.- On Friday’s Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Francis offered his own ‘beauty secret’ – with Mary as model – saying beauty does not come from age or appearance, but from living a virtuous life rooted in scripture.
The Blessed Virgin Mary, though a simple and humble person, “lived a beautiful life,” the Pope said Dec. 8, asking “what was her secret?”
The answer can be found in the story of the Annunciation, he said. “In many paintings, Mary is depicted sitting in front of the angel with a small book. The book is scripture.”
“The Word of God was her secret: close to her heart, it then took flesh within her womb. Remaining with God, dialoguing with Him in every circumstance, Mary made her life beautiful.”
In his special Angelus address for the feast day, Pope Francis emphasized that what makes someone’s life beautiful is “not appearance, not what passes, but the heart focused on God.”
Francis noted how Mary came from a simple family and lived in a humble fashion in Nazareth, which was an almost unknown village. She was not famous. “Our Lady did not even have a comfortable life,” he said. Yet the angel greets her with the words, “hail, full of grace!”
The Church extols the Mother of God as “all beautiful,” or “tota pulchra,” in Latin, the Pope continued. This is because her beauty is not found in her outward appearance, but in her total freedom from sin.
“There is only one thing that really does grow old: not age, but sin,” he emphasized. “Sin makes (us) old, because it fossilizes the heart. It closes it, makes it inert, it makes it fade. But the (woman) full of grace is empty of sin.”
Let us ask for her help to remain free of sin, he concluded, so that we too can live a beautiful life, saying “yes,” to God.
After reciting the Angelus, Pope Francis noted how later in the afternoon he will visit Rome’s Piazza di Spagna to venerate the statue of the Immaculate Conception overlooking the Spanish Steps.
He asked those gathered to join him spiritually in this act, “which expresses filial devotion to our heavenly Mother.”
Read more at Catholic News Agency.