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BE STEADFAST IN YOUR FAITH, LET MARY LEAD YOU TO CHRIST – Pope Francis

Catholics have been called upon to remain steadfast in their faith in Christ, through the Blessed Virgin Mary, to be able to share abundantly in the radiance of God to overcome their challenges. The call was made by the Holy Father pope Francis in his homily at the canonization Mass of the two young seers of Fatima – Saints Francisco and Jacinta.

The celebration which marked the climax of the centenary celebration of the Apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the Three shepherd children – Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco at the CovaDeira, Portugal, Spain, took place at the Basilica of Our Lady of Fatima CovaDeira, and was attended by several thousands of pilgrims from all parts of the world, including Nigeria.

According to the holy Father: “We can take as our examples Saint Francisco and Saint Jacinta, whom the Virgin Mary introduced into the immense ocean of God’s light and taught to adore him. That was the source of their strength in overcoming opposition and suffering. God’s presence became constant in their lives, as is evident from their insistent prayers for sinners and their desire to remain ever near “the hidden Jesus” in the tabernacle.

 

Premising his homily on the readings of the day, Pope Francis stated that: “Our Lady foretold, and warned us about, a way of life that is godless and indeed profanes God in his creatures. Such a life – frequently proposed and imposed – risks leading to hell. Mary came to remind us that God’s light dwells within us and protects us, for, as we heard in the first reading …”

 

Speaking on significance of the Fatima apparition in the life of the Church the holy Father declared: “In Lucia’s account, the three chosen children found themselves surrounded by God’s light as it radiated from Our Lady. She enveloped them in the mantle of Light that God had given her. According to the belief and experience of many pilgrims, if not of all, Fatima is more than anything this mantle of Light that protects us, here as in almost no other place on earth. We need but take refuge under the protection of the Virgin Mary and to ask her, as the Salve Regina teaches: “show unto us… Jesus.”

 

Pope Francis reminded the pilgrims that“God created us to be a source of hope for others, a true and attainable hope, in accordance with each person’s state of life;  because:“Life can survive only because of the generosity of other lives”.He added “With Mary’s protection, may we be for our world sentinels of the dawn, contemplating the true face of Jesus the Saviour, resplendent at Easter. Thus may we rediscover the young and beautiful face of the Church, which shines forth when she is missionary, welcoming, free, faithful, poor in means and rich in love.”

 

Speaking earlier on the eve of the 100th year anniversary celebration, the Holy Father stated that “If we want to be Christian, we must be Marian”; adding that being Marian means “we have to acknowledge the essential, vital and providential relationship uniting Our Lady to Jesus, a relationship that opens before us the way leading to him”. He added that no other creature ever basked in the light of god’s face as did Mary, she inturn gave a human face to the Son of the eternal Father.”

Outlining the qualities and virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Pope declared: ““Whenever we look to Mary, we come to believe once again in the revolutionary nature of love and tenderness. In her, we see that humility and tenderness are not virtues of the weak but of the strong, who need not treat others poorly in order to feel important themselves…” He concluded: “This interplay of justice and tenderness, of contemplation and concern for others, is what makes the ecclesial community look to Mary as a model of evangelization” (Ap. Exhort. EvangeliiGaudium, 288).” 

 


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