressing rhythm of life.”
“The Nativity of Mary proclaims to us the birth of the Savior, the joy of Christmas … The heart and the loving gaze of Mary, the heart and the loving gaze that welcomed the Son of God into this world, and who also welcomes us,” he concluded.