"The Environmental Condition
That Most Favors Contemplation" - On Monastic Silence:
CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 13, 2011 (Zenit.org).
Here is a translation of the Italian-language catechesis Benedict XVI gave during the Aug. 10 general audience at the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo.
" And lastly, let us turn our gaze to the Virgin Mary, that
she might teach us to love silence and prayer. …"
"Bear Life's Adversities Courageously,
Trusting in God" – On Storms and Tempests: CASTEL GANDOLFO,
Italy, AUG. 13, 2011 (Zenit.org).
Here is a Vatican translation of the Italian-language address Benedict XVI delivered Aug. 7 before reciting the midday Angelus together with those gathered at the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo.
"…Let us call on the Virgin Mary, model of total entrustment to God, so that amidst the plethora of anxieties, problems and difficulties which churn up the sea of our life, may our hearts resonate with the reassuring words of Jesus who also says to us "Take heart, it is I; have no fear!"; and may our faith in him grow."
"Christ Is Attentive to Material Needs,
But He Wished to Give More" :On Compassion and Sharing–
CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 13, 2011 (Zenit.org).
Here is a Vatican translation of the Italian-language address Benedict XVI delivered July 31 before reciting the midday Angelus together with those gathered at the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo.
"…Let us entrust our prayers to the Virgin Mary, so that she may open our hearts to compassion for our neighbor and to fraternal sharing."
"Mary Was the First to Take Into Her
Arms the Son of God ... Now She Is the First to Be Next
to Him" –On the Assumption:CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG.
16, 2011 (Zenit.org).
Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave Monday before and after praying the midday Angelus on the feast of the Assumption.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
At the heart of the month of August, Christians of the
East and West celebrate jointly the Feast of the Assumption
to Heaven of Mary Most Holy. In the Catholic Church, the
dogma of the Assumption -- as was noted -- was proclaimed
during the Holy Year of 1950 by my venerable predecessor
the Servant of God, Pope Pius XII. This memorial, however,
sinks its roots in the faith of the early centuries of the
In the East, the feast is still called today the "Dormition
of the Virgin." In an ancient mosaic of the Basilica of
St. Mary Major in Rome, which is inspired precisely in the
Eastern icon of the "Dormition," the Apostles are pictured.
Alerted by the angels of the earthly end of the Mother of
Jesus, they gather around the Virgin's bed. At the center
is Jesus who holds a little girl in his arms: It is Mary,
become "little" for the Kingdom, and led by the Lord to
In the passage of St. Luke's Gospel for today's liturgy, we read that "in those days Mary rose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah" (Luke 1:39). In those days Mary went in haste from Galilee to a small city near Jerusalem, to go and meet her cousin Elizabeth. Today we contemplate her going up to the mountain of God and entering into the heavenly Jerusalem, "clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars" (Revelation 12:1).
The biblical passage of Revelation, which we read in the liturgy of this solemnity, speaks of a fight between the woman and the dragon, between good and evil. St. John seems to propose to us the very first pages of the Book of Genesis, which narrate the dark and dramatic event of Adam's and Eve's sin. Our forefathers were defeated by the Evil One; in the fullness of time, Jesus, the new Adam, and Mary, the new Eve, defeated the enemy definitively, and this is the joy of this day! With Jesus' victory over evil, interior and physical death was also defeated. Mary was the first to take into her arms the Son of God, Jesus, who became a child; now she is the first to be next to him in the glory of Heaven.
That which we celebrate today is a great mystery, and
above all a mystery of hope and of joy for all of us: In
Mary we see the end toward which all those who know how
to link their lives to that of Jesus are journeying, those
who know how to follow him as Mary did. This feast, then,
speaks of our future, it tells us that we also will be next
to Jesus in the joy of God and it invites us to have courage,
to believe that the power of the Resurrection of Christ
can operate also in us and make us men and women who every
day seek to live as risen ones, taking the light of goodness
to the darkness of evil that is in the world.
[After the Angelus, the Holy Father greeted the crowd
in several languages. In French, he said:]
On this day of the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin
Mary, I joyfully greet the French-speaking pilgrims. "Today
the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, was raised to the glory
of heaven." She thus opens to us the path of hope. On contemplating
her face, let us not hesitate to repeat our unconditional
"yes" to the Lord. Following her example, on happy days
as well as on difficult days, let us pray the Magnificat.
May the Virgin Mary watch over the Church and all families.
[In English, he said:]
I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking
visitors gathered for this Angelus prayer on the Solemnity
of the Assumption of Our Lady. May the example and prayers
of Mary, Queen of Heaven, inspire and sustain us on our
pilgrimage of faith, that we too may attain the glory of
the Resurrection and the fulfillment of our hope in her
Son's promises. Upon you and your families I invoke the
Lord's richest blessings!
[In Spanish, he said:]
I greet affectionately the Spanish-speaking
pilgrims present at this Marian prayer. The solemnity of
the glorious Assumption of the Virgin Mary, which we recall
today, opens to us the hope of the plenitude of the life
of heaven, which she has already reached and in which she
awaits us. Through the loving intercession of the Mother
of God, may abundant graces and blessings descend upon the
Church and the world.
[In Portuguese, he said:]
Dear Portuguese-speaking pilgrims:
welcome! On being raised to the glory of heaven, the Immaculate
Virgin Mary becomes the dawn and image of the heavenly Church
and a sign of consolation and hope for the pilgrim Church
on earth. May the blessings of God descend upon you and
upon your families through her maternal intercession.
[In Polish, he said:]
I greet cordially the Poles. To
Mary assumed into heaven, Mother of God and of men, I entrust
the whole Church in Poland. May Mary obtain for all believers
and people of good will an abundance of gifts and graces.
May all who have recourse to her enjoy her protection. Through
her, may God bless you!"
"The Things of God Merit Haste"-Pope's
Homily for Feast of Assumption: CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy,
AUG. 16, 2011 (Zenit.org).
Here is a translation of the homily Benedict XVI gave Monday when he celebrated Mass for the feast of the Assumption in the parish of St. Thomas of Villanova in Castel Gandolfo.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We are gathered once again to celebrate one of the oldest
and most loved feasts dedicated to Mary Most Holy: the feast
of her Assumption to the glory of heaven in soul and body,
namely, in her whole human being, in the integrity of her
person. Thus we are given the grace to renew our love for
Mary, to admire and praise her for the "great things" that
the Almighty did for her and wrought in her.
On contemplating the Virgin Mary we are given another grace:
that of also being able to see our lives in depth. Yes,
because also our daily existence, with its problems and
its hopes, receives light from the Mother of God, from her
spiritual journey, from her destiny of glory: a journey
and an end that can and must become, in some way, our own
journey and our own end. We allow ourselves to be guided
by passages of sacred Scripture that the liturgy proposes
to us today. I would like to pause, in particular, on the
image that we see in the first reading, treated by Revelation,
which Luke's Gospel echoes, namely, that of the ark.
In the first reading, we heard: "then God's temple in
heaven was opened, and the ark of the covenant was seen
within the temple" (Revelation 11:19). What is the significance
of the ark? What does it appear to be? For the Old Testament,
it is the symbol of the presence of God in the midst of
his people. But now the symbol has given way to reality.
Thus the New Testament tells us that the true ark of the
covenant is a living and concrete person: it is the Virgin
Mary. God does not dwell in a piece of furniture, God dwells
in a person, in a heart: Mary, she who bore in her womb
the Eternal Son of God made man, Jesus Our Lord and Savior.
In the ark -- as we know -- the two tablets of the law of
Moses were kept, which manifested the will of God to maintain
the covenant with his people, indicating to them the conditions
to be faithful to God's pact, to conform themselves to the
will of God and thus also to our most profound truth. Mary
is the ark of the covenant, because she received Jesus in
herself; she received the living Word in herself, the whole
content of the will of God, of the truth of God; she received
in herself him who is the new and eternal covenant, culminating
with the offering of His body and His blood: body and blood
received from Mary. Christian piety is right, therefore,
in the litanies in honor of Our Lady, to turn to her and
to invoke her as Foederis Arca, that is "ark of the covenant,"
ark of the presence of God, ark of the covenant of love
that God willed to fix definitively with the whole of humanity
The passage of Revelation indicates another important
aspect of the reality of Mary. She, living ark of the covenant,
has a destiny of extraordinary glory, because she is so
closely united to the Son whom she received in faith and
generated in the flesh, to share fully the glory of heaven.
This is what the words we heard suggest to us: "And a great
portent appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun,
with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of
twelve stars; she was with child ... she brought forth a
male child, one who is to rule all the nations" (12:1-2;
5). The greatness of Mary, Mother of God, full of grace,
fully docile to the action of the Holy Spirit, now lives
in God's heaven with her whole self, soul and body. Referring
to this mystery in a famous homily, St. John Damascene states:
"Today the holy and unique Virgin is led to the heavenly
temple .... Today the sacred ark animated by the living
God, [the ark] that bore in the womb the Architect Himself,
rests in the Lord's temple, not built by the hand of man"
(Homily on the Dormition, 2, PG 96, 723). And he continues:
"It was necessary that she who had housed in her womb the
divine Logos, was transformed into the tabernacle of her
Son. ... It was necessary that the Bride that the Father
chose, dwell in the nuptial room of heaven" (Ibid., 14,
PG 96. 742).
Today the Church sings the immense love of God for this,
His creature: He chose her as true "ark of the covenant,"
as she who continues to generate and to give Christ the
Savior to humanity, as she who in heaven shares the fullness
of glory and enjoys the very happiness of God and, at the
same time, invites us also to become, in our modest way,
an "ark" in which the Word of God is present, which is transformed
and vivified by His presence, a place of God's presence,
so that men may be able to see in their neighbor the closeness
of God and thus live in communion with God and know the
reality of heaven.
Luke's Gospel that we just heard (cf. Luke 1:39-56) shows
us this living ark, which is Mary, in movement: having left
her Nazareth home, Mary journeys to the mountains to reach
in haste a city of Judah and to go to the home of Zechariah
and Elizabeth. I think it is important to stress the expression
"in haste": The things of God merit haste. Indeed the only
things of the world that merit haste are in fact those of
God, which have real urgency for our life. Then Mary entered
this home of Zechariah and Elizabeth, but she did not go
in alone. She entered bearing in her womb her Son, who is
God Himself made man. Certainly she and her help were awaited
in that home, but the Evangelist leads us to understand
that this awaiting refers to another, more profound. Zechariah,
Elizabeth and the small John the Baptist are, in fact, the
symbol of all the righteous of Israel, whose heart, rich
in hope, awaits the coming of the Messiah Savior. And it
is the Holy Spirit who opens Elizabeth's eyes and makes
her recognize in Mary the true ark of the covenant, the
Mother of God, who comes to visit her. And thus the elderly
cousin receives her exclaiming with "a loud cry": "Blessed
are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should
come to me?" (Luke 1:42-43). And it is the Holy Spirit himself
that before her who carries the God made man, opens the
heart of John the Baptist in Elizabeth's womb. Elizabeth
exclaims: "For behold, when the voice of your greeting came
to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy" (verse 44).
Here the Evangelist Luke uses the term "skirtan," namely
"leap," the same term that we find in one of the ancient
Greek translations of the Old Testament to describe the
dance of King David before the holy ark that finally returned
to the homeland (2 Samuel 6:16). John the Baptist dances
in his mother's womb before the ark of the covenant, like
David and thus recognizes that Mary is the new ark of the
covenant, before whom the heart exults with joy, the Mother
of God present in the world, who does not keep to herself
this divine presence, but offers it sharing the grace of
God. And thus -- as the prayer states -- Mary is really
"cause of our joy," the "ark" in which the Savior is really
present among us.
Dear brothers! We are speaking of Mary, but in a certain
sense, we are speaking also of ourselves, of each one of
us: We are also recipients of that immense love that God
has reserved -- certainly, in an absolutely unique and unrepeatable
way -- for Mary. In this solemnity of the Assumption we
look at Mary: She opens us to hope, to a future full of
joy and teaches us the way to reach it: to receive her Son
in faith; never to lose our friendship with Him, but to
allow ourselves to be illumined and guided by His word;
to follow him every day, even in the moments in which we
feel that our crosses are heavy. Mary, the ark of the covenant
that is in the sanctuary of heaven, points out to us with
luminous clarity that we are on the way to our true Home,
to communion of joy and peace with God. Amen!"
"Consistency in Giving Time to God
Is a Fundamental Element for Spiritual Growth"-On Meditation:
CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 17, 2011 (Zenit.org).
Here is a translation of the Italian-language catechesis Benedict XVI gave today during the general audience held at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We are still in the light of the Feast of the Assumption, which -- as I said -- is a feast of hope. Mary has arrived in heaven, and this is our destination: We can all reach heaven. The question is: How.
Mary has arrived there, "she" -- the Gospel says -- "who
believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken
to her from the Lord" (Luke 1:45). Therefore, Mary believed;
she entrusted herself to God; she entered with her own [will]
into the Lord's will, and thus it was that she truly took
the most direct route on the road to heaven. To believe,
to entrust oneself to the Lord, to enter into His will:
This is the essential course.
Today, I do not wish to speak about the whole journey
of faith, but only about a small aspect of the life of prayer,
which is a life of contact with God; namely, about meditation.
And what is meditation? It means to "remember" all that
God has done and not to forget all His benefits (cf. Psalm
103:2b). Often, we see only the negative things. We also
need to remember the good things, the gifts that God has
given us; we need to be attentive to the positive signs
that come from God, and remember these. Therefore, we are
speaking about a kind of prayer that the Christian tradition
calls "mental prayer." We are more familiar with vocal prayer,
and naturally the mind and heart must also be present in
this prayer, but today we are speaking about a meditation
that consists not in words but in our mind making contact
with the heart of God.
And here Mary is a true model. The Evangelist Luke repeats
numerous times that Mary, for her part, "kept all these
things, pondering them in her heart" (2:19; cf. 2:51). She
keeps them; she does not forget. She is attentive to all
that the Lord has said and done to her, and she ponders;
that is, she makes contact with diverse things -- she dwells
deeply upon them in her heart.
She, therefore, who "believed" the announcement of the angel and became an instrument so that the Eternal Word of the Most High might become incarnate, also welcomed in her heart the wonderful miracle of the human-divine birth; she pondered it, she dwelt deeply upon all that God was doing in her, so that she might welcome the divine will in her life and conform to it. The mystery of the incarnation of God's Son, and of the maternity of Mary, is so great [a mystery] that it requires a process of interiorization. It is not only something physical that God accomplishes in her; rather, it is something that demands an interiorization from Mary, who seeks to understand it more deeply, seeks to interpret its meaning, to understand its implications. Thus, day after day, in the silence of ordinary life, Mary continued to keep in her heart the wondrous events she subsequently witnessed, even to the extreme trial of the Cross and the glory of the Resurrection. Mary fully lived her existence, her daily duties, her mission as mother, but she knew how to preserve within herself an interior space for reflection on the word and the will of God, on all that was occurring in her, on the mysteries of the life of her Son.
In our own time, we are absorbed with so many activities and commitments, concerns and problems. Often, we tend to fill up all the spaces of the day, without having a moment to stop and reflect and to nourish our spiritual life -- our contact with God. Mary teaches us how necessary it is to find in our days -- with all their activities -- moments to recollect ourselves in silence and to ponder all that the Lord wants to teach us, how He is present and acts in the world and in our life: to be able to stop for a moment and meditate.
The holy rosary is also a prayer of meditation: In repeating the Hail Mary we are invited to think back and to reflect upon the mystery we have announced. …
The Holy Father then greeted the people in various languages. In English, he said:
I offer a cordial welcome to all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors here today, especially those from Malta, South Korea, Nigeria and Canada. Through the intercession of our Lady, whose Assumption we celebrated on Monday, may you and your loved ones draw ever closer to Jesus her Son. …"
"Our Heart Must Live the Experience of Conversion Every Day"-On Nourishing Faith: CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 16, 2011 (Zenit.org).
Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave
Sunday before and after praying the midday Angelus with
those gathered at the pontifical summer residence in Castel
…We invoke the intercession of the Virgin Mary, whom tomorrow we will contemplate in her glorious Assumption to heaven in soul and body, so that she will help us to proclaim and to witness with our life the joy of having found the Lord.
…I greet affectionately the Italian pilgrims, in particular the faithful of Latina, gathered here with the pro "Stella Maris" torch. …"
"Build Your Lives Upon the Firm Foundation Which Is Christ"-Pope's Response to Youth Welcome Ceremony: MADRID, Spain, AUG. 18, 2011 (Zenit.org).
Here is the second address that Benedict XVI delivered
today at the welcome ceremony with the youth, held in Madrid's
"…I commend the fruits of this World Youth Day to the
most holy Virgin Mary, who said "Yes" to the will of God,
and teaches us a unique example of fidelity to her divine
son, whom she followed to his death upon the Cross. Let
us meditate upon this more deeply in the Stations of the
Cross. And let us pray that, like her, our "Yes" to Christ
today may also be an unconditional "Yes" to His friendship,
both at the end of this Day and throughout our entire lives.
Thank you very much."
Pope "Discovery of the Living God Inspires Young People"- Pope's Words Upon Arriving in Spain:MADRID, Spain, AUG. 18, 2011 (Zenit.org).
Here is the Vatican translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered today at the welcome ceremony, held at the State Pavilion of the Madrid-Barajas Airport, on the first day of his four-day trip to Spain.
"…Entrusting this meeting to the most holy Virgin Mary,
and to the patron saints of this Day, I ask God always to
bless and protect the sons and daughters of Spain…."
"The Cross Was Not a Sign of Failure, but an Expression of Self-Giving in Love"-Benedict XVI's Reflection on Way of the Cross:MADRID, Spain, AUG. 19, 2011 (Zenit.org).
Here is the address Benedict XVI delivered at the end of
a celebration of the Way of the Cross with young people
at Plaza de Cibeles. The event is part of the twenty-sixth
World Youth Day, which is under way through Sunday.
"…Let us turn our gaze now to the Virgin Mary, who was given to us on Calvary to be our Mother, and let us ask her to sustain us with her loving protection along the path of life, particularly when we pass through the night of suffering, so that we may be able to remain steadfast, as she did, at the foot of the Cross."
"You Provide a Splendid Service in the Spread of Truth"-Holy Father's Words to University Professors: MADRID, Spain, AUG. 19, 2011 (Zenit.org).
Here is a Vatican translation of the address Benedict
XVI delivered today upon addressing a gathering of young
university professors at the Basilica of the Monastery of
San Lorenzo de El Escorial in Madrid. The Pope is in the
Spanish capital to preside at the twenty-sixth World Youth
Day, which is under way through Sunday.
"…I invoke upon you the protection of the Virgin Mary, Seat of Wisdom. May she help you to cooperate with her Son by living a life which is personally satisfying and which brings forth rich fruits of knowledge and faith for your students."
"We Need That Radicalism to Which Your Consecration ... Bears Witness"-Pontiff's Address to Young Women Religious: MADRID, Spain, AUG. 19, 2011 (Zenit.org).
Here is a Vatican translation of the address Benedict XVI
delivered today upon addressing a gathering of young women
religious at the Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial
in Madrid. The Pope is in the Spanish capital to preside
at the twenty-sixthWorld Youth Day, which is under way through
…"I pray that the Virgin Mary may sustain and accompany your consecrated youth, with the lively desire that it will challenge, nourish and illumine all young people."
"We Have to Be Saints"-Papal Homily at Mass With Seminarians: MADRID, Spain, AUG. 20, 2011 (Zenit.org).
Here is a Vatican translation of the homily Benedict XVI
gave today when he celebrated Mass with seminarians during
the context of the twenty-sixth World Youth Day, under way
"…look above all to the Virgin Mary, Mother of Priests.
She will know how to mould your hearts according to the
model of Christ, her divine Son, and she will teach you
how to treasure forever all that He gained on Calvary for
the salvation of the world. Amen."
"The Lives of These Young People Surely Touch Human Hearts"-Pope's Address to Youth With Illnesses and Disabilities: MADRID, Spain, AUG. 20, 2011 (Zenit.org).
Here is a Vatican translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today upon his visit to the Foundation of Saint Joseph's Institute.
"…Jesus and, in his footsteps, His Sorrowful Mother and
the saints, are witnesses who shows us how to experience
the tragedy of suffering for our own good and for the salvation
of the world, …"
"The World Needs the Witness of Your Faith, It Surely Needs God"-Pope's Homily at Closing Youth Day Mass: MADRID, Spain, AUG. 21, 2011 (Zenit.org).
Here is a Vatican translation of the words Benedict XVI delivered today before and during the closing Mass of the 2011 World Youth Day, held at Cuatro Vientos Air Base in Madrid.
"…I commend all of you to the Virgin Mary and I ask her to accompany you always by her maternal intercession and to teach you how to remain faithful to God's word."
"Spread Throughout the World the Profound and Joyful Experience of Faith"-Benedict XVI's Farewell Address to Spain: MADRID, Spain, AUG. 21, 2011 (Zenit.org).
Here is a Vatican translation of the address Benedict XVI
delivered today at the departure ceremony of the Pope's
visit to Spain, held at the International Airport of Madrid
Barajas. The Holy Father was in the nation's capital to
preside at the twenty-sixth World Youth Day.
"…I entrust the sons and daughters of this noble land to the intercession of the Virgin Mary, our heavenly Mother, and to them all I willingly impart my blessing."
"The Cross of Christ Gives Much More Than It Demands"-On World Youth Day 2011: CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 24, 2011 (Zenit.org).
Here is a translation of the Italian-language catechesis Benedict XVI gave today during the general audience held at Castel Gandolfo.
"…I entrust the fruits of this day to the maternal intercession
"To Think According to the World Is to Put God Aside"-On Thinking Like God and Accepting the Cross: CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 28, 2011 (Zenit.org).
Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today before praying the midday Angelus with crowds that gathered at Castel Gandolfo.
"…We entrust our prayer to the Virgin Mary and to St. Augustine, whose memorial is today, so that each one of us will be able to follow the Lord on the way of the cross and allow ourselves to be transformed by divine grace, renewing our way of thinking, so that we "may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect" (Romans 12:2)."
Art "Is like a Door Opened to the
Infinite"-On Beauty as a Way to God: CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy,
AUG. 31, 2011 (Zenit.org).
Here is a translation of the Italian-language catechesis Benedict XVI gave today during the general audience.
"…In 1886, the famous French poet, playwright and diplomat Paul Claudel entered the Basilica of Notre Dame in Paris and there felt the presence of God precisely in listening to the singing of the Magnificat during the Christmas Mass. He had not entered the church for reasons of faith; indeed, he entered looking for arguments against Christianity, but instead the grace of God changed his heart."