In a rare public appearance, Pope
Emeritus Benedict joined Pope Francis for the blessing of a statue of St.
Michael the Archangel, and for the consecration of Vatican City to the saint
and his protection from evil.
Plans for the dedication of the
statue, by the artist Giuseppe Antonio
Lomuscio, were begun by Pope Benedict during his pontificate. The ceremony
today was attended by Vatican employees and led by Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello,
president of the Governate for the Vatican City State.
Before blessing the statue of St. Michael, Pope
Francis addressed those present:
In the Vatican Gardens
there are several works of art. But this, which has now been added, takes on
particular importance, in its location as well as the meaning it expresses. In
fact it is not just celebratory work but an invitation to reflection and
prayer, that fits well into the Year of Faith. Michaelwhich means “Who is like
God?”is the champion of the primacy of God, of His transcendence and power.
Michael struggles to restore divine justice and defends the People of God from
his enemies, above all by the enemy par excellence, the devil. And St. Michael wins because in him, there is He
God who acts. This sculpture reminds us then that evil is overcome, the accuser
is unmasked, his head crushed, because salvation was accomplished once and for
all in the blood of Christ. Though the devil always tries to disfigure the face
of the Archangel and that of humanity, God is stronger, it is His victory and
His salvation that is offered to all men. We are not alone on the journey or in
the trials of life, we are accompanied and supported by the Angels of God, who
offer, so to speak, their wings to help us overcome so many dangers, in order
to fly high compared to those realities that can weigh down our lives or drag
us down. In consecrating Vatican City State to St. Michael the Archangel, I ask
him to defend us from the evil one and banish him.
We also consecrate Vatican
City State in St. Joseph, guardian of Jesus, the guardian of the Holy Family.
May his presence make us stronger and more courageous in making space for God
in our lives to always defeat evil with good. We ask Him to protect, take care
of us, so that a life of grace grows stronger in each of us every day.