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Monday, December 9, 2013

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD : MON. DEC. 9, 2013 - SHARE

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POPE FRANCIS CELEBRATES MASS WITH COPTIC PATRIARCH - PRAYS FOR MIDDLE EAST

LIVE VIDEO POPE FRANCIS PRAYS TO OUR LADY OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Vatican Radio REPORT:  At his daily Mass on Monday, Pope Francis appealed for an end to division and hatred in the Holy Land and the Middle East. The Holy Father concelebrated the Mass with the Coptic Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria (Egypt), Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak, on the occasion of the public manifestation of “ecclesiastical communion” between the Patriarch and the Successor of Peter. The Pope spoke about his closeness to Egyptian Christians who are experiencing insecurity and violence, then renewed his appeal for religious liberty throughout the whole of the Middle East. 

In his homily at the Mass, Pope Francis turned his thoughts immediately to the Coptic faithful, recalling the words of the Prophet Isaiah in the first Reading, which speak of a re-awakening of the heart in expectation of the Lord: 

“We feel that the encouragement for ‘the faint of heart’ is directed to so many in your beloved land of Egypt who are experiencing insecurity and violence, sometimes because of their Christian faith. ‘Be strong, do not fear!’ Here are the consoling words that find their confirmation in fraternal solidarity. I am thankful to God for this encounter that gives me a way to reinforce your hope and our hope, because they are the same.”

The Gospel, he continued, presents “Christ who conquers the paralysis of humanity.” But, he noted, “the paralysis of consciences is contagious.” “With the complicity of the poverties of history and of our sin,” he said, “it can expand and enter into social structures and into communities to block entire peoples.” But, he said, “the command of Christ: ‘Arise, walk!’ can reverse the situation”:


 “Let us pray with confidence that in the Holy Land and all the Middle East peace might be able to rise from the often recurring and sometimes dramatic breaks [in the peace process]. Rather, let hatred and divisions be ended forever! Let the peace agreements, often paralyzed by conflicting and obscure interests, be quickly resumed. Let real guarantees of religious liberty be given to all, together with the rights of Christians to live peacefully in the places where they were born, in the native country they love as citizens of more than two thousand years, in order that they might contribute as always to the good of all.”


Pope Francis then recalled that Jesus experienced the flight into Egypt with the Holy Family, and was welcomed into that “generous land.” And so he invoked the Lord, praying that He might “watch over the Egyptians, that along the paths of the world they might seek dignity and security”:

“And let us always go forward, seeking the Lord, seeking new paths, new ways to come closer to the Lord. And if it necessary to open a hole in the roof in order for us to bring everyone closer to the Lord, may our creative imagination of charity bring us to do this: to find and to make new paths of encounter, paths of brotherhood, paths of peace.”

For his part, Patriarch Sidrak expressed his joy at the opportunity to celebrate the divine liturgy with the Pope. He emphasized that at this delicate moment in history, the Church in Egypt needs the “paternal support” of the Successor of Peter. And, like Pope Francis, he too prayed for the gift of peace: “That the light of the Holy Nativity might be the star that reveals the path of love, of unity, of reconciliation, and of peace, gifts of which my Land has such great need. Asking for your blessing, Holy Father, we eagerly await it in Egypt.”


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TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : SOLEMNITY OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION WITH CARDINAL

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Patronal Feastday of the United States of America
Lectionary: 689


Reading 1          GN 3:9-15, 20

After the man, Adam, had eaten of the tree,
the LORD God called to the man and asked him, “Where are you?”
He answered, “I heard you in the garden;
but I was afraid, because I was naked,
so I hid myself.”
Then he asked, “Who told you that you were naked?
You have eaten, then,
from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!”
The man replied, “The woman whom you put here with meC
she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it.”
The LORD God then asked the woman,
“Why did you do such a thing?”
The woman answered, “The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it.”

Then the LORD God said to the serpent:
“Because you have done this, you shall be banned
from all the animals
and from all the wild creatures;
on your belly shall you crawl,
and dirt shall you eat
all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will strike at your head,
while you strike at his heel.”

The man called his wife Eve,
because she became the mother of all the living.

Responsorial Psalm                  PS 98:1, 2-3AB, 3CD-4

R. (1) Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.

Reading 2                 EPH 1:3-6, 11-12

Brothers and sisters:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in Christ
with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,
as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world,
to be holy and without blemish before him.
In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ,
in accord with the favor of his will,
for the praise of the glory of his grace
that he granted us in the beloved.

In him we were also chosen,
destined in accord with the purpose of the One
who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will,
so that we might exist for the praise of his glory,
we who first hoped in Christ.

Gospel              LK 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.

TODAY'S SAINT: DEC. 9: ST. JUAN DIEGO

St. Juan Diego
WITNESS OF OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE
Feast: December 9


Information:
Feast Day:December 9
Born:1474, Tlayacac, Cuauhtitlan, Mexico
Died:May 30, 1548, Tenochtitlan, Mexico City, Mexico
Canonized:July 31, 2002, Basilica of Guadalupe, Mexico City, Mexico by Pope John Paul II
Major Shrine:Basilica of Guadalupe, Mexico City, Mexico

In the sixteenth century, the Blessed Virgin, moved with pity for the Aztec people who, living in the darkness of idolatry, offered to their idols multitudes of human victims, deigned to take into her own hands the evangelization of these Indians of Central America who were also her children. One of the Aztec gods, originally considered the god of fertility, had transformed himself over time into a ferocious god. A symbol of the sun, this god was in continuous battle with the moon and the stars and was believed to need human blood to restore his strength; if he died, life would be extinguished. Ever new victims, to be offered to him in perpetual sacrifice, therefore seemed essential.
An eagle on a cactus
Aztec priests had prophesied that their nomadic people would settle in the place where an eagle would be seen perched on a cactus, devouring a serpent. This eagle appears on the Mexican flag today. Having arrived on a swampy island, in the middle of Lake Texcoco, the Aztecs saw the foretold sign: an eagle, perched on a cactus, was devouring a serpent. This was in 1369. There they founded their town Tenochtitlan, which would become Mexico City. The town expanded to become a city on pilings, with many gardens abounding in flowers, fruit, and vegetables. The organization of the Aztec kingdom was very structured and hierarchical. The knowledge of their mathematicians, astronomers, philosophers, architects, doctors, artists, and artisans was excellent for that time. But the laws of the physical world remained scarcely known. Tenochtitlan drew its power and wealth primarily from war. The conquered cities had to pay a tribute of various foodstuffs and men for war and sacrifices. The Aztecs' human sacrifices and cannibalism are almost unequaled throughout the course of history.
In 1474, a child was born who was given the name Cuauhtlatoazin ("speaking eagle"). After his father's death, the child was taken in by his uncle. From the age of three, he was taught, as were all young Aztecs, to join in domestic tasks and to behave in a dignified manner. At school, he learned singing, dancing, and especially the worship of many gods. The priests had a very strong influence over the population, whom they kept in a submission bordering on terror. Cuauhtlatoazin was thirteen years old when the great temple at Tenochtitlan was consecrated. Over the course of four days, the priests sacrificed 80,000 human victims to their god. After his military service, Cuauhtlatoazin married a young woman of his social status. Together they led a modest life as farmers.
In 1519, the Spaniard Cortez disembarked in Mexico, leading 500 soldiers. He conquered the country for Spain, yet was not lacking in zeal for the evangelization of the Aztecs. In 1524 he obtained the arrival of twelve Franciscans to Mexico. These missionaries quickly integrated into the population. Their goodness contrasted with the harshness of the Aztec priests, as well as that of some conquistadors. They began to build churches. However, the Indians were reluctant to accept Baptism, primarily because it would require them to abandon polygamy.
Cuauhtlatoazin and his wife were among the first to receive Baptism, under the respective names of Juan Diego and Maria Lucia. After his wife's death in 1529, Juan Diego withdrew to Tolpetlac, 14 km from Mexico City, to the home of his uncle, Juan Bernardino, who had become a Christian as well. On December 9, 1531, as was his custom every Saturday, he left very early in the morning to attend the Mass celebrated in honor of the Blessed Virgin, at the Franciscan fathers' church, close to Mexico City. He walked past Tepeyac Hill. Suddenly, he heard a gentle and resounding song that seemed to come from a great multitude of birds. Raising his eyes to the top of the hill, he saw a white and radiant cloud. He looked around him and wondered if he was dreaming. All of a sudden, the song stopped and a woman's voice, gentle and graceful, called him: "Juanito, Juan Dieguito!" He quickly climbed the hill and found himself in the presence of a very beautiful young woman whose garments shone like the sun.

"A church where I will show my love"
Speaking to him in Nahuatl, his native language, she said to him, "Juanito, my son, where are you going?"—"Noble Lady, my Queen, I am going to the Mass in Mexico City to hear the divine things that the priest teaches us there."—"I want you to know for certain, my dear son, that I am the perfect and always Virgin MARY, Mother of the True God from Whom all life comes, the Lord of all things, Creator of Heaven and Earth. I greatly desire that a church be built in my honor, in which I will show my love, compassion, and protection. I am your Mother full of mercy and love for you and all those who love Me, trust in Me, and have recourse to Me. I will hear their complaints and I will comfort their affliction and their sufferings. So that I might show all My love, go now to the bishop in Mexico City and tell him that I am sending you to make known to him the great desire I have to see a church dedicated to me built here."
Juan Diego went straight to the bishop. Bishop Zumárraga, a Franciscan, the first bishop of Mexico, was a pious man and full of zeal, who had a heart overflowing with kindness towards the Indians. He heard the poor man attentively, but fearing an illusion, did not put much faith in his story. Towards evening, Juan Diego started on his way home. At the top of Tepeyac Hill, he had the pleasant surprise of meeting the Apparition again. He told her about his mission, then added, "I beg you to entrust your message to someone more known and respected so that he will believe it. I am only a simple Indian whom you have sent as a messenger to an important person. Therefore, he didn't believe me, and I do not want to greatly disappoint you."—"My dearest son, "replied the Lady, "you must understand that there are many more noble men to whom I could have entrusted my message and yet, it is because of you that my plan will succeed. Return to the bishop tomorrow... Tell him that it is I myself, the Blessed Virgin MARY, Mother of God, who am sending you."
On Sunday morning after the Mass, Juan Diego went to the bishop's house. The prelate asked him many questions, then asked for a tangible sign of the truth of the apparition. When Juan Diego went home, the bishop had him discreetly followed by two servants. At Tepeyac Bridge, Juan Diego disappeared from their sight, and despite all their searches on the hill and in the surrounding area, they could not find him again. Furious, they declared to the bishop that Juan Diego was an impostor who must absolutely not be believed. During this time, Juan Diego told the beautiful Lady, who was waiting for him on the hill, about his most recent meeting with the bishop. "Come back tomorrow morning to seek the sign he is asking for," replied the Apparition.
Roses, in the middle of winter!
Returning home, the Indian found his uncle ill, and the next day, he had to stay at his bedside to take care of him. As the illness got worse, the uncle asked his nephew to go look for a priest. At dawn on Tuesday, December 12, Juan Diego started on the road to the city. Approaching Tepeyac Hill, he thought it best to make a detour so as not to meet the Lady. But suddenly, he perceived her coming to meet him. Embarrassed, he explained his situation and promised to come back when he had found a priest to administer last rites to his uncle. "My dear little one," replied the Apparition, "do not be distressed about your uncle's illness, because he will not die from it. I assure you that he will get well... Go to the top of the hill, pick the flowers that you will see there, and bring them to me." When he had arrived at the top of the hill, the Indian was stunned to find a great number of flowers in bloom, Castillian roses that gave off a very sweet fragrance. Indeed, in the winter, the cold allows nothing to survive, and besides, the place was too dry for flowers to grow there. Juan Diego gathered the roses, enfolded them in his cloak, or tilma, then went back down the hill. "My dear son," said the Lady, "these flowers are the sign that you are to give the bishop... This will get him to build the church that I have asked of him."
Juan Diego ran to the bishop. When he arrived, the servants made him wait for hours. Amazed at his patience, and intrigued by what he was carrying in his tilma, they finally informed the bishop, who, although with several people, had him shown in immediately. The Indian related his adventure, unfolded his tilma, and let the flowers, which were still shining with dew, scatter to the floor. With tears in his eyes, Bishop Zumárraga fell to his knees, admiring the roses from his country. All of a sudden, he perceived, on the tilma, the portrait of Our Lady. MARY's image was there, as though printed on the cloak, very beautiful and full of gentleness. The bishop's doubts gave way to a sure faith and a hope filled with wonder. He took the tilma and the roses, and placed them respectfully in his private oratory. The next day he went with Juan Diego to the hill where the apparitions had taken place. After having examined the sites, he let the seer return to his uncle's house. Juan Bernardino had been completely cured. His cure had taken place at the very hour when Our Lady appeared to his nephew. He told him, "I have also seen her. She even came here and talked to me. She wants a church to be built on Tepeyac Hill and wants her portrait to be called 'Saint MARY of Guadalupe.' But she didn't explain to me why." The name "Guadalupe" is well known by the Spanish, because in their country there is a very old sanctuary dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The news of the miracle spread quickly. In a short time, Juan Diego became well-known. "I will spread your fame," MARY had told him, but the Indian remained as humble as ever. To make it easier to meditate on the Image, Bishop Zumárraga had the tilma transported to his cathedral. Then work was begun on the construction of a small church and a hermitage for Juan Diego on the hill of apparitions. The next December 25, the bishop consecrated his cathedral to the Most Blessed Virgin, to thank her for the remarkable favors with which she had blessed his diocese. Then, in a magnificent procession, the miraculous Image was carried to the sanctuary that had just been completed on Tepeyac Hill. To express their joy, the Indians shot arrows. One of them, shot carelessly, went through the throat of a participant in the procession, who fell to the ground, fatally wounded. A great silence fell and intense supplication rose to the Mother of God. Suddenly the wounded man, who had been placed at the foot of the miraculous Image, collected himself and got up, full of vigor. The crowd's enthusiasm was at its peak.

Millions of Indians become Christian
Juan Diego moved into his little hermitage, seeing to the maintenance and cleaning of the site. His life remained simple—he carefully farmed a field close to the sanctuary that had been placed at his disposal. He received pilgrims in ever larger numbers, and enjoyed talking about the Blessed Virgin and untiringly relating the details of the apparitions. He was entrusted with all kinds of prayer intentions. He listened, sympathized, and comforted. A good amount of his free time was spent in contemplation before the image of his Lady. He made rapid progress in the ways of holiness. Day after day, he fulfilled his duty as a witness up until his death on December 9, 1548, seventeen years after the first apparition.

NEW CAUSES ADVANCED FOR SAINTHOOD

(Vatican Radio) On Monday during a private audience with Cardinal Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Pope Francis authorised the Congregation to promulgate the following decrees:

MIRACLES


Venerable Servant of God Giovannina Franks, founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Nurses , born in Como ( Italy ) June 24, 1807, died February 23, 1872 ;


MARTYRDOM

Servants of God, Mario Vergara, professed priest of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions ,and Isidore Ngei Ko Lat, and Lay Catechist , killed in hatred of the faith in Shadaw (Burma , now Myanmar) May 24, 1950 :


HEROIC VIRTUES


Servant of God Maria Matteo Maurizio Garrigou, Priest, Founder of the Institute of Our Lady of Compassion , born in Gudanes (Ariege , France ) September 21, 1766, died in Toulouse (France) September 27, 1852 ;

Servant of God Clemente (nee Vincent Fuhl ) , professed priest of the Order of St. Augustine , born in Aidhausen (Germany) June 18, 1874 and died in La Paz ( Bolivia), March 31, 1935 ;

Servant of God Marcello of the Virgin of Carmel (nee Boldizsár Marton ), professed priest of the Order of Discalced Carmelites born in Kiskomárom ( today Zalakomár , Hungary) September 9, 1887 and died in Budapest ( Hungary) May 29, 1966 ;

Servant of God Roman Bottegal, professed priest of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance ( Trappists ), born in San Donato di Lamon (Belluno , Italy ) December 28, 1921 and died in Beirut ( Lebanon) February 19 1978;

Servant of God Rosalia Cadron - Jetté ( in religion : Mother of the Nativity ), founder of the Sisters of Mercy , born in Lavaltrie ( Montreal , Canada ) January 27, 1794 and died in Montréal (Canada) April 5, 1864 ;

Servant of God Maria Rosa Teresa Gay Tibau , founder of the Sisters of St. Joseph now Sisters of St. Joseph of Gerona, born in Llagostera ( Girona , Spain ) October 24, 1813 and died in Gerona (Spain) March 18, 1884 ;

Servant of God Maria Oliva of the Mystical Body (nee Maria Oliva Bonaldo ), foundress of the Institute of the Daughters of the Church , born in Castelfranco Veneto (Treviso , Italy ) March 26, 1893 and died in Rome on 10 July 1976 ;

Servant of God Orsola Mezzini , professed religious and Superior General of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Little Mission for the Deaf and Dumb, born Camping Monghidoro (Bologna , Italy ) December 12, 1853 and died in Bologna ( Italy ) 23 March 1919 ;

Servant of God Maria Scholar of Divine Providence (nee Maria Orsola Rivata ), professed religious and first Superior General of the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master , born in Guarene ( Cuneo, Italy ) July 12, 1897 and died in Sanfré ( Cuneo, Italy ) on 24 March 1987;

Servant of God Raphael Cordero Molina , Layman , born in San Juan de Puerto Rico ( Puerto Rico) October 24, 1790 and died there July 5, 1868.


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Sunday, December 8, 2013

TODAY'S SAINT: DEC. 8: IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

The Immaculate Conception
Feast: December 8


Information:
Feast Day:December 8

So great are the advantages we reap from the incarnation of the Son of God that to contemplate it, and to thank and praise him for the same, ought to be the primary object of all our devotions and the employment of our whole lives. In the feast of the Conception of the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God we celebrate the joyful dawning of that bright day of mercy, the first appearance which that most glorious of all pure creatures made in the world, with those first seeds of grace which produced the most admirable fruit in her soul. Her conception was itself a glorious mystery, a great grace, and the first effect of her predestination. Her Divine Son, the eternal God, in the first moment of her being, considered the sublime dignity to which he had decreed to raise her, and remembered that august, dear, sacred, and venerable name of his mother, which she was one day to bear; and he beheld her with a complacency, and distinguished her in a manner, suitable to so near a relation she was to bear. He called her not his servant in whom he gloried, as he did Israel, but his mother, whom for the sake of his own glory he decreed exceedingly to exalt in grace and glory. From that instant the eternal Word of God, which was to take flesh of her, looked upon it as particularly incumbent on him, in the view of his future incarnation, to sanctify this virgin, to enrich her with his choicest gifts, and to heap upon her the most singular favours with a profusion worthy his omnipotence. From that very moment he prepared her to be his most holy tabernacle. When Almighty God commanded a temple to be built to his honour in Jerusalem, what preparations did he not ordain! What purity did he not require in the things that belonged to that work, even in the persons and materials that were employed in it! David, though a great saint, was excepted against by God, because he had been stained with blood spilt in just wars. Again, what purifications, consecrations, rites, and ceremonies did he not order to sanctify all the parts of the building! This for a material temple, in which the ark was to be placed, and men were to offer their homages and sacrifices to his adorable Majesty. What, then, did he not do for Mary in spiritually decking her, whose chaste womb was to be his living tabernacle, from whose pure flesh he was to derive his own most holy body, and of whom he would himself be born!

LIVE VIDEO POPE FRANCIS PRAYS TO OUR LADY OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION


RADIO VATICANA REPORT: December 09, 2013 - Pope Francis on Sunday observed a traditional December 8th appointment travelling downtown Rome to pray and pay a floral homage to Mary, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Pope Francis had crossed the city to the Spanish Square, where on the top of a tall ancient Roman column stands a statue of the Virgin Mary under the title of “Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.” “Enkindle in all of us a renewed desire for holiness: may our words glow with the splendor of truth, may our works resound with the song of charity, may purity and chastity live in our bodies and in our hearts, may our lives express the presence of all the beauty of the gospel,” he prayed. “Help us to attentively listen to the voice of the Lord: let not the cry of the poor ever leave us indifferent, may the suffering of the sick and of those who are in need not find us inattentive, may the solitude of the elderly and the weakness of children move us, may every human life be loved and respected by all,” the pontiff prayed at the ceremony, attended by a large crowd. “Don’t let us forget the meaning of our earthly journey: may the noble light of faith illumine our days, may the consoling strength of hope direct our steps, and may the consoling warmth of love animate our heart, may our eyes always remain fixed there, in God, where there is true joy.” The dogma of faith of the Immaculate Conception was proclaimed on Dec. 8, 1854 by Pope Pius IX, which teaches that with "a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God," the Blessed Virgin Mary was "preserved free from all stain of original sin" from the moment of her conception, in anticipation of the merits of her son Jesus Christ. 
As part of his homage to the Immaculate Conception, then visited Rome’s Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica, the world’s largest Church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. 
Earlier Sunday, during the weekly midday ‘Angelus’ prayer with thousands of pilgrims and faithful in St. Peter’s Square in Rome, Pope Francis held out Mary as a model for Christian life. “All of her life, all of her being is a ‘yes’ to God,” he said urging all to look at her “in order to be more humble, and even more courageous in following the Word of God, to receive the tender embrace of her son Jesus, an embrace that gives us life, hope, and peace.” Mary’s ‘yes’ to God “was certainly not easy for her!” he exclaimed. “When the angel called her ‘full of grace’ she remained ‘troubled,’ because in her humility she felt unworthy before God.” Despite her concerns, “Mary listens, obeying interiorly and responds, ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your word’.” This witness serves as an example for every Christian. “With great joy the Church contemplates Mary as ‘full of grace’,” Pope Francis explained. He encouraged the crowds to repeat with him, “full of grace!” 
Mary was chosen by God to be the mother of Jesus, but “we too… are chosen by God to live a life of holiness, free from sin. It is a project of love that God renews every time we come close to him, especially in the sacraments,” the Pope said. “Mary sustains us in our journey towards Christmas, because she teaches us to live this time of Advent in waiting for the Lord.”
Pope Francis recalled Mary’s humble origins – “a young girl from Nazareth, a little place in Galilee, on the periphery of the Roman Empire and also on the periphery of Israel. Yet upon her was the gaze of the Lord, who chose her to be the mother of His Son.” “The mystery of this young girl from Nazareth, which is in the heart of God, is not irrelevant to us,” reflected the pontiff. “In fact, God places his gaze of love on every man and every woman” the Pope explained. While observing the feast of the Immaculate Conception, the Pope said, “we also recognize our true destiny, our deepest vocation: to be loved, to be transformed by love.”




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