“A loving heart, a peaceful heart, a missionary heart”
Marian Meditation of Most Reverend Gérald Cyprien Lacroix
Archbishop of Quebec & Primate of Canada

Year of Faith Pilgrimage
& Knights Tower Carillon
50th Anniversary Celebration

Basilica of the National Shrine
of the Immaculate Conception
Washington, D.C.
September 8, 2013

Lord Jesus, as we bow down before you in adoration and in thanksgiving for your living presence in our midst, we acknowledge that you are the light of the world; you bring the light of truth and love to our hearts, to our lives, and we are especially grateful for the gift of your Mother and our Mother, the Blessed Virgin, Mary Immaculate.

Jesus, today, we your disciples adore you, just as millions have done all over the world in the more than 2000 years of your presence among us. Before returning to the right hand of the Father, you reassured your disciples: “I am with you always until the end of the world” (Mt 28: 20). We rely on your presence to continue to guide us through the night until we come to the fullness of your Light.

Your Blessed Mother was the first to adore you in her womb. What a special privilege to have been called upon by the Father to be your mother, the Mother of Jesus, the Mother of God. By the grace of God, she was preserved from sin and we honor her in her Immaculate Conception.

What Mary is, we should have been, that is, the living embodiment of the uncorrupted concept of man or woman. But we were touched and hurt by sin. We have fallen away. We need to be restored by your love and mercy. At your feet on this feast of the Nativity of your Mother, Lord, we pray, in the words of Saint Padre Pio:

Eternal Love, Spirit of Light and Truth, make a way into my poor mind and allow me to penetrate as far as it is possible to a wretched creature like myself, into that abyss of grace, of purity and of holiness, that I may acquire a love of God that is continually renewed, a love of God who, from all eternity planned the greatest of all the masterpieces created by His hands: the Immaculate Virgin Mary.

We too want to be like your Mother, Lord Jesus; pleasing to you, true disciples that walk with you, obey your every command, and live in faithfulness and generosity every day of our lives.

Before your holy presence on this day, we ask to be filled with the same spirit of adoration and humility that animated the Virgin Mary, welcoming you in her heart, in her life, and sharing you to the world.

We too yearn to be like her, open to what our Heavenly Father has planned for us, prompt to answer to the Holy Spirit’s inspiration so as to continue to proclaim your Name, Lord Jesus, in the world we live in.

Your Mother was the Father’s instrument for bringing the Redeemer into the world. She is an example we want to follow. We have come here today to this Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception as pilgrims. This Year of Faith is challenging us to live our daily lives as disciples and missionaries of Jesus Christ, witnessing our faith through evangelization. Blessed John Paul II once said: “It is not enough to know Christ; we must bring him to everyone!” A few moments ago, we celebrated the Holy Eucharist, in communion with our brothers and sisters from all over the world. And now, we are taking this time of prayer and adoration, of intimacy with you Lord Jesus, to prolong our time with you. We feel the need to be in your presence and learn from you how to share the Good News to the world. Like Mary Immaculate, we reflect on “all these things, pondering them in our heart" (Cf. Luke 2:19).

Sometimes, Lord, our world gives us the impression that it is like a patient in an intensive care unit; so fragile and vulnerable and yet striving to survive, gasping for its breath. We were not created for death, but for life, for abundant life! Created in your image and likeness, humanity is called to freedom and peace, created for love, truth, life and happiness.

As the bells of the Knights Tower Carillon of this Basilica ring out with joy today just as they have done so in the past fifty years, we hear in the near distance the drums of war, the threat of canons and missiles, of violence and injustice, sweeping our planet, causing much destruction, death and suffering. We cling to you, Lord Jesus, who through your death and resurrection have given us hope, a trustworthy hope.

Lord Jesus, our Savior and Redeemer, son of the Living God, it is with utmost confidence and a sense of urgency that we ask you to bless all the nations represented here today, and to all those that join us in prayer through the modern means of communication: television, radio, internet. Through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, Patroness of the United States of America, also Patroness of my home Diocese of Quebec in Canada, and Mother of us all, we implore your mercy and blessing, Lord. Teach us how to become builders of lasting peace, a peace that begins in our hearts and spreads to all of humanity.

Please join me in prayer by repeating these words softly in your hearts:

Dear Mother Mary, help me to love Jesus as you loved Him.

Mary, Queen of Peace, may I experience the peace that comes from following your Son Jesus.

Pour into my heart that love that burned your heart for Jesus, for his Word.

Mary Immaculate, Mother of our Savior, lead me always to Jesus, the Living Word of God, the One who has overcome sin and darkness to pave the way for light and truth.

Mary, full of grace, your loving presence and manifestations have been instrumental in the evangelization of our American continent. Today, we need to experience renewal, conversion. We long for a new evangelization to share the Good News of your Son Jesus Christ to all our brothers and sisters.

Stay with us, Holy Mother of God, just as you were present with the Apostles at Pentecost before they were sent out to preach and witness to all nations. You are the Star of New Evangelization. Lead us to Jesus, the light of the world.

After Archangel Gabriel visited you, you left with haste to visit your cousin Elizabeth, to assist her and share the joy of the Lord’s visit. That is what we need to do today, to get up and with joy and courage go quickly meet to those who need to encounter Jesus and receive from Him new life.

May your Son’s blessing form in us a loving heart, a peaceful heart, a missionary heart.

Amen.