Tenderness is among the most special virtues which mothers offer to the world.
According to Vatican News, today, May 21, 2018, on this first Memorial of Mary, Mother of God, Pope Francis stressed this during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta as reflected on the Church as a woman, possessing the gentle but strong attitudes of mother and bride.
“The Church is feminine,” “She is a mother,” he highlighted. When this identity is lost, Francis warned, it becomes “a charitable organization or a football team.” When “it is a male Church,” he said, it becomes “a Church of old bachelors,” “incapable of love, incapable of fruitfulness”.
In the Gospels, the Jesuit Pope reminded, Mary is always referred to as “Mother of Jesus,” not as “the Lady” or “the widow of Joseph.” Rather, her “motherliness” covers all the Sacred Scriptures, beginning with the Annunciation. This specificity that the Fathers of the Church immediately understood, is a dowry that reaches and encircles the Church, the Pope said.
Stressing the Church is feminine and mother, the Pope noted, She gives birth. These attitudes that comes from Mary, who is Mother of the Church, make us understand this feminine dimension of the Church.
“When it does not exist, the Church loses the true identity and becomes a charity association or a football team or anything, but not the Church.”
Only a female Church, the Pope said, can have “attitudes of fruitfulness,” according to God’s intentions. The important thing, the Holy Father stressed, is that the Church is a woman, one that has the attitude of wife and mother.
“When we forget this, it is a male Church, without this dimension,” he decried, noting it then lives in “isolation, incapable of love, incapable of fruitfulness.”
“Without the woman, the Church does not go on because She is a woman. And this attitude of a woman comes to Her from Mary, because Jesus wanted it that way.”
The virtue that most distinguishes a woman, remarks Pope Francis, is tenderness.
Mary, he noted, exemplifies this perfectly as she “gave birth to her firstborn Son, wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and put Him in a manger.” This care, meekness and humility are qualities of strength for mothers.
Pope Francis concluded, praying: “A Church that is a mother goes along the path of tenderness.”
“She knows the language of such wisdom of caresses, of silence, of the gaze that knows compassion … It is, too, a soul, a person who lives out this way of being a member of the Church, knowing that he or she is like a mother and must go along the same path: a person who is gentle, tender, smiling, full of love.”
On Zenit’s Web page:
About newly-instituted Memorial of Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church: https://zenit.org/articles/today-may-21-marks-1st-celebration-of-marian-feast-of-mary-mother-of-the-church/