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Pope proposes starting point for beginning again in 2018

Pope Francis Mass New Year
Massimo Valicchia/NurPhoto/ AFP
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Have we accepted the beauty of realizing that we are beloved sons and daughters?

The pope celebrated today the first Mass of 2018, with an invitation to take a moment of silence every day, just as Mary did.

“Our solitude has been defeated,” Pope Francis said, as he celebrated the Mass of the Solemnity of the Mother of God, calling us to the “beauty of realizing that we are beloved sons and daughters.”

On this great feast day, the pope said that devotion to Mary is not merely “spiritual good manners, but a demand of Christian life.”

Francis invited the faithful to follow Mary’s example and to find silence, so as to guard the soul and keep it from pride.

Take “a moment of silence with God every day,” he said, to “protect our souls; to protect our freedom from the corrosive banality of consumerism and the loud confusion of marketing, from the abundance of empty words and the raging waves of gossip and complaints.”

Francis urged the faithful to follow Mary in watching over the mystery of a fragile God made man, in the arms of his mother, “and see how for the Lord, humanity is precious and sacred.”

In the heart of Our Lady beats the heart of the Church. “The feast of today,” he said, “tells us that to go forward, we must go back again to the manger, to the Mother who carries God in her arms.”

In his homily, the pope reflected that contemplating Mary allows us to feel “encouraged to let go of so many useless weights and to find what really matters.”

“The gift of the Mother, the gift of every mother and of every woman is very valuable for the Church, which is mother and woman,” he said.

“So that the faith isn’t reduced to merely an idea or a doctrine, all of us need the heart of a mother, which knows how to give safekeeping to the tenderness of God, and listen to the heartbeats of man.”

“May the Mother, who is the special seal of God on humanity, give safekeeping to this year and bring the peace of her Son to the hearts of every person and to the entire world.”

Life is sacred

Francis explained how in his littleness, God has given us a message: “To serve human life is to serve God, and every life, from the one in the womb of a mother, to the elderly person, the one who suffers, the one who is sick, also the one that makes us uncomfortable and even repulses us … every life should be welcomed, loved and helped.”

The child Jesus is silent in the manger, as is his Mother, who suffers and who rejoices, but who guards all these things in her heart.

“She guards them. Simply guards them. Mary doesn’t speak; the Gospel doesn’t tell us of even a single word of hers during the whole account of the Nativity,” Francis reflected. In the same way, we need to approach the manger in silence and contemplation. “The God before whom we keep silence is a Child who doesn’t speak. His majesty is without words, his mystery of love is revealed in littleness. This silent littleness is the language of his royalty.”

The pope noted how we want to begin this new year by beginning again with priorities and resolutions.

The starting point, he said, is Mary, because she is “exactly the way that God wants us to be, and wants his Church to be: a tender, humble Mother, poor in things and rich in love, free of sin, united to Jesus, who guards God in her heart and her neighbor in her life. To begin again, let us contemplate the Mother.”

~

Update: Read the official English translation of the full homily here.

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