On the day of the feast of the Immaculate Conception, Francis underlines the value of Mary's "here I am!": "It is being open to the Lord, it is the cure for selfishness, the antidote to disatisfaction with life, when we feel that there is always missing something". Today, Bishop Peter Claverie and eighteen religious comrades killed in hatred of the faith are beatified in Algeria.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Don't let problems rule your life - once one is solved another will present itself! - but trusting in God and entrusting everything to Him every day", said Pope Francis at the Angelus today.
He was reflecting on the "the here I am" with which Mary replied to the angel, at the Angelus of the feast of the Immaculate Conception, in which he also recalled that today in Algeria, bishop Peter Claverie and eighteen religious comrades are proclaimed blessed, religious, killed in hatred of the faith.
To the 30 thousand people present in St Peter's Square, the Pope said that "the Word of God presents us with an alternative today. In the first reading there is the man who originally says no to God. In the Gospel there is Mary who says yes to God at the annunciation. In both readings it is God who seeks man. But in the first case he goes to Adam, after sinning, asks him: "Where are you?" (Gen 3,9), and he replies: "I hid myself" (v. 10). In the second case, however, He goes to Mary, without sin, who answers: "Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord" (Lk 1:38). I am here, the opposite of I hid. Here I am open to God, while sin closes, isolates, makes one remain alone with oneself ".
"Here I am is the key word of life. It marks the transition from a horizontal life, centered on oneself and on one's own needs, to a vertical life, rising towards God. Here I am It is being open to the Lord, it is the cure for selfishness, the antidote to disatisfaction with life, when we feel that there is always missing something. Here I am the remedy against the aging of sin, it is the therapy to stay young inside. Here I am to believe that God counts more than my "I". It is to choose to bet on the Lord, docile to his surprises. So to tell him here I am the greatest praise we can offer him. Why not start your days like this? With a 'here I am Lord'. It would be nice to say every morning: 'Here I am, Lord, today your will be done in me'. We will say this in the prayer of the Angelus, but we can repeat it already now, together: Here I am, Lord, today your will be done in me! Mary adds: "Let it be done according to your word". She does not say: 'according to me', but 'according to you'. She does not limit God. does not think: 'I'll dedicate myself a little to Him, I'll hurry up and then do what I want'. No, Mary does not love the Lord when she goes, in fits and starts. She lives trusting God in all respects. Here is the secret of life. All those who trust God in everything. But the Lord, dear brothers and sisters, suffers when we answer like Adam: 'I am afraid and I have hidden'. God is the Father, the tenderest of fathers, and desires the trust of His children. How often we suspect Him, we suspect God, we think He can send us some proof, deprive us of freedom, abandon ourselves. But this is a great deception, it is the temptation of the origins, the temptation of the devil: insinuate the distrust of God. Mary overcomes this first temptation with her here I am. And today we look at the beauty of Our Lady, who was born and lived without sin, always docile and transparent to God ".
"That does not mean that life was easy . No, no. Being with God does not magically solve problems. The conclusion of today's Gospel recalls this: "The angel turned away from her" (verse 38). He turned away: it is a strong word. The angel leaves the Virgin alone in a difficult situation. She knew how she would become Mother of God, the angel had said it, but the angel had not explained it to others. And the problems began immediately: think of the irregular situation according to the law, the torment of St. Joseph, the life plans overturned, what the people would say ... But Mary trusts in God before problems. She is left by the angel, but she believes that God has remained with her, in her. And she trusts. Trust God. It is certain that with the Lord, even if unexpectedly, everything will be fine. Here is the wise attitude: Don't let problems rule your life - once one is solved another will present itself! - but trusting in God and entrusting everything to Him every day: here I am! Here I am the word, here I am! It is prayer. We ask the Immaculate to have the grace to live like this ".
And after the recitation of the Marian prayer, Francis recalled the beatification in Algeria. "Nineteen new blessed. These martyrs of our time were faithful announcers of the Gospel, humble builders of peace and heroic witnesses of Christian charity. Bishop, priests, religious and laity. Their courageous testimony is a source of hope for the Algerian Catholic community and a seed of dialogue for the whole of society. This beatification is an incentive for everyone to build together a world of fraternity and solidarity. Let's applaud the new blessed! ".
Finally, the Pope recalled that this afternoon he will go to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major and to the Spanish Steps to renew the traditional act of homage and prayer at the foot of the monument to the Immaculate.