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Pope Francis Corner

Mary, the Holy Mother of God

January 1, 2017

Pope Francis focused on Mary’s contemplation of the mystery of her Son as he began his homily for the feast of Mary, the Holy Mother of God (January 1). As she “pondered [all these things] in her heart” (Lk 2:19). Mary shows us the proper attitude of a disciple. “Far from trying to understand or master the situation, Mary is the woman who can treasure, that is to say, protect and guard in her heart, the passage of God in the life of his people.”

Without speaking many words, Pope Francis said, Mary guarded the life and mission of her Son by being attentive to him. She also became the mother of all, as she “watch[ed] over the beginnings of the first Christian community.” Mary’s motherhood shows us “that humility and tenderness are not virtues of the weak but of the strong,” the Holy Father said. And her motherhood reassures us: “we are a people with a Mother; we are not orphans.”

Pope Francis next turned to the virtues of motherhood and the gifts that good mothers bring to society. Women who embrace motherhood give a real “home” to everyone, as they “are capable of testifying to tenderness, unconditional self-sacrifices and the strength of hope.” The Holy Father recalled mothers who maintained hope and strength even as their children went through terrible trials.

Pope Francis said that turning to Mary, the Mother of God, we remain free from being “spiritual orphans” and able to remember that we all belong to one another, as family members. In a culture that is so divided and individualistic, the universal motherhood of Mary calls us back to one another and to our shared environment. “Celebrating the Holy Mother of God leads us to create and care for common places that can give us a sense of belonging, of being rooted, of feeling at home in our cities, in communities that unite and support us (cf. Laudato si’, 151).”

In conclusion, the Holy Father asked us to learn “to care for life in the same way and with the same tenderness that she did: by sowing hope, by sowing a sense of belonging and of fraternity.”

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Pope Francis Corner

Pope Francis Corner


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