Pope Francis: What the Virgin Mary can still teach us about motherhood and women in our modern age. False Prophet: Place worship, veneration and adoration of a false, pagan idol, above Christ. This article is all about ‘the queen of heaven’ and almost nothing about Christ.
Fox News. March 6, 2019
Editor’s note: As millions of Christians around the world begin the 40-day period of reflection and contemplation known as Lent, Pope Francis’s new book “Ave Maria: The Mystery of a Most Beloved Prayer” offers a series of meditations on the Virgin Mary and the importance of women in the world. The following is an excerpt from the Holy Father’s book.
Far from wanting to understand or dominate the situation, Mary is the woman who knows how to preserve, meaning protect, safeguard in her heart God’s movement in the life of his people. Through her womb she learned to listen to the heartbeat of her Son, and this taught her, for the rest of her life, to discover the cadences of God in history. She learned to be a mother, and in that apprenticeship gave Jesus the beautiful experience of knowing himself to be Son. In Mary, the eternal Word not only became flesh but learned to recognize the maternal tenderness of God. With Mary, the God-Child learned to listen to the yearnings, the anguish, the joys and hopes of the people of the promise. With her he discovered himself as Son of the holy faithful people of God.
In the Gospels, Mary appears as a woman of few words, without big speeches or showing off, but with an attentive gaze that is able to protect the life and mission of her Son, and therefore of all that he loves. She was able to safeguard the first flickers of the early Christian community, and in this way she learned to be the mother of a multitude. She drew near to the most diverse situations in order to sow hope. She accompanied the crosses carried in the silence of her children’s hearts. So many devotions, so many shrines and chapels in the most isolated places, so many images throughout our homes remind us of this great truth.
Mary has given us motherly warmth, the kind that envelops us in the midst of difficulties; the motherly warmth that allows nothing and no one to extinguish in the Church’s bosom the revolution of tenderness that her Son inaugurated.
Wherever a mother is, there is tenderness. And Mary shows us with her motherhood that humility and tenderness are not virtues of the weak, but of the strong; she teaches us that there is no need to mistreat others in order to feel important. And the holy faithful people of God have always recognized and hailed her as the Holy Mother of God…
Mothers are the most powerful antidote against our individualistic and selfish tendencies, against our isolation and indifference. A society without mothers would be not only a cold society but a society that has lost its heart, that has lost the “family feel.” A society without mothers would be a society without pity, one that has left room only for calculation and speculation. Because mothers, even at the worst of times, know how to bear witness to tenderness, unconditional dedication, the power of hope.
I have learned a lot from those mothers who, having children in prison or laid up in hospital beds or shackled by the slavery of drugs, come rain or shine, come what may, they do not give up and keep fighting to give their children the best they can. Or those mothers who, in the refugee camps or even in the midst of war, are able to embrace and bear without wavering the sufferings of their children. Mothers who literally give their lives so that none of their children may be lost.
Wherever a mother is there is unity, there is belonging, the belonging of children.
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