The great believer
· At the Angelus on the Solemnity of the Assumption ·
“Faith is the heart of Mary’s entire story: she is the believer, the great believer”. This was emphasized by Pope Francis on Saturday, 15 August, the Solemnity of the Assumption. He concluded by addressing a thought to the people of Tianjin, the Chinese city devastated by a series of explosions which claimed many victims. “I assure my prayers”, the Pontiff said, “for those who have lost their lives and for all the people tried by this disaster; may the Lord give relief to them and support to those involved in alleviating their suffering”. His words resonated particularly when broadcast by Chinese television in a service dedicated to the Pope’s Angelus.
In his Marian reflection the Pontiff spoke to the faithful in St Peter’s Square of the Canticle of the Magnificat, to highlight that the Virgin knows “that historically the violence of the powerful, the pride of the rich, the arrogance of the proud are burdensome”. However, he explained, she “believes and proclaims that God does not leave alone his humble and poor children, but helps them with mercy, with care, overthrowing the mighty from their thrones, scattering the proud in the imagination of their hearts”. This, he said, “is the faith our our Mother, this is the faith of Mary”.
All this, he stated, “is not only about Mary”. The “great things” she alludes to in the Magnificat “touch us deeply, speak to us of our journey in life, remind us of the destination that awaits us: the home of our Father”. Seen in the light of the Virgin assumed into heaven, life “is not a meaningless wandering, but is a pilgrimage which, while with all its uncertainties and sufferings, has a sure destination: the home of our Father, who awaits us with love”.
The Pope referred to this horizon of hope also at the Angelus on Sunday, 16 August, which was dedicated to the Eucharist. In recalling the words of Jesus: “he who eats this bread will live for ever” (Jn 6:58), the Pontiff affirmed that “living in real communion with Jesus on this earth lets us pass from death to life”. Heaven, he stated, “begins precisely in this communion with Jesus”. For this reason, Francis emphasized that “the Eucharist is not a private prayer or a beautiful spiritual exercise, it is not a simple commemoration of what Jesus did at the Last Supper”. It is, rather, a “a remembrance”, or “a gesture which renders real and present the event of Jesus’ death and resurrection: the bread really is his Body given up for us, the wine really is his Blood poured out for us”.
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