‘For nothing will be impossible for God.’
Pope Francis gave this reminder today, March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation, as he offered his private daily Mass at his residence Casa Santa Marta for the victims of Coronavirus, which so far has claimed over 7000 lives in Italy, and spoke about Mary’s complete trust in God when the Angel Gabriel told her what would be in her future, reported Vatican News.
In today’s homily, the Holy Father commented on today’s important Gospel passage from St. Luke and Mary’s Magnificat.
“The evangelist Luke could know this only from Our Lady’s account,” Francis said, noting that in listening to Luke, we have listened to Our Lady who recounts this mystery.
“The best thing we can do now,” Francis reflected, “is to reread this passage, thinking that it was Our Lady who recounted it.”
Mary, the Holy Father acknowledged, was perplexed by the news, and especially since she had no relations with a man, but trusted and consented to the Lord’s will for her and her life.
When “she was greatly troubled,” Francis recalled, the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.”
Gabriel stressed that her baby would be great and be called the Son of the Most High, and how since the power of the Most High would overshadow her, “the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.”
Moreover, the angel told her, that Elizabeth in her old age, “has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.”
“For with God,” he said, “nothing will be impossible.”
Mary–the Pope reminded–responds to this, saying: “’Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be to me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her.”
“This is the mystery,” Pope Francis said.
Before concluding the Mass, the Pope exhorted faithful to partake in Spiritual Communion in this difficult time, and ended the celebration with Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction.
Here are the Holy Father’s words, followed by the prayer for Spiritual Communion:
I prostrate myself at your feet, O my Jesus, and I offer you the repentance of my contrite heart, which abases itself in its nothingness in Your Holy Presence. I adore you in the Sacrament of Your Love; I desire to receive You in the poor abode that my heart offers You. While waiting for the happiness of a Sacramental Communion, I want to possess You in spirit. Come to me, O my Jesus, that I may come to You. May Your Love inflame my whole being, in life and in death. I believe in You, I hope in You, I love You. Amen.
The Masses in Francis’ chapel normally welcome a small group of faithful, but due to recent measures’ taken by the Vatican, are now being kept private, without their participation.
It was announced in recent days that the Pope would have these Masses, in this period, be available to all the world’s faithful, via streaming on Vatican Media, on weekdays, at 7 am Rome time.
This comes at a time too when the Italian bishops’ conference has canceled public Masses throughout the nation, until at least April 3rd, following guidelines put out by Italian authorities.
In addition to Santa Marta, the Vatican has taken other steps to keep people safe and to stay close to the Pope, even if from a distance. They are televising the Pope giving privately, from the papal library, his weekly Angelus and General Audience addresses.
The Vatican Museums are now closed, along with the Vatican’s other similar museums. There have also been various guidelines implemented throughout the Vatican, to prevent the spread of the virus.
To date, four people have been tested positive for Coronavirus in the Vatican, and those who were in close contact with them are all being quarantined at home.
By this evening in Rome, Italy’s civil protection agency will confirm that more than 7,000 Italians have died from the virus.
For anyone interested, the Pope’s Masses at Santa Marta can be watched live and can be watched afterward on Vatican YouTube. Below is a link to today’s Mass. Also, a ZENIT English translation of the Pope’s full homily can be read below:
The evangelist Luke could know this only from Our Lady’s account. Listening to Luke, we have listened to Our Lady who recounts this mystery. We are before the mystery. Perhaps the best thing we can do now is to reread this passage, thinking that it was Our Lady who recounted it.
At that time, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.” And Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no husband?” And the angel said to her. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
This is the mystery.
The Pope ended the celebration with Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction, inviting the faithful to make a Spiritual Communion.
Here is the Prayer Recited by the Pope
I prostrate myself at your feet, O my Jesus, and I offer you the repentance of my contrite heart, which abases itself in its nothingness and in Your holy Presence. I adore You in the Sacrament of your Love, the ineffable Eucharist. I desire to receive You in my poor abode that my heart offers You. While waiting for the happiness of a Sacramental Communion, I want to possess You in spirit. Come to me, O my Jesus, that I may come to You. May your Love be able to inflame my whole being, in life and in death. I believe in You, I hope in You, I love You. Amen.[ZENIT translation of Pope Francis’ full homily at Santa Marta]