Yesterday the Holy Father lead a profession of Faith for all the Italian bishops as they are meeting in plenary session. He addressed them. At the end of the address, Francis pronounced a prayer to Mary which should move any but the coldest heart.
This isn’t Secretariat of State boilerplate. This is Francis.
Some context: Before this prayer, Francis had mentioned that the first faithful bishops have are their priests. He spoke about obedience and self-emptying, the gift of self as what distinguishes pastoral ministry. He mentions the Devil again, of course. He warns about the seduction of a career, money, laziness, being a functionary, worrying about structures more than people. The whole thing bears reading.
Then, after saying “I place you, and I place myself, too, under the mantle of Mary, Our Mother”, he concluded with this!
Mother of the silence that preserves the mystery of God, deliver us from the idolatry of the present, to which those who forget are condemned. Purify the eyes of pastors with the balm of memory:that we might return to the freshness of the beginning, for a praying and penitent Church.
Mother of the beauty that blossoms from fidelity to daily work, remove us from the torpor of laziness, of pettiness, and defeatism. Cloak Pastors with that compassion that unifies and integrates: that we might discover the joy of a humble and fraternal servant Church.
Mother of the tenderness which enfolds in patience and mercy, help us burn away the sadness, impatience, and rigidity of those who have not known what it means to belong.
Intercede with your Son that our hands, our feet and our hearts may be swift: that we may build the Church with the truth in charity.
Mother, we will be the People of God, on pilgrimage towards the Kingdom. Amen.
Benedict has his voice. Francis has his.