Vatican City, 21 December 2014 (VIS) – On the fourth and final Sunday of Advent, with Christmas just around the corner, the Gospel narrates the Angel's annunciation to Mary and the Virgin's “yes” that made possible the Incarnation, the revelation of a mystery “enveloped in silence for eternity”. Before this morning's Angelus prayer, Pope Francis addressed the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, focusing on two essential aspects of Mary's attitude as a model to prepare for Christmas.
The first is her faith, which consists of listening to the Word of God in order to surrender herself entirely to it, with full willingness of both mind and heart. “In her 'yes', full of faith, Mary does not know which road she will have to embark upon, how much pain she will have to suffer, what risks she will run. But she is aware that it is the Lord Who asks her to entrust herself entirely to Him, and she surrenders herself to His love. This is Mary's faith”.
“Another aspect is the capacity of the Mother of Christ to recognise the time of God. Mary teaches us to seize the favourable moment in which Jesus passes into our life and asks for a prompt and generous response”.
“And Jesus passes”, added the Pope, “because the mystery of Jesus' birth in Bethlehem, which historically took place more than two thousand years ago, occurs as a spiritual event on the 'today' of the Liturgy. The Word, that finds a home in the virginal womb of Mary, during the celebration of the Nativity calls out to the heart of every Christian; it passes, and knocks on the door. Each one of us is called to answer, like Mary, with a personal and sincere 'yes', placing ourselves entirely at the disposal of God and His mercy, His love”.
“How many times does Jesus pass into our lives!”, he exclaimed. “And how many times he sends us an angel, and how often we do not realise, because we are too preoccupied, immersed in our thoughts, in our affairs and even, these days, in our preparations for Christmas, to realise that He passes and knocks at the door of our heart, asking for welcome, asking for a 'yes', like that of Mary”.
“A saint once said, 'I am afraid that the Lord will pass'. Do you know why he was afraid? He was afraid he would not welcome Him, that he would let Him pass by. When we feel in our heart, 'I would like to be a better person', “I feel remorse for doing that”, it is the Lord Who is calling. He makes you feel this: the wish to be better, the wish to stay closer to others and to God. If you feel this, then stop. It is the Lord Who is there! And pray, perhaps go to Confession, to clean up a little … this does you good. But keep in mind: if you feel this desire to improve, it is He Who is calling: do not let Him pass by”.
Francis also recalled, in the mystery of the Nativity, the silent presence of Joseph and emphasised the example that he and Mary offer as an invitation to receive with total openness the Lord Jesus, “who for love made Himself into our brother, and came to bring light to the world”, as the angels proclaimed to the shepherds: 'on earth peace, good will toward men'”.
“The precious gift of Christmas is peace”, he concluded. “Christ, Who is our true peace, calls to our hearts to give us peace, the peace of the soul. Let us open the doors to Christ”.