At midday today, the Holy Father Francis appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to pray the Angelus with the faithful and pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter’s Square.
The following are the Pope’s words of introduction to the Marian prayer:
Before the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Today we celebrate the feast of the Presentation of the Lord: when the newborn Jesus was presented at the temple by the Virgin Mary and by Saint Joseph. This date is also the Day of Consecrated Life, which recalls the great treasure of the Church, those who follow the Lord closely, professing the evangelical counsels.
The Gospel (see Lk 2: 22-40) tells that, forty days after His birth, Jesus’ parents took the Child to Jerusalem to consecrate Him to God, as prescribed by the Jewish law. And while it describes a traditional rite, this episode brings to our attention the example of various figures. They are caught at the moment when they experience the encounter with the Lord in the place where He makes Himself present and close to man. These are Mary and Joseph, Simeon and Anne, who are models of welcoming and giving their lives to God. These four were not the same, they were all different, but they all sought God and let themselves be guided by the Lord.
The evangelist Luke describes all four of them in a dual attitude: an attitude of movement and an attitude of wonder.
The first attitude is movement. Mary and Joseph set out for Jerusalem; for his part, Simeon, moved by the Spirit, goes to the temple, while Anne serves God day and night without rest. In this way the four protagonists of the Gospel passage show us that Christian life requires dynamism and it requires willingness to walk, to let oneself be guided by the Holy Spirit. Inaction is not suited to Christian witness and to the mission of the Church. The world needs Christians who allow themselves to be moved, who do not tire of walking the streets of life, to bring the consoling word of Jesus to all. Every baptized person has received the vocation to proclaim - to proclaim something, to proclaim Jesus -, the vocation to the evangelizing mission: to proclaim Jesus! The parishes and the various ecclesial communities are called to foster the commitment of young people, families and the elderly, so that all may have a Christian experience, living the life and mission of the Church as protagonists.
The second attitude with which Saint Luke presents the four characters of the story is wonder. Mary and Joseph “marvelled at what was said about Him [of Jesus]”. (v. 33). Wonder is also an explicit reaction of old Simeon, who in the Child Jesus sees with his eyes the salvation worked by God on behalf of His people: that salvation that he had been waiting for years. And the same is true of Anna, who “also began to give thanks to God” (v. 38) and to go and show Jesus to the people. She is a talkative saint, she spoke well, she spoke about good things, not bad things. She spoke, she proclaimed: a saint who went from one woman to another showing them Jesus. These figures of believers are shrouded in amazement, because they let themselves be captured and involved by the events that were happening before their eyes. The ability to marvel at the things that surround us favours the religious experience and makes the encounter with the Lord fruitful. On the contrary, the inability to be amazed makes us indifferent and widens the distance between the journey of faith and everyday life. Brothers and sisters, always on the move and leaving us open to wonder!
May the Virgin Mary help us contemplate every day in Jesus the Gift of God for us, and to let us be involved by Him in the movement of the gift, with joyful wonder, so that all our life may become praise to God in service to our brothers.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters!
Today in Italy we celebrate the Day for Life, which has as its theme “Open the doors to life”. I second the Message of the bishops and I hope that this Day will be an opportunity to renew commitment to preserving and protecting human life from the beginning until its natural end. It is also necessary to combat all forms of violation of dignity, even when technology or economics are at stake, opening the doors to new forms of fraternity in solidarity.
Today, on the Day of Consecrated Life, I would like all of us together in the square to pray for the consecrated men and women who do so much work, so often far from view.
Let us pray together. [Hail Mary]
And a round of applause for the consecrated men and women!
I greet you all, Romans and pilgrims. In particular, the students of Badajoz, Spain; and the faithful of Cremona, Spoleto, Fano, Palau and Roseto degli Abruzzi. I see that there are Polish pilgrims, many of them! And Japanese pilgrims, let us greet them too!
I wish everyone a good Sunday. And please don't forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye!