Below is a translation of Pope Francis’ address before and after the recitation of the Angelus prayer today at noon to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Feast of the of the Blessed Virgin Mary:
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Before the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
In today’s Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the holy faithful people of God express with joy their veneration of the Virgin Mother. They do so in the common liturgy and also in a thousand different ways of piety; and thus, the prophecy of Mary herself comes true: “All generations will call me blessed” (Luke 1:48), because the Lord has regarded His humble handmaid.
The Assumption into Heaven, in soul and body, is a divine privilege accorded to the Holy Mother of God because of her particular union with Jesus. It’s a corporal and spiritual union, which began with the Annunciation and matured throughout Mary’s life, through her singular participation in her Son’s mystery. Mary always went with her Son: she went behind Jesus, and so we say she was His first disciple.
Our Lady’s existence unfolded as that of any woman of her time: she prayed, managed the family and the home, went to the Synagogue . . . However, she did every daily action in total union with Jesus. And this union reached its apex on Calvary in love, in compassion and in the suffering of the heart. Therefore, God gave her full participation in Jesus’ Resurrection. The Holy Mother’s body, as that of the Son, was preserved from corruption.
The Church invites us today to contemplate this mystery: it shows us that God wills to save the whole man, namely, save his soul and body. Jesus resurrected with the body He assumed of Mary, and He ascended to the Father with His transfigured humanity. With the body, a body like ours, but transfigured. The Assumption of Mary, human creature, confirms to us what our glorious destiny will be. The Greek philosophers had already understood that man’s soul is destined for happiness after death. However, they disdained the body — considered the soul’s prison — and they didn’t conceive that God had disposed that man’s body be united to the soul in the celestial beatitude. Our body, transfigured, will be there. This — the “resurrection of the flesh” — is an element proper of Christian revelation, a pivot of our faith.
The stupendous reality of Mary’s Assumption manifests and confirms the unity of the human person, and it reminds us that we are called to serve and glorify God with all our being, soul and body. To serve God only with the body would be an action of slaves; to serve God only with the soul would be against our human nature. Around the year 220, Saint Irenaeus, a great Father of the Church, affirmed that “the glory of God is man fully alive, and man’s life consists in the vision of God” (Against the Heresies, IV, 20, 7). If we have lived thus, in the joyful service of God, which is also expressed in generous service to brothers, on the day of the resurrection our destiny will be similar to that of our heavenly Mother. Given then will be the full realization of the Apostle Paul’s exhortation: “Glorify God in your body!” (1 Corinthians 6:20), and we will glorify Him forever in Heaven.
Let us pray to Mary that, with her maternal intercession, she may help us to live our daily journey in the active hope of being able one day to reach her, with all the Saints and our dear ones — all in Paradise.[Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
After the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
To Mary Consoler of the afflicted, whom we contemplate today in the glory of Paradise, I would like to entrust the anxieties and torments of those that, in so many parts of the world, suffer in body and in spirit. May our celestial Mother obtain for all comfort, courage and serenity.
I’m thinking in particular of all those that were tried by the tragedy that happened yesterday in Genoa, which caused victims and loss in the population. While I entrust to God’s mercy the persons that lost their life, I express my spiritual closeness to their families, to the wounded, to the displaced and to all those that suffer as a result of this tragic event. I invite you to join me in prayer for the victims and their dear ones. Let us recite together the Hail Mary.
I greet all of you, Romans and pilgrims from different countries! I thank you for your presence and I wish you a happy feast of Our Lady’s Assumption. And, please, don’t forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch and goodbye![Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]