ECUADOR|July 10, 2015| Prepared address by the Holy Father at National Marian Shrine of “El Quinche”, Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday, 8 July 2015: Dear Brothers and Sisters, I place at the feet of Our Lady of Quinche the vivid experiences of my visit. I entrust to her heart the elderly and the sick whom I visited in the house of the Sisters of Charity, as well as the other meetings I have had. I entrust all of them to Mary’s heart; but at the same time I commend them to the hearts of each you, the priests, men and women religious, and seminarians. As those called to labor in the vineyard of the Lord, may you be protectors of all the experiences, the joys and sorrows of the Ecuadorian people.
I thank Bishop Lazzari, Father Mina and Sister Sandoval for their words, which lead me to share some thoughts on our common concern for God’s People.
In the Gospel, the Lord invites us to accept our mission without placing conditions. It is an important message which we must never forget. Here, in this Sanctuary dedicated to Our Lady of the Presentation, it resounds in a special way. Mary is an example of discipleship for us who, like her, have received a vocation. Her trusting response, “Be it done unto me according to your word”, reminds us of her words at the wedding feast of Cana: “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5). Her example is an invitation to serve as she served.
In the Presentation of the Virgin we find some suggestions for our own call. The child Mary was a gift from God to her parents and to all her people who were looking for liberation. This is something we see over and over again in the Scriptures. God responds to the cry of his people, sending a little child to bring salvation and to restore hope to elderly parents. The word of God tells us that, in the history of Israel, judges, prophets and kings are God’s gifts to his people, bringing them his tenderness and mercy. They are signs of God’s gratuitousness. It is he has chose them, who personally chose them and sent them. Realizing this helps us to move beyond our self-centeredness and to understand that we no longer belong to ourselves, that our vocation calls us to let go of all selfishness, all seeking of material gain or emotional rewards, as the Gospel has told us. We are not hired workers, but servants. We have not come to be served, but to serve, and we do so with complete detachment, without walking stick or bag.
Prepared address by the Father Francis