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Monday, December 19, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 18 DEC 2011 (VIS) - Following his visit to the Roman prison of Rebbiba this morning, the Holy Father returned to the Vatican Apostolic Palace where he appeared at the window of his private study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  The Pope introduced the Marian prayer with a reflection on the importance of Mary's virginity. Recalling the words of the Prophet Isaiah: "The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Emmanuel", he explained how "this ancient promise was abundantly fulfilled in the incarnation of the Son of God. Not only did the Virgin Mary conceive, but she did so by the Holy Spirit; that is, by God Himself. The human being Who began life in her womb took Mary's flesh, but His existence derived entirely from God".

  "The fact that Mary conceived while remaining a virgin is, then, essential for an understanding of Jesus and of our faith. It is a testament to the fact that the initiative was God's and, above all, it reveals Who the person conceived is. As the Gospel says, 'the child to be born will be holy; he will be called the son of God'. In this perspective, Mary's virginity and Jesus' divinity are warranties of one another".

  The Holy Father continued: "God awaited the 'yes' of this young girl in order to achieve His plan. He respected her dignity and her freedom. ... Mary's virginity is unique and unrepeatable, but its spiritual significance concerns all Christians, ... because those who have profound trust in the love of God welcome Jesus and His divine life into their own lives, by the action of the Holy Spirit. This is the mystery of Christmas".

  Following the Angelus, Benedict XVI expressed his concern for people in the southern Philippines where a tropical storm has caused great loss of human life and material damage. "I pray for the victims, of whom so many are children, for the homeless and the missing", he said.

  Finally he delivered greetings in a number of languages. Addressing Spanish pilgrims, her recalled the fact that twenty-two Oblates of Mary Immaculate, killed in 1936, were beatified in Madrid yesterday. "Joy at their beatification is linked to the hope that their sacrifice may yet bring great fruits of conversion and reconciliation", he concluded.
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