(Kneeling before the image of Our Lady “Salus Populi Romani,” at the end of the Mass he celebrated in the Basilica of St. Mary Major on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the Holy Father renewed the act of consecration of the Church and the world to Mary. Part of the Holy Father’s prayer is printed below:)
O Mother of men and peoples,
you know all their sufferings and their hopes,
you feel in a motherly way
all the struggles between good and evil,
between the light and the darkness
which shakes the world.
Accept our cry addressed in the Holy Spirit
directly to your heart
and embrace with the love of the Mother
and the Handmaid of the Lord
the peoples who await this embrace the most,
and likewise the peoples whose consecration
you too are particularly awaiting.
Take under your motherly protection
the whole human family
which we can consecrate to you,
O mother, with affectionate rapture.
May the time of peace and freedom,
the time of truth,
justice and hope,
approach for everyone.
O you, who are the first handmaid
of the unity of the Body of Christ,
help us, help all the faithful,
who feel so painful
the drama of divisions of Christianity
to seek with constancy
the way to the perfect unity
of the Body of Christ
by means of unconditional faithfulness
to the Spirit of Truth and Love,
which was given to them by your Son
at the cost of the cross and death.
O you, who are so deeply and maternally bound to the Church,
preceding the whole People of God
along the ways of faith, hope and charity,
embrace all men who are on the way,
pilgrims through temporal life
towards eternal destinies,
with that love which the divine Redeemer himself,
your Son, poured into your heart from the cross.
Be the Mother of all our earthly lives,
even when they become tortuous,
in order that we may all find ourselves,
in the end in that large community
which your Son called the fold,
offering his life for it as the Good Shepherd.
O you, who were with the Church
at the beginning of her mission,
intercede for her in order that going all over the world
she may continually teach all the nations
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.
O you, who have known in the fullest way
the power of the Holy Spirit,
when it was granted to you
to conceive in your virginal womb
and to give birth to the Eternal Word,
obtain for the Church
that she may continue to give new birth
through water and the Holy Spirit
to the sons and daughters of the whole human family,
without any distinction of language,
race, or culture,
giving them in this way
the “power to be come with children of God.” [Jn. 1:12].
O you, who have always wished to serve!
You who serve as Mother
the whole family of the children of God,
obtain for the Church
that enriched by the Holy Spirit
with the fullness of hierarchical and charismatic gifts,
she may continue with constancy
towards the future
along the way of that renewal
which comes from what the Holy Spirit says
and which found expression in the teaching of Vatican II,
assuming in this work of renewal
everything that is true and good,
without letting herself be deceived
either in on direction or in the other,
but discerning assiduously
among the signs of the times
what is useful for the coming of the Kingdom of God.
O you, who through the mystery of your particular holiness,
free of all stain from the moment of your conception,
feel in a particularly deep way
that “the whole creation has been groaning in travail” [Rom. 8:22],
while, “subjected to futility,”
“it hopes that it will be set free
from its bondage to decay” [Rom. 8:20-21],
you contribute unceasingly
to the “revealing of the sons of God,”
for whom “the creation awaits with eager longing” [Rom. 8:19],
to enter the freedom of their joy [cf. Rom. 8:21].
O Mother of Jesus,
now glorified in heaven in body and in soul,
as the image and beginning of the Church,
which is to have its fulfillment in the future age,
here on earth,
until the day of the Lord comes [cf. 2 Pt. 3:10],
do not cease to shine before the pilgrim people of God
as a sign of sure hope and consolation (cf. Lumen Gentium, 68).
O you, who more than any other human being
have been consecrated to the Holy Spirit,
help your Son’s Church
to persevere in the same consecration.
Holy Spirit of God,
You who is worshipped
and glorified with the Father and Son!
Accept these words of humble consecration
addressed to You
in the heart of Mary of Nazareth,
Your bride and mother of the Redeemer,
whom the Church too calls her Mother,
because right from the Upper Room at Pentecost
she has learned from Her,
her own motherly vocation!
Accept these words of the pilgrim Church,
uttered amid toils and joys,
fears and hopes.