Church needs courageous women like Mary, pope says at morning Mass

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The church needs the service of the many women who
continue to follow Mary’s example of courage and service despite the odds, Pope
Francis said.

Women who serve with joy to bring their families forward
in life, to ensure their children’s education and who “face so many
adversities and who heal the sick” are courageous, the pope said May 31 during the Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae

Commemorating the feast of
the Visitation, when the pregnant Mary went to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who
was pregnant with John the Baptist, the pope said the memorial is a
“breath of fresh air” that highlights the importance of joy in
Christian life.

Christians who are sad, he
said, can seem “ugly” and although “they think they are
Christian, they are not fully.” Joy is the Christian message
“which today’s liturgy gives us as a gift.”

The pope noted Mary’s courageous service in visiting her
cousin Elizabeth despite being pregnant herself and who “gets up and goes
without excuses.”

“Service is a Christian sign. Those who do not live
to serve,” serve very
little purpose in life. “To serve with joy: this is the attitude
that I would like to underline today. There is joy and
also service; always (willing) to serve,” he said.

Another Christian sign, Pope Francis said, is the
willingness to meet with others. Both serving and encountering others like
Mary, he added, require Christians to come out of themselves.

“With this service of Mary, with this encounter, the
Lord’s promise is renewed; it takes place in the present. And the Lord — as we
heard in the first reading: ‘The Lord your God is in your midst’ — the Lord is
in service, the Lord is in the encounter,” the pope said.

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

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