Mary shows humility, service are ‘secrets’ to heaven, pope says

A statue of Mary overlooks the grounds of St. Jude Church in Mastic Beach, N.Y., Aug. 4, 2013. Mary's assumption into heaven reminds people that they, too, are called to the same "glorious destiny," Pope Francis said during his Angelus Aug. 15, 2021. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Mary's assumption into heaven reminds people that they are also called by God to eternal life in heaven through humility and serving him, Pope Francis said.

After reciting the Angelus prayer on the feast of the Assumption Aug. 15, Pope Francis also prayed that those enjoying the summer holiday would find "serenity and peace.”

"I cannot, however, forget those who cannot go on vacation, those who remain to serve the community and those who find themselves in distressing conditions, aggravated by the intense heat and by the lack of certain services due to the holiday," he said, especially the ill, the elderly, the incarcerated, the unemployed, refugees and "all those who are alone or in difficulty.”

"May Mary extend her maternal protection over each one of you," he said, and he invited people to "perform a beautiful gesture" by going to a Marian shrine to venerate Our Lady.

Mary's secret is humility, the pope said before praying the Angelus.

"It is her humility that attracted God's gaze to her," he said.

"God does not exalt us because of our gifts, our wealth or great skills, but because of humility. God loves humility. God lifts up the one who lowers him or herself, the one who serves," the pope said.

The pope asked people to reflect and ask: "How am I doing with humility? Do I want to be recognized by others, to establish myself and to be praised, or do I think about serving? Do I know how to listen like Mary or do I want only to talk and get attention? Do I know how to be silent like Mary or am I always chatting? Do I know how to take a step back, defuse quarrels and arguments, or do I always try to stand out?”

Humility is the beginning of having faith by knowing one needs God and needs to make room for him in their heart and lives, he said.

"Those who remain humble allow the Lord to accomplish great things," he said.

Mary's assumption into heaven is a message of hope as it shows "lowliness and service are the secrets for reaching the destination, for reaching heaven," he said.