Continuing his catechesis on the Church, the Holy Father reflected on the role of Mary as an image and model of faith, charity, and and of the union with Christ. An estimated 100,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square to listen to Pope Francis’ weekly General Audience.
The Pope began by speaking on Mary as a model of faith, who upon giving her ‘yes’ to the announcement from the angel Gabriel, her faith receives a new light, concentrated on Jesus.
“Mary’s faith is the fulfillment of Israel’s faith, in Her the entire way, the entire path of that people awaiting redemption is concentrated, and in this sense it is the model of the faith of the Church, which has Christ as center, incarnation of God’s infinite love,” the Holy Father said.
To live this faith, the Holy Father said that Mary lived it out everyday in a profound dialogue between her and God that grew all the way to the moment of Jesus Crucifixion and death. Mary meditated upon everything through the light of the Holy Spirit.
Regarding the second aspect of Mary, as a model of charity, the Holy Father reflected on the example of Mary when visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. Mary, he said, not only brought material help, but also brought with her “Jesus, who was already living in her womb.”
“To take Jesus to that home meant to take joy, the fullness of joy. Elizabeth and Zechariah were happy because of the pregnancy that seemed impossible at their age, but it is young Mary who brings them the fullness of joy, that which comes from Jesus and from the Holy Spirit and is expressed in gratuitous charity, in sharing, in helping one another, in understanding each other,” Pope Francis said.
Our Lady, he continued, “also wants to bring to us, to all, the great gift that is Jesus; and with Him she brings his love, his peace, his joy. Thus the Church is like Mary: the Church is not a business, it is not a humanitarian agency, the Church is not an NGO; the Church is sent to bring Christ and his Gospel; it does not bring itself – whether it is small, large, strong, weak, the Church brings Jesus and should be like Mary when She went to visit Elizabeth. What did Mary bring? Jesus.
Emphasizing the mission of the Church to bring Jesus, Pope Francis exclaimed that if the Church were to hypothetically not bring Jesus, the Church would be “a dead Church.”
To bring Christ to the world means to bring love. The Holy Father called on the faithful to reflect on what love they bring to others: “Is it the love of Jesus that shares, that forgives, that accompanies, or is it a watered down love, like watered down wine?
The Union of Mary with Christ
Pope Francis, regarding the final aspect of the Blessed Virgin Mary, said that throughout Her life, the Mother of Christ carried out her duties in full union with Him and “reached its climax on Calvary.” Mary, he said, “unites herself to her Son in the martyrdom of the heart and in the offering of life to the Father for the salvation of humanity.”
“Our Lady made her own the pain of her Son and with Him accepted the Father’s will, in that obedience that bears fruit, which gives the true victory over evil and death.”
This act of faith taught by the example of Mary is a calling for each one of us “to be always united to Jesus.”
Concluding his catechesis, Pope Francis asked God that all may be given grace and strength, so that so that in our life and in the life of every ecclesial community is reflected the model of Mary, Mother of the Church.”