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Monday, August 15, 2016

Angelus for the Assumption

At noon today, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Father, Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to recite the Angelus with the faithful and with pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter's Square.

Greetings of His Holiness, Pope Francis
prior to the recitation of the Angelus

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Happy feast of the Assumption!

The gospel passage (Lk 1:39-56) for today's feast of the Assumption of Mary into heaven describes the meeting between Mary and her cousin Elizabeth, and points out the fact that Mary got up and went with haste to a town in the hill country of Judea (Lk 1:39).  In those days, Mary ran to a small town not far from Jerusalem to meet Elizabeth.  Today, however, we contemplate her on her journey toward the heavenly Jerusalem, where she would finally meet the face of the Father and once again see the face of her Son Jesus.  Many times during her earthly life, she had travelled through mountainous countryside, including the final painful moments on Calvary which were associated with the mystery of Christ's passion.  Today, we see her arrive at the mountain of God, clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet and on her head a crown of twelve stars (Rev 12:1) - as it is written in the book of Revelation - and we see her crossing the threshold of the heavenly homeland.

She was the first to believe in the Son of God, and the first to be assumed, body and soul into heaven.  She had been the first to welcome Jesus and take him into her arms when he was still a child, and she is the first to be welcomed into his embrace and to be admitted into the Father's eternal kingdom.  Mary, a humble and simple girl from a remote village on the outskirts of the Roman empire, since she accepted and lived the gospel, is permitted by God to stand for all eternity beside the throne of her Son.  This is how the Lord cast down the mighty from their thrones and lifted up the lowly (cf Lk 1:52).

The Assumption of Mary is a great mystery that concerns all of us ... our future.  In fact, Mary precedes us into the streets that are travelled by those who, through baptism, have united their lives with Jesus' life, like Mary united her life with His.  Today's feast makes us look toward heaven; the promise of a new heavens and a new earth, with the victory of the risen Christ over death and the ultimate defeat of the evil one.  Therefore, the exultation of the humble girl from Galilee, expressed in the canticle of the Magnificat, becomes the song of all humanity, who is pleased to see the Lord stoop down over all men and women, humble creatures and take them with him into heaven.

The Lord looks upon the humble, to raise them, as the canticle of the Magnificat proclaims.  This song of Mary also leads us to think about the many current situations of suffering, in particular those women who are overwhelmed by the weight of life and the drama of violence, women who are enslaved by the arrogance of the powerful, children who are forced into inhuman work, women who are obliged to surrender in body and in spirit to the greed of men.  May they achieve as soon as possible a life of peace, of justice and of love as they await the day when they will finally be held by hands that do not humiliate them, but rather that hold them with tenderness, raise them up and lead them along the paths of life in heaven. Mary, a young girl, a woman who suffered so much during her life, helps us to remember these women who suffer so much.  Let us ask the Lord, to lead them by the hand and to carry them along the paths of life, freeing them from slavery.

And now we turn with trust to Mary, sweet Queen of heaven, and we ask her: Give us days of peace, watch over our journey, help us to see your Son, full of joy in Heaven (Hymn for Second Vespers - Evening Prayer - on the Solemnity of the Assumption).
(Original text in Italian)

Following the recitation of the Angelus, the Holy Father continued:

Dear brothers and sisters,

To the Queen of peace, who we contemplate today in heavenly glory, I want to confide once more the anxieties and the sufferings of the people in many parts of the world who are innocent victims of ongoing conflicts.  My thoughts reach out to the inhabitants of Northern Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo who recently suffered renewed massacres which have been carried out in extended and shameful silence, without even drawing our attention.  Unfortunately, these victims are some of the innocents who have no influence on world opinion.  May Mary obtain for all of us sentiments of compassion, understanding and a desire for concord!

I greet all of you, Romans and pilgrims who have come from various countries!  In particular, I greet the young people from Villadose, the faithful from Credaro and those from Crosara.

I wish a happy feast of the Assumption to all of you who are present here and also to those who are in various holiday resorts, as well as those who were not able to go anywhere on holidays, especially the sick, those persons who are alone and those who provide necessary services for the community even on this day of celebration.

I thank you for your presence and, please, don't forget to pray for me.  Enjoy your lunch and good bye!
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