Pope Addresses Mary in the Mystery of Christ and the Church and the Year of Faith
With the vote on October 23, 1963, it was decided to opt for the first proposal and the schema of the dogmatic constitution on the Church was enriched with the chapter on the Mother of God, in which the figure of Mary - reinterpreted and reproposed in the context of the Word of God, the texts of the patristic and liturgical traditions, as well as a broad theological and spiritual reflection - appears in all of its beauty and singularity, well inserted in the fundamental mysteries of the Christian faith.
Mary, whose faith is the focus, is situated in the mystery of the love and communion of the Most Holy Trinity; her cooperation in the divine plan of salvation and in the unique mediation of Christ is clearly affirmed and properly highlighted, making it thereby a model and point of reference for the Church, who recognizes herself, her vocation and her mission in Mary. Popular piety, ever turned toward Mary, is in the end nourished by biblical and patristic references.
Naturally, the conciliar text does not exhaust all the issues connected with the figure of the Mother of God, but it constitutes the essential hermeneutic horizon for every subsequent reflection of a theological or more purely spiritual or pastoral character. Moreover, it represents a precious point of balance that is always necessary between theological rationality and believing affectivity.
The singular figure of the Mother of God must be developed and studied from diverse and complimentary perspectives: while the "via veritas" (way of truth) is always valid, we not forsake the "via pulchritudinis" (way of beauty) and the "via amoris" (way of love) to discover and contemplate still more profoundly Mary's crystalline and solid faith, her love for God, her indestructible hope.
For this reason, in the apostolic exhortation "Verbum Domini" I proposed that we follow the line traced by the Council (cf. 27). This is also an invitation that cordially address to you, dear friends and scholars. Offer your expert contribution of reflection and pastoral proposals, so that the upcoming Year of Faith might represent for all believers in Christ a true moment of grace in which the faith of Mary precedes us and accompanies us as a brightly burning lamp and as a model of the Christian fullness and maturity to which we can look with confidence and from which we can draw enthusiasm and joy to live our vocation as children of God, brothers of Christ and living members of his body that is the Church with ever greater commitment and consistency.
I entrust all of you and your research efforts to Mary's maternal protection and I impart to you a special apostolic benediction. Thank you.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Mary, Church, Marian, Petrine, Castel Gandolpho, Pope Benedict XVI, year of Faith, Deacon Keith Fournier
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