Mary Always Remembers You, By T.N. Jorgensen, S.J. Part 2.


Let us consider the true nature of a fully conscious presence. Its first essential quality is knowledge. If three people are in a room and two are talking in a language which the third does not understand; if three people attend a football game and two know all the rules and the third does not; if three people go to a movie and one is blind, or three go to an opera and one is deaf, or three go to class and one is absentminded or falls asleep—the third party in each of these cases, while visibly present, is not present in any full way because of his lack of knowledge of what is going on.
Power is the second essential quality of fullness of presence. If three people go to a polling place and two are citizens and the third is not and cannot vote; if three go to Mass and two are Catholics and receive Communion and the third is not and cannot; if three go to an American Legion dance and two are members and dance and the third is not and cannot; if three go to a meeting in the Senate and two are Senators and talk and vote and the third is not and cannot—in these and countless other cases the third, while present visibly and having some knowledge of what is going on, is not fully present because of his lack of power to share in the activity.
Love is the third essential quality of presence. If our son or brother or best friend is playing football, we are likely to see him at every play and not notice the others. A mother can walk into the nursery of a hospital and be conscious of only one baby of the many there. A young man just engaged can be jostled by a crowd of hundreds and be conscious only of the girl at his side. A willing, conscious, active attention to a person is what makes us most fully present to him, and love is the greatest spur to this attention.


Power, knowledge, and love are the three qualities that make up a fully conscious presence. We over-emphasize visible presence in our thoughts because in most of our experiences we have to be visibly present before we can have power, knowledge, and love; and so we naturally—but wrongly-think that visible presence and these qualities are essentially connected.
The veil between Mary and us might be compared to one-way glass. Some large stores have a detective sitting inside a pillar made of such glass. He can see all that is going on in the aisles outside, but the customers have no idea that he is there. If he sees a theft or fire or anything else wrong, he has but to telephone to his companion at the desk and action takes place at once. But Mary is really much closer to us than is the glass-enclosed detective to the customers. For the veil between her and us is no handicap to her at all, for she has a great fullness of the knowledge and power and love which we have just considered.