Pope Francis invites us to “look upwards” because, thanks to Mary’s assumption into Heaven: “the sky is open” and we need no longer be afraid.
In St Luke’s Gospel on this Solemnity of the Assumption, the Evangelist records the words of Our Lady as she prays: “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.” Before reciting the Angelus, Pope Francis reflected on the two verbs in that prayer: to rejoice and to magnify.
“We rejoice when something so beautiful happens that it is not enough to rejoice inside, in the soul, but we want to express happiness with the whole body,” said the Pope. “Mary rejoices because of God… she teaches us to rejoice in God, because He does “great things.”
“To magnify means to exalt a reality for its greatness, for its beauty,” continued Pope Francis. “Mary proclaims the greatness of the Lord… she shows us that if we want our life to be happy, God must be placed first, because He alone is great.” The Pope warned of getting lost in the pettiness of life, chasing after things of little importance: “prejudices, grudges, rivalries, envy, and superfluous material goods.” Mary, on the other hand, invites us to “look upward at the ‘great things’ the Lord has accomplished in her.”
The Gate to Heaven
“Mary, who is a human creature, one of us, reaches eternity in body and soul,” said Pope Francis. This is why we invoke her as the “Gate of Heaven.” “There she awaits us, just as a mother waits for her children to come home.” The Pope said we are like pilgrims on our way home to Heaven. Seeing that “in paradise, together with Christ, the New Adam, there is also her, Mary, the new Eve, gives us comfort and hope in our pilgrimage down here.”
The sky is open
For those who are afflicted with doubts and sadness, “and live with their eyes turned downwards,” the Feast of the Assumption is a call to “look upwards” and see “the sky is open,” continued Pope Francis. It is no longer distant, and we need no longer be afraid: “because on the threshold of Heaven there is a Mother waiting for us.” Mary constantly reminds us that we are precious in the eyes of God, and that we are made for the great joys of Heaven. “Every time we take the Rosary in our hands and pray to her,” he said, “we take a step forward towards our life’s great goal.”
The greatness of Heaven
“Let us be attracted by true beauty,” said the Pope, “let us not be drawn in by the petty things in life, but let us choose the greatness of Heaven.” Pope Francis concluded by praying that the Blessed Virgin Mary, Gate of Heaven, may help us daily to fix our gaze with confidence and joy “on the place where our true home lies.”
With thanks to Vatican News, where this article originally appeared.