Pope pays tribute to Immaculate Conception
Pope Francis placed a bunch of white roses at the base of a statue of the Immaculate Conception in the heart of Rome an hour before daybreak, asking that Mary would aid all those in need.
“While it was still night,” the Vatican press office said Dec. 8, the pope prayed to Mary, “asking her for the miracle of a cure for the many people who are sick, for healing for those who are suffering so much because of wars and the climate crisis, and for conversion so that she would melt the stony hearts of those who build walls to keep the pain of others away,” according to the Vatican press office.
According to the press office, the pope arrived in Piazza di Spagna, near the Spanish Steps, at approximately 6:15 a.m. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic, the pope paid a surprise early am visit the monument for the second year in a row to avoid gathering a throng.
Even before a brigade of Rome firemen arrived to hang a garland of flowers from the statue’s outstretched arms, Pope Francis arrived, prayed, and left.
The feast of the Immaculate Conception is a public holiday in Rome, and the pope’s annual visit to the Spanish Steps in the late afternoon gathers tens of thousands of people.
The pope also prayed at the Basilica of St. Mary Major before returning to the Vatican, according to the Vatican.
At noon, Pope Francis led the recitation of the Angelus prayer with visitors in St. Peter’s Square and spoke about Mary’s humility and the miracles God accomplishes through people who rely totally on him.
St. Luke’s storey of the Angel Gabriel appearing to Mary and telling her she would be the mother of Jesus is the Gospel reading for the feast.
“The angel describes her as ‘full of grace,'” said the Pope. “If the Madonna is full of grace, it means she is free of evil: she is sinless and spotless.”
Instead of being surprised by the angel’s greeting, Mary was “greatly worried,” according to Pope Francis.
“Mary does not attribute prerogatives to herself, she makes no claim to anything, and she attributes nothing to her own merit,” the Pope remarked. “She isn’t content with herself, and she doesn’t elevate herself.” Because she recognises that she receives everything from God in her humility.”
He remarked, “Mary Immaculate does not gaze at herself.” “This is real humility: focusing on God and others rather than on oneself.”
Pope Francis hoped that Mary would teach all Christians that if they are humble and focused on God and others, God might use them to do great things.
“May she enkindle excitement in us for the ideal of holiness, which has nothing to do with holy cards and images, but is about living each day humbly and joyously, free of ourselves, with our eyes set on God and the neighbour we encounter,” he added.
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