Pope Francis calls for a ‘spirit of service’ on feast of Mary’s assumption
By Daniel Payne
Catholic News Agency
VATICAN— Pope Francis on Tuesday urged the faithful to adopt a “spirit of service,” pointing to the example of the Blessed Mother who went in haste to help her expectant cousin Elizabeth.
The pope spoke to a crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the recitation of the Angelus on the feast of Mary’s assumption into heaven (August 15).
In his reflection before leading the Marian prayer, Pope Francis drew on the day’s Gospel reading — Luke’s account of Mary’s Visitation — which the Holy Father said shows the Mother of God to be a “woman of service” to her neighbor.
“Our Lady, who had just conceived, travels almost 150 kilometers [about 93 miles] from Nazareth to reach Elizabeth’s house,” Pope Francis noted. “Helping is costly, to all of us! We always experience this in the fatigue, patience, and worries that taking care of others entails.”
The pope warned, however, that “service risks being barren without praise to God.”
“Indeed, when Mary enters the home of her cousin, she praises the Lord,” the pope said. “She does not talk about her weariness from the journey, but rather a song of jubilation springs from her heart. Because those who love God know praise.”
“Let us try to ask ourselves: Do I live my work and daily occupations with a spirit of service, or with selfishness?” the pope said. “Do I devote myself to someone freely, without seeking immediate advantages? In short, do I make service the ‘springboard’ of my life?”
He continued: “And thinking about praise: Do I, like Mary, exult in God? Do I pray, blessing the Lord? And, after praising him, do I spread his joy among the people I meet? Each one of you, try to answer these questions.”
Following the recitation of the Angelus, Francis also offered a customary blessing of the crowd.
“Today, we entrust to Mary assumed into heaven our supplication for peace in Ukraine and in all war-torn regions: There are so many of them, unfortunately,” he said.
“The clamor of weapons drowns out attempts at dialogue; the law of force prevails over the force of law,” he continued.
“But let us not be discouraged, let us continue to hope and to pray, because it is God, it is he who guides history. May he listen to us!”