.- Pope Benedict XVI urged the people of Benin to seek Jesus Christ through the intercession and example of his mother Mary.
âShe shows us, with simplicity and with a motherâs heart, the one Light and Truth: her Son, Jesus Christ who leads humanity to its full realization in the Father,â said the Pope in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mercy in Beninâs largest city of Cotonou Nov. 18.
âLet us not be afraid to invoke, with confidence, her who ceaselessly dispenses to her children abundant divine graces.â
The cathedral visit was the Popeâs first stop after touching down in Benin. After arriving at the packed church, he prayed at the tombs of two previous bishops of CotonouâArchbishop Christoph Adimou and Archbishop Isidore de Sousa.
He described them both as âheroic workers in the vineyard of the Lord,â and gave particular mention to Archbishop de Souzaâs âdecisive roleâ in helping the countryâs transition from communism to democracy in 1991.
The Pope explained that often in the âsalvation historyâ of both individuals and nations, âdivine mercyâ consists ânot only in the remission of our sinsâ but also âthe fact that God, our Father, redirects us, sometimes not without pain, affliction or fear on our part, to the path of truth and light, for he does not wish us to be lost.â
The model of how to respond to âthe mystery of divine love,â he said, was the Virgin Mary since âby her yes to the call of God, she contributed to the manifestation of divine love in the midst of humanity.â
Thus, âshe is the Mother of Mercy by her participation in the mission of her Son: she has received the privilege of being our helper always and everywhere.â
âUnder the shelter of her mercy, deadened hearts are healed, the snares of the devil are thwarted and enemies are reconciled,â he said, adding that âin Mary, we have not only a model of perfection, but also one who helps us to realize communion with God and with our brothers and sisters.â
As âMother of Mercy,â she is âa sure guide to the disciples of her son who wish to be of service to justice, to reconciliation and to peace.â Christians should ânot be afraid to invoke, with confidence, her who ceaselessly dispenses to her children abundant divine graces.â
The Pope concluded by asking God for the help of âOur Lady of Africa,â that she may âintercede for Africa before your divine Son, and obtain for all of humanity salvation and peace!â
He then imparted his apostolic blessing before leading the congregation in the singing of the Marian anthem, the Salve Regina.