In a world that feels orphaned and abandoned, Christians can find a mother in Mary, who will defend them and is not ashamed of their sins, Pope Francis said.
As she watched her son crucified and in agony, Mary “gave birth to us in that moment with so much pain; it is truly a martyrdom,” the pope said during a morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae on 15th September.
“With her pierced heart, she accepted to give birth to all of us in that moment of pain. And from that moment she became our mother, from that moment she is our mother, the one who takes care of us and is not ashamed of us: She defends us,” he said.
Celebrating the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows, the pope reflected on the humiliation and suffering Mary bore willingly while she witnessed the death of “her son naked” on the cross.
“Mary had such great suffering, but she did not go; she did not deny her son. He was her flesh,” he said.
The pope recalled his frequent visits to prisoners in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he often saw a long line of mothers waiting to see their imprisoned children. Like Mary, these women suffered not only scorn and judgment, they “also suffered the terrible humiliation of body searches that were done to them before entering.”
“Nevertheless, they were mothers and they went to find their flesh and blood. Just like Mary, who was there with her son, with that great suffering,” the pope said.
Pope Francis explained that the Russian mystics of the first centuries would often advise followers to “find refuge under the mother of God’s mantle” in times of spiritual turmoil. There, he added, is where all Christians “are safe.”
In his final moments on the cross, Jesus gave Mary as a mother to all men and women ‘in this world that suffers the crisis of a great ‘orphanhood,'” the pope said.
“We have someone who defends us, who teaches us, who accompanies us, who isn’t ashamed of our sins. She is not ashamed because she is a mother,” he said.
Picture: Pope Francis makes the sign of the cross as he prays at a statue of Mary during an audience with religious at the Vatican on 1st February 2016. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).