ROME – On the feast of the Assumption, Pope Francis said that the Virgin Mary is a symbol of how God often works though the poor and unknown to carry out His plan for redemption.
Quoting the day’s reading, the pope recalled how Mary, pregnant with Jesus, brings joy to the house of Elizabeth who is carrying John the Baptist and that this joy is expressed in Luke’s Gospel with the Magnificat hymn, the Canticle of Mary.
“The Magnificat,” Francis told around 20,0000 people gathered in St. Peter’s square for the Angelus, “praises the loyal and merciful God, who carries out his design of salvation with the little ones and the poor, with those who have faith in Him, who trust his Word, like Mary.”
Mary, the pope said, carries within her the gift of Jesus not only for Elizabeth but also to the whole of humanity, and the Son of God takes human flesh from Mary for his mission of salvation.
The home of Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah used to be unhappy because there were no children, but through the grace of God, Elizabeth becomes pregnant with John the Baptist, forerunner of Jesus.
“When Mary arrives, the joy overflows and bursts from the hearts, because the invisible but real presence of Jesus fills everything with meaning: the life, the family, the redemption of the people… Everything!” the pope said.
This explosive happiness is expressed in the Magnificat, “a song praising God who works great things through humble and unknown people, just like Mary, like her spouse Joseph, and also the place where they live, Narzareth,” he added.
But beyond joy and fraternal communion, Mary also brought a faith that leads to hope, prayer and praise; and during the Angelus, Francis encouraged that the very same thing should also happen in everyone’s home.
“In carrying Jesus, the Madonna also brings us a new joy, filled with meaning,” the pope said, “she brings a new ability to overcome with faith the most painful and difficult moments; she brings the ability of mercy, to forgive each other, understand each other, support one another.”
On the feast of the Assumption, when Mary completes her journey on this earth, she precedes us in the pilgrimage of life and faith the pope said and concluded by asking for her intercession.
“We ask her to keep us and support us; so that we may have a strong, joyous and merciful faith,” he said. “May she help us to be holy, so that we might meet with her, one day, in Heaven.”
Addressing Mary as the Queen of Peace at the end of the Angelus, the pope entrusted to her “the anxieties and sorrows” of the people around the world who are suffering because of “natural disasters, social tensions, or conflicts,” asking her for consolation and “a future of serenity and harmony.”