St. Joseph – Del Rio, Texas
May 6, 2017
Last year, Pope Francis made an apostolic visit to Poland for the celebration of World Youth Day, with millions of young men and women of faith from every corner of the world. It was a beautiful opportunity for him to gather in a country with such a strong devotion to our Blessed Mother – under her title of Our Lady of Czestochowa. Near the Shrine of Divine Mercy, the Holy Father preached about the plan of salvation carried out by our God, and how he carried it out in humility and simplicity.
The Holy Father said: “It is particularly striking how the coming of God into history came about: he was ‘born of a woman.’ There was no triumphal entrance or striking epiphany of the Almighty. He did not reveal himself as a brilliantly rising sun, but entered the world in the simplest of ways, as a child from his mother, with that ‘style’ that Scripture tells us is like a rainfall upon the land (cf. Is 55:10), like the smallest of seeds which sprouts and grows (cf. Mk 4:31-32). Thus, contrary to our expectations and perhaps even our desires, the kingdom of God, now as then, ‘does not come in a way that attracts attention’ (Lk 17:20), but rather in littleness, in humility.”
This is the nature of the action of God. He definitely worked miracles and great signs, but this is not where his most glorious work resides. His greatest triumphs are hidden in the hearts of the faithful who turn to him in love and conversion, the joy of a heart on fire with the Holy Spirit, or the comfort given to a heart that grieves. Simplicity and humility are the nature of God’s great work.
Pope Francis continues: “It is to Mary, then that we, who have gathered here, now look. In her, we find complete conformity to the Lord. Throughout history, interwoven with the divine thread, is also a ‘Marian thread.’ If there is any human glory, any merit of our own in the fullness of time, it is she. Mary is that space, preserved free from sin, where God chose to mirror himself. She is the stairway God took to descend and draw near to us. She is the clearest sign of the fullness of time. In the life of Mary we admire that littleness that God loves, for he ‘looked upon the humility of his servant,’ and ‘lifted up the lowly’ (Lk 1:48, 52). He was so pleased with her that he let his flesh be woven from hers, so that the Virgin became the Mother of God, as [her] ancient hymn, sung for centuries, proclaims.”
The challenge comes to you today. You are the Legion of Mary, and you have taken on the task of singing that ancient hymn in this part of the world today. Your chapter has been about this work for seventy years! What a beautiful witness to the love our God has lavished upon us in our Blessed Mother.
I ask you to renew your commitment and fidelity to being witnesses in that “style” the Holy Father has spoken of, “the divine ‘style’ incarnated by Mary.” The style of a faithful missionary disciple is that of humility and simplicity. How many different ways do we see this style in the witness of our beautiful Mother Mary?
Our Lady of Czestochowa’s image was subjected to violence. She bears the scars on her face of the sinfulness of humanity, but she still steadfastly, simply, and humbly presents her Son to the world with faith. Our Lady of Fatima sent out her very powerful message of conversion and humility through three tiny child shepherds, who touched the hearts of the world in their simple way one century ago. Our Lady of Guadalupe chose not the great leaders of the community to bear her message, but a simple man of the people. She called San Juan Diego to let his simplicity and humility speak louder than any words could ever hope to speak. Her miracle was the simple beauty of flowers and faith.
This is the witness of our Mother Mary. She walks in simplicity and humility, and through that humble virtue, she carries out her great work of evangelization. She carries out her part of the very work of God. As Pope Francis puts it: “God saves us, by making himself little, near and real.” My brothers and sisters, you who have devoted yourself to following Christ through Mary, “May she help you to weave in your own lives the humble and simple thread of the Gospel… May we do everything in littleness, and accompany others at close hand, with a simple and open heart.”