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When you say ‘yes’ to God, MEAN IT – Pope Francis calls the faithful to be like Mary

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The contrast between the “no” of man in the Garden of Eden and the “yes” of Mary at the Annunciation was the heart of Pope Francis’ message for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, which he said is an opportunity for each person to renew their own commitment to God.

When Mary says “I am the handmaid of the Lord” in response to the news that she will become the Mother of God, she doesn’t say: “this time I will do the will of God, I am available, then I’ll see,” the Pope said Dec. 8, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

“Hers is a full yes, without conditions,” he said, noting that at times, instead of imitating this attitude, “we are experts in the ‘half-yes:’ we are good at pretending not to understand what God wants and consciousness suggests.”

We can also be “cunning” and avoid saying “a true and firm ‘no’ to God” by making excuses, such as “I can’t,” or “not today, but tomorrow…tomorrow I will be better, tomorrow I will pray, I will do good, tomorrow.”

However, by doing this “we close the door to good and evil profits from these missing ‘yeses,'” Francis said, noting that each one of us has “a collection” of these missing yeses inside.

Each full and unreserved “yes” we say to God is the beginning of a new story, he said. Saying yes to Go “is truly original, not sin, which makes us old inside.”

“Have you thought about this? That sin makes you age inside? It makes you age right away!” he said, adding that “every yes to God begins a story of salvation for us and for others.”

Pope Francis spoke to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’ Square for his Angelus address marking the feast in which the Church celebrates the Immaculate Conception of Mary, honoring the Catholic dogma that she was conceived without sin.

After reciting the Angelus, the Pope will as usual make his way to Rome’s Piazza di Spagna, where he will lay flowers at the feet of the large statue of Mary Immaculate sitting in the center of the square, and recite a prayer of devotion to Mary.

He also announced that like last year, following his prayer in Piazza di Spagna he will go the Roman Basilica of St. Mary Major to venerate the ancient “Salus Popoli Romani” icon, traditionally believed to have been painted by St. Luke.

The Pope travels to the basilica before and after every international trip he takes in order to entrust the voyage to the care and intercession of Our Lady, typically with flowers in hand.

In his Angelus address, the Pope said the day’s readings from Genesis and the Gospel of Luke point to two “critical passages” in salvation history which point to “the origins of good and evil.”

Man’s “no” to God at the very beginning is recounted in the passage from the Book of Genesis, which shows how “man preferred to look at himself rather than his Creator, he wanted to do his own thing, he chose to suffice with himself.”

By doing this, man left his communion with God behind, “lost himself and began to fear, to hide himself and to accuse those around him,” the Pope observed, explaining that once someone begins to accuse others like this, it means “you are distancing yourself from God” and “this makes sin.”

Mary the Immaculate Conception.Mary the Immaculate Conception (La Colosal/Public Domain).

However, instead of leaving man at the mercy of the evil done, he steps in and immediately looks for him, asking “where are you?”

This question, Francis said, is “the question of a father or mother who looks for their lost child…and this God does it with so much patience, up to the point of bridging the gap that has arisen at the beginning.”

Pointing to the day’s Gospel reading from Luke, which recounted the story of Annunciation, the Pope said that Mary’s “great yes” is what made it possible for God to come and live among us.

“Thanks to this ‘yes,’ Jesus began his journey on the path of humanity; he started it in Mary, spending the first months of life in the womb of his mother.”

Jesus didn’t come as an adult, already strong and full grown, but decided to follow the exact same path of the human being, doing everything in exactly the same way “except for one thing: sin.”

Because of this, “he chose Mary, the only creature without sin, immaculate,” he said, noting that when the angel refers to Mary with the title “Full of Grace,” it means that from the beginning there was “no space for sin” inside of her.

“Also we, when we turn to her, we recognize this beauty: we invoke her as ‘full of grace,’ without the shadow of evil.”

While the “no” of man at the beginning closed the passage from man to God, Mary’s “yes” opened the path for God to be among us, Pope Francis said, explaining that Mary’s response “is “the most important ‘yes’ in history.”

“It’s the faithful ‘yes’ that heals disobedience, the available ‘yes’ that flips the selfishness of sin,” he said, encouraging attendees to use Advent as an opportunity to renew their own “yeses” to God, telling him “I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you; accomplish in me your good will.”

“With generosity and confidence, like Mary, let us say today, each one of us, this personal yes to God,” he said, and led pilgrims in praying the traditional Marian prayer.

After the Angelus, he offered prayers for Indonesian island of Sumatra, which was hit by a 6.5 magnitude earthquake Dec. 7 that has so far left nearly 100 people dead.

“I wish to assure my prayers for the victims and for their families, for the wounded and for the many who have lost their homes. May the Lord give strength to the people and sustain the relief work.”

By Elise Harris





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  1. Patrick Gannon Reply

    Mary was not given an opportunity to say “yes.” In Matthew the story says, “18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ[k] took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit;” That’s it. Nobody asked her for permission.
    .
    Mark has no virgin birth, and his was the first gospel written. Matthew added the virgin birth in order to (incorrectly) confirm prophecy in Isaiah about a virgin, although that prophecy had nothing to do with a Messiah, and nothing to do with a virgin. The original word was “young woman” or “maiden” (almah), and if real virginity had been required they would have used a different word (betulah). The author of Matthew was working with a Greek translation that had the word translated incorrectly, and not with the original Hebrew. In any event, Matthew’s birth narrative is very sparse, so who was next…
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    Luke thought that Matthew’s version was a little thin, so he added to it (he also created a birth date that was about 12 years apart from Matthew’s, as well as a different genealogy, and based on a fictitious event – the census with the ridiculous and absurd notion that everyone returned to their homeland, which historical records indicate that never happened). “26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace,[e] the Lord is with you!”[f] 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her,[g] “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.”
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    Note that Mary was not asked if this was OK with her. She said, ““Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”, but she wasn’t given an option. She was told how it was going to be, and Mary accepted her fate. It’s kind of like – when rape is inevitable, lie back and enjoy it.
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    So what did the author(s) of John say about the virgin birth? Not a bloody thing, and the John author surely had the synoptic gospels in front of him. It’s evident that John is voting “NO” on this virgin birth charade. Scholars think the John gospel developed from a group of Jewish Christians and as such they would know the difference between almah and betulah and understand that the story had nothing to do with virgins in Isaiah, so the story was dropped.
    .
    The Pope said, “Because of this, “he chose Mary, the only creature without sin, immaculate,” he said, noting that when the angel refers to Mary with the title “Full of Grace,” it means that from the beginning there was “no space for sin” inside of her.” Please note that the Catholic Church did not determine this till 1854 after it was learned that the woman contributed genetic material to the new baby, and thus they could pass along original sin through sex. This meant Mary had original sin from her parents who did the nasty sex deed, (which the Church is so maniacally obsessive about), and that she could pass it on to Jesus through birth, even if she conceived without benefit of sexual relations. They had to make her “immaculate” after the fact in order to make the story fit the science. The Pope is interpreting the “full of grace” thing as support for something that wasn’t determined till more than 18 centuries later! See Acts 6:8. Was Stephen born without original sin? “And Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.”
    .
    Note that if Yahweh could remove original sin from Mary, then he could do it for all of us, thus making Jesus’ sacrifice unnecessary. Why would Yahweh go through this discombobulated rube goldberg fiasco in order to relieve us of original sin, when he did it for Mary with no problem? Instead Yahweh impregnates a virgin (young girl) without her consent, in order to be born as himself, taking the name Jesus, in order to sacrifice himself (Jesus) to himself (Yahweh) so that he could relieve us of a condition (original sin) that he placed on us in the first place. (Never mind that the DNA evidence destroys any chance of original sin by two original ancestors). The whole idea is ridiculous.
    .
    The Pope speaks of the “No” in the garden of Eden, but the Church admits that this garden never happened. The last few Popes have accepted evolution. Our ancestors did not wake up in paradise, they woke up on the menu and struggled to survive and reproduce. There was no paradise. In any event, they didn’t say “No.” The talking snake told them that they wouldn’t die on the day they ate of the tree, and they didn’t, although Yahweh had told them otherwise. He also told them that if they ate of the tree they would become like Yahweh knowing good and evil, and again the snake was correct – see Gen 3:22. Where did our mythical ancestors say “no? What we have in the Garden myth is a story of child abandonment. Yahweh creates these simple, innocent, ignorant humans and lies to them. The talking snake provides the straight scoop, the kids having not yet eaten of the tree of good and evil, and therefore not yet knowing what good and evil are in the first place, innocently eat of the tree based on their amazement at a talking snake (!) and Yahweh gets his panties in a wad, kicks them out and curses all of their children right up to us, with the stain of original sin, something that we know he can remove because he did it for Mary. What sort of good god would act like this? It gets worse, because back then when you died, you went to Sheol, good and bad alike, and at the end of time you would be judged and destroyed if found wanting – fair enough. But instead we get the “good news” of Jesus, and now you are judged immediately upon death, and if you don’t measure up, you spend eternity in torment, simply for failing to believe, say or do the right things as dictated by disordered, celibate virgins dressed up in robes. Our situation certainly did not improve!
    .
    Take your minds back from the Church. They have abused it enough.

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