Countless pilgrims go daily to the countless shrines dedicated to Our Lady, to find the ways of God or to reaffirm themselves in them, to find peace for their souls and consolation in their afflictions. In these places of prayer, Our Lady makes the encounter with her Son easier and more accessible. Every shrine becomes "a permanent antenna of the Good News of Salvation".
Today we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Montserrat, to whom for centuries so many Christians have gone to seek Mary's help to continue on a path that is not always easy. How many have found there peace of soul, God's call to greater dedication, healing, consolation in the midst of tribulation...! The liturgy of the feast is centered on the mystery of the Visitation, "which constitutes the first initiative of the Virgin. Montserrat contains, therefore, very valuable lessons for our journey as pilgrims", for that is what we are. We cannot forget that we are heading towards a very concrete goal: Heaven. The end of a journey determines to a large extent the way we travel, the things we take with us, the supplies we need along the way.... Our Lady tells each one of us not to carry too much equipment, nor too heavy clothing, which hinder the journey, and that we should walk quickly towards the Father's house. He reminds us that there are no definitive goals here on earth and that everything must be oriented towards the end of that journey, of which perhaps we have already done a good part.
Moreover, "on the way, we must imitate the style of our Mother in her visit to her cousin: In those days Mary set out and went with haste to the hill country, to a city of Judah (Lk 1:39)" (Lk 1:39). She goes with haste, with a quick and joyful step. So must we walk the path that leads us to God. Moreover, we must carry in our hearts the joy and the spirit of service that Our Lady carried in hers.