(Zenit.org) – Pope Francis has said Christians are not orphans but have the Church, with Mary as her model, a mother who welcomes, protects and nourishes us, especially through the Word of God.
Speaking to the thousands gathered in St. Peter’s Square at the weekly General Audience, the Holy Father underscored that since “Looking to Mary…we Christians are not orphans. We have a mom, we have a mother and this is great. We are not orphans. The Church is mother, Mary and mother.”
After urging those gathered to welcome the protection Mary gives us, especially in God’s Word, Francis asked: “And who gives us the Word of God?”
“Mary!” he said, adding “This is grand!” because this Word “changes us inside,” and “transforms us.”
As our “true mother,” he said, she not only “gives us life in Christ,” but also communion of the Holy Spirit, which “brings us into a common life with all our brothers and sisters.”
“If you look to Mary,” the Pontiff said, you will “find the most beautiful and tender face of the Church.”
Her motherhood, he added, continues through the Church, who brings forth sons and daughters through baptism, whom she nourishes through the Word of God.
“In fact,” he continued, Jesus gave the Gospel to the Church to bring forth new life by generously “proclaiming his Word” and “winning other sons and daughters for God, our Father.”
By illuminating our path with the light of the Gospel and by sustaining us with the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist, Francis said the Church nurtures us throughout life.
This nourishment, he added, enables us to “choose the good,” to be “vigilant against evil and deceit,” and “overcome the difficult moments of life with courage and hope.”
The force of the sacraments and Word of God, with the courage of a Mother, the Pope added, “defends us from evil.”
Since we are “all under attack” by Satan, he exhorted faithful to be “on guard,””stand firm in the faith,” and “not resist the advice of the mother.”
“This is the Church,” he continued, “this is the Church that we all love, the Church that I love, a Church has that has at heart the welfare of her children.”
As the Church, Pope Francis reminded the faithful, “we are called to live this same spiritual, maternal attitude towards our brothers and sisters,” which requires us “to accept,” “forgive” and “inspire confidence and hope.”