Francis invites us to thank Mary for agreeing to be Mother - at the Annunciation and at the Cross
Pope Francis offered the April 3 morning Mass for those already working to alleviate the issues that will arise after the COVID-19 pandemic, including poverty, unemployment, and hunger. “We pray for all the people who help today, but who also think of tomorrow, to help us all,” he said.
The Holy Father’s homily focused on a commemoration marked the Friday before Palm Sunday, known as Passion Friday, a day the Church turns to the sorrows suffered by Our Lady.
Today, Francis said, “it will do us good to think about Our Lady’s Sorrows and to thank her because she accepted to be a Mother.”
Pope Francis recalled that, “Christian devotion has collected Our Lady’s sorrows and speaks of the ‘Seven Sorrows.'”
The first, he said, is “just 40 days after the birth of Jesus, Simeon’s prophecy that speaks of a sword that will pierce her heart.” The second sorrow considers “the flight to Egypt to save her Son’s life,” while the third recalls, “those three days of anguish when the boy remained in the temple.”
The fourth and fifth sorrow, he said, see Our Lady meeting Jesus on the way to Calvary and his subsequent death on the Cross.
Pope Francis noted that in the sixth and seventh sorrow, Mary continues to accompany Jesus when he is taken down from the Cross and then buried.
“It is good for me,” said the pope, “late in the evening, when I pray the Angelus, to pray these seven sorrows as a remembrance of the Mother of the Church,” who, with so much pain, gave birth to all of us.
A short guide to praying the Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows of Mary
Mary as Mother
“Our Lady never asked anything for herself,” Pope Francis reflected. “She did ask things for others; we can think of Cana. But she never said, ‘I’m the mother. Look at me. I’m the Queen Mother.’ She didn’t ask something important for herself in the apostolic college. Simply, she agrees to be Mother.”
She accompanied Jesus as a disciple, because the Gospel shows that she followed Jesus: with her friends, pious women, “she followed Jesus, she listened to Jesus.”
The pope issued an invitation to “honor Our Lady and say: ‘This is my Mother,’ because she is Mother. And this is the title she received from Jesus, right there, at the moment of the Cross.”
“Our Lady did not want to take away any title from Jesus,” said Pope Francis, “she received the gift of being His Mother and the duty to accompany us as Mother, to be our Mother. She did not ask for herself to be a quasi-redeemer or a co-redeemer: no. The Redeemer is one and this title cannot be duplicated. Only disciple. And mother. And thus, as a mother, we should think of her, we should seek her, we should pray to her. She is the Mother in Mother Church. In the maternity of the Virgin, we see the maternity of the Church that receives everyone, good and bad, everyone.”
The pope invited the faithful to thank Our Lady for being a Mother:
Today it would be good for us to stop a little and think of the sorrow and the pains of Our Lady. She is our mother. And [to think] of how she endured [her sorrows] – how she carried them well, with strength, with tears. They weren’t false tears, it was her heart destroyed by sorrow. It would be good for us to stop for a little and say to Our Lady: ‘Thank you for agreeing to be Mother when the Angel told you, and thank you for agreeing to be Mother when Jesus told you.’
God sought her consent: Reflect with Benedict XVI on the Annunciation