“God is ‘born of a woman’ so that we could receive the fullness of our humanity, ‘adoption as children’,” said the pontiff. “We have been uplifted by His abasement. Our greatness has come from His littleness. Our strength has come from His fragility. Our freedom has come from His making Himself a servant.”
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis led the first Vespers of the Solemnity of Mary Most Holy Mother of God today.
During the service, the pontiff said he wants to "encourage" the Church in Rome to "be inside" the reality of the last and the poor, as well as the "different forms of slavery" of our time, similar to those in which Jesus was born, to show God’s love for "the little ones" and from which he sought to free us. H
e also said that the Church has a maternal responsibility towards the “many men and women [who] have lived and live in conditions of slavery, unworthy of human persons,” especially the homeless.
“I want to encourage that form of the Church’s maternity,” he said. “As we contemplate this mystery, we acknowledge that God was ‘born of woman’ so that we could receive the fullness of our humanity, ‘adoption as children’. We have been uplifted by His abasement. Our greatness has come from His littleness. Our strength has come from His fragility. Our freedom has come from His making Himself a servant.
“What can all of this be called if not Love? Love of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, to whom this evening Holy Mother Church elevates, throughout the world, her hymn of praise and thanksgiving.”
With the solemn Te Deum of praise and thanksgiving the Church closes the civil year, which the Pope celebrated in St Peter’s Basilica, a moment for the Bishop of Rome to remember that even in the centre of Catholicism some "brothers and sisters" experience modern slavery.
Jesus, said the Pope inspired by the Letter of St Paul to the Galatians (4: 4-5), was born in the "fullness of time". This expression “takes on a special resonance in the last hours of the solar year, in which we feel even more the need for something that fills the passage of time with meaning. Something, or better someone – and this ‘someone’ has come, God has sent Him: it is ‘His Son’, Jesus.”
“We have just celebrated His birth: He was born of a woman, the Virgin Mary; He was born under the Law, a Jewish boy, subject to the Law of the Lord. But, how is it possible? How can this be the sign of the ‘fullness of time’? Of course, at this point, he is almost invisible and insignificant, but in the space of just over thirty years, He would unleash an unprecedented power, which still continues and will continue throughout history. This power is called Love. Love gives plenitude to everything, including time, and Jesus holds all of God’s love that can be found in a human being.”
“Saint Paul clearly says why the Son of God was born in time, and what mission the Father entrusted upon Him: He was born ‘to rescue’,” i.e. “free his children from a condition of slavery and return them their freedom and dignity. The slavery to which the Apostle refers to is that of the ‘Law’, understood as a set of precepts to uphold, a Law that certainly educates man, that is pedagogical, but which does not free him from his condition of sinner but instead, to some extent, ‘pins’ him to his condition, preventing him from attaining the freedom of the son.”
"God the Father sent His Only-Begotten Son into the world to uproot from man’s heart the old slavery of sin and thus restore his dignity."