For a Christian, joy is a treasure. Only by offending God do we lose it, because sin is the fruit of selfishness, and selfishness is the root of sadness. Even then, a bit of joy survives under the debris of our soul: the knowledge that neither God nor his Mother can ever forget us. If we repent, if an act of sorrow springs from our heart, if we purify ourselves in the holy sacrament of penance, God comes out to meet and forgive us. Then there can be no sadness whatsoever. Then there is every right "to rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come back to life, was lost and has been found."

These words are taken from the marvellous ending of the parable of the prodigal son, which we shall never tire of meditating. "Behold [the Father] comes out to meet you. He will bend down to greet you. He will give you a kiss as a sign of love and tenderness. He will order the servants to bring you new clothing, a ring, shoes for your feet. You still fear reproach and he returns your dignity. You fear punishment and he gives you a kiss. You dread a harsh word and he prepares for you a banquet."

The love of God is unfathomable. If he is so generous with those who have offended him, what won't he do to honour his immaculate Mother, the most holy Virgin, faithful always?

If the love of God can achieve such great results when the response from our human heart, which is frequently a traitor, is so small, how much more will it accomplish in the heart of Mary, who never resisted in the slightest the will of God?

See how the liturgy of today's feast reveals the impossibility of understanding divine mercy by human reasons alone. More than explaining, the liturgy sings. It arouses the imagination, so that each of us can add enthusiasm to praise. Yet, when all is said and done, we will fall short. "A great marvel appeared in the heaven: a woman, dressed with the sun, with the moon at her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars." "The king has fallen in love with your beauty. How resplendent is the daughter of the king, with her robe spun from gold!"

The liturgy draws to a close with some words of Mary, in which the greatest humility is combined with the greatest glory: "All generations shall call me blessed, because he who is mighty has done great things in me."

Cor Mariae Dulcissimum, iter para tutum: Most Sweet Heart of Mary, prepare a safe way. Guide our steps on earth with strength and security. Become for us the path we are to follow, since you in your love know the way, a sure short-cut, to the love of Jesus Christ.

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