In times of trouble, Christians come to Mary for refuge, Pope Francis stressed in his homily on January 28, 2018, in the Papal Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome. He came to celebrate Mass on the occasion of the Feast of the Translation of the Icon of the Salus Populi Romani.
“We are looking for refuge,” said the Holy Father. “Our Fathers in the faith have taught that in turbulent moments, we must gather under the mantle of the Holy Mother of God.”
He pointed out that in the past those being persecuted and the needy would seek help from “noble, high-ranking women,” who “stretched out their cloaks, which were considered inviolable, as a sign of reception, for they granted protection”.
Mary, he noted, is the “highest” woman. “Her coat is always open to welcome us and gather us.”
Pope Francis repeated the ancient antiphon, giving it as evidence that Christians have always recognized that Mary is the place of refuge:
Under your protection we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God: do not despise the supplications of us who are undergoing trials, but deliver us from all danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.
He continued by reminding the congregation that Mary, “guards faith, protects relationships, saves us in the storms and preserves from evil”. He emphasized her ability to protect:
“When Mary is in the home, the devil does not enter. Where Mary is in the home, the devil does not enter. Where there is the Mother, disturbance does not prevail, fear does not win…Mary is the sure ark in the midst of the flood. Ideas or technology will not give us comfort and hope, but what does is the face of the Mother, her hands that caress life, her mantle that shelters us. We learn to find refuge, going every day to the Mother.”