Chapter VI cites the Magnficat and explores a “Mercy … from Generation to Generation.” Section 10, “An Image of Our Generation” reminds us that Mary’s canticle of praise continues to resound to the present day, be that 2015, or 1980 when this was written, or any time.
It’s hard to know if Mary was a universalist in the sense of having an expectation of God’s salvation spread throughout the world. Whether she was or not, the canticle has always resonated with the spread of the Gospel to the distant corners of the world.
We have every right to believe that our generation too was included in the words of the Mother of God when she glorified that mercy shared in “from generation to generation” by those who allow themselves to be guided by the fear of God. The words of Mary’s Magnificat have a prophetic content that concerns not only the past of Israel but also the whole future of the People of God on earth. In fact, all of us now living on earth are the generation that is aware of the approach of the third millennium and that profoundly feels the change that is occurring in history.
If anything, the changes experienced in the previous century have intensified and quickened in pace. The reminder remains: God’s mercy will be with us, though it may be hard to detect at times.
Dives in Misericordia, the second encyclical of Pope John Paul II, is available online here, and is copyright © 1980 – Libreria Editrice Vaticana