discourse to the faithful who gathered at the shrine, he recalled
several points that he made in his first encyclical, Deus caritas est.
shrine, I renew my invitation that was expressed in Deus caritas est:
let us live love and, in this way, we will allow the light of God to
shine in the world,” he said.
one-hour visit to the shrine on the first day of May launched what is
considered the month of Mary in the Church. He led the recitation of
the rosary in the old sanctuary and prayed privately in the new
sanctuary, which was consecrated by Pope John Paul II in 1999. He
recalled his predecessor’s first visit to the sanctuary in 1979.
“It is a comfort
for me to be here with you today to recite the rosary in this Shrine of
Our Lady of Divine Love, in which we express great affection for the
Virgin Mary, rooted in the soul and history of the Roman people,” he
said, following the prayer.
He noted how the
Joyful Mysteries “allow the beginnings of our salvation to pass before
the eyes of our heart… We have contemplated the docile faith of Mary,
who trusts God without reserve and places herself fully in his hands.”
The link that
unites Mary and the Holy Spirit was clear throughout her life, from the
moment of her Immaculate Conception, to her fiat, to her Assumption
into heaven at the end of her earthly life, the Pope said.
encyclical Deus caritas est I wrote that Mary is a woman who loves,” he
stated. “Yes, dear brothers and sisters, Mary is the fruit and the sign
of the love God has for us, of his tenderness and of his mercy.
reason, together with our brothers in the faith of every time and
place, we turn to her in our needs and hopes, and in the difficulties
of life,” he said.
The Pope noted
that many people will likely make a pilgrimage to the shrine in May and
said he expected “strong spiritual support” to emanate from the shrine
for the Diocese of Rome, for its bishops and clergy, for families,
vocations, the poor, children, the elderly, all those who suffer and
the nation of Italy.
“We also await
the interior strength to fulfill the promise made by the Romans June 4,
1944, when they solemnly asked Our Lady of Divine Love to spare this
city from the horrors of war,” he said. The promise was to correct and
improve one’s personal moral conduct and conform it more to that of
The Pope also
recalled the victims, civilians and troops, in last week’s attack in
Nassiriya, Iraq. “We entrust them to the intercession of Mary, Queen of
Peace,” he concluded.
to God, who is a God of Love, is necessary today for the world to be
“liberated from war and terrorism,” said Pope Benedict XVI Monday
during his papal visit to the Italian Shrine of Our Lady of Divine