Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Ireland: "The great value of silence"

On Friday March 19, Pope Francis delivered a special message to the Irish faithful elevating the National Shrine of Our Lady of Knock to the status of an International Sanctuary of Special Eucharistic and Marian Devotion.
Pope Francis

Brothers and sisters, good evening!

I wish to take advantage of the media to be with you at such an important time in the life of the Shrine.

Ever since the apparition of 21 August 1879, when the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to some villagers in Knock together with Saint Joseph and Saint John the Apostle, the Irish people have expressed their devotion wherever they have been. You have been a people of missionaries. It is good to remember how many priests left their land to become evangelisers. Nor can we forget the many lay people who emigrated to many lands and kept alive their devotion to Our Lady of Knock. How many families, over the course of almost a century and a half, have passed on the faith to their children and gathered their daily labours around the prayer of the Rosary with the image of Our Lady of Knock at its centre! The arms of the Virgin Mary in a praying position still show how fundamental the life of prayer is, which comes as a message of hope from this Shrine. You know that in the apparition of Knock the Virgin does not say a word. But even her silence is a language; indeed, it is the most expressive language that is given to us. The message from Knock is the great value of silence for faith.

It is silence before the mystery, which does not mean renouncing understanding, but understanding sustained and assisted by the mystery of the love of Jesus who offered himself for all of us, as the Lamb sacrificed for the salvation of humanity. It is silence before the great mystery of love, which finds no possible response other than to surrender oneself with trust to the will of the merciful Father [...]

Continue reading on