(Vatican Radio) On Saturday, Pope Francis became the first Pope in more than 60 years to lead the Angelus for the Solemnity of the Assumption in Saint Peter’s Square.
Listen to Christopher Wells' report:
In recent years, the Popes have generally celebrated the Assumption in the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo; last year, Pope Francis was making an Apostolic Voyage to Korea during the holiday. The last Pope to celebrate the feast in St Peter’s Square was Ven. Pius XII.
In his reflections on the day’s Gospel, Pope Francis said the truest reason for Mary’s greatness and blessedness is her faith. Faith is always at the heart of each moment in Mary’s life. Although she recognizes the violence of the powerful, the pride of the rich, the hubris of the proud, Mary “believes and proclaims” that God will never abandon His people, the poor and the humble, but “will aid them with merciful care,” while “casting down the powerful from their thrones, scattering the proud in the conceits of their hearts.”
Mary’s hymn of praise, the Magnificat, also allows us to see that, if God’s mercy is at driving force in Mary’s story, He could not allow Mary, who gave birth to the “Lord of Life,” to “see the corruption of the tomb.”
But Mary’s Assumption, the Pope said, does not concern Mary alone. Each of us is profoundly touched by this mystery, which reminds us of the end that awaits us. Our life is not a senseless wandering, but a pilgrimage that leads to the house of the Father, who waits for us with love. As we pass through this life, God shows us “a sign of consolation and sure hope,” the Blessed Virgin Mary, full of grace, who is blessed because she believed the word of the Lord. As members of the Church, the Pope said, "we are destined to share the glory of our Mother because, thanks to God, we too believe in the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and, through Baptism, we are inserted into this mystery of salvation.”
Following the Angelus, Pope Francis greeted the many pilgrims from Rome and around the world, and spontaneously invited them to pay a visit to the icon of Our Lady Salus populi Romani (Protectress of the Roman people) in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major.
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