When Pope Francis speaks of the “star of the new evangelization,” I would imagine we are not talking celebrity, but guiding light. We are not talking just a religious figure of history, but one who makes intercession for us with her Son. This reminds me of the Ignatian practice of the triple colloquy, in which we come to Mary, and then together we move to Christ.
287. We ask the Mother of the living Gospel to intercede that this invitation to a new phase of evangelization will be accepted by the entire ecclesial community. Mary is the woman of faith, who lives and advances in faith,[Lumen Gentium 52-69] and “her exceptional pilgrimage of faith represents a constant point of reference for the Church”. [Redemptoris Mater 6] Mary let herself be guided by the Holy Spirit on a journey of faith towards a destiny of service and fruitfulness. Today we look to her and ask her to help us proclaim the message of salvation to all and to enable new disciples to become evangelizers in turn.[Cf. Propositio 58]
Mary as evangelizer: do we accept this? Certainly our imitation of her example would include her own embrace of her Son and his mission.
Like Mary, we are human. Human weakness and imperfection will dog us, but we have an encouraging reminder from St John Paul:
Along this journey of evangelization we will have our moments of aridity, darkness and even fatigue. Mary herself experienced these things during the years of Jesus’ childhood in Nazareth: “This is the beginning of the Gospel, the joyful good news. However, it is not difficult to see in that beginning a particular heaviness of heart, linked with a sort of night of faith – to use the words of Saint John of the Cross – a kind of ‘veil’ through which one has to draw near to the Invisible One and to live in intimacy with the mystery. And this is the way that Mary, for many years, lived in intimacy with the mystery of her Son, and went forward in her pilgrimage of faith”.[Redemptoris Mater 17]
The apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, is available online.