Sunday, April 30, 2006

"Passion" and Prayer

As many of you love it so much, here's the Whispers translation of today's Regina Caeli, delivered by Benedict XVI at the Window.


Dear Brothers and Sisters!

In Eastertide, the liturgy offers us many stimuli to resolidify our faith in the risen Christ. On this Third Sunday of Easter, as an example, St Luke tells of how the two disciples of Emmaus, after having met him "in the breaking of the bread," went on full of joy to Jerusalem to inform the others of that which they had experienced. And exactly while they were speaking, the same Lord made himself present, showing his hands and feet with the signs of his passion. Standing before the incredulous stupor of the Apostles, Jesus was given some baked fish and ate it before their eyes (Lk 24:35-43). In this and other selected recountings there's a repeated invitation to conquer the disbelief and to believe in the resurrection of Christ, as his disciples were called to be witnesses of this extraordinary event. The resurrection of Christ is the central date of Christianity, the fundamental truth to reaffirm with vigor in each age, since to deny it in some way, to be tempted to continue to make or transform it into a purely spiritual event, is to nullify this, our faith. "If Christ is not risen," St Paul affirms, "then our preaching is in vain, and so, too, is our faith" (1 Cor 15:14).

In the days which followed the Lord's resurrection, the Apostles remained amongst themselves, comforted by the presence of Mary, and after the Ascension they persevered together with her in prayer awaiting Pentecost. The Madonna was for them mother and teacher, a role she continues to develop for the Christians of every age. Each year in Eastertide, we relive most intensely this experience and maybe for this reason the popular tradition has consecrated to Mary the month of May, which normally falls between Easter and Pentecost. This month, which we begin tomorrow, is useful for us to rediscover the maternal function which she develops in our lives, that we may always be docile disciples and courageous witnesses of the risen Lord.

To Mary we entrust the necessities of the Church and of the whole world, especially in this moment marked by not a few shadows. Calling also upon the intercession of St Joseph, who we recall in a special way tomorrow, thinking of the working world, to her we send the prayer of the Regina Caeli, the prayer of she who relished in the comforting joy of the presence of Christ risen.

As a side note: no, the SCV hasn't traded in its fleet.... Today was a continuation of one of those quaint Vatican traditions as Rome's "Red Passion" club of Ferrari enthusiasts gathered in the Square for their annual greeting from the Pope.

As you can see, they get the rare privilege of the drive-through Papal Blessing.

PHOTO 1: AP/Pier Paolo Cito
PHOTO 2: Reuters/Chris Helgren