In remarks given at a Mass in the Piazza of Liberty at Castel Gandolfo for the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary today, Pope Francis said that we should never forget that Mary, as the Mother of the Savior who would die for us, is not distant from our struggles. “Mary … has of course already entered, once and for all, into heavenly glory. But this does not mean that she is distant or detached from us,” the Pope preached, “rather Mary accompanies us, struggles with us, sustains Christians in their fight against the forces of evil.”
The Holy Father reflected on Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution On the Church from the Second Vatican Council, which discusses Mary's solidarity with human struggles and difficulties, and which is reflected in the first reading from today's obligatory Holy Day Mass. “The figure of the woman, representing the Church, is, on the one hand, glorious and triumphant and yet, on the other, still in travail," Francis pointed out.
The Holy Father said that the battle between good and evil, the spiritual war between Almighty God and Lucifer, is a struggle experienced by every Christian and that "Mary does not leave them alone. The Mother of Christ and of the Church is always with us. She walks with us always, she is with us.” The Holy Father recommended regular recitation of the Rosary as a prayer with Mary which we can say that “has this 'suffering' dimension, that is, of struggle, a sustaining prayer in the battle against the evil one and his accomplices. The Rosary also sustains us in the battle.”
Pope Francis told the congregation that they and all Catholics should pray the Rosary every day. “Do you pray the Rosary every day? But I'm not sure you do … Really?”
When Christ rose from the dead, he “entered into eternal life with all the humanity he had drawn from Mary; and she, the Mother, who followed him faithfully throughout her life, followed him with her heart, and entered with him into eternal life, which we also call heaven,” preached Francis, “Christ is the first fruits from the dead and Mary is the first of the redeemed, the first of 'those who are in Christ.'”
“She is our Mother, but we can also say that she is our representative, our sister, our eldest sister, she is the first of the redeemed, who has arrived in heaven.”
In his final remarks, the Holy Father said that the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55), Mary's prayer of thanksgiving recited to her sister Elizabeth, which is recited each day at Vespers throughout the world in the Church, has very special resonance in places where the Body of Christ is being persecuted. “If there is no hope, we are not Christian. That is why I like to say: do not allow yourselves to be robbed of hope. May we not be robbed of hope, because this strength is a grace, a gift from God which carries us forward with our eyes fixed on heaven.”