Pope Francis before the Virgin of Fatima. Photo: Vatican Media

Lisbon WYD (Day 4): “The Church Doesn’t Have Doors, so that Everyone Can Enter: Pope’s Moving Message in Fatima

The Holy Father also reflected on a Marian “advocation” very close to people’s reality and to what Mary is and does with each one who invokes her as the Hasty Virgin.

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(ZENIT News / Lisbon, 05 .08.2023).- For the second time in his pontificate, Pope Francis visited  the Fatima Shrine, one of the most important and visited in the world. After praying the Rosary and listening to the greeting of the local Bishop, the Holy Father said the following:

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Dear Brothers and Sisters, good day!

Thank you, Monsignor Ornelas for your words and thank you all for your presence and prayer. We have prayed the Rosary, a beautiful prayer full of life, because it puts us in contact with the life of Jesus and Mary. And we have meditated on the Joyful Mysteries, which remind us that the Church can only be a home full of joy. 

The small Chapel in which we find ourselves is like a lovely image of the Church: welcoming, without doors. The Church doesn’t have doors, so that everyone can enter. And here we must also insist that all can enter, because this is the home of the Mother, and a mother always has an open heart for all her children, all, all, all, without exclusions. 

And we are here, under Mary’s maternal gaze; we are here as Church, Mother Church. And pilgrimage is a Marian feature, because the first to undertake a pilgrimage after the Annunciation of Jesus was Mary. No sooner she found out that her cousin was pregnant — her cousin was already quite elderly –, she left running. It’s a rather free translation, but the Gospel says she “left in haste,” we would say she left running, she left running with that eagerness to help, to be present. 

There are so many advocations of Mary, but one we can say, also thinking, is this: the Virgin that goes out running every time there is a problem, every time we invoke her, she doesn’t delay, she comes, she hurries, “Our Lady in a Hurry.” Do you like that? Let’s say it all together: Our Lady in a Hurry. She hurries to be close to us, she hurries because she is a Mother. “Apressada,” in Portuguese means hurried, Monsignor Ornelas tells me, Our Lady in a Hurry. And thus she accompanies Jesus’ life, and she doesn’t hide after the Resurrection. She accompanies the disciples, waiting for the Holy Spirit, and she accompanies the Church, which begins to grow after Pentecost. Our Lady in a Hurry, Our Lady who accompanies; she always accompanies. She’s never a protagonist! Mother Mary’s welcoming gesture is twofold; first she welcomes and then she points to Jesus. In her life Mary does nothing other than point to Jesus. “Do what He tells you,” follow Jesus. 

These are Mary’s two gestures, let’s think about it well: she welcomes everyone and points to Jesus, and she does so somewhat in haste, in a hurry. Our Lady in a Hurry, who welcomes all of us and points out Jesus to us. And every time we come here, let’s remember this: Mary made herself present here in a special way, so that the incredulity of so many hearts would open to Jesus; with her presence, she points out Jesus to us, she always points to Jesus. And today she is here among us, she’s always among us, but today we feel her much closer. Mary in a Hurry.

Friends, Jesus loves us to the point of identifying Himself with us, and He asks us to collaborate with Him, and Mary points out to us what Jesus asks us, to walk in life collaborating with Him. I would like us to look at Mary’s image today, and that each one think: what does Mary say to me as Mother? What is she pointing out to me with her finger? She points out Jesus to us; sometimes she also points out a little something to us in our heart which isn’t working well, but she always points out. Mother, what are you pointing out to me? Let us engage in a little instant of silence, and each one say in his/her heart: Mother, what are you pointing out to me? What is there in my life that worries you? What is there in my life that moves you? What is there in my life that interests you? And that you point out. And there she points to our heart so that Jesus will come, and just as she points out Jesus to us, she points out to Jesus the heart of each one of us. 

Dear brethren, let us feel today that presence of Mother Mary, the Mother who will always say: ”do what Jesus tells you.” She points out Jesus to us, but she is the Mother who says to Jesus: do what he is asking of You — that’s Mary, that’s our Mother, Our Lady in a Hurry, to be close to us. May she bless us all. Amen. 

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