|By Mark Miravalle|
Thank God for Our Holy Father! Thank God for his Marian witness!
Dear Friends in Jesus and Mary, sometimes I think we fail to appreciate the Holy Father whom Jesus has given us right now to guide His Church, and the love this Holy Father has for Jesus' Mother and our Mother.
Since Pope Benedict has become the Vicar of Christ on earth, his love for Our Lady has only grown and flourished yet more. This Holy Father has truly followed the stellar example of his Totus Tuus predecessor, Servant of God Pope John Paul II, in his "entirely yours Mary" faith and witness.
While in Brazil in May 2007 at the canonization of St. Antônio de Santa'Ana Galvão, Pope Benedict testified to Our Lady's universal mediation of graces by saying, "There is no fruit of grace in the history of salvation that does not have as its necessary instrument the mediation of Our Lady. … Let us give thanks to God the Father, to God the Son, to God the Holy Spirit from whom, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, we receive all the blessings of heaven …"
In his February 11, 2008, World Day of the Sick message, our beloved Holy Father describes the unique co-suffering of Mary with Jesus at Calvary:
Associated with the Sacrifice of Christ, Mary, Mater Dolorosa, who at the foot of the Cross suffers with her divine Son, is felt to be especially near by the Christian community, which gathers around its suffering members who bear the signs of the passion of the Lord. Mary suffers with those who are in affliction, with them she hopes, and she is their comfort, supporting them with her maternal help.
In his May 24, 2008, prayer to Our Lady of Sheshan for the day of prayer for the Church in China, Benedict XVI summarizes the central mystery of Marian coredemption in a few simple but profound words:
When you obediently said "yes" in the house of Nazareth, you allowed God's eternal Son to take flesh in your virginal womb and thus to begin in history the work of our redemption. You willingly and generously cooperated in that work, allowing the sword of pain to pierce your soul, until the supreme hour of the Cross, when you kept watch on Calvary, standing beside your Son, who died that we might live.
From that moment, you became, in a new way, the Mother of all those who receive your Son Jesus in faith and choose to follow in his footsteps by taking up his Cross. Mother of hope, in the darkness of Holy Saturday you journeyed with unfailing trust towards the dawn of Easter. Grant that your children may discern at all times, even those that are darkest, the signs of God's loving presence.
And now Pope Benedict continues his extraordinary Marian witness in action by journeying to Lourdes this upcoming September in once again directing the attention of the world to the powerful presence of Our Lady and to her ongoing intercession for the human family amidst its sickness, its wounds, its woes.
In fact, on September 15, the feast of the Mother of Sorrows, which is in essence the liturgical feast which honors Our Lady's role as Co-redemptrix with Jesus for all humanity, our inspired Holy Father will visit the oratory of the hospital at Lourdes. Later that morning, he will offer Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary at Lourdes. His quintessential love and witness continues to the spiritual mother of all humanity. What a Christian example of filial love and devotion to the Mother of God he continues to be and calls us to imitate.
This feast day and the Holy Father's presence in Lourdes also brings to mind the international Catholic petition to our Holy Father for the solemn papal definition of Our Lady's spiritual motherhood under its three essential aspects as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces and Advocate. While this international Catholic petition movement actually began in the 1910s and early 1920s with Cardinal Mercier of Belgium and St. Maximilian Kolbe, in just the past 15 years over 7 million petitions have been sent to the Vatican in humble petition for this fifth dogmatic proclamation in honor of the Mother of Jesus. Most recently on January 1, 2008, five cardinals made world news by requesting every cardinal and bishop in the world to join them in a specific petition to Pope Benedict from numerous brother cardinals and bishops for the infallible papal declaration of the existing Church doctrine that Mary is the spiritual mother of all humanity.
My friends in Jesus and Mary, if you believe, like I believe, that a solemn papal declaration of Our Lady's universal spiritual motherhood would constitute the appropriate continuation of our beloved Holy Father's inspired example of Marian love and witness, then I invite you to join me in doing the following:
Send the Holy Father a personal letter, from your heart to his, telling him that you would support him if it were his desire to solemnly define Our Lady's motherly roles as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate.
He is our spiritual father. Write to him honestly and sincerely, with respect for his office, but in full awareness of his love and openness to each one of us as his spiritual children.
Express to the Holy Father your own heartfelt conviction if you believe that now is the time to proclaim this full truth about Our Lady, which will allow her to fully enact these intercessory roles for humanity at our present time, where world crises, natural disasters, and moral challenges appear to be unprecedented.
Your personal letter to Pope Benedict can be two lines, "Holy Father, I think now is the time to proclaim the fifth Marian dogma. We love you!", or as long as your heart desires. Just take five minutes, out of gratitude for the Mother who is so good to us, and inspired by the intercession of Our Lady's parents, Sts. Anne and Joachim, to complete this small letter-writing labor of love for Our Mother and Queen.
My friends, in speaking for myself, I will be honored to tell my children's children that I had the unique historical privilege of being part of Marian history by sending in my letter to Pope Benedict for the fifth Marian dogma.
Even if you were one of those 7 million who sent in a petition to Pope John Paul II, I would encourage you to send a personal letter to Pope Benedict. Each pope will have to follow his own discernment as to the appropriateness of the fifth dogma for Our Lady during his own particular time of leadership for the Church and would appreciate hearing from you, as part of the sensus fidelium, for your input, and most of all your love, support, and obedience for his ultimate discernment.
Become a small part of Marian history. Write your own personal letter to Pope Benedict to the following address in support of the fifth Marian dogma, if this is also your conviction and peace of heart.
I believe Our Lady will be forever grateful and so will you.