Do we remember in 2013 Pope Francis wrote an exhortation (a calling forth from within) titled The Joy of the Gospel? I grew up in a Catholic faith that wasn't very joyful. There were the Joyful Mysteries of the rosary alright, but the poor nuns I spent the day with wore headgear made of starched linen boards that prevented them from looking left or right. I discovered later that this limiting costume was to remind the sister of being in her coffin! You can't very well enjoy being with a classroom of seven-year-olds if you're supposed to be thinking about your coffin all day.
But here is the Virgin Mary in all of her happy beauty. Let's let her cast away sadness and melancholy. Invite her into the inner place where depression lurks, the place of our negativity and futility, our complaining and whining, where we feel victimized, stressed out, defeated, filled with resentment and even cynicism. Ask her to restore joy!
Here's what Pope Francis says about the joyful Mary at the end of the exhortation, paragraph 286.
Mary was able to turn a stable into a home for Jesus, with poor swaddling clothes and an abundance of love. She is the handmaid of the Father who sings his praises. She is the friend who is ever concerned that wine not be lacking in our lives. She is the woman whose heart was pierced by a sword and who understands all our pain. As mother of all, she is a sign of hope for peoples suffering the birth pangs of justice. She is the missionary who draws near to us and accompanies us throughout life, opening our hearts to faith by her maternal love. As a true mother, she walks at our side she shares our struggles and she constantly surrounds us with God's love. Through her many titles, often linked to her shrines, Mary shares the history of each people which has received the Gospel and she becomes a part of their historic identity...There, in these many shrines, we can see how Mary brings together her children who with great effort come as pilgrims to see her and to be seen by her. Here they find strength from God to bear the weariness and the suffering in their lives. As she did with Juan Diego, Mary offers them maternal comfort and love, and whispers in their ear: "Do not let your heart be troubled...Am I not here, who am your Mother?"