Peace and Joy Flow From Doing God's Will
Pope John Paul II met with 14,000 pilgrims in St. Peter's Square for his general audience March 24, the eve of the feast of the Annunciation. The Annunciation, John Paul said, is both Mary's feast and Christ's feast.
“Her fiat, which we commemorate tomorrow, echoes the fiat of the Incarnate Word,” the Holy Father pointed out. “Each one of us is called to join in the mysterious plan of God's providence with our own ‘Yes’ in intimate union with the fiat of Christ and the Blessed Virgin. Indeed, the true peace and joy we so ardently desire for our times will flow forth only through complete obedience to God's will.”
The Pope recalled his act of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25, 1984, and lamented that the unrest and uncertainty back then is still evident in the world today.
“Twenty years later, hate, violence, terrorism and war still leave their mark on the world in a frightening way,” he said. “There is an urgent need for men to open their hearts and make a courageous effort for mutual understanding.”
Our thirst for peace and hope, he said, will be satisfied if we turn to Christ through Mary.
Tomorrow we celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation, which is an occasion for us to meditate on the incarnation of the eternal Word who was made man in Mary's womb. The Virgin Mary's “Yes” opened the door for our heavenly Father to carry out his plan of salvation — a plan for the redemption of all men.
On one hand, this feast, which falls in the middle of Lent this year, recalls the beginning of our salvation. At the same time, it is an invitation to reflect on the paschal mystery. We gaze upon Christ crucified, who redeemed mankind by carrying out the Father's will to the end. On Calvary, during the last few moments of his life, he entrusted Mary to us as our mother, and he entrusted us to her as her children.
Through her association with the Incarnation, the Blessed Virgin shares in the mystery of redemption. Her fiat, which we commemorate tomorrow, echoes the fiat of the Incarnate Word. Each one of us is called to join in the mysterious plan of God's providence with our own “Yes” in intimate union with the fiat of Christ and the Blessed Virgin. Indeed, the true peace and joy we so ardently desire for our times will flow forth only through complete obedience to God's will.
On the eve of the feast, which is both Mary's feast and Christ's feast at the same time, my thoughts turn to some significant moments at the beginning of my pontificate: Dec. 8, 1978, when I entrusted the entire Church to the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Basilica of St. Mary Major, and June 4, 1979, when I renewed this commitment at the Shrine of Jaśna Góra. I especially recall March 25, 1984, the Holy Year of the Redemption. Twenty years have passed since that day in St. Peter's Square, when, spiritually united with the bishops of the world who had been “called together” in advance, I entrusted all mankind to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in response to Our Lady's request at Fatima.
The Way to Peace and Hope
Mankind was experiencing some difficult moments of great concern and uncertainty at the time. Twenty years later, hate, violence, terrorism and war still leave their mark on the world in a frightening way. Among the many victims who are reported each day, so many are defenseless people who are struck down while carrying out their daily duties. On this day, which is dedicated to the memory of missionaries who have been martyred and to praying for them, we must not forget the priests, religious and lay people who have died in the missions during 2003. So much blood continues to be spilled in many regions of the world. There is an urgent need for men to open their hearts and make a courageous effort for mutual understanding. The longing for peace and justice throughout the world grows greater each day. How can we respond to this thirst for hope and love other than by turning to Christ through Mary? I repeat once again today the plea that I addressed to the Holy Virgin Mary at that time: “Mother of Christ, reveal the infinite saving power of the Redeemer once again in the unfolding history of this world — the power of merciful love! May it put a stop to evil and transform consciences! May the light of hope be revealed to all in your Immaculate Heart!”
- April 4-10, 2004