The Virgin Mary, our hope in every need

The virtue of the pilgrim is hope; without it, he would stop walking or would walk wearily. Our Lady is our hope, for she continually encourages us to go forward, she helps us to overcome moments of discouragement, and she maternally carries us through the most difficult circumstances. Whenever we turn to her - even with the brevity of an ejaculatory prayer, or with a glance at an image of her, we come away comforted. "Even without our realizing it, as she did with the spouses at Cana of Galilee, she always intervenes with the solicitude and gentleness of a mother. She did this in an exemplary way in the mystery of the Visitation, underlined with indelible liturgical traces at Montserrat. It is explained, therefore," John Paul II continued, "that the melodious accent of the greeting to the Lady, to the Queen, to the Mother, to the depository of the hope that encourages pilgrims, resounds daily on this mountain: Deu vos salve, vida, dolcesa i esperança nostra", God save you, life, sweetness and our hope.... This is how we can greet her on many occasions.

Our Lady was a source of joy, peace and hope for everyone while she was present here on earth. On Holy Saturday, when the death of Jesus brought complete darkness upon the world, only the hope of Mary remained alight. That is why the Apostles gathered under her protection. Now, from Heaven, "with her motherly love she takes care of the brothers of her Son, who are still on pilgrimage and are in danger and anxiety until they are led to the blessed homeland". St. Bernard beautifully explains that the Virgin is the aqueduct that, receiving grace from the fountain that flows from the heart of the Father, distributes it to us. This thread of heavenly water descends upon mankind, "not all at once, but drops grace drop by drop upon our parched hearts," according to our need and desire to receive.

Our Lady always comforts us and is present when we need protection, because this life is like a long voyage in which we have to suffer winds and storms. She is a safe harbor, where no ship is shipwrecked8. Let us not allow routine to enter into those devotions with which every day we take refuge in her protection: the Angelus, the Holy Rosary, the three Hail Marys to pray for the holy purity of all, the scapular devotion.... When we make a pilgrimage, or go to seek her intercession in a shrine or wayside shrine dedicated to her, she welcomes us with special mercy and love.