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Friday, December 9, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 9 DEC 2011 (VIS) - On midday on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to pray the Angelus with the pilgrims and faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  Before the Marian prayer the Pope recalled that blessed Pope Pius IX, in his Apostolic Letter Ineffabilis Deus of 1854, affirmed that Maria "'by the special grace and privilege of omnipotent God and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ as the saviour of mankind, remained immune from any stain of original sin'. This truth of faith is found in the Archangel Gabriel's words to her: "Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you."' The phrase "full of grace" indicates the glorious work of the love of God, which restores to us our life and liberty, lost in sin, through his only Son incarnate, dead and resurrected".

  "Therefore, since the 2nd century in the East and in the West", continued the Holy  Father, "the Church has invoked and celebrated the Virgin whose acceptance brought heaven closer to earth, generating God and nourishing our lives".

  "We too are recipients of this 'fullness of grace', which it is our duty to enable to flourish in our lives, since 'the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ', writes St. Paul, 'has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless ...  He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ'. We receive this gift through the Church, on the day of our Baptism. In this regard, St. Hildegard of Bingen writes, 'The Church is, therefore, the virgin mother of all Christians. It is the secret strength of the Holy Spirit that conceives and gives birth to them, offering them to God so they might be called children of God'", concluded the Pope.

  Following the Angelus, Benedict XVI greeted the members of Italian Catholic Action who, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception renew their adherence to this association, and stated that Catholic Action is "a school of sanctity and evangelisation: I wish it every success in its educative and apostolic commitment".

  He also greeted the Spanish-speaking pilgrims present, urging them to entrust to "the Mother of Redemption ... the intentions and wishes inspired in us during Advent, remembering the needs and suffering of those who are deprived of their freedom, are without work, or are experiencing moments of difficulty or pain".
ANG/                        VIS 20111209 (431)

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