Pope Francis at Angelus on Immaculate Conception
By Francesca Merlo
Dec 9 2023
In his Angelus address on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Francis highlights two key attitudes of Mary; amazement and fidelity; emphasizing the importance of cherishing God’s blessings, showcasing gratitude, and making small, daily choices to welcome the Lord’s presence.
Addressing the faithful gathered on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Francis turned to the Gospel of the day, which recounts the Annunciation. In doing so, the Holy Father focused on two of Mary’s attitudes “that help us understand how she would have guarded the unique gift she received – a heart completely free from sin”.
These two attitudes, the Pope said, are “amazement regarding the works of God and fidelity in the simple things”.
Focusing first on amazement, Pope Francis recalled the Angel telling Mary to rejoice, and calling her “full of grace”. Pope Francis noted that Mary was “troubled” at being called full of grace, but then became “amazed” when she understood that means “filled with God’s love”.
This attitude is very important, said the Pope, explaining that we should never take the Lord’s gifts for granted. “It is also important to demonstrate this amazement before others, speaking humbly about God’s gifts, about the good received, and not only about daily problems”, he added.
Fidelity in the simple things
Pope Francis then went on to speak of the second attitude: fidelity in simple things. He noted that there is nothing about Mary in the Gospel before the Annunciation and that she is presented as a simple girl, apparently equal to so many others who were living in her village, Nazareth. A young girl, continued the Pope, who, “specifically because of her simplicity, kept pure that Immaculate Heart with which, by God’s grace, she had been conceived”. This, too, is important, as “to welcome God’s great gifts, it is necessary to know how to treasure those that are more everyday and less noticeable”, said the Pope.
Pope Francis then explained that “it is with her daily fidelity in goodness that Our Lady allowed God’s gift to grow within her”.
Make the small choices necessary
Bringing his catechesis to a close, Pope Francis invited all the faithful following to ask themselves whether they believe in the importance of their fidelity to God, whether they find time to read the Gospel, to pray and participate in the Eucharist, and to perform some tangible act of disinterested service. “These”, the Pope concluded, “are the small choices necessary to welcome the Lord’s presence”. – Vatican News