Peter Paul Rubens - Immaculate Conception - Wikimedia Commons

Pope Francis on Mary’s Calling and Her Answer

‘Hail, full of grace. The lord is with you!’

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«God will fulfill what He has promised. However, today’s feast proclaims to us that something has already been fulfilled, in the person and the life of the Virgin Mary. Today we consider the beginning of this fulfillment, which is even before the birth of the Lord’s Mother. In fact, Her Immaculate Conception leads us to that precise moment in which Mary’s life began to beat in Her mother’s womb: the sanctifying love of God was already there, preserving Her from the contamination of evil, which is the common heredity of the human family.»

Those were the words of Pope Francis on December 8, 2019, before praying the Angelus with the large crowd of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Holy Father explained that Mary didn’t do a great deal of «reasoning» when the angel appeared to her and proclaimed that she would be the mother of God. She simply said yes with the «gift of self».

«I like to stress the word with which Mary describes Herself in giving Herself to God: She professes Herself ‘the handmaid of the Lord.’ From the beginning, Mary’s ‘yes’ to God assumes an attitude of service, of attention to the needs of others,» the Holy Father continued.

«Availability to God is found in the willingness to take charge of our neighbor’s needs — all this without clamor or ostentation, without seeking places of honor, without publicity, because charity and works of mercy don’t need to be exhibited as a trophy. Works of mercy are done in silence, in hiddenness, without boasting about doing them. We are called to follow Mary’s example also in our communities, practicing the style of discretion and hiddenness.»

The Holy Father’s Full Commentary

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Jim Fair

Jim Fair is a husband, father, grandfather, writer, and communications consultant. He also likes playing the piano and fishing. He writes from the Chicago area.

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