.- Benedict XVI made a special plea to Mary for her intercession for peace in the world on Sunday, the Feast of the Queenship of Mary. Explaining her role as Queen of the world and her participation in her Son's mystery, he asked for the Blessed Virgin's help to persuade men to build a "civilization of love."
Among the many groups in attendance for the Marian prayer with the Pope at Castel Gandolfo were a contingent of Orthodox Christians from Galilee and a number of priests from the Legionaries of Christ. At the end of the audience, a youth band played a brief piece and was complimented for their "good music" by the Pope himself.
Speaking of the significance of the Marian feast before the Angelus, Benedict XVI explained that on this day the Church contemplates the Mother of Christ crowned by her Son, a crown which represents her role in "universal sovereignty." The fact that this year's feast, like the Assumption last week, falls on the Sabbath gives it a "greater light from the word of God," said the Pope.
"In particular," he explained, "the icon of the Virgin Mary Queen finds a significant confirmation in today's Gospel, where Jesus asserts, 'behold, those who are last will be first, and those who are first will be last'."
This "typical" expression of Christ can be found phrased in different ways throughout the Gospels, observed the Pope, so it "clearly reflects a theme dear to his prophetic preaching."
And, he pointed out, "the Madonna is the perfect example of this evangelical truth ... that God lowers the proud and the powerful of this world and raises the humble.
"The small and simple girl of Nazareth became the Queen of the world! This is one of the marvels that reveal the heart of God."
The "sovereignty of Mary" is "completely relative to that of Christ," who was exalted by the Father above every creature, the Pope explained. "(B)y the design of grace, the Immaculate Mother was fully associated with the mystery of the Son â¦ (She) shared with the Son not only the human aspects of this mystery, but, through the work of the Holy Spirit in her, also the profound intention, the divine will, in a way that all her existence, poor and humble, was elevated, transformed, glorified, passing through the 'narrow gate' that is Jesus himself.â
"Yes," said the Pope, "Mary was the first to pass through the open 'way' of Christ to enter into the Kingdom of God, a way accessible to all men, to all who trust the Word of God and work to put it into practice."
Throughout Christian history, he concluded, there has been public veneration of the Virgin Mary and "today we wish more than anything to renew, as children of the Church, our devotion to her whom Jesus left us as Mother and Queen.
"We entrust to her intercession the daily prayer for peace, especially where the absurd logic of violence is most rampant; so that all men are persuaded that in this world we must help each other as brothers to build a civilization of love.
"Maria, Regina pacis, ora pro nobis!" the Pope exclaimed before leading the Angelus prayer.