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Angelus Address: On the Solemnity of Mary Most Holy, Mother of God

‘At the Beginning of the Year, Let Us Allow Ourselves to Be Blessed by Our Lady with Her Son’

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At the end of Holy Mass celebrated in the Vatican Basilica, on the Solemnity of Mary Most Holy, Mother of God, and on the 53rd World Day of Peace, Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study in the Apostolic Vatican Palace to recite the Angelus with the faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

Here is a ZENIT translation of the Holy Father’s address.

* * *

Before the Angelus:

 Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning and Happy New Year!

Yesterday evening we ended the year 2019 thanking God for the gift of time and for all His benefits. Today we begin 2020 with the same attitude of gratitude and praise. It’s not a given that our planet began a new rotation of the sun and that we human beings continue to inhabit it. It’s not a given, rather, it’s always a “miracle” of which to be astonished and grateful.

On the first day of the year, the Liturgy celebrates the Holy Mother of God, Mary, the Virgin of Nazareth, who gave birth to Jesus, the Saviour. That Child is God’s blessing for every man and woman, for the great human family and for the entire world. Jesus did not remove evil from the world but He defeated it at its root. His salvation isn’t magical, but it is a “patient” salvation, that is, it entails the patience of love, which takes charge of iniquity and takes away its power. The patience of love: love makes us patient. We lose patience so often; I do too, and I apologize for yesterday’s bad example {He is probably referring to his reaction to a person who yanked him]. Therefore, contemplating the Nativity Scene we see, with the eyes of faith, the world renewed, freed from the dominion of evil and placed under Christ’s royal lordship, the Babe lying in the manger.

Therefore, the Mother of God blesses us. And, how does Our Lady bless us? By showing us the Son. She takes Him in her arms and shows Him and thus She blesses us. She blesses the whole Church; She blesses the whole world. As the Angels sang at Bethlehem, Jesus is “joy for all the people: He is God’s glory and peace for men (Cf. Luke 2:14). And this is the reason that the holy Pope Paul VI wished to dedicate the first day of the year to peace — it is the Day of Peace –, to prayer, to awareness and responsibility towards peace. For this year 2020, the Message <reads> thus: peace is a path of hope, a path in which one advances through dialogue, reconciliation, and ecological conversion.

 Therefore, we fix our gaze on the Mother and on the Son that She shows us. At the beginning of the year, let us allow ourselves to be blessed! Let us allow ourselves to be blessed by Our Lady with her Son. Jesus is the blessing for all those that are oppressed by the yoke of slaveries, moral slaveries, and material slaveries. He liberates with love. To one who has lost self-esteem, remaining a prisoner of vicious circles, Jesus says: The Father loves you, He doesn’t abandon you; He waits for your return with unwavering patience (Cf. Luke 15:20). To one who is victim of injustices and exploitation and doesn’t see the way out, Jesus opens the door of fraternity, to find welcoming faces, hearts, and hands, where he can share the bitterness and despair, and recover somewhat his dignity. To one who is gravely ill and feels abandoned and discouraged, Jesus draws close, touches his wounds with tenderness, pours the oil of consolation and transforms weakness in the strength of goodness to loose the most tangled knots. To one who is in prison and tempted to close himself in himself, with a little glimmer of light, Jesus reopens a horizon of hope.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us come down from the pedestals of our pride — we all have the temptation of pride — and ask for the blessing of the Holy Mother of God, the humble Mother of God. She shows us Jesus: let us allow ourselves to be blessed, let us open our heart to her goodness. Thus the year that is beginning will be a path of hope and peace, not with words, but through daily gestures of dialogue, reconciliation, and care of creation.

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

© Libreria Editrice Vatican


After the Angelus:

 Dear Brothers and Sisters!

To all of you, present here in St. Peter’s Square and <those> connected through the media, I express my best wishes of peace and goodness for the New Year.

I thank the President of the Italian Republic, The Honourable Sergio Mattarella, for the thought he addressed to me in his End of the Year Message and I return it invoking God’s blessing on his lofty mission.

I greet affectionately the participants in the manifestation “Peace in All Lands.” This manifestation is organized by Sant’Egidio Community in Rome and in numerous cities of the world. They also have a School for Peace. Go on! I greet the pilgrims from the United States, from New Zealand and from Spain, the Italian, Albanian and Maltese young people together with the Sisters of Charity, <and> the friends and volunteers of the Fraterna Domus.”

 I extend my greeting and my encouragement to all the peace initiatives that the particular Churches, Ecclesial Associations and Movements have promoted on this Day of Peace: meetings of prayer and fraternity accompanied with solidarity with the poorest. In particular, I recall the march that was held yesterday afternoon in Ravenna.

My thought goes also to the many volunteers that, in places where peace and justice are threatened, choose courageously to be present in a non-violent and disarmed way; as well as the military men that operate in the peace missions in many areas of conflict. Many thanks to them!

To all, believers and non-believers, because we are all brothers, I hope you will never cease to hope in a world of peace, to build together day by day. And, please, don’t forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch and goodbye.

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

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Virginia Forrester

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