City (AsiaNews) - Humanity "is connected to Mary, the Mother of God. We should
not believe that she is there, far away, and we are here. No, God kept her from
original sin, but he calls us by name and surname to lead a saintly life," Pope
Francis said today during the Angelus on the Solemnity of the Immaculate
Conception. Later today, in accordance with an ancient tradition," the
pontiff will visit the statue of the Virgin in Piazza di Spagna "to
entrust Rome, the Church and all humanity."
like Mary, Francis said before the Marian prayer, draws our attention.
"With great joy, the Church contemplates her as the 'favoured one' (Lk, 1:28). Let us all greet her together
as the 'favoured one'. Let us say it three times (and the crowd in the square
invoked Mary three times). This is how God looked upon her from the start of
his plan of love. He saw her as beautiful, full of grace. How beautiful our
mother Mary is! Mary sustains us on our journey towards
Christmas, because she teaches us how to live this time of Advent waiting for
the Lord. Because this time of Advent is a time of waiting for the Lord, who
will visit everyone, during the feast, but also in everyone's heart. The Lord
is coming, let us wait for him. "
went on to say that the Gospel of Saint Luke presents her as "young woman
from Nazareth, a small town in the Galilee, on the edges of the Roman Empire but
also Israel. A small town. Yet on her, the young woman from this
far away village, the Lord set his eyes, choosing her to be the mother of his
Son. In light of this motherhood, Mary was kept from original sin, i.e. from
the break with the communion with God, others
and creation, which deeply wounds every human being. This break was first put
right in the Mother of the one who came to free us from the slavery of sin. The
Immaculate Mary is inscribed in God's plan; she is the fruit of God's love that
saves the world."
never moved away from that love. "Her whole life, her whole being is a 'yes'
to that love; it is a 'yes' to God. But it certainly was not easy for her! When
angel called her the 'favoured one' (Lk,
1:28), she was "very upset" because in her humility she felt she was nothing
before God. In comforting her, the angel said, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you
have found favour with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a
son, and you shall name him Jesus (Ibid,
1-30:31). This upset her even more because she was not yet married to Joseph. And
the angel responded, 'The holy Spirit will come upon you. . . . Therefore the
child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God' (Ibid. 1-35). As Mary listened, she inwardly obeyed and replied, 'Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me
according to your word' (Ibid, 1-38)."
of this young woman from Nazareth is not foreign to us, Francis noted. "She
is not there and we here. No, we are connected. In fact, God casts his loving
gaze on every man and every woman. His loving gaze is upon each of us, name and
The Apostle Paul said that God 'chose us in him, before the foundation of the
world, to be holy and without blemish' (Ephesians,
1:4). We too, always, are chosen
by God to lead a saintly life, free from sin. God renews this project of love every
time we come near Him, especially through the sacraments. On this feast day,
then, contemplating our beautiful Immaculate Mother, we also acknowledge that our
true destiny, our deepest vocation, is that of being loved and being transformed
by love. In order to be transformed by God's beauty, let us look at her and be
looked by her for she is our mother and loves us very much. Let us
be looked by her so that we may learn to be more humble, and also more
courageous and follow the Word of God, receive the tender embrace of her Son
Jesus, an embrace that gives us life, hope and peace."
after the Angelus prayer and greetings to the groups present - with a special
thought for the Church of Canada, which is celebrating the anniversary of its
parish, and the Azione cattolica italiana - the pope said that this afternoon, "in
accordance with an ancient tradition, I
will go to Piazza di Spagna to pray at the foot of the monument to the
Immaculate. I ask you to join me spiritually in this pilgrimage, which is an
act of filial devotion to Mary, to entrust the city of Rome, the Church and the
whole of humanity to her. Upon my return, I shall stop for a moment at Santa
Maria Maggiore to greet with a prayer the
Salus Populi Romani (Protectress of the Roman People). I wish you all a
good Sunday and a happy feast of our Mother. Have a good lunch and see you soon."