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The First and Most Important Title of Our Lady

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Pope Francis points to Mary’s example of holiness for all Christians in his Angelus message for yesterday’s Marian feast day.

At the onset of the New Year, Pope Francis delivered a meditation after the Angelus at St. Peter’s Square touching on the subject of hope rooted in faith.

“[This is] not an illusory hope, based on frail human promises, or a naïve hope which presumes that the future will be better simply because it is the future.  Rather, it is a hope that has its foundation precisely in God’s blessing, a blessing which contains the greatest message of good wishes there can be; and this is the message which the Church brings to each of us, filled with the Lord’s loving care and providential help,” the Pope said.

Turning to Mary, the Mother of God, whose Solemnity is celebrated every January 1st (the Octave of Christmas), Francis stated that this hope was fully realized in the person of the Blessed Virgin: “The Mother of God!  This is the first and most important title of Our Lady.  It refers to a quality, a role which the faith of the Christian people, in its tender and genuine devotion to our heavenly Mother, has understood from the beginning.”

Like Mary, the Pope said, Christians are called to embark on a “pilgrimage of faith” in which nothing is ever certain except for the fact that in so doing, God’s blessing is with us. Like Mary, we are called to say “yes” without necessarily knowing what to expect, trusting in Divine Providence to lead us along the journey.

And just as she is the Mother of God, Francis reminded the faithful that upon the cross, Jesus gave her to all of us to be our own, as well, when he said to John, the beloved disciple, “Behold your Mother” (Jn. 19:27). In this way, “the Mother of the Redeemer goes before us and continually strengthens us in faith, in our vocation and in our mission.  By her example of humility and openness to God’s will, she helps us to transmit our faith in a joyful proclamation of the Gospel to all, without reservation.”

And thus we begin the New Year: with a call to step into the unknown, putting our full confidence in God and taking refuge in the arms of Mary, who has tread this path long before us, and who, even now, accompanies us on our way.

Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church: pray for us.

Alberto González is the Associate Editor of Aleteia’s English edition.

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