FATIMA, Portugal, MAY 12, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is encouraging the faithful to imitate Mary in her surrender to the will of God, recommending the rosary as a method to contemplate her participation in our lives today.
The Pope reflected on Our Lady's role and the rosary today during a pilgrimage at the Fatima Shrine. The Holy Father is in Portugal for the second day of a four-day trip.
Thousands of faithful lined the esplanade of the shrine, carrying candles that illumined the night already fallen. Their pilgrimage is the traditional greeting for the May 13 feast of Our Lady of Fatima, this year made more special because it will mark the 10th anniversary of Pope John Paul II's beatification of Jacinta and Francisco, two of the three shepherd children who were visited by Our Lady.
"All of you, standing together with lighted candles in your hands, seem like a sea of light around this simple chapel, lovingly built to the honor of the Mother of God and our mother, whose path from earth to heaven appeared to the shepherd children like a way of light," Benedict XVI said.
The Pontiff went on to speak of this light we and Mary possess. "Neither Mary nor we have a light of our own: We receive it from Jesus. His presence within us renews the mystery and the call of the burning bush which once drew Moses on Mount Sinai and still fascinates those aware of the light within us which burns without consuming us," he said. "We are merely a bush, but one upon which the glory of God has now come down."
The Pope said that in our day, "in which the faith in many places seems like a light in danger of being snuffed out for ever," the highest priority is "to make God visible in the world and to open to humanity a way to God."
"Do not be afraid to talk of God and to manifest without fear the signs of faith, letting the light of Christ shine in the presence of the people of today," he urged.
Gazing upon Jesus
The Holy Father also noted how at Fatima, there came a repeated request to pray the rosary.
"The recitation of the rosary allows us to fix our gaze and our hearts upon Jesus, just like his Mother, the supreme model of contemplation of the Son," he explained. "[...] [L]et us contemplate the intimate participation of Mary in the mystery of our life in Christ today, a life which is also made up of joy and sorrow, of darkness and light, of fear and hope."
The Pope led the pilgrims in praying the glorious mysteries of the rosary, beginning the prayers in Latin, as the faithful answered in their own languages, to highlight the Church's universality.
At the beginning, the bishop of Leiria-Fatima, António dos Santos Marto, gave the Pontiff the first official rosary of Fatima. It is fashioned from gold with topaz stones.
A note from the shrine explains that the gold "does not change and calls to mind the color of the sun, a symbol the Church associates with Christ." The topaz, meanwhile, "enables the blue light of the heavens to pass through it, clean and deep, the color that tradition associates with the figure of Mary."
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