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 Assumption 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 Mary, the Holy Virgin prays, saying: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Lk 1 :46-47). Let us look at the verbs of this prayer: proclaim and rejoice . Two verbs: “proclaim” and “rejoice”. One rejoices when something so beautiful happens that it is not enough to rejoice in one’s soul, but we want to express happiness with our whole body: then we rejoice. Mary rejoices because of God. Who knows if it happened to us too, that we rejoiced for the Lord: we rejoice for a result obtained, for good news, but today Mary teaches us to rejoice in God. Why? Because He – God – does “great things” (v. 49).
Great things are referred to by the other verb: proclaim. “My soul proclaims.” To proclaim. In fact, to proclaim means to exalt a reality for its greatness, for its beauty … Mary exalts the greatness of the Lord, praises Him, saying that He is really great. In life, it is important to look for big things, otherwise you get lost, behind so many little things. Mary shows us that if we want our life to be happy, God must be placed first, because He alone is great. How many times, instead, we live pursuing things of little importance: prejudices, rancor, rivalry, envy, illusions, superfluous material goods … How much pettiness in life! We know this is the case. Maria today invites us to look up to the “great things” that the Lord has done in her. In us too, in each of us, the Lord does many great things. We must recognize and rejoice, proclaiming God, for these great things.
These are the “great things” that we celebrate today. Mary is assumed into Heaven: small and humble, she receives first, the highest glory. She, who is a human being, one of us, reaches eternity in soul and body. And she awaits us there, like a mother waiting for her children to return home. In fact the people of God invoke it as a “gateway to Heaven.” We are on our way, pilgrims to the house up there. Today, we look to Mary and we see the goal. We see that a creature was assumed to the glory of Jesus Christ Risen, and that creature could only be her, the Mother of the Redeemer. We see that in Heaven, together with Christ, the New Adam, there is also Mary, the new Eve. This gives us comfort and hope in our pilgrimage down here.
The feast of the Assumption of Mary is a call for all of us, especially for those who are afflicted by doubts and sadness, and live with their eyes looking down and cannot look up. Let’s look up, the sky is open; it does not arouse fear, it is no longer distant, because on the threshold of Heaven there is a mother who awaits us and is our mother. She loves us, smiles and helps us with care. As every mother wants the best for her children, she tells us: “You are precious in the eyes of God; you are not made for the little fulfillment of the world, but for the great joys of Heaven.” Yes, because God is joy, not boredom! God is joy! Let us allow ourselves to be taken by the hand of the Madonna. Every time we take the Rosary in hand and pray it, we take a step towards the great goal of life.
Let us be attracted by true beauty, let us not be sucked into the smallness of life, but choose the greatness of Heaven.
May the Blessed Virgin, Gate of Heaven, help us to look every day with trust and joy toward Heaven, where our true home is, where she is, awaiting us as a mother.[Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s working translation by Sr. Vatican Correspondent, Deborah Castellano Lubov]