‘In the Gospel mystery of the Visitation (cf. Lk 1:39-45), we can see an icon of all Christian volunteer work. I would take three attitudes shown by Mary: These three attitudes are listening, deciding and acting.

First, listening. Mary sets out after hearing the word of the angel. Mary knows how to listen to God. It is not simply about hearing, but about listening attentively and receptively, and being ready to help. The Lord stands at the door and knocks in any number of ways; he posts signs along our path and he calls us to read them in the light of the Gospel.

The second attitude we see in Mary is deciding. Mary listens and reflects, but she also knows how to take a step forward: she is decisive. Mary is not afraid to go against the grain. With a steadfast heart she listens and decides, accepting the risks, never on her own, but with God!

Finally, acting. Mary set out on her journey and “went with haste…” (Lk 1:39). Despite the hardships and the criticisms she may have heard, she didn’t hesitate or delay, but “went with haste”, because she had the strength of God’s Word within her’. Teach us O Mary to listen to God, to make right decisions and to act with courage and conviction’.

Pope Francis to World Youth Day Volunteers, Poland, 2016.