Pope Francis in Romania: Imitate Mary's joy in the visitation

cq5damweb800800 1 Pope Francis says Mass at Saint Joseph Cathedral in Bucharest, May 31, 2019. | Vatican Media.

Pope Francis celebrated Mass in Bucharest for the feast of the Visitation Friday, encouraging Catholics in Romania to imitate Mary's humble joy in the little things in life.

"Mary journeys, encounters, and rejoices because she carries something greater than herself: she is the bearer of a blessing. Like her, may we too be unafraid to bear the blessing that Romania needs," Pope Francis said May 31 in Bucharest's St. Joseph Cathedral.

"This is the secret of every Christian: God is in our midst as a powerful saviour. Our certainty of this enables us, like Mary, to sing and exult with joy," he said.

Pope Francis said that contemplating Mary can help one realize the quiet sacrifices, devotion, and self-denial made by so many mothers and grandmothers who are unafraid to 'roll up their sleeves' and shoulder difficulties for the sake of their children and families.

"As a good mother, Mary knows that love grows daily amid the little things of life," he said. "A mother's love and ingenuity was able to turn a stable into a home for Jesus, with poor swaddling clothes and an abundance of love."

"Mary, lowly and humble, starts from God's greatness and despite her problems – which were not few – she is filled with joy, for she entrusts herself to the Lord in all things. She reminds us that God can always work wonders if we open our hearts to him and to our brothers and sisters," he explained.

The feast of the Visitation celebrates the Virgin Mary's journey to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who recognizes the unborn Messiah in Mary's womb.

"Mary journeys from Nazareth to the house of Zechariah and Elizabeth. It is the first of Mary's journeys, as related by the Scriptures. The first of many," Pope Francis said in his homily.

"She will journey from Galilee to Bethlehem, where Jesus will be born; she will go down to Egypt to save her Child from Herod; she will go up again every year to Jerusalem for the Passover, and ultimately she will follow Jesus to Calvary," he said.

Pope Francis explained that these journeys all have one thing in common: "they were never easy; they always required courage and patience."

"They tell us that Our Lady knows what it means to walk uphill … She knows what it is to be weary of walking and she can take us by the hand amid our difficulties, in the most perilous twists and turns in our life's journey," he said.

The Holy Spirit "urges us as Christians to experience the miraculous motherhood of the Church, as she seeks out, protects and gathers her children," Pope Francis said.

"Let us think of the great witnesses of these lands: simple persons who trusted in God in the midst of persecution. They did not put their hope in the world, but in the Lord, and thus they persevered," he urged.

The Mass concluded the first day of Pope Francis' May 31- June 2 apostolic visit to Romania. On Saturday Pope Francis will travel to northeastern Romania to visit the Cathedral of Our Lady Queen of Iași, ahead of the beatification of seven martyred Greek-Catholic bishops in Transylvania on Sunday.

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