- The Little Office
- 1 Mirror of Justice
- 2 The Saviour
- 3 The First Years
- 4 In The Temple
- 5 Nazareth
- 6 The Annunciation
- 7 The Visitation
- 8 The Magnificat
- 9 The Benedictus
- 10 Christmas
- 11 The Magi
- 12 At The Manger
- 13 Nunc Dimittis
- 14 The Presentation
- 15 Flight into Egypt
- 16 The Holy Innocents
- 17 Life at Nazareth
- 18 Jesus in the Temple
- 19 Jesus at labour
- 20 Death of St. Joseph
- 21 Baptism Of Jesus
- 22 Jesus In The Desert
- 23 Calling The Apostles
- 24 Marriage at Cana
- 25 Silence Of The Gospel
- 26 Start Of The Passion
- 27 Foot Of The Cross
- 28 Jesus Laid In The Tomb
- 29 Resurrection
- 30 Ascension, Pentecost
- 31 The Assumption
Mary Always Remembers You, By T.N. Jorgensen, S.J. Part 8.
INCREASE OF FAITH
Through faith we know that this is truly God’s world by the double right of creation and redemption. His control is absolute, but He shares it generously with Mary because of her generous sharing in His redemptive sacrifice. Our faith assures us of their constant loving guidance. But faith can have many degrees; its growth clarifies much of its implicit teachings. We can increase our faith by prayer, study, and fidelity to the Church. Recalling that Christ said to Thomas, “You believe because you have seen; more blessed is he who has not seen and yet believes,” we will be encouraged to try to increase our faith. Saying, “I believe; O Mary, help me to believe more firmly,” will increase our faith in Mary and in all of the Church’s teachings.
But, perhaps, we have always believed firmly that Mary is watching over us at all times with a mother’s love; and yet have forgotten about her under the stress of daily life. How can we help our memory and our wavering will that we may live up to the wonderful fact of her constant care? What can we do to understand it more fully and appreciate it with all the loving gratitude that God desires?
CONSECRATION TO MARY
One of the best means is to consecrate ourselves entirely to Mary, then to study what this consecration means, and daily or oftener renew both the consecration and the effort to live up to it. One simple but adequate form of consecration is:
“My Queen, my Mother, I give myself entirely to you. I consecrate to you today my eyes, my ears, my heart, my whole being without reserve. Wherefore, good Mother, as I belong to you, preserve me, defend me as your property and possession.”
This consecration can be renewed often and quickly with the opening words, “My Queen, I give myself entirely to you.”
Many writings are available which give the reasons for such a consecration and the advantages which come from it; the pages which follow will discuss how we can live up to it and thereby remember Mary’s presence.
PRAYER AND PRACTICE
The first means is prayer. Living in Mary’s presence through fidelity to our consecration to her is a spiritual activity utterly beyond our merely natural powers. We must co-operate with grace through the use of natural means, but we must place our trust primarily in Mary’s own help. Prayer to her is an actual practice of belief in her presence, for praying to her shows that we believe she hears us and has the power and love to answer us. Prayer will be the chief support of all the other means which follow.
The second means, and one which, like prayer, really accompanies all the others, is practice. Practice means that we live up to our belief. How would we feel and act now if our faith in Mary’s active presence were very deep and strong? If we act thus, it will become deep and strong. By deliberate effort we can train our emotions and actions to follow a certain line. If we often act or think or speak in a certain way because we know that this is the way one who deeply appreciated Mary’s presence would act or think or speak, we are certain to develop a deep appreciation of her presence.
The third means is the second one stated negatively: avoid sin. If we are in earnest in offering our eyes and ears and mouth and heart to Mary each morning, we will be ashamed to use these very gifts to offend her during the day. If we are tempted to look at dangerous things, we refrain with the prayers, “Help me, Mary, for my eyes belong to you.” If we are tempted to speak unkindly we say, “Mary, remember my tongue is your charge as well as mine; help me to curb it.” When wayward images come to our minds or sinful emotions to our hearts, we resist with the prayer, “Mary, my mind is yours, my heart is yours. Help me to control them more fully that I may truly give them entirely to you.”
If we avoid sin because of Mary’s presence and her abhorrence of sin, her presence becomes more deeply impressed upon our consciousness. This is true for psychological reasons. But sin is always the rejection of grace and grace is absolutely necessary for growth in this supernatural activity of living in Mary’s presence. For this reason, too, we must avoid all deliberate sin if we wish to grow in this virtue.
The wrong kind of fear, doubt, or sadness should be avoided. The presence of a deeply loved friend has great power to overcome depression. Deliberate submission to melancholy can be sinful; and even if our sadness is not sinful, it might readily imply that our consciousness of Mary’s loving care is not very deep, or at least is not active at the moment.
NEW AND GLORIOUS VALUE
Prayerful consideration of the values of this consecration will help us to live up to it. These pages cannot take space to treat all the advantages of this consecration, but as the fourth means of living up to it we will consider this one: Our consecration gives all of our actions a new and glorious value which they did not have before.
Consecration makes a thing sacred. Our consecration brings us a greater share of the royalty of Jesus and Mary and lets Christ’s power impregnate our actions. Our power in the spiritual world is measured by three things only: the possession of sanctifying grace that our actions may have Christ’s power flowing into them; the right intention that we may be working for Christ’s purposes; and the actual effort by which we use the many actual graces given us and make the right intention real rather than mere wishful dreaming. And the final one of “effort” means just that: it means effort and not external success which may or may not follow from that effort.
AN ELEVATED PLANE
We may be poor, sick, untrained, untalented; but in becoming consciously and gladly one with Mary, we are lifted to a plane where our actions become potent for spiritual good for the same reasons and in the same way that Mary’s were so when she lived on earth.
During many hours she swept, dusted, carried water, sewed, cooked, washed dishes or clothes. But these ordinary actions were very profitable for the kingdom of God, for they were done in obedience to God’s wish, done by one habitually using His grace, done by one eager to show her love for Him. Suppose on some day Mary was unable to do a task and hired a servant to do it. This woman might go to the same well with the same jar and bring back the same amount of water that Mary had carried the day before. But that would not mean that she gave the same glory to God by the act. It was the divine life within Mary that made her acts so powerful for good.
God loves Mary with a greatness which we cannot fathom, for she is His masterpiece, Queen and Mother of His own eternal home. This love for her overflows to her children who are united to her, just as God’s love for Christ overflows to us who share in Christ’s merits. And Christ’s love flows to us from His Sacred Heart with a special fullness when our hearts are fully at one with the Immaculate Heart of His Mother.
READING FOR MARY
Spiritual reading is a fifth means ready to help us live our consecration to Mary. There are many splendid pamphlets, magazines, and books being published today about Mary and her place in our life.* Our reading should be sympathetic, intelligent, prayerful, and persevering. A sympathetic reader tries to recapture in his own heart the enthusiasm which stirred the author into writing. An intelligent reader concentrates on the things which are important for him, and takes steps to use them at once in his life. Prayer is necessary because abundant grace is necessary for a deep understanding of spiritual truths. Perseverance is necessary because valuable and long-lasting things grow slowly.
Association, a fundamental law of the memory, is a sixth help for remembering and living our consecration to Mary. It is easy to associate our Marian thoughts with each of our spiritual exercises. As we say our Morning Offering, we can let the words “Through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer thee all . . .” be a daily renewal of our act of consecration. At the Offertory of any Mass which we attend, we can offer all our acts of the day to God through Mary in union with the sacrifice of the Mass. If we belong to a Sodality, the Legion of Mary, the Scapular Confraternity, the Blue Army, etc., it is easy to utilize all of these to foster thoughts about the presence of Mary and help us to live up to our act of consecration.
Associating this act of consecration with our Rosary, in particular, brings us great help. Perhaps that is why Mary at Fatima urged the saying of the Rosary together with consecration to her Immaculate Heart, and why the Pope urges both with equal earnestness. The Rosary in revealing the mysteries of Christ’s life and death, reveals His and Mary’s conquest of sin and Satan, and tells us how to join them in this victory. And when sin and Satan have been ejected fully from our hearts and Christ and Mary lovingly accepted there, we are living our consecration as it should be lived.