The Holy Father identifies the one thing that ages us most
Gabriel’s description of Mary as “full of grace” is the key to understanding today’s feast, Pope Francis said today before praying the midday Angelus from his window overlooking St. Peter’s Square.
Gabriel calls Mary “full of grace” even before pronouncing her name.
In this way, Francis said, God “reveals the new name, which God has given her and which befits her more than the one given by her parents.”
The Holy Father said “full of grace” means that “Mary is full of the presence of God.”
“And if she is entirely pervaded by God, there is no place in her for sin. This is extraordinary,” he said, “because unfortunately the whole world is contaminated by evil.”
Mary alone, he continued, is the “ever-green oasis” of humanity. She is “the only uncontaminated person, immaculately created to welcome fully – with her ‘yes’ – God who came into the world.”
Pope Francis went on to say that, when we call Mary “full of grace,” we are paying her “the greatest compliment, which is the same offered her by God.”
Because Mary is without sin, he said, she is immune to aging — since “sin makes one old, not age” — and worthy of the name tota pulchra, or “all fair” or “completely beautiful.”
“Since her youth depends not on age, her beauty consists not of external appearances. Mary, as the day’s Gospel shows, does not excel in appearance. She is from a simple family; she lived humbly in Nazareth, an almost unknown place.”
Finally, Pope Francis reflected on the secret of the “beautiful life” lived by Mary, “full of grace.”
“In many paintings [of the Annunciation] Mary is depicted as seated before an angel with a little book. This book is the Scriptures. So Mary often listened to God and reflected with Him. The Word of God was her secret: close to her heart, He took on flesh in her womb.”
The Holy Father invited all to ask for the grace “to remain young by saying ‘no’ to sin and to live a beautiful life by saying ‘yes’ to God.”
Since you are here…
…we’d like to have one more word with you. We are excited to report that Aleteia’s readership is growing at a rapid rate, world-wide! Our team proves its mission every day by providing high-quality content that informs and inspires a Christian life. But quality journalism has a cost and it’s more than ads can cover. We want our articles to be accessible to everyone, free of charge, but we need your help. To continue our efforts to nourish and inspire our Catholic family, your support is invaluable. Become an Aleteia Patron today for as little as $3 a month. May we count on you?