Mary, Model of Faith
St. Augustine’s Prayer to the Holy Spirit
Breathe in me O Holy Spirit that my thoughts may all be holy;
Act in me O Holy Spirit that my works, too, may be holy;
Draw my heart O Holy Spirit that I love but what is holy;
Strengthen me O Holy Spirit to defend all that is holy;
Guard me then O Holy Spirit that I always may be holy.
Reading: Mark 3:31-35
His mother and his brothers arrived. Standing outside they sent word to him and called him. A crowd seated around him told him, “Your mother and your brothers (and your sisters) are outside asking for you.” But he said to them in reply, “Who are my mother and (my) brothers?” And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. (For) whoever does the Will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
The family of Jesus interrupts His teaching. He remarks that even the closest physical kinship must cede to the spiritual kinship He is generating with his listeners, based on their fulfilling the Will of His heavenly Father. While not disparaging His own Mother, Jesus gently continues to form her with His spiritual direction. His words also reveal the true source of Mary’s greatness, for she had already heard the word of God and kept it with such perfection that she had become the virgin Mother of the Incarnate Word, the biblical sign of the Church’s perfect relationship with Christ.
We cannot approach the mysteries of Mary without the illumination of her Spouse, the Holy Spirit, who scrutinizes all matters, even the deep things of God (1 Cor 2:10). If she seems remote, an untouchable figure on a pedestal, it may be because we have not striven to know her, talk with her in prayer, see how she combined an obscure humdrum life with great sanctity. It has been said that it is difficult, at times, for a person to relate positively with our heavenly Mother if that person has had a poor relationship with his or her human mother. Yet the point is that Jesus is the pattern of our other relationships—and He forever calls her “Mother.”
Surely Jesus continues His filial respect and love for her even in heaven, and accepts her intercession for clients! We recall that Jesus said, “Who is my Mother? . . . whoever does the Will of my Father in heaven” (Mt 12:48). No doubt Mary was without equal in this obedience by her continual fiat. She was the greatest and most gifted person as Virgin and Mother, but she was the most perfect disciple and co-worker because she pondered God’s Word and lived by its implications. The totally consecrated person will do no less.
The Words of St. Maximilian
(“Who is She?” Sketches for a book, 1940)
Of herself, Mary is nothing, even as all other creatures are; but by God’s gift she is the most perfect of creatures, the most perfect image of God’s divine being in a purely human creature.
She comes, then, from the Father, through the Son and the Holy Spirit, as from her Creator who, out of nothing, calls into being creatures made in His own image, the image of the Holy Trinity. These creatures are limited; yet God likes to find in them the image of Himself which they bear. These beings, endowed with reason and free will, know and acknowledge that they come from God and receive everything from Him: what they are, what they can do, what they possess moment by moment. In return, they show Him their love, both on account of what they receive from Him, and because he, God, the infinite perfection, is worthy of infinite love.
The Immaculata never knew the slightest stain; in other words, her love was always full, without flaw. She loved God with all her being, and from the first instance of her existence her love united with God so perfectly that on the day of the Annunciation the Angel could say to her, “Full of grace! The Lord is with thee!” (cf. Lk 1: 28) She is, then, God’s creature, God’s image, God’s child, and in all these respects she is all this in the most perfect manner possible among the ranks of mere creatures.
She is God’s instrument. With full consciousness and total willingness she allows God to govern her; she consents to his will, desires only what he desires, and acts according to his will in the most perfect manner, without failing, without ever turning aside from his will. She makes perfect use of the powers and privileges God has given her, so as to fulfill always and in everything whatever God wants of her, purely for love of God, One and Three. This love of God reaches such a peak that it bears the divine fruits proper to God’s own love. Her love for God brings her to such a level of union with him that she becomes the Mother of God. The Father confides to her his Son; the Son descends into her womb; and the Holy Spirit fashions out of her perfectly pure body the very Body of Jesus.
Sub Tuum Praesidium Prayer
We fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.
Miraculous Medal Prayer
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you, and for all who do not have recourse to you, especially the enemies of the Church and all those recommended to you.