By Vatican News staff writer
Addressing the faithful gathered in Saint Peter's Square for the Sunday Angelus on the August 15th Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven, Pope Francis offered his opening reflections on the importance of this Feast, saying "Mary’s secret is humility." God looks at the heart, he said, and Mary's humility drew God's gaze to her. He observed that often times the human eye is instead overtaken with appearances and grandeur, while overlooking the essential importance of humility.
By looking to Mary assumed into heaven, the Pope said we see how "humility is the way that brings her to Heaven". To rise up to Heaven, we need to be humble he said, noting the origin of the word humble comes from the Latin word humus meaning "earth". Our gifts or wealth are not what allow us to be exalted by God, but instead it is our humility, our loving and serving God in total giving that matters, the Pope underscored.
This means we should examine ourselves and how we are doing with humility in our own lives, the Pope said. We need to ask ourselves if we are often seeking affirmation and praise only for ourselves, or if we could put more emphasis on serving. Do we listen, like Mary, or desire to be the one always talking in order to have the attention and praise. Do we try to lower tensions between people and find unity, or do we try to always dominate the situation? These are important questions to ask ourselves, the Pope said, and especially when looking to the Madonna, saying "in her littleness, Mary wins heaven first", because she recognized her "lowliness" since with God, "only those who recognise themselves as nothing can receive the all". The Pope said Mary is the “full of grace” due to her humility.
We too should look to humility as the starting point in our faith journey, the Pope went on to say, noting that we need to be poor in spirit, which means "in need of God", so that through us the Lord can "accomplish great things".
Recalling the poet Dante who referred to the Virgin Mary as “humbler and loftier than any creature”, the Pope said this beautiful reality should bring us to reflect on Mary, "the first to win heaven with her entire being, in soul and body" who lived out her life within the family in the ordinary day-to-day of life, often "in silence...externally, nothing extraordinary". At the same time, he added, "God’s gaze was always upon her, admiring her humility, her availability, the beauty of her heart never stained by sin."
"It is a huge message of hope for us", the Pope concluded, noting even in our own ordinary and often difficult lives we can follow the same example. "Mary reminds you today that God calls you too to this glorious destiny.", he stressed, and these are not just nice words, but "pure reality" he said, "as live and true as the Madonna assumed into Heaven".
In conclusion, he asked everyone to pray that Mary may "accompany us on our journey that leads from Earth to Heaven", striving to live with humility, the secret to our journey.