Pope: Works of mercy are done secretly, without boasting

Francis reflects on the spirit of service expressed in Mary’s response to the Angel who asked her to become the mother of Jesus. This afternoon he will pay homage to the Immaculate. At the Angelus Francis invites prayers for tomorrow’s will in Paris to find solutions to the conflict in Ukraine.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Works of mercy are done in silence, in secret, without boasting. This was Pope Francis reflection on the spirit of service expressed in Mary’s response to the Angel who asked her to become the mother of Jesus, when she said "I am the handmaid of the Lord".

Speaking to the 20 thousand people present in St. Peter's Square for the recitation of the Angelus, in the day that the Church dedicates to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Francis emphasized that “openness to God is found in the willingness to take on the needs of one's neighbor. All this without clamor and ostentation, without seeking places of honor, without advertising, because charity and works of mercy do not need to be exhibited like a trophy".

After the recitation of the Marian prayer, the Pope recalled that "tomorrow a meeting will be held in Paris of the presidents of Ukraine, Russia and France and of the Federal Chancellor of Germany - known as 'Normandy format' - to seek solutions to the painful conflict in progress for years now in eastern Ukraine. I accompany the meeting with intense prayer, peace is needed there, and I invite you to do the same, so that this initiative of political dialogue will contribute to bringing peace in justice to that territory and its population”.

Previously, Francis had emphasized how, faced with the request of the angel, "Mary does not lose herself in so many reasons, she does not hinder the Lord, but readily entrusts herself and leaves room for the action of the Holy Spirit. She immediately opens all of her being and her personal history to God, so that the Word and the will of God may shape them and bring them to completion. Thus, corresponding perfectly to God's plan for her, Mary becomes the "all beautiful", the "all holy", but without the slightest shadow of self-satisfaction. She is humble, she is a masterpiece, but remaining humble, small, poor. In her is reflected the beauty of God which is all love, grace, gift of self”.

"I also like to emphasize - he continued - the word with which Mary defines herself in her surrendering herself to God: she professes herself "the servant of the Lord ". The "yes" of Mary to God assumes from the beginning the attitude of service, of attention to the needs of others. The fact of the visit to Elizabeth, which immediately follows the Annunciation, bears witness to this. Availability to God is found in the willingness to take on the needs of others ".

"Even in our communities, we are called to follow Mary's example, practicing the style of discretion and concealment. The feast of our Mother helps us to make our whole life a "yes" to God, a "yes" made of adoration of Him and of daily gestures of love and service ".

Finally, the Pope recalled that this afternoon he will go to Saint Mary Major to pray to the Virgin, and then to the Spanish Steps “for the traditional act of homage at the foot of the monument to the Immaculate Conception. I ask you - he concluded - to join me spiritually in this gesture, which expresses filial devotion to our heavenly Mother”.