Reflexions on Mary, Mother of All the Living

Like many Protestant converts, devotion to the Virgin Mary and deep friendship with Her has been a struggle for me. At the same time, amid many questions and doubts, God has since before my Confirmation given me a desire to know and love Her as my spiritual Mother, and He has only increased this. Mary is the Mother of all the living, and She desires relationship with Her children—with you. I have a desire that you share in the joy of knowing Her and having a deep friendship with Her as your spiritual Mother, so I wanted to share some reflexions from my journal in the past couple months on Mary and the deep, day-to-day friendship we are called to have with Her. This relationship is what is meant by consecration to Mary: To come to Jesus through Her, by belonging to Her as Jesus did.

The Beauty of the Virgin Mother of God

O my Jesus, Your servant St. Faustina wrote, ‘Mercy is the flower of love. God is love, and mercy is His deed. In love it is conceived; in mercy it is revealed. Everything I look at speaks to me of God’s mercy.’1 And so I have often thought of Your mercy as Your beauty. And You told her that Your mercy is in this: that You are God, and needful of no one, yet You create, sustain, and love.2 I think this is why Aquinas said that the three most beautiful works of God, beyond improvement, are the hypostatic union of Christ’s human nature and Divine nature, the Virgin Mary, and the Beatific Vision of Heaven. And these are all three linked, in Mary. How beautiful, pure, and lovely is Your mercy, good King, that—though You are of yourself perfect and suffice alone for all our happiness, and You are a perfect Mother as well as a perfect Father—yet You wanted to display Your adorable mercy in giving to us a most lovely, pure, and wonderful Mother in Mary, and have made necessary Her whom You need not and love most. 

Cause of Our Joy, Mother of Sorrows

Think on the joy of Mary as She held the Child Jesus in Her arms, serene and smiling, at peace. Now think of the sorrow in which She was drowned at the Cross and Tomb, weeping with no peace except that of the Holy Spirit who mourns in and with Her. Can there be one without the other? Can the love of Christ be without the deepest of sorrows and the most profound joy? For She did perfectly what he did who ate the scroll, and it was sweet, then bitter.3 Yet whoever weeps with Her, shall rejoice with Her. 

‘Behold, your Mother.’

John 19:27

Today my resolution is to imitate the Infant Jesus in Mary’s arms. 

For labour and suffer we must, as the Spirit and Mary raise us to greater holiness, lifting us up to the Heart of Jesus on the Cross; but the starting place is the same for us as it was for Jesus on earth: the Womb and arms of Mary, and always the Heart of Mary. We must never leave Her, who will never leave us; for He did not leave us orphans.4

“The weapon that has the greatest influence on evil is to say the Rosary.”

Our Lady in the approved apparition in San Nicolas, Argentina

Yesterday, while praying the Rosary, I wondered what I looked like, small as I am, attempting to do great things. And I perceived that Jesus gave me this image: Him holding me up as an infant, while I held a Rosary. And my impression was that we were like Moses holding up his staff, so that whenever he did so, the Israelites prevailed in battle. So Jesus held me, His instrument, as I held my weapon, the Rosary. 

‘Then came Amalek and fought with Israel at Rephidim. And Moses said to Joshua, “Choose for us men, and go out, fight with Amalek; tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.” So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed; and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands grew weary; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat upon it, and Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; so his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua mowed down Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.’ (Exodus 17:8-13) 

Mediatrix of All Graces of Redemption

Some think of Mary as only one avenue, though perhaps the greatest, of God’s mercy and grace, and they think there are other ways we can receive salvation without Her. Others think She is like a river through which the ocean of mercy runs, but in a limited way, as the ocean would if it were pushed through a river. Both of these analogies are wrong. The second contains some truth, since She is so little in Her humility; and indeed She is a mere creature, and the Lord is God. Yet it is for Her humility that She is great, for God’s power is made perfect in weakness,5 and He has ‘exalted those of low degree.’6 Therefore I say She is closer to the sky, through which the sunlight comes unhindered, and in which the light takes warmth and colour before unseen or unfelt—though the sun possessed these already—and under whose blue mantle life grows and prospers. And if one would seek the sun, he must pass through the sky. For She is the Mediatrix of all graces of redemption, since She gave birth to the whole Christ who is Mercy, and who came through Her not in part or piecemeal or in a limited way, but whole and infinite in richness of grace and mercy.

‘Jesus Christ, after having given us all he could give, that is to say, the merit of his toils, his sufferings, and bitter death; after having given us his adorable body and blood to be the food of our souls, willed also to give us the most precious thing he had left, which was his holy Mother.’

St. John Vianney
  1. Diary 651 
  2. Diary 85
  3. Revelation 10:10. 
  4. John 14:18. 
  5. 2 Corinthians 12:9 
  6. Luke 1:52
  7. Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 969-970. See also 963-968, and 721-726. 

Image taken at Ein Karem, Israel, Upper Chapel of Church of the Visitation. Artist: C. Vagarini. (Image provided by School of Faith.)

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