Thursday, April 06, 2006

John Paul On Mary - Conversion



When from the Cross Jesus saw his Mother and the disciple beside her, he said to his Mother: "'Woman, behold your son!' Then he said to the disciple, 'Behold your mother!' And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home" (Jn 19:26-27).

Christ taught us to speak to God just as he himself did, by calling him "Father". In this way we turn to the Invisible One who is in heaven and yet embraces the whole of creation: "Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name". This prayer was taught to us by Christ, the Only-begotten Son of the heavenly Father, himself true God. And he has summed up in this prayer the most important things which we can and must express to our heavenly Father.

In the same way Christ himself, as true man, has taught us to speak to his earthly Mother in the words which found their definitive confirmation at the moment of his death on the Cross: "Woman, behold your son!" Mary receives these words from the mind and heart of the crucified Jesus. These words refer directly to the Apostle standing there with her, at the foot of the Cross, John the Evangelist. To him Christ says: "Behold your mother." But those words also have a wider meaning. At the hour of his death, Christ, the Son of God and Son of Mary, reveals the truth about his Mother's motherhood of all humanity. The Apostle John stands beneath the Cross as a representative of each of us. And in the words which Christ says to John we can discover the same truth about Mary's motherhood as it was communicated to him. From that moment we can say to her: "My Mother" and "our Mother". "My Mother", when we speak as individuals; "our Mother", when we speak as a community. Whole nations can call her Mother, as you do, entrusting to her "every one of your days".

The final words of today's Gospel confirm this. "The disciple took her to his own home" to be his own Mother (cf. Jn 19:27). Mary will live with him, as a mother with her son. This detail, noted in the Gospel of St. John, is also significant for you who call Mary "Mother!" She wishes you to welcome her into your homes; into every Slovak home, into your entire life as a nation. What, indeed, does this shrine of Sastin mean if not that Mary, the Mother of all Slovaks, dwells in this particular house, where all the sons and daughters of your nation feel that they are in their Mother's house?

Here Mary, the Mother of Christ, wants "to be a Mother for you"; she wants you to be especially honest and straightforward with her. Here is her dwelling, and because the home of the Mother of God is found in your land of Slovakia, none of you is without a home. Everyone can come here and feel at home in his Mother's house.

(From L'Osservatore Romano, an excerpt from his visit to Slovakia, 1995)


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