As May’s last day came to a close on Saturday, Cardinal Angelo Comastri and Pope Benedict held a celebration to mark the end of the month of Mary. In his words on Mary, the Pope pointed to how her Magnificat remains the truest and most insightful understanding of history.
The celebration of Mary’s month took place at St. Peter’s Square at 8 o’clock in the evening and was presided over by Cardinal Angelo Comastri, the archpriest of the Vatican Basilica. The cardinal led the faithful in the recitation of the Rosary while a statue of the Virgin Mary was carried around the square in procession. Following the Marian prayer, Pope Benedict spoke to the faithful about Mary as a model for Christians.
The Pope began by recalling how today marks the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin and that of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and he also noted how "during the month of May many Christian communities have the beautiful custom of solemnly reciting the Rosary in families and in parishes."
"May this habit not cease, rather may it be continued with greater commitment so that, at the school of May, the lamp of faith may shine ever more brightly in the hearts of Christians and in their homes."
The Holy Father then turned to reflect on the events of Mary’s life.
Following the Annunciation of the Archangel, "Mary found herself with a great mystery closed in her womb; she knew that something unique had happened; she was aware that the last chapter in the history of the salvation of the world had begun," the Pope said.
Another poignant moment in the life of the Virgin Mary is her visit to her cousin Elizabeth who, "illuminated from on high, exclaimed: 'Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leapt for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord!"
The Holy Father explained how Elizabeth's words "awoke in Mary's soul a hymn of praise which is a real and profound 'theological' reading of history: a reading that we must learn continually from the Woman whose faith was unshadowed and unbroken. 'My soul magnifies the Lord'. Mary recognized God's greatness. This is the first and indispensable sentiment of the faith, the sentient that gives human beings security and frees them from fear, despite the storms of history."
"Her faith enabled her to see that the thrones of the powerful of this world are all transitory, while the throne of God is the only rock that does not change and does not fall. After centuries and millennia, her Magnificat remains the truest and most profound interpretation of history, while the theories of so many wise men of this world have been disproved by the facts over the course of the centuries."
"Let us return home with the Magnificat in our hearts", Benedict XVI concluded. "Let us carry Mary's same feelings of praise and gratitude towards the Lord, her faith and her hope, her meek abandonment in the hands of Divine Providence. Let us imitate her example of readiness and generosity in serving our fellow man. Indeed, only by welcoming God's love and making our existence a form of disinterested and generous service to others, will we be able to raise a joyful hymn of praise to the Lord. May we receive this grace through the Blessed Virgin, who this evening invites us to find refuge in her Immaculate Heart."