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In the silence of the Immaculate Conception, God's victory proclaimed, Pope says on feast

Catholic World News - December 10, 2012

On December 8, Pope Benedict XVI said that “the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary expresses the certainty of faith that the promises of God are realized; that his covenant does not fail.”

Carrying out an annual tradition, the Pope celebrated the Marian feast by traveling across Rome to place a floral tribute at the foot of a statue honoring the Immaculate Conception, near the Spanish steps. In a meditation there, the Holy Father remarked that the Annunciation took place “in a great silence” yet utterly changed human history.

“That which is truly great often goes unnoticed, and calm silence is more fruitful than the frenzy that characterizes our cities,” the Pope said. The Virgin Mary was “deep in thought, and yet ready to listen to God” at the time the angel Gabriel appeared to her. Her example proves the importance of “listening to the silence in which the Lord makes his discreet voice heard."

“We need to descend to a deeper level where the forces at work are not economic or political but moral and spiritual,” the Pope continued. He reminded listeners that “the salvation of the world is not the work of man - of science, technology or ideology--but of grace.” Moreover, he added, human ambitions can often be a distraction. “The false remedies the world offers to fill the void... in fact widen the abyss.”

In the immaculate Mary, the Pope said, believers see embodied “the true joy that emanates from a heart freed from sin.” At his Angelus audience on the feast day, the Pope enlarged on that theme, saying that Mary’s Immaculate Conception—which is “a gratuitous gift of the grace of God, which she accepted, however, with perfect willingness and cooperation”—is the fulfillment of the prophecies, the creation of a “new Israel,” and the proclamation of God’s victory over sin and death.

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