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Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary 2008

Papa Benedict XVI's words at the Angelus
- in Croatian, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today, in the heart of what Latin-speakers called the "feriae Augusti", the August holidays, from which the Italian term "ferragosto" derives - the Church celebrates the Assumption into Heaven of the Virgin Mary, body and soul. The last reference to her earthly life in the Bible is found at the beginning in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, which presents Mary gathered in prayer with the disciples in the Upper Room, waiting for the Holy Spirit (Acts 1: 14). Subsequently a double tradition - in Jerusalem and in Ephesus - attests to her "Dormition", as Eastern-rite believers say, that is, her "falling asleep" in God. This was the event that preceded her passing from this earth to Heaven, professed by the uninterrupted faith of the Church. In the eighth century, by establishing a direct relationship between the "Dormition" of Mary and Jesus' death, for example, John Damascene, renowned doctor of the Eastern Church, explicitly affirms the truth of her bodily assumption. In a famous homily he wrote: "She who nursed her Creator as an infant at her breast, had a right to be in the divine tabernacles" (Sermon II: On the Assumption, 14, PG 96, 741B). As is well known, this strong conviction of the Church culminated in the dogmatic definition of the Assumption affirmed by my venerable Predecessor Pius XII in the year 1950.

As the Second Vatican Council teaches, Mary Most Holy should always be seen in the mystery of Christ and of the Church. In this perspective: "the Mother of Jesus in the glory which she possesses in body and soul in heaven is the image and beginning of the Church as it is to be perfected in the world to come. Likewise she shines forth on earth, until the day of the Lord shall come (cf. 2 Pt 3: 10)" (Lumen Gentium, n. 68). From Paradise, especially in difficult times of tribulation, Our Lady always continues to watch over her children whom Jesus himself entrusted to her from the Cross before dying. How many are the testimonies of this motherly concern found in visiting shrines dedicated to her! At this moment I think especially of the unique citadel of life and hope that is Lourdes. I shall be going there in a month's time, please God, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Marian apparitions that took place there.

Mary assumed into Heaven points out to us the final destination of our earthly pilgrimage. She reminds us that our whole being - spirit, soul and body - is destined for fullness of life; that those who live and die in love of God and of their neighbour will be transfigured in the image of the glorious Body of the Risen Christ; that the Lord will cast down the proud and exalt the humble (cf. Lk 1: 51-52). With the mystery of her Assumption Our Lady proclaims this eternally. May you be praised for ever, O Virgin Mary! Pray the Lord for us."

After the Angelus:

"Je salue cordialement les pèlerins de langue française, en particulier les jeunes de la famille marianiste, en ce jour où nous célébrons l’Assomption de la Vierge Marie. Alors que je me prépare à visiter la France, dont Marie en son Assomption est la Patronne, je vous invite à vous laisser guider par elle dans votre marche vers son Fils Jésus. Que ‘celle qui a cru à l’accomplissement des paroles qui lui furent dites de la part du Seigneur’ vous aide à grandir dans la foi et vous donne de vivre dans l’espérance ! Bonne fête de l’Assomption !

I am happy to greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present for this Angelus prayer. As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, we are invited to raise our eyes to heaven and contemplate Mary, the Mother of Jesus and our Mother. She who on earth believed in God’s word is now glorified in body and soul. May Mary’s prayers and example guide you always and renew your hearts in faith and hope. May God grant you and your families abundant blessings of peace and joy!

Mit Freude grüße ich am heutigen Fest „Mariä Himmelfahrt" alle deutschsprachigen Pilger. Maria ist „voll der Gnade". Als Mutter hatte sie schon am irdischen Leben ihres göttlichen Sohnes teil; und diese Gemeinschaft mit dem Herrn dauert im Himmel fort. Jesus Christus nimmt Maria hinein in die Herrlichkeit seiner Auferstehung. An der Seite ihres Sohnes bleibt sie uns nahe, und wir dürfen uns ihrem mütterlichen Schutz und ihrer Fürbitte anvertrauen. Ich wünsche euch allen einen schönen, gesegneten Festtag.

Saludo con afecto a los fieles de lengua española presentes en esta oración mariana y a quienes se unen a ella a través de la radio y la televisión. Que la contemplación del misterio de la Asunción de la Virgen María, Madre de Dios, figura y primicia de la Iglesia que un día será glorificada, os sirva de consuelo y esperanza. Que Ella os alcance de su divino Hijo toda clase de bendiciones. Muchas gracias.

Serdecznie pozdrawiam wszystkich Polaków. Jednoczę się w duchu z pielgrzymami, którzy gromadzą się na Jasnej Górze i wielu innych sanktuariach maryjnych. Wniebowzięta Matka Chrystusa niech otacza was płaszczem swojej opieki i wyprasza wszelkie potrzebne łaski. Niech wam Bóg błogosławi.

Saluto infine con affetto i pellegrini italiani. A tutti auguro di trascorrere nella gioia questa solenne e popolare festa mariana."

BXVI - Friday, 15 August 2008- Courtyard of the Papal Summer Residence, Castel Gandolfo - © Copyright 2008 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana