His Holiness Pope John Paul II
Reveals Virgin Mary Role in His Life
ZENIT.org - 15 October 2000

15-Oct-2000 -- ZENIT News Agency


Illumination During Nazi Occupation

ROME, (ZENIT.org).- It was during the dark years of the Nazi occupation of Poland that a young Karol Wojtyla discovered the role of Mary in his life.

John Paul II spoke about his youth today during an address to participants of the 8th International Mariological Colloquium, taking place in Rome.

The meeting was the occasion of an official petition to the Pope to have him declare Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort (1673-1716) a doctor of the Church.

Grignon de Montfort is one of the classical writers of Christian spirituality, from whom the Holy Father borrowed the motto "Totus Tuus" ("All Yours").

During the Nazi occupation, when he worked in Krakow's Solvay factory, the future Pope "read and reread many times and with great spiritual profit" an ascetic work of Grignon de Montfort.

It led the young seminarian to understand that Mary's presence in the spiritual life of a Christian does not compete with the person of Christ, but stems from him and is at his service.

The Holy Father recalled: "Then I understood that I could not exclude the Lord's Mother from my life without neglecting the will of God-Trinity, who willed to begin and fulfill the great mysteries of the history of salvation with the responsible and faithful collaboration of the humble handmaid of Nazareth."

Thus, John Paul II emphasized how Grignon de Montfort invites the faithful to live a spirituality that encourages giving oneself consciously to Christ and, through him, to the Holy Spirit and the Father.

The Pope explained that he chose as the motto of his episcopate and pontificate the words "All Yours," as an act of entrustment to Mary.

"In repeating every day 'Totus tuus,' and living in harmony with her," he said, "one can attain to the experience of the Father in limitless confidence and love, to docility to the Holy Spirit, and to the transformation of self according to the image of Christ."

Bishop François Garnier of Luçon recalled that when he greeted John Paul II during the Pope's visit to Vandea in September 1996, he went to Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre to pray at the tomb of St. Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort. When greeting the Holy Father on behalf of the three religious congregations founded by the saint, Bishop Garnier himself officially requested that Grignon de Montfort be proclaimed a doctor of the Church.

Doctor of the Church is a title that the Pope or an ecumenical council confers on certain saints to recognize them as eminent teachers of the faith for Christian of all times. At present, there are 33 doctors, including three women: St. Teresa of Avila, St. Catherine of Siena, and St. Thérèse of Lisieux.

The official postulator of the cause, Father Battista Cortinovis, told Vatican Radio that the Congregation for the Causes of Saints is consulting the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about the pronouncement. The latter congregation has named a commission of consultors to give a reply within a set period of time.

If the answer is favorable, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints will prepare a "positio," namely, all the documentation necessary to substantiate the eventual proclamation. The final decision rests with the Pope, however.

Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort was beatified by Leo XIII and canonized by Pius XII.

1-Nov-2000 -- ZENIT News Agency


Pope Addresses 80,000 on Feast of All Saints

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 1, 2000 (ZENIT.org).- The secret of sanctity, like that of Mary, is "profound humility," John Paul II told pilgrims gathered on the feast of All Saints.

An unexpectedly large crowd -- 80,000 -- gathered in St. Peter's Square for Mass on a feast day which also marked the 50th anniversary of the proclamation of the dogma of the assumption of the Blessed Virgin into heaven.

The Bernini colonnade was adorned with standards of saints, including Marian standards from 50 countries, including China. The idea to bring all these standards to Rome was conceived by a French association on the occasion of the Pope's visit to Rennes in 1996.

The Holy Father's homily turned into a hymn of thanksgiving to God for Mary's beauty and that "immense multitude" of "anonymous saints that only he knows."

He cited examples: "mothers and fathers of families, who in their daily dedication to their children have contributed effectively to the growth of the Church and the edification of society; priests, religious and laymen who, as lit candles before the Lord's altar, have spent themselves in their neighbor's service in their material and spiritual need; men and women missionaries who have left everything to proclaim the Gospel to all corners of the earth. And the list could continue."

John Paul II said that Jesus made the road to sanctity very clear in the Gospel: the beatitudes. The Holy Father went on to describe the "poor in spirit," the "afflicted," the "pure of heart," those who "have hunger and thirst for justice," the "merciful," and those who "bring peace."

The last mentioned is the "synthesis of messianic goods," he said. "In a world that reflects tremendous antagonisms and exclusions, it is necessary to promote fraternal coexistence inspired in love and the capacity to share, overcoming enmities and oppositions."

In a certain sense, the Holy Father said, Mary summarized the beatitudes in her life: "'Blessed is she who believed in the fulfillment of the things that were said by the Lord!' Elizabeth said."

What is the secret of this sanctity? According to the Holy Father, it must be sought in "profound humility," in the humility that penetrates her words: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy word."

"Mary, the first of the redeemed, shines before us like a lamp that guides the way of all humanity, reminding us of the last end to which the person is called: sanctity and eternal life," the Pope emphasized.

These two goals, the Pope said, cannot be reached without being dedicated to justice and peace on earth -- a peace like the one sought for the Holy Land in the Mideast. ZE00110107


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