Pope Francis urged Catholics to have a deep and real friendship with Christ at his Wednesday morning audience

Pope Francis focused on the figure of the Virgin Mary as a model for the Church at his general audience this morning in Saint Peter’s Square.

He described Mary using the criteria of the constitution “Lumen Gentium”: God’s Mother as a figure of the Church in the Faith, in the Charity and in perfect union with Christ.

Pope Francis said that Mary was a model of Faith because, as a young woman, when asked to become the mother of the Saviour she answered ‘yes’ and “from that moment her Faith received a new light.”

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The Pope said that Mary is the model of Faith because “she has at the centre of her life Christ as the incarnation of the eternal love of God”. The greatness of Mary’s faith, then, is the fact that “she lived her Faith in the simplicity of the everyday occupations and preoccupations of a mother”.

The Pope then concentrated on Mary as a model of charity. As she brought the joy of Christ and Christ himself to her cousin Elizabeth, so “the Church isn’t an NGO or a humanitarian agency but has to bring Christ to everyone”. Then he added: “A Church that does not bring Jesus to people, that is a dead Church”.

Finally, Mary is a model of union with Christ: “She prayed, she worked, she was used to go to the synagogue, but everything she did was done in perfect union with Christ”, Pope Francis said. So the Church and the faithful “have to make every action in the union with Christ” and in the name of a deep and real friendship with Him.

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