Pope Benedict XVI: March 2008 Archives

A First Saturday

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Was anyone else struck by the Holy Father's allusion, in today's Regina Caeli message, to the "Marian dimension" of Pope John Paul II's death on the First Saturday of the month? "Many notice," he said, "the singular coincidence, that brought together in itself the Marian dimension — the First Saturday of the month — and the dimension of Divine Mercy." This discreet allusion to Our Lady of Fatima and to her role in the life and in the piety of John Paul II is, to my mind, very significant.

I recall what Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in 2000:

I would like finally to mention another key expression of the “secret” which has become justly famous: “my Immaculate Heart will triumph”. What does this mean? The Heart open to God, purified by contemplation of God, is stronger than guns and weapons of every kind. The fiat of Mary, the word of her heart, has changed the history of the world, because it brought the Saviour into the world—because, thanks to her Yes, God could become man in our world and remains so for all time. The Evil One has power in this world, as we see and experience continually; he has power because our freedom continually lets itself be led away from God. But since God himself took a human heart and has thus steered human freedom towards what is good, the freedom to choose evil no longer has the last word. From that time forth, the word that prevails is this: “In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart; I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33). The message of Fatima invites us to trust in this promise.

Wednesday, April 2nd, will be the anniversary of the death of the Servant of God Pope John Paul II in 2005. Friday, April 4th, will be the anniversary of the death of Blessed Francisco Marto in 1919, and of Saint Gaetano Catanoso, the Apostle of the Holy Face, in 1963. Saturday, April 5th, will be the First Saturday of the month. I'm looking forward to a very special week.

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Pope Benedict XVI Calls the Face of Christ the Supreme Revelation of the Mercy of God

The Holy Father's message at the Regina Caeli today, presents the Vultus Christi, the Face of Christ, as the Face of Mercy. Here is my translation of the Italian text:

Dear brothers and sisters,

During the Jubilee of the Year 2000, the beloved Servant of God John Paul II established that in the whole Church the Sunday After Easter, besides being the Sunday In Albis, should also be named the Sunday of Divine Mercy. This he did in concomitance with the canonization of Faustina Kowalska, the humble Polish Sister, and zealous messenger of the Merciful Jesus, who was born in 1905 and died in 1938.

Mercy is, in reality, the central nucleus of the Gospel message, and the very name of God, the face with which He revealed Himself in the Old Covenant, and fully in Jesus Christ, the incarnation of creating and redeeming Love. This merciful love also illumines the face of the Church, and manifests itself by means of the sacraments, in particular that of Reconciliation, and also by the works of charity, both communitarian and individual.

All that the Church says and does manifests the mercy that God nurtures for man. When the Church must recall a truth that is misunderstood, or a good that has been betrayed, she is compelled to do so by merciful love, so that men may have life, and have it in abundance (cf. Jn 10:10). From Divine Mercy, which pacifies hearts, springs authentic peace in the world, peace among peoples, and among different cultures and religions.

Like Sister Faustina, John Paul II made himself, in his turn, the apostle of Divine Mercy. The evening of that unforgettable Saturday, April 2nd, 2005, when he closed his eyes upon this world, was really the vigil of the Second Sunday of Easter, and many notice the singular coincidence, that brought together in itself the Marian dimension — the First Saturday of the month — and the dimension of Divine Mercy.

In fact, his long and multiform pontificate has herein its central nucleus: all his mission in the service of the truth concerning God and man and peace in the world, is summed up in this proclamation, as he himself said it in Cracow in 2002, when he inaugurated the great Shrine of Divine Mercy. "Apart from the mercy of God, there is no other source of hope for human beings."

His message then, like that of Saint Faustina, leads back to the Face of Christ, the supreme revelation of the Mercy of God. Constantly to contemplate that Face: this is the heritage which he left us, and which we, with joy, receive and make our own.


Pope Benedict XVI
Divine Mercy Sunday
March 30, 2008

About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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