By Robin Gomes
Pope Francis on Saturday invited Christians to thank and praise God for the good that He has done in our life just as the Virgin did in the Magnificat, which became the source of her joy.
Pope Francis made the exhortation at the midday “Angelus” prayer in Rome’s St. Peter’s Square, on the day the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary into heaven.
The dogma of faith that Pope Pius XII proclaimed on November 1, 1950, asserts that the Virgin Mary "having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory". Pope Francis said that the Assumption shines “as a sign of sure hope and solace to the People of God during its sojourn on earth”, as the Second Vatican Council puts it.
Assumption: with God nothing is lost
Addressing a holiday crowd from the window of his studio overlooking the square, the Pope said that in Mary’s Assumption into Heaven, we celebrate an infinitely greater conquest than the “giant step for mankind” when man first set foot on the moon. When the lowly Virgin of Nazareth set foot in paradise, body and spirit, he said, it was “the huge leap forward for humanity”.
This, the Pope said, gives us hope that “we are precious, destined to rise again”. “God does not allow our bodies to vanish into nothing. With God, nothing is lost!”
Mary’s lowliness magnifies God goodness
Mary's advice to us, the Holy Father said, lies in her song, the “Magnificat” – “My soul magnifies the Lord”. “Mary ‘aggrandizes’ the Lord: not problems, which she did not lack at the time,” the Pope explained. She does not allow herself to be “overwhelmed by difficulties and absorbed by fears”. Rather, she puts God as the first greatness of life, which becomes the source of her Magnificat. Her joy is born “not from the absence of problems, which come sooner or later, but from God’s presence”, because He is great and he looks on the lowly ones. “We,” the Pope stressed, “are the weakness of His love.”
Mary, the Pope continued, acknowledges that she is small and exalts the “great things” that the Lord has done for her. She is grateful for the gift of life, she is a virgin yet she becomes pregnant, and Elizabeth, too, who was elderly, is expecting a child. The Pope said, “the Lord works wonders with those who are lowly …, who give ample space to God in their life”, for which Mary praises God.
Forgetting the good shrinks the heart
Pope Francis thus invited all to ask ourselves, whether we, like Mary, praise and thank God for the good things He does for us, for His love, forgiveness, tenderness and for giving us His Mother and our brothers and sisters.
“If we forget the good,” the Pope warned, “the heart shrinks.” “But if, like Mary, we remember the great things that the Lord does, if at least once a day we were to “magnify” Him, then our hearts will expand and our joy will increase.