Sunday, December 8, 2019

Act of Veneration of the Immaculate Virgin

This afternoon in Rome, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Father, Pope Francis went to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major to pause in prayer before the image of Salus Populi Romani.

Immediately afterwards, the Pope went to Piazza di Spagna for the traditional Act of Veneration offered to the Immaculate Virgin.

Prayer of the Holy Father, Pope Francis
recited during the Act of Veneration of the Immaculate Virgin

O Mary Immaculate,
we gather around you once again.
The more we go on in life,
the more our gratitude to God increases
gratitude for having given us a mother, for we are sinners.
You, who are the Immaculate .
Among all human beings, you are the only one
who has been preserved from sin as the mother of Jesus
the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
But this is your unique privilege;
it was given to you for the good of all of us, your children.
In fact, looking to you, we see the victory of Christ,
the victory of the love of God over evil:
where sin abounded, which is to say in the heart of mankind,
grace abounded even more,
through the meek power of the Blood of Jesus.
You, Mother, remind us that we are sinners,
but we are no longer slaves to sin!
Your Son, with his Sacrifice,
has broken the dominion of evil, has won over the world.
This speaks your heart to all the world
as clearly as the sky when the wind has dissolved every cloud.

And so you remind us that it is not the same thing
to be sinners and to be corrupt; these are very different.
It is one thing to fall, but then to repent,
to get up with the help of God's mercy.
It is another thing altogether to live in hypocritical connivance with evil,
the corruption of the heart, that appears impeccable from outside,
but within is filled with evil intentions and petty selfishness.
Your clear purity reminds us of sincerity,
transparency and simplicity.
How much we need to be freed
for corruption of the heart, which is the most serious danger!
This seems impossible for us, we are so addicted
and yet is is at hand.  It is enough for us to look up
to your Motherly smile, to your pristine beauty
to feel once again that we are not made for evil,
but for good, for love, for God!

For this reason, O Virgin Mary,
today, I entrust to you all those who, in this city
and throughout the entire world, are oppressed by distrust,
by the discouragement that is caused by sin;
those who think that for them, there is no more hope,
that their faults are so many and too great,
and God has no time to waste with them.
I entrust them to you, for you are not only a mother
and as such, you never stop loving your children,
but you are also the Immaculate, full of grace,
and you can reflect right into the deepest darkness
a ray of the light of the Risen Christ.
He, and He alone breaks the chains of evil,
frees us from the most relentless addictions,
dissolves even the most criminal of ties,
softens even the most hardened hearts.
And if this happens within people,
how the face of the city can change!
In small gestures and in great choices,
vicious circles become virtuous, little by little,
the quality of life becomes better
and the social climate becomes more breathable.

We thank you, Immaculate Mother,
for reminding us that, for love of Jesus Christ,
we are no longer slaves to sin,
but free, free to love, to love each other,
to help each other as brothers, even if they are different from us
- thank God that there are differences among us!
Thank you for encouraging us with your candor
not to be ashamed of good, but rather of evil;
help us to keep the evil one away from us,
the one who, with deceit, draws us to himself, even within spires of death;
give us the sweet memory that we are children of God.

Father of immense goodness,
eternal font of life, of beauty and of love.  Amen.

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