By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
Saying “Here I am” with Mary is the greatest praise we can give to God. Pope Francis focused on these words of Mary before reciting the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square on Saturday, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
Adam and Mary
Pope Francis contrasted Adam’s response to God “I hid myself”, and Mary’s response, “Here I am” during his reflections before leading the faithful in the recitation of the Angelus. Hiding from God “closes oneself off, isolates, makes the person remain alone with him or herself”. Here I am, instead, opens us to God, Pope Francis said.
Here I am
The secret and key word for life is Here I am, the Pope continued. It helps us begin living a life directed toward God instead of toward ourselves. Placing our bet on the Lord, saying Here I am, “is the greatest praise that we can offer Him”, he said. And he added that it is a beautiful way to begin each day.
According to You
By saying “Let it be done to be according to your word”, Mary shows us that she did not live “according to me”, but “according to You”. Pope Francis said she never thought: “I’ll dedicate myself a little bit to Him, I’ll get it over with and then I’ll do what I want”. Her complete trust in God is different than many of us who are often suspicious of God. Mary, Pope Francis said, conquered the devil’s temptation to distrust God with her Here I am. “And together we gaze on the beauty of the Madonna, who was born and who lived without sin, always docile and transparent before God”, the Pope said.
Trust in God
Just because Mary entrusted herself to God “does not mean that life was easy for her” or that God magically resolved her problems, Pope Francis continued. Problems began immediately when “the angel left her…alone in a difficult situation". She knew what was happening, but no one else did. What she was certain of was that God remained “with her and in her.” Although she did not know what to expect, she believed that “everything was going to be okay”, he said. Therefore, Mary teaches us not to live “dependent on problems…but trusting God and entrusting ourselves each day to Him”.