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Learn from Mary, serve the Lord with true freedom, Pope preaches at Mass in Molise

Catholic World News - July 07, 2014

During his July 5 pastoral visit to Molise, Pope Francis celebrated Mass in the old Romagnoli Stadium in Campobasso and said that the first reading at Mass “reveals two essential aspects of the life of the Church. The Church is a people that serves God; the Church is a people that lives in the freedom that he gives.”

“Service to God is realized in different ways, in particular in prayer, in adoration, in the proclamation of the Gospel and in the witness of charity,” the Pope preached. “And always, the icon of the Church is the Virgin Mary, the ‘handmaid of the Lord.’ Immediately after having received the message from the Angel and having conceived Jesus, Mary leaves in a hurry to go to help her elderly relative Elizabeth. And, in this way, she showed that the preferred way to serve God is to serve our brothers and sisters who are in need.”

This service, he said, is realized “in ordinary life, that is, in the family, in the parish, at work, with neighbors. It is the charity of everyday, ordinary charity. The witness of charity is the main path of evangelization.”

After speaking of the centrality of the dignity of the human person, created in the image of God, Pope Francis preached on authentic freedom.

“The Lord always gives true freedom,” he said. “First of all, the freedom from sin, from selfishness in all its forms: the freedom to give of oneself and to do so with joy, like the Virgin of Nazareth, who is free from herself, she does not close in on herself in her condition-- and she would have had reason!-- but thinks of those who, in that moment, has greater need. She is free in the freedom of God, which is realized in love. And this is the freedom that God has given us and we must not lose it: the freedom to adore God, to serve God and to serve him even in our brothers and sisters.”

Following Mass at the soccer stadium, the Pope traveled to the cathedral, where he greeted the sick, and dined with the poor at the House of Angels, a home operated by Caritas.

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