“Let’s think of the sorrows of Our Lady and thank her for having accepted being a Mother.”
According to Vatican News, Pope Francis stressed this today, April 3, during his private daily Mass at his residence Casa Santa Marta on this Passion Friday before Palm Sunday, where we remember Mary’s pain.
The Holy Father dedicated the homily to the Virgin of Sorrows.
“Today – he said – it will do us good to think of the sorrows of Our Lady and thank her for having accepted to be a Mother.”
At the start of the Mass, while remembering all victims of coronavirus, the Holy Father prayed for those who carry great responsibilities even eventually in the aftermath of the epidemic, to help those who, resulting from this period have problems of poverty, work and hunger.
“There are people who are now starting to think about the aftermath: the aftermath of the pandemic. To all the problems that will come: problems of poverty, work, hunger …,” he observed, inviting: “We pray for all the people who help today, but also think about tomorrow, in order to help us all.”
Since this Passion Friday, the Church remembers the pains of Mary, Francis encouraged faithful to do this homework: “late in the evening, when I pray to the Angelus, to pray and recall her seven sorrows as a remembrance of the Mother of the Church , as the Mother of the Church gave birth to all of us with so much pain…”
Christian piety, Francis said, follows this path of the Madonna that accompanies Jesus.
“Our Lady never asked for anything for herself,” the Pope said, “ever.”
“Yes, for the others,” he said, noting: “we think of Cana, when she goes to speak with Jesus.”
Recalling her utter selflessness, Francis said: “Honor Our Lady and say: “This is my Mother,” because she is Mother.”
“Our Lady,” the Argentine Pontiff said, “did not want to take any title from Jesus; she received the gift of being Mother of Him and the duty to accompany us as Mother, to be our Mother.”
“She is our mother,” he said, who with strength and trust in God pushed through her broken heart. “It wasn’t a fake cry,” he said, “it was her heart destroyed by pain.”
For this reason, Francis implored: “It will do us good to stop a little and say to Our Lady: “Thank you for accepting to be Mother when the Angel told you and thank you for accepting to be Mother when Jesus told you”
Before concluding, 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 this month 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.
The Vatican has also published the Pope’s Holy Week and Easter schedule, confirming this year’s events will not welcome the physical presence of the faithful, and the events will be made available via streaming.
This comes at a time too when the Italian bishops’ conference has canceled public Masses throughout the nation, 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.
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 is available below:
FULL HOMILY [translated by ZENIT’s Virginia Forrester]
This Friday of the Passion, the Church recalls the sorrows of Mary, the Addolorata [Sorrowful One]. This Veneration of the People of God is centuries-old. Hymns have been written in honour of the Addolorata: She was at the foot of the cross, and we contemplate Her there, suffering. Christian piety has brought together Our Lady’s sorrows and speaks of “seven sorrows.” The first, just 40 days after Jesus’ birth, Simeon’s prophecy, which speaks of a sword piercing Her heart (Cf. Luke 2:35). The second sorrow is the flight into Egypt to save the Son’s life (Cf. Matthew 2:13-23). The third sorrow <is> those three days of anguish when the Boy <Jesus> remained in the Temple (Cf. Luke 2:41-50). The fourth sorrow is when Our Lady meets Jesus on the way to Calvary (Cf. John 19:25). Our Lady’s fifth sorrow is the death of Jesus, of seeing Her Son there, crucified, naked, <and> dying. The sixth sorrow, the deposition of the dead Jesus from the Cross. She takes him in Her hands as She took Him in Her hands more than 30 years before at Bethlehem. The seventh sorrow is Jesus’ burial. And thus, Christian piety follows this way of Our Lady, who accompanies Jesus. It does me good, in the late afternoon, when I pray the Angelus, to pray these seven sorrows as a remembrance of the Mother of the Church, how the Mother of the Church gave birth to all of us with so much pain.
Our Lady never asked anything for herself — never. Yes, She did for others. We think of Cana, when She goes to speak to Jesus. She never said: “I am the Mother; look at me, I will be the Queen Mother.” She never said it. She doesn’t ask for something important for herself in the Apostolic College. She only accepts to be Mother. She accompanied Jesus as a disciple, because the Gospel makes it seen that She followed Jesus with friends, pious women, She followed Jesus; She listened to Jesus. Someone once recognized Her: “Ah, here is the Mother: “Your Mother is here” (Cf. Mark 3:31). She followed Jesus –- to Calvary. And, standing there . . . the people surely said: “But, poor woman, how She will suffer,” and the evil ones surely said:” She too is to blame, because if She had brought Him up well this wouldn’t have ended so.” She was there, with the Son, with the Son’s humiliation. We must honour Our Lady and say: This is my Mother,” because She is Mother. And this is the title She received from Jesus, precisely there, in the moment of the cross (Cf. John 19:26-27). You are Mother <of> your children. He didn’t make Her Prime Minister or give Her titles of “functionality,” — only “Mother.” And then, the Acts of the Apostles have <us> see Her in prayer with the Apostles as Mother (Cf. Acts 1:14). Our Lady did not take any title from Jesus. She received the gift of being Mother to Him and the duty to accompany us as Mother, to be our Mother. She didn’t ask to be a quasi-Redemptrix or a Co-Redemptrix, no. The Redeemer is only one and this title is not duplicated. <She is> only a disciple and Mother. And so, as Mother we must think of Her, we must seek Her; we must pray to Her. She is the Mother — in the Mother Church. In Our Lady’s maternity we see the maternity of the Church, that receives all, good and evil — all.
It will do us good today to pause a while and to think of the pain and the sorrows of Our Lady. She is our Mother. And She brought good there, with strength, with weeping, it wasn’t a feigned crying; it was in fact a heart destroyed by sorrow. It will do us good to pause a while and to say to Our Lady: “Thank you for accepting to be Mother when the Angel said it to You, and thank You for accepting to be Mother when Jesus said it to You.”
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:
My Jesus, I believe You are really present in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the altar. I love You above all things and I desire You in my soul. As I cannot receive you sacramentally now, at least come spiritually into my heart. As if You have already come I embrace You and unite myself wholly to You. Do not permit me to be ever separated from You. Amen.
Before leaving the Chapel, dedicated to the Holy Spirit, the ancient Marian antiphon Ave Regina Caelorum (Hail Queen of Heaven) was intoned.
Hail, Queen of Heaven, hail Lady of the Angles, gate and root of salvation, bring light into the world. Delight, glorious Virgin, beautiful among all women; hail O Holy One, pray for us to Christ the Lord.