The Feast of the Visitation

“The staying of the Mother of God quiets the human mother. The angel could calm Mary with just a few words; Mary, as a human, must proceed more slowly; she calms Elizabeth by staying with her. But she has learned from the angel how one gives peace. She knows from her own experience that the explosive effect of receiving a mission means a disturbance which requires guidance into a new form of calm.”

Handmaid of the Lord, Adrienne von Speyr, page 46

Artwork:  “The Visitation”, by Giotto Di Bondone, circa 1310.  Location:  North transept, Lower Church, San Francesco, Assisi

See You Soon

I have to close the comments here for at least a little while (please see explanation at Contemplative Haven).  🙂  When I get up and running again I hope to be posting on a more regular basis.

For today, I would like to share a homily from Pope John Paul II recorded in 1990 in Malta, on the subject of the Blessed Mother and the family:

Feastday of Our Lady of Fatima

It was ten years ago today that Pope John Paul II beatified little Jacinta and Francisco, two of the three seers at Fatima in 1917 (Lucia still being alive in the year 2000.)  There is to be a celebration of the 10th anniversary of these beatifications in Fatima, and many will be attending, including Pope Benedict XVI.

It is also the tenth anniversary year of Pope John Paul II having released the third secret of Fatima (which he did in April 2000), and today is the tenth anniversary of Cardinal Angelo Sodano’s public statement and interpretation of the third secret.  All the information relating to this can be found here, on the Vatican’s website.

At the same link can be found Pope Benedict XVI’s (then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) interpretation and commentary on the third secret as well, part of which I would like to share here:

Let us now examine more closely the single images. The angel with the flaming sword on the left of the Mother of God recalls similar images in the Book of Revelation. This represents the threat of judgement which looms over the world. Today the prospect that the world might be reduced to ashes by a sea of fire no longer seems pure fantasy: man himself, with his inventions, has forged the flaming sword. The vision then shows the power which stands opposed to the force of destruction—the splendour of the Mother of God and, stemming from this in a certain way, the summons to penance. In this way, the importance of human freedom is underlined: the future is not in fact unchangeably set, and the image which the children saw is in no way a film preview of a future in which nothing can be changed. Indeed, the whole point of the vision is to bring freedom onto the scene and to steer freedom in a positive direction. The purpose of the vision is not to show a film of an irrevocably fixed future. Its meaning is exactly the opposite: it is meant to mobilize the forces of change in the right direction. Therefore we must totally discount fatalistic explanations of the “secret”, such as, for example, the claim that the would-be assassin of 13 May 1981 was merely an instrument of the divine plan guided by Providence and could not therefore have acted freely, or other similar ideas in circulation. Rather, the vision speaks of dangers and how we might be saved from them.  

“… the power which stands opposed to the force of destruction—the splendour of the Mother of God and, stemming from this in a certain way, the summons to penance.” 

Our Lady of Fatima, help all of those who are consecrated to you to stand with you, opposed to the force of destruction, eager to do penance, and to help “steer freedom in a positive direction”.   Help us never to despair or indulge in fatalistic mindsets, but to use our free will to aid you in bringing Christ’s light and love to the world.   Amen.