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Papa Benedict XVI's Catecheses on Our Lady

given at his Wednesday Audiences

The Magnificat        

BXVI: "The first movement of the Marian canticle (cf Lk 1, 46-50) is a sort of solo voice that rises to heaven to reach the Lord. We hear the voice of Our Lady herself who speaks thus of her Saviour, who has done great things in her soul and in her body. In fact, note the constant resonance of the first person: "My soul... my spirit... my Saviour... they will call me blessed... great things have been done in me... ". The soul of the prayer is, thus, the celebration of divine grace which has made an irruption in the heart and in the existence of Mary, rendering her the Mother of the Lord.

The intimate structure of her praying song is, therefore, praise, thanksgiving, grateful joy. But this personal witness is not solitary and intimate, purely individualistic, because the Virgin Mother is conscious of having a mission to accomplish for humanity and her story is inserted within the history of salvation. And thus she can say: "His mercy extends from generation to generation over those who fear him" (v 50). With this praise of the Lord, Our Lady gives voice to all the redeemed creatures who in her "fiat", and thus in the figure of Jesus born of the Virgin, find the mercy of God. .."

The Divine Motherhood of Mary      

BXVI: "The qualification of Mother of God, so profoundly linked to the feasts of Christmas, is therefore the fundamental title with which the community of believers honours, we could say since always, the Holy Virgin. It expresses well the mission of Mary in the history of salvation. All the other titles attributed to Our Lady find their foundation in her vocation to be the Mother of the Redeemer, the human creature elected by God to realise the plan of salvation, centered on the great mystery of the incarnation of the divine Verb. In these festive days we have stopped to contemplate in the crib the representation of the Nativity. At the centre of this scene we find the Virgin Mother who offers the Baby Jesus to the contemplation of all those who come to adore the Saviour: the shepherds, the poor people of Bethlehem, the Magi come from the East. Later, on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, which we celebrate on 2nd February, it will be the elderly Simeon and the prophetess Anna who will receive the little Child from the hands of his Mother and adore him. The devotion of the Christian people has always considered the birth of Jesus and the divine motherhood of Mary as two aspects of the same mystery of the incarnation of the divine Verb and so has never considered the Nativity as a thing of the past. We are "contemporaries" of the shepherds, of the Magi, of Simeon and Anna, and as we go with them we are full of joy, because God wanted to be the God with us and He has a mother, who is our mother."