from Gemelli Hospital to the Synod participants
at the end of Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, Rome.
8 May, 1994
"Abide in my love… Love one another" (Jn. 15, 9.17). Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate, dear Brothers and Sisters, the invitation of Christ to walk together in His name has resounded, one can say, incessantly throughout the works of the Synod. Now the fruit of these providential days of reflection and dialogue have been offered to the Lord during the Eucharistic Celebration which is about to conclude.
This phase of the Synod Assembly for Africa, which was awaited and prepared for a long time, has never ceased to appear like a gift. Even more so now that it has come to a conclusion, it appears as follows: a gift from God to his Church. I consider a special grace the fact that I was able to participate in person, first of all directly and then, from this hospital room, where I continued to follow the works day by day. Thus I was able to read about the important proposals which emerged regarding the evangelising mission of the Church in Africa, at the threshold of the Third Christian Millennium.
Now I wish to spiritually join you who are gathered in prayer in the Vatican Basilica. I greet the three President Delegates of the Synod Assembly: Cardinals Arinze, Tumi and Tzadua; the General Relator, Cardinal Thiandoum; the General Secretary, Msgr. Schotte. I greet all the people who took part in the works representing the dear African Churches, including fraternal delegates of other Churches and Christian confessions. I address my grateful thought to everybody for the commitment by which they lived these really providential days.
I am speaking to you from this hospital room, and I must say that this painful interval was so necessary. It was so necessary in view of the visit to Sicily, Catania and Siracuse where Maria was weeping. Didn't She weep for the first time already a century ago? Mary's weeping reminds us of the Sanctuary of La Salette on the French mountains. And She had to weep again in our century, after the Second World War.
She is weeping. Weeping also belong to the genius of woman. We know very well what that weeping had done to the life of Saint Augustine and to the life of many others. Woman's weeping and the Madonna's weeping are a sign of hope.
This sign was so necessary at the end of the African Synod. That weeping was so necessary, that weeping of the Madonna during the period which we have chosen for the big prayer for Italy. This weeping of the Madonna is important for Europe, for preparing us for the threshold of the Third Christian Millennium. This weeping that brings providential fruit.
From this hospital room it is easier, in a certain way, to entrust everything to our Lord, to put all the problems, pastoral initiatives, joys, anguish and hope of the big African continent in his hands. And it is easier for me to do all these with the tears of the Virgin. They are so due, so providential, they bring us so much hope. By these tears may Most Holy Mary obtain that the good seed spread with abundance in the preparatory phase of the Synod and carefully cultivated during this month of daily meetings, bring fruit, abundant fruit, fruit of faith, hope and love for the African continent, for the whole of mankind.
I wish to recall the following: go
and take the peace and joy of the Risen Christ to Africa. On returning
back home give to anybody you meet the Apostolic Benediction of the Pope
but moreover the Benediction of God who is our Creator, is the Father of
the Risen Christ who manifests himself as Master of history, the Lord of
future centuries. Take to whoever you meet this benediction, this promise,
this hope through the mysterious phenomenon of tears and weeping of the
Virgin, through that weeping and those tears that are the supreme expression
of the Easter joy. Amen.