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Pope's Homage to the Immaculate Conception

"Show Yourself Mother of All"

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 13, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of Benedict XVI's meditation, solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, during the homage he rendered the Virgin in Rome's Piazza di Spagna.

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Mary, Virgin Immaculate:

This year we again gather with filial love at the foot of your image to renew to you the homage of the Christian community and of the city of Rome. We come in prayer, following the tradition inaugurated by preceding Popes, on the solemn day in which the liturgy celebrates your Immaculate Conception, mystery that is source of joy and hope for all the redeemed.

We greet you and invoke you with the words of the Angel: "full of grace" (Luke 1:28), the most beautiful name with which God himself called you from eternity.

You are "full of grace," Mary, full of divine love from the first instance of your existence providentially predestined to be the mother of the Redeemer, and intimately associated to him in the mystery of salvation.

In your Immaculate Conception shines the vocation of Christ's disciples, called to become, with his grace, saints and immaculate through love (cf. Ephesians 1:4). In you shines the dignity of every human being, who is always precious in the eyes of the creator.

Whoever looks at you, all holy Mother, does not lose his serenity, no matter how sorely tried in life. Although the experience of sin is sad, as it sullies the dignity of the children of God, whoever takes recourse to you rediscovers the beauty of truth and of love, and again finds the way that leads to the Father's house.

You are "full of grace," Mary, who, on accepting with your "yes" the plans of the creator, opened to us the way of salvation. Teach us to utter also our "yes" to the Lord's will. A "yes" that is united to your "yes" without reservations or shadows, a "yes" of which the Father has wished to have need to beget the new Man, Christ, the only savior of the world and of history.

Give us the courage to say "no" to the deceptions of power, money, pleasure: to dishonest earnings, to corruption and hypocrisy, to egoism and violence. "No" to the evil one, deceitful prince of the world. "Yes" to Christ, who destroys the power of evil with the omnipotence of love. We know that only hearts converted to love, which is God, can build a better future for all.

You are "full of grace," Mary! Your name is for all generations pledge of sure hope. Yes, because as the supreme poet Dante wrote, for us, mortals, you "are the living source of hope" (Paradise, XXXIII, 12). We take recourse again to this source, spring of your Immaculate Heart, as trusting pilgrims, to draw faith and consolation, joy and love, security and peace.

Virgin "full of grace," show yourself a tender and loving mother with the inhabitants of this your city, so that the authentic evangelical spirit will animate and orient their conduct; show yourself mother and vigilant guardian of Italy and Europe, so that from the ancient Christian roots people will be able to draw the sap to build their present and future; show yourself a provident and merciful mother to the whole world so that, respecting human dignity and rejecting every form of violence and exploitation, firm foundations will be laid for the civilization of love.

Show yourself a mother especially to the neediest: the defenseless, the marginalized, and the excluded, the victims of a society that often sacrifices man for other ends and interests.

Show yourself mother of all, Mary, and give us Christ, hope of the world! "Monstra te esse matrem," immaculate virgin, full of grace! Amen!

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