"Sanctity ... Is the Objective of a Christian's Life"- Angelus Address on All Saints' Day, November 1, 2010
… We entrust to the Virgin Mary, sure guide to sanctity, our pilgrimage toward the heavenly homeland, while we invoke her maternal intercession for the eternal rest of our brothers and sisters, who have fallen asleep in the hope of resurrection.
On Marguerite d'Oingt: "The God-Love That Reveals Himself in Christ Fascinated Her" – General Audience, November 2, 2010
... Referring to Mary, she said: It was no wonder that the sword that destroyed your body also penetrated the heart of your glorious Mother who so wanted to support you [...] because your love was higher than all other loves" (Ibid., Meditazione II, 36-39.42, p. 60f). Dear friends, Marguerite d'Oingt invites us to meditate daily on the life of sorrow and love of Jesus and of his mother, Mary. Here is our hope, the meaning of our existence. From contemplation of Christ's love for us are born the strength and joy to respond with the same love, placing our life at the service of God and of others.
Message to Justice and Peace Council: "The Great Human Family Awaits ... Words of Hope"- November 3, 2010
… May the Virgin Mary, honored by the Christian people as "Speculum Iustitiae" [mirror of justice] and "Regina Pacis" [queen of peace], protect us and obtain for us with her heavenly intercession the strength, hope and joy necessary to continue dedicating ourselves with generosity to the realization of a new evangelization of the social realm.
Message to New Seminary in Cuba: Entrusts Institution to Our Lady of Charity of Cobre – November 5, 2010
…. With these wishes, the Holy Father, while entrusting the whole community of that teaching institution to the protection of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, who under the title of Our Lady of Charity of Cobre is invoked with fervor in the beloved Cuban nation, imparts his heartfelt special apostolic blessing, which he gladly extends to all those who contributed generously in the construction of the new building and to the participants in the inaugural celebration.
Homily at Gaudí's Holy Family Church: "Beauty ... Calls Us to Freedom and Draws Us Away From Selfishness" – Barcelona, November 7, 2010
… This church began as an initiative of the Association of the Friends of Saint Joseph, who wanted to dedicate it to the Holy Family of Nazareth. The home formed by Jesus, Mary and Joseph has always been regarded as a school of love, prayer and work.
Finally, I wish to commend to the loving protection of the Mother of God, Mary Most Holy, April Rose, Mother of Mercy, all who enter here and all who in word or deed, in silence and prayer, have made this possible this marvel of architecture. May Our Lady present to her divine Son the joys and tribulations of all who come in the future to this sacred place so that here, as the Church prays when dedicating religious buildings, the poor may find mercy, the oppressed true freedom and all men may take on the dignity of the children of God. Amen.
On the Sagrada Familia: "A Hymn of Praise to God Carved in Stone"- Angelus Address in Barcelona, November 7, 2010
… Today I had the great joy of dedicating this church to him who, being the Son of the Most High, emptied himself and became man, and who, under the watchful care of Joseph and Mary, in the silence of the home of Nazareth, taught us without words of the dignity and the primordial value of marriage and the family, the hope of humanity, in which life finds its welcome from conception to natural death.…
Filled with devotion to the Holy Family of Nazareth, a devotion spread among the Catalan people by St. Joseph Manyanet, the genius of Antoni Gaudí, inspired by the ardor of his Christian faith, succeeded in raising this sanctuary as a hymn of praise to God carved in stone.… For this reason, he conceived of the three porticos of the exterior of the church as a catechesis on the life of Jesus Christ, as a great Rosary, which is the prayer of ordinary people, a prayer in which are contemplated the joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries of our Lord.…
This morning I also had the satisfaction of declaring this church a minor basilica. In it, men and women of every continent can contemplate the façade of the Nativity. In prayer, let us now consider the mystery of the Incarnation and lift up our prayer to the Mother of God with the words of the Angel, as we entrust our lives and the life of the entire Church to her, while imploring the gift of peace for each and every person of good will.
To Members of Eucharistic Congress Committee: "The Eucharist, Communion with Christ and Among Ourselves" – November 11, 2010
… Dear brothers and sisters, the Eucharistic apostolate to which you dedicate your efforts is very precious. Persevere in it with commitment and passion, encouraging and spreading Eucharistic devotion in all its expressions. Enclosed in the Eucharist is the treasure of the Church, namely, Christ himself, who on the Cross immolated himself for the salvation of humanity. I support your appreciated service with the assurance of my prayer, through the intercession of Mary Most Holy, and with the apostolic blessing, which I impart to you from my heart, to your loved ones, and to your collaborators.
VERBUM DOMINI - "The Word of the Lord Abides Forever" – Post-synodal apostolic exhortation drawing from the twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, held Oct. 5-26, 2008. The assembly reflected on the theme "The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church.” The document was signed on September 30, and published on November 11
… But this same Word, Saint John tells us, “became flesh” (Jn 1:14); hence Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary, is truly the Word of God who has become consubstantial with us. Thus the expression “word of God” here refers to the person of Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of the Father, made man.…
itself speaks of the presence of the Holy Spirit in
salvation history and particularly in the life of
Jesus: he was conceived of the Virgin Mary by the
power of the Holy Spirit (cf. Mt 1:18; Lk
1:35); at the beginning of his public mission, on
the banks of the Jordan, he sees the Holy Spirit
descend on him in the form of a dove (cf. Mt
3:16); in this same Spirit Jesus acts, speaks and
rejoices (cf. Lk 10:21); and in the Spirit he
offers himself up (cf. Heb 9:14). … Finally,
in the Acts of the Apostles, we read that the
Spirit descended on the Twelve gathered in prayer
with Mary on the day of Pentecost (cf. 2:1-4), and
impelled them to take up the mission of proclaiming
to all peoples the Good News. The word of God is
thus expressed in human words thanks to the working
of the Holy Spirit. The missions of the Son and the
Holy Spirit are inseparable and constitute a single
economy of salvation. The same Spirit who acts in
the incarnation of the Word in the womb of the
Virgin Mary is the Spirit who guides Jesus
throughout his mission and is promised to the
A key concept for understanding the sacred text as the word of God in human words is certainly that of inspiration. Here too we can suggest an analogy: as the word of God became flesh by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, so sacred Scripture is born from the womb of the Church by the power of the same Spirit.…
Mary, “Mother of God’s Word” and “Mother of Faith”
The Synod Fathers declared that the basic aim of
the Twelfth Assembly was “to renew the Church’s
faith in the word of God.” To do so, we need to look
to the one in whom the interplay between the word of
God and faith was brought to perfection, that is, to
the Virgin Mary, “who by her ‘yes’ to the word of
the covenant and her mission, perfectly fulfills the
divine vocation of humanity.” The human reality
created through the word finds its most perfect
image in Mary’s obedient faith. From the
Annunciation to Pentecost she appears as a woman
completely open to the will of God. She is the
Immaculate Conception, the one whom God made “full
of grace” (cf. Lk 1:28) and unconditionally
docile to his word (cf. Lk 1:38). Her
obedient faith shapes her life at every moment
before God’s plan. A Virgin ever attentive to God’s
word, she lives completely attuned to that word; she
treasures in her heart the events of her Son,
piecing them together as if in a single mosaic (cf.
In our day the faithful need to be helped to see
more clearly the link between Mary of Nazareth and
the faith-filled hearing of God’s word. I would
encourage scholars as well to study the relationship
between Mariology and the theology of the word.
This could prove most beneficial both for the
spiritual life and for theological and biblical
studies. Indeed, what the understanding of the faith
has enabled us to know about Mary stands at the
heart of Christian truth. The incarnation of the
word cannot be conceived apart from the freedom of
this young woman who by her assent decisively
cooperated with the entrance of the eternal into
time. Mary is the image of the Church in attentive
hearing of the word of God, which took flesh in her.
Mary also symbolizes openness to God and others; an
active listening which interiorizes and assimilates,
one in which the word becomes a way of life.
Here I would like to mention Mary’s familiarity
with the word of God. This is clearly evident in the
Magnificat. There we see in some sense how
she identifies with the word, enters into it; in
this marvelous canticle of faith, the Virgin sings
the praises of the Lord in his own words: “The
Magnificat – a portrait, so to speak, of her
soul – is entirely woven from threads of Holy
Scripture, threads drawn from the word of God. Here
we see how completely at home Mary is with the word
of God, with ease she moves in and out of it. She
speaks and thinks with the word of God; the word of
God becomes her word, and her word issues from the
word of God. Here we see how her thoughts are
attuned to the thoughts of God, how her will is one
with the will of God. Since Mary is completely
imbued with the word of God, she is able to become
the Mother of the Word Incarnate.”
Furthermore, in looking to the Mother of God, we
see how God’s activity in the world always engages
our freedom, because through faith the divine word
transforms us. Our apostolic and pastoral work can
never be effective unless we learn from Mary how to
be shaped by the working of God within us: “devout
and loving attention to the figure of Mary as the
model and archetype of the Church’s faith is of
capital importance for bringing about in our day a
concrete paradigm shift in the Church’s relation
with the word, both in prayerful listening and in
generous commitment to mission and proclamation.”
As we contemplate in the Mother of God a life
totally shaped by the word, we realize that we too
are called to enter into the mystery of faith,
whereby Christ comes to dwell in our lives. Every
Christian believer, Saint Ambrose reminds us, in
some way interiorly conceives and gives birth to the
word of God: even though there is only one Mother of
Christ in the flesh, in the faith Christ is the
progeny of us all. Thus, what took place for Mary
can daily take place in each of us, in the hearing
of the word and in the celebration of the
… intrinsic link
between the word and faith makes clear that
authentic biblical hermeneutics can only be had
within the faith of the Church, which has its
paradigm in Mary’s fiat.…
Only in silence can
the word of God find a home in us, as it did in
Mary, woman of the word and, inseparably, woman of
silence. Our liturgies must facilitate this attitude
of authentic listening: Verbo crescente, verba
To all my brother
Bishops I recommend frequent personal reading and
study of sacred Scripture, in imitation of Mary,
Virgo Audiens and Queen of the Apostles.…
We find the supreme synthesis and fulfilment of
this process in the Mother of God. For every member
of the faithful Mary is the model of docile
acceptance of God’s word, for she “kept all these
things, pondering them in her heart” (Lk
2:19; cf. 2:51); she discovered the profound bond
which unites, in God’s great plan, apparently
disparate events, actions and things.…
The word of God and Marian prayer
Mindful of the inseparable bond between the word
of God and Mary of Nazareth, along with the Synod
Fathers I urge that Marian prayer be encouraged
among the faithful, above all in life of families,
since it is an aid to meditating on the holy
mysteries found in the Scriptures. A most helpful
aid, for example, is the individual or communal
recitation of the Holy Rosary, which ponders the
mysteries of Christ’s life in union with Mary, and
which Pope John Paul II wished to enrich with the
mysteries of light. It is fitting that the
announcement of each mystery be accompanied by a
brief biblical text pertinent to that mystery, so as
to encourage the memorization of brief biblical
passages relevant to the mysteries of Christ’s life.
The Synod also recommended that the faithful be
encouraged to pray the Angelus. This prayer,
simple yet profound, allows us “to commemorate daily
the mystery of the Incarnate Word.
It is only right that the People of God, families
and communities of consecrated persons, be faithful
to this Marian prayer traditionally recited at
sunrise, midday and sunset. In the Angelus we
ask God to grant that, through Mary’s intercession,
we may imitate her in doing his will and in
welcoming his word into our lives. This practice can
help us to grow in an authentic love for the mystery
of the incarnation.
The ancient prayers of the Christian East which
contemplate the entire history of salvation in the
light of the Theotokos, the Mother of God,
are likewise worthy of being known, appreciated and
widely used. Here particular mention can be made of
the Akathist and Paraklesis prayers.
These hymns of praise, chanted in the form of a
litany and steeped in the faith of the Church and in
references to the Bible, help the faithful to
meditate on the mysteries of Christ in union with
Mary. In particular, the venerable Akathist
hymn to the Mother of God – so-called because it is
sung while standing – represents one of the highest
expressions of the Marian piety of the Byzantine
tradition. Praying with these words opens wide the
heart and disposes it to the peace that is from
above, from God, to that peace which is Christ
himself, born of Mary for our salvation.
The word of God and the Holy Land
As we call to mind the Word of God who became
flesh in the womb of Mary of Nazareth, our heart now
turns to the land where the mystery of our salvation
was accomplished, and from which the word of God
spread to the ends of the earth.…
“Mater Verbi et Mater laetitiae”
This close relationship between God’s word and joy is evident in the
Mother of God. Let us recall the words of Saint
Elizabeth: “Blessed is she who believed that there
would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by
the Lord.” (Lk 1:45) Mary is blessed because
she has faith, because she believed, and in this
faith she received the Word of God into her womb in
order to give him to the world. The joy born of the
Word can now expand to all those who, by faith, let
themselves be changed by God’s word. The Gospel
of Luke presents this mystery of hearing and joy
in two texts. Jesus says: “My mother and my brothers
are those who hear the word of God and do it.”
(8:21) And in reply to a woman from the crowd who
blesses the womb that bore him and the breasts that
nursed him, Jesus reveals the secret of true joy:
“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God
and obey it!” (11:28) Jesus points out Mary’s true
grandeur, making it possible for each of us to
attain that blessedness which is born of the word
received and put into practice.
Address to Members of Culture Council - "A Christian Life Lived to the Full Speaks for Itself" – November 13, 2010
… Dear friends, I thank you for what you do daily with competence and dedication and, as I entrust you to Mary Most Holy, from my heart I impart to all the apostolic blessing.
On Agricultural Work: "This Is the Moment for the Reevaluation of Agriculture" – Angelus Address, November 14, 2010
… Let us pray to the Virgin Mary that these reflections can serve as a stimulus to the international community, while we give our thanks to God for the fruits of the earth and the work of man.
Message to Health Care Conference: "The Bond Between Justice and Charity ... Is Very Close"- November 15, 2010
… In praying for the maternal protection of the Virgin Mary, "Salus infirmorum," I impart my heartfelt Apostolic Blessing which I extend also to your families.
On the Solemnity of Christ the King: "Jesus, from the Throne of the Cross Receives Every Man With Infinite Mercy" – Angelus Address, November 21, 2010
… To the Virgin Mary, in today's observance of her Presentation in the Temple, we entrust the new members of the College of Cardinals and our earthly pilgrimage toward eternity.
In Italian he said:
… In today's memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Temple the Church remembers cloistered men and women with particular affection: it is "Pro Orantibus Day" in which the invitation to concretely support these communities is renewed. To them I impart the apostolic blessing from my heart.
Address to Twenty-four New Cardinals: "I Encourage You to Continue in Your Spiritual and Apostolic Mission" – November 22, 2010
… I invoke on you and on those present the
maternal protection of the Virgin Mary, Mother of the
Church, and of martyr St. Cecilia, whose memorial we
celebrate today. May the patroness of music and bel canto
accompany and support you in your commitment to be in the
Church attentive listeners of the different voices, to
render more profound the unity of hearts. With such
sentiments I impart with affection to you and to all those
present a special apostolic blessing.
Message to Cor Unum Retreat: "Renew Your Commitment to Be of Service to Your Brothers and Sisters" - on the occasion of the spiritual exercises taking place at the Marian shrine of Jasna Gora in Czestochowa, Poland sent on November 23, 2010
… With these sentiments, His Holiness assures all those present of his closeness in prayer. Commending them all to the intercession of Our Lady of Czestochowa, he cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing.
Homily on Christ the King: "The Authentic Place of the Vicar of Christ Is on the Cross"- November 24, 2010
… In Jesus crucified divinity is disfigured,
stripped of all visible glory, but it is present and real.
Only faith is able to recognize it: Mary's faith, who also
united in her heart this last tile of the mosaic of the life
of her Son; she still does not see the whole, but continues
to trust in God, repeating yet again with the same
abandonment, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord." (Luke 1:38)
It [the first and fundamental
message that the Word of God says to us today] calls us to
be with Jesus, like Mary, and not to ask him to come down
from the cross, but to stay there with Him.
… The Blood of Christ that, according to an ancient iconography, Mary receives from the pierced side of her Son dead on the cross; and that the Apostle John contemplates while it gushes together with water, according to the prophetic Scriptures.
Life Must Be Protected with Greatest Care – Vespers for the first Sunday of Advent, November 27, 2010.
… In regard to the embryo in the maternal womb, science itself provides evidence of its autonomy, capable of interaction with the mother, the coordination of biological processes, the continuity of development, the growth in the complexity of the organism. … It is not a matter of an aggregate of biological material, but of a new living, dynamic and marvelously ordered being, a new individual of the human species. This is how Jesus was in Mary's womb. This is how it was for each of us in the mother's womb. The Lord's incarnation and the beginning of human life, in fact, are intimately connected.
On the First Sunday of Advent: "Man Is Alive So Long As He Waits" – Angelus Address November 28, 2010
Today, the first Sunday of Advent, the Church begins a new liturgical year, a new journey of faith that, on one hand, remembers the event of Jesus Christ and, on the other, opens onto its ultimate fulfillment. It is precisely in this double perspective that the season of Advent is situated, both looking to the first coming of the Son of God, when he was born of the Virgin Mary, and to his glorious return, when he will come "to judge the living and the dead," as we say in the "Credo."…
But no one could have imagined that the Messiah would be born from a humble girl like Mary, the betrothed of the just man Joseph. Not even she could have thought of it, and yet in her heart the longing for the Savior was so great, her faith and hope were so ardent, that he was able to find in her a worthy mother. After all, God himself had prepared her before all time. There is a mysterious correspondence between the waiting for God and the waiting for Mary, the creature "full of grace," totally transparent to the plan of love of the Most High. Let us learn from her, the woman of Advent, to live with a new spirit in our daily gestures, with the sentiment of a profound expectation that only the coming of God can fulfill.
Address to Filipino Bishops: "A Unified and Positive Voice Needs to Be Presented to the Public" – November 29, 2010
… Dear Brother Bishops, as my predecessor Pope John Paul II rightly noted, "You are Pastors of a people in love with Mary" (January 14, 1995). May her willingness to bear the Word who is Jesus Christ into the world be for you a continuing inspiration in your apostolic ministry.
Message for Funeral of Manuela Camagni: "Where No One Can Accompany Us, God Awaits Us"- proclaimed by Msgr. G. Gänswein, November 30, 2010
… Dear brothers and sisters, in this faith full of hope, which is Mary's faith near the cross of Jesus, I celebrated the Mass for Manuela's soul the very morning of her death.
Words at Prayer Vigil for Unborn Life: "Respect, Protect, Love and Serve Life, Every Human Life"- November 27, 2010
… During the Season of Advent we shall feel the Church which takes us by
the hand and - in the image of Mary Most Holy, expresses her motherhood,
enabling us to experience the joyful expectation of the coming of the Lord,
who embraces us all in his love that saves and consoles.
… Precisely, the beginning of the Liturgical Year helps us live anew the expectation of God
who took flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary, God who makes himself little, who becomes a
child; it speaks to us of the coming of a God who is close, who chose to experience human
life from the very beginning in order to save it totally, in its fullness.
…This is what Jesus was in Mary's womb; this is what we all were in our mother's womb. We
may say with Tertullian, an ancient Christian writer: "the one who will be a man is one
already" (Apologeticum IX, 8), there is no reason not to consider him a person from conception. …
Let us entrust our prayers and our commitment to unborn life to the Virgin Mary, who
welcomed the Son of God made man with her faith, with her maternal womb, with her attentive
care, with her nurturing support, vibrant with love. Let us do so in the Liturgy - which
is the place where we live the truth and where truth lives with us - adoring the divine
Eucharist in which we contemplate Christ's Body, that Body which took flesh from Mary
through the action of the Holy Spirit, and was born of her in Bethlehem for our salvation.
Ave, verum Corpus, natum de Maria Virgine!