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Pope: In a noisy world there is need for silence to contemplate God

Speaking at an International Congress on the life of Venerable María de Jesús de Ágreda, Pope Francis highlights the lessons of silence, mysticism, and mission from Mother Ágreda’s life while emphasising Mary’s role in revealing Christ.

By Francesca Merlo 

Addressing participants of the International Congress on Venerable María de Jesús de Ágreda, Spain, Pope Francis extended a warm welcome, expressing his delight at the occasion organised by the Pontifical International Marian Academy. The Holy Father conveyed his happiness in greeting the Conceptionist Mothers, especially acknowledging the presence of those who travelled from Argentina, his homeland.

Reflecting on the extraordinary life of Mother Ágreda, Pope Francis highlighted three lessons that the woman offers to the Church and humanity at large.

Silence

“The first lesson is silence,” the Pontiff began, emphasising the significance of listening and embracing the voice of the Beloved, the eternal Word of the Father. He underlined the unique capacity of women to listen and their special vocation in doing so. “Women know how to listen and have a special vocation to listen,” he added, noting that some religious sisters, even without specific training, acquired a profound knowledge of Scripture and drew from it “as from a living fountain”. Describing them as “in love” with Scripture, the Holy Father noted that this love symbolises Christ Himself speaking to them and through His Word, urging all to follow Mary’s example and treasure everything in their hearts.

Mysticism

Continuing his discourse, the Holy Father turned to the second lesson: mysticism, an intimate relationship with God arising from the attentive study of Sacred Scripture. He explained that the essence of this was transcending self-centeredness and making space for God. “Contemplatives teach us the joy of living only for Him through asceticism, abandonment, and fidelity,” he noted, adding that in a world inundated with noise and distractions, there is a dire need for silence in contemplation before the Lord.

Mission

The third and final lesson centered on mission, exemplified by Mother Ágreda and the Concepcionist nuns. The Holy Father highlighted the missionary spirit inherent in contemplative life, echoing the sentiments later emphasised by St. Therèse of the Child Jesus. He underscored the strength of intercessory prayer, citing Mother Ágreda’s prayers for souls receptive to baptism, a practice yielding fruit in the conversion of many.

Finally, drawing parallels from the wedding at Cana, the Holy Father emphasised Mary’s pivotal role in revealing Christ. “Mary never does this, Mary points to her son, she reveals him at Cana,” he concluded. 

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