Receiving grace in silence

Source: FSSPX News

On December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Benedict went in the late afternoon to the Piazza di Spagna, as is the traditional in Rome, to venerate the Immaculate Virgin whose statue is found there on top of a column that was erected two years after the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception by Pius IX (1854).  On the way there, he paused for a moment of recollection before the Church of the Trinity, where he was greeted by the association of the shopkeepers along the Via Condotti.  Once he had arrived, the ceremony began with a prayer, followed by the reading of a passage from the Apocalypse, then the placing of a crown of white roses.  Taking the podium, the pope meditated on the Gospel of the Annunciation, emphasizing that the meeting between the angel and Mary, the decisive moment in which God became man, “is shrouded in deep silence”.  Silence, Benedict XVI continued, proves to be more fruitful than the frantic agitation that characterizes our cities, but which existed already to a lesser extent at that time in the important cities like Jerusalem.  This activism “makes us unable to stop, to be calm, to listen to the silence in which the Lord enables us to hear his discreet voice”.

“Coming here to this monument to Mary in the heart of Rome reminds us primarily that God’s voice is not recognized in noise and bustle,” the pope insisted.  In the second place, he added, the Immaculate tells us “that the world’s salvation is not the work of human beings—of science, of technology, of an ideology—but it comes from Grace”.  Mary reminds us that the power of God’s love is stronger than evil, that it can fill the void of selfishness in the history of persons, of families, of nations and of the world.  Only love can save from the fall, but not just any love:  a love that bears within it the purity of God’s grace which transforms and renews.

Benedict XVI then explained how divine grace leads to Christian joy:  Christianity is essentially a gospel, Good News, whereas some think that it is an obstacle to joy, because they see in it a set of prohibitions and rules.  In reality, Christianity is the proclamation of the victory of grace over sin, of life over death.  If it involves forms of renunciation and a discipline of the mind, the heart and of one’s conduct, it is precisely because within man there is the poisoned root of egotism, which harms oneself and others.  Therefore, he recalled, it is necessary to learn to say no to the voice of egotism and to say yes to the voice of authentic love.

In this time of Advent, may Mary Immaculate teach us to listen to the voice of God who speaks in the silence, and to receive His grace that frees us from sin and all egotism, so as to taste true joy, the pope concluded.  (Sources:  VIS/vatican.va—DICI no. 267 dated December 21, 2012)