Franciscan Spirit Blog

Pope Francis on Mother Mary

Pope Francis has a strong relationship with the Mother of God. As archbishop of Buenos Aires, he encouraged devotion to “Our Lady, Undoer of Knots.” On the first day after his election to the papacy, he visited the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome to place flowers on the altar and pray for Mary’s help and protection. Since that day, he has continued to shine a light on the woman he calls “the first pilgrim” and “the perfect disciple.”

When he enters a church or chapel, he often scans the walls and altars for images of Mary. He may approach a painting or statue to study it more closely, touching or kissing it with reverence. Later, he may comment on the Marian art, sharing his personal reflections on the meaning of certain symbols, scenes, or events.

For Pope Francis, Mary is an icon of wisdom, strength, courage, and joyful hope. Her unconditional “yes” to God. He encourages all of us to say “yes” to God’s call today.

We must turn to Mary often, Pope Francis tells us, for she is a mighty intercessor and a faithful companion on our spiritual journey. Because he highlights Mary’s “feminine genius”and her receptivity to divine guidance—something to which believers of various religious traditions aspire—people of many faiths will find nourishment in the pope’s words.

In his homily of January 1, 2015, he explained, “Mary is so closely united to Jesus because she received from him the knowledge of the heart, the knowledge of faith, nourished by her experience as a mother and by her close relationship with her Son.”

Living Our Faith Like Mary

In what sense does Mary represent a model for the Church’s faith? Let us think about who the Virgin Mary was: a Jewish girl who was waiting with all her heart for the redemption of her people.…

Mary’s faith is the fulfillment of Israel’s faith; the whole journey, the whole path of that people awaiting redemption, is contained in her, and it is in this sense that she is the model of the Church’s faith, which has Christ, the incarnation of God’s infinite love, as its center.

How did Mary live this faith? She lived it out in the simplicity of the thousand daily tasks and worries of every mother, such as providing food, clothing, caring for the house.… It was precisely Our Lady’s normal life which served as the basis for the unique relationship and profound dialogue which unfolded between her and God, between her and her Son. Mary’s “yes,” already perfect from the start, grew until the hour of the Cross. There her motherhood opened to embrace every one of us, our lives, so as to guide us to her Son.

General Audience, St. Peter’s Square
October 23, 2013

Nourishing Love: A Franciscan Celebration of Mary by Murray Bodo


1 thought on “Pope Francis on Mother Mary”

  1. Pingback: Pope Francis So Far - Stumbling Toward Heaven

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