reflections, updates and homilies from Deacon Mike Talbot inspired by the following words from my ordination: Receive the Gospel of Christ whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you teach...
Pope Francis: ‘Mary teaches us not to be ashamed of tears’
Meeting members of the Pastoral Community of Our Lady Tears” of Treviglio, in Northern Italy, Pope Francis highlights that the world today has lost the capacity to “cry with the heart” at the tragedies of our times, as Mary did showing God’s compassion.
By Lisa Zengarini
“We must not be ashamed of crying, on the contrary, the saints teach us that tears are a gift, sometimes a grace, a sign of repentance, a liberation of the heart”. Pope Francis stressed this point on Saturday as he received in audience some 2,800 Italian pilgrims of the Pastoral Community of the shrine of Our Lady Tears (Comunità Pastorale di Nostra Signora delle Lacrime) of Treviglio, in Northern Italy, in the Paul VI Audience Hall.
The shrine, built in the 16th Century is celebrating 500th anniversary of the miracle of the Virgin who saved the city from the French troops with her tears on February 28, 1522.
In his address to the pilgrims, Pope Francis highlighted the special significance for our Christian faith of Mary's tears which, he said “reflect the tears of Jesus” at our miseries.
Tears are a sign of God's compassion
When Mary, “the first disciple” of Jesus, cries “her tears are a sign of God's compassion”, of “Christ's pain for our sins, for the evil that afflicts humanity, especially the little ones, the innocent who are the ones who suffer”, Pope Francis explained, remarking that God “has always compassion for us and wants to forgive us”.
Crying for the victims of war
He further highlighted that her tears are also a sign of God's tears for the victims of the "war that is destroying not only Ukraine", remarking once again that war is a defeat for everyone: losers and winners.
“Let’s have the courage to face the truth: this war is destroying all the peoples involved. All. Because war not only destroys the defeated. No. It also destroys the winner as well as those those who follow superficial news to see who is the winner, who is the loser. War destroys everyone.”
Mary Mother of Peace and Mercy
Recalling his recent consecration of humanity, and especially of Ukraine and Russia, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary so that through her intercession the ongoing war in Ukraine may end, he further reminded that Mary is the Mother of Peace, but also of God's Mercy.
“We have entrusted our supplication to her Immaculate Heart, and we are certain that our Mother, who is the Queen of Peace, has accepted this supplication and is interceding for peace.”
Crying with those who cry
“Mary teaches us not to be ashamed of tears". Indeed, the Pope said, crying means “opening up to the good Father and also to our brothers”. It means “allowing ourselves to be moved by the wounds of those we meet along our way; knowing how to share, to welcome, and to rejoice with those who rejoice and to cry with those who cry”. However, he noted, society in our time has lost this capacity of crying properly, that is “with the heart” as Mary did, or St. Peter when he repented.
The grace of crying
This is why - Pope Francis said - we should ask the Lord to grant us “the grace of crying” at the what we see, “about the use that is made of humanity, not only wars, but also at the waste we see: the old people being discarded and children discarded even before they are born ... There are so many tragedies of discard: the poor, the homeless", he noted.
“The miseries of our time should make us cry and we need to cry”, Pope Francis insisted.
Bringing his discourse to a close, the Holy Father praised the spirit of the Community of "Our Lady of Tears" summarized in its name which speaks of “a pastoral care of tenderness, compassion, and closeness” inspired by Mary’s example. “We must all always learn from Mary to follow Jesus”, he concluded.