.- Marking the traditional end of the month of May, Pope Benedict XVI addressed faithful who had processed from the Church of St. Stephen of the Abyssinians to the Vatican garden’s Grotto of Lourdes, and told called them to imitate Mary as she carried Christ to the world. The Pope gave special recognition to Mary, the Mother of God and spoke within the context of this, the year of the Eucharist.
The procession took place at 8 p.m. yesterday, and was presided at by Archbishop Angelo Comastri, vicar general of His Holiness for Vatican City State.
Pope Benedict arrived at the Grotto shortly after; at 9 p.m. where he imparted his apostolic blessing delivered a brief address.
He told those gathered that, "In the special Year of the Eucharist through which we are currently living…Mary helps us especially to discover" this great Sacrament. In today's feast we recall the visit by the Virgin to her cousin St. Elizabeth, an elderly woman "whom everyone considered sterile but who had, in fact, reached the sixth month of a pregnancy donated by God."
The Pope noted that at this point, Mary was carrying the recently-conceived Jesus in her womb, and that she "is a young girl, but she is not afraid because God is with her, He is within her."
Benedict stressed that, "in a certain way, we can say that her journey was - and we are pleased to highlight this in the Year of the Eucharist - the first 'Eucharistic procession' of history. Living tabernacle of God-made-flesh, Mary is the Ark of the Covenant in whom the Lord has visited and redeemed His people. Jesus' presence fills her with the Holy Spirit."
The Pope highlighted the fact that Mary’s meeting with Elizabeth "finds expression in the canticle of the Magnificat," and asked, "is not this too the joy of the Church, that incessantly welcomes Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and carries Him to the world with the testimony of assiduous charity permeated by faith and hope?”
“Yes,” he said, “to welcome Christ and to take Him to others is the true joy of Christians! Dear brothers and sisters, let us carry on and imitate Mary, a deeply Eucharistic soul, and all our lives will become a Magnificat. Let this be the grace that, together this evening, we ask of the Most Holy Virgin at the close of the month of May."