The Gospel requires a difficult lifestyle: love of enemies, forgiveness, magnanimity. To make it possible, says Pope Francis, the Christian must contemplate “two poles”: Jesus’ suffering and Mary’s sweetness.
This was the reflection the Holy Father offered at his morning Mass today in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, reported Vatican Radio. Today is the feast of the Holy Name of Mary.
The Gospel, he said, is demanding. There is only one way to be able to put it into practice: “to contemplate the Passion, the humanity of Jesus” and to imitate the behavior of His Mother.
At one time, the Pontiff noted, today’s feast was known as the feast of the “Sweet Name of Mary.” Later this title was changed; but in the prayer, this “sweetness of her name” remains.
“Even today, we stand in need of this sweetness of the Madonna, in order to understand the things that Jesus requests of us, no? Because this list [of things] is not easy to live. Love the enemy, do good, lend without hoping for anything … to those who strike you on the cheek, offer the other; to those who rip your cloak, don’t refuse the tunic … But these are tough things, no? But the Madonna, in her own way, lived all these things: it is the grace of meekness, the grace of mildness.”
Saint Paul, too, in the letter to the Colossians in the day’s liturgy, invites Christians to “put on … heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness … bearing with one another and forgiving one another.” And here, Pope Francis said, we immediately ask: “But how can I do this? How can I prepare myself to do this? What must I learn in order to do this?” The answer, the Pope said, is clear: “We cannot do this through our own effort. We cannot do this! Only a grace can accomplish this in us.” And this grace, he added, comes along a definite path:
“Fix your thoughts on Jesus alone. If our heart, if our mind is with Jesus, the Victor who has conquered death, sin, the devil, all things, we can do what Jesus Himself asks of us, and what the Apostle asks of us: meekness, humility, kindness, heartfelt compassion, gentleness, magnanimity. If we do not look to Jesus, if we are not with Jesus, we cannot do this. It is a grace: it is the grace that comes from the contemplation of Jesus.”
In particular, Pope Francis continued, there is a specific aspect of the life of Jesus to which the Christian’s contemplation must always return: His Passion, His “suffering humanity.” And, he insisted, it is through this contemplation “of Jesus, of our life hidden with Jesus in God, that we are able to go forward with this attitude, these virtues that the Lord asks of us. There is no other path.”
“To think about His meek silence: this will be your endeavor. He will do the rest. He will do everything that is lacking. But you must do that: hiding your life in God with Christ. This is done through contemplation of the humanity of Jesus, of the suffering humanity. There is no other path; there’s none. It is the only way. To be good Christians, contemplating the humanity of Jesus, the suffering humanity. In order to witness, in order to be able to give this witness. In order not to hate the neighbor, contemplate Jesus suffering. To not gossip against the neighbor, contemplate Jesus suffering. It is the only way. Hide your life with Christ in God: this is the counsel the Apostle gives. It is the counsel to become humble, meek and good, magnanimous, kind.”