Pope Francis www.vatican.va
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
In recent days we have rested our adoring gaze on the Son of God, born in Bethlehem; today, the Solemnity of Mary Most Holy Mother of God, we turn our gaze to the Mother, while reflecting upon each of them in their close relation. This bond is not exhausted for the fact of having begot and been begotten; Jesus is “born of woman” (Gal 4:4) for a mission of salvation, and his mother is not excluded from this mission, but rather, is intimately associated with it. Mary is aware of this. Therefore she is not closed to considering only her maternal relationship with Jesus, but remains open and attentive toward all the events that take place around him: she keeps and ponders, scrutinizes and closely examines them, as today’s Gospel reading tells us (cf. Lk 2:19). She has already said her ‘yes’ and conveyed her willingness to be involved in the fulfillment of the salvific plan of God, who “has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, he has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree, he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away” (Lk 1:51-53). Now, silent and attentive, she tries to understand what God asks of her day by day.
The visit of the shepherds offers her the opportunity to understand something of God’s will as manifested by these humble and poor people. Luke the Evangelist recounts for us the shepherds’ visit to the grotto with a close succession of verbs expressing movement. He thus says: they go with haste, they find the Babe with Mary and Joseph, they see, they report what they had been told about him, and lastly they glorify God (cf. Lk 2:16-20). Mary closely follows this passage, what the shepherds say, what has happened to them, because she already perceives in it the movement of salvation, which will flow from the work of Jesus, and she adapts, ready for every request of the Lord. God asks Mary not only to be mother of his only begotten Son, but also to cooperate with the Son and for the Son in the plan of salvation, in order that in her, a humble handmaid, great works of divine mercy may be fulfilled.
Now, as we, like the shepherds, contemplate the icon of the Babe in his mother’s arms, we feel growing in our hearts a sense of immense gratitude to She who has given the Saviour to the world. For this reason, on the first day of a new year, we say to her:
Thank you, O Holy Mother of the Son of God, Holy Mother of God! / Thank you for your humility which drew the gaze of God; / thank you for the faith with which you received his Word; / thank you for the courage with which you said ‘here I am’, / forgetting yourself, enthralled by Holy Love, / made wholly one with his hope. / Thank you, O Holy Mother of God! / Pray for us, pilgrims in time; / help us to walk on the path of peace. / Amen.