Saturday, April 26, 2008


In this thoughtful meditation written by Fr Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen, OCD, we can think upon the meaning of "Marian life" for Carmelites. Devotion to Mary is very proficient for spiritual progress which has ultimate goal in union with God and can be difficult for tertiaries living in the world and surrounded by so many distractions of everyday life. Mary can be our best example and helper in achieving the intimacy with the Divine. Recommended meditative reading.

PRESENCE OF GOD: O Mary, I wish to live with you as a child with its mother.

1. The high place which Mary, as the Mother of God, occupies in the work of our sanctification fully justifies our desire to live intimately with her. As children love to be near their mother, so we Christians want to live with Mary, and in order to do this, we resort to little means of keeping her in our thoughts. For instance we may have her picture before us and greet her affectionately every time we look at it. Then, with a glance of faith, we can go beyond the picture, and reach Mary living in glory, Mary who, by means of Beatific Vision, sees us, follows us, knows all our needs, and helps us with her maternal aid. By means of this our faith, our soul remains in continual contact with Mary. Spontanously throughout the the day, we increase our little pious practices in her honour, out prayers and ejaculations; all these combine to intensify our relations with Mary. Saturdays, the months of May, the several feasts of Mary are for us so many occasions of remembering her especially, of meditating on her prerogatives, contemplating her beauty, and continually increasing our love for her. In fact, it is impossible to bear the sweet picture of Mary in our mind and heart without feeling moved to love her and (...)by living like true children of hers. In this way the "Marian" life, or the life of intimacy with Mary may penetrate our spiritual life and may make us more faithful in the fulfillment of all our duties, for nothing can please Mary more than to see us accomplishing with love her Son's will. Furthermore, Christian life lived under Mary's maternal eye acquires that special gentleness and sweetness which arise spontaneously from the constant companionship of a most loving Mother who lavishes attention on us.

2. Another aspect of the Marian life is the imitation of Mary. Jesus alone is the "Way" that leads to the Father, He is the only model; but who is more like Jesus than Mary?Of whom more than of Mary can it be said that she has the same thoughts as Christ? "O Lady," exclaims St Bernard, "God lives in you and you live in Him. You clothe Him with the substance of your flesh, and He clothes you with the glory of His Majesty". While Jesus dwelt in the Virgin's pure womb, he clothed her with Himself, communicated His infinite perfections to her, filled her with His sentiments, desires, affections, and divine wishes; and Mary, who gave herself up entirely to His actions, was completely transformed into Him, so that she became a faithful copy of Him. The liturgy says that "Mary is the most perfect image of Christ, formed truly by the Holy Spirit." The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus, took full possession of Mary's pure, gentle soul, and traced in it, very delicately and perfectly, all the features and characteristics of the soul of Jesus. This is why we choose her for our model. We do not love Mary for herself alone, but because she is the Mother of Christ; likewise, we do not imitate Mary for herself, but for Christ, whose most faithful image she is. Jesus is the one Way which leads us to the Father, and Mary is the surest and easiest way to reach Jesus. By incarnating in Himself the perfections of the Father, Jesus made it possible for us to imitate them; by retracing Jesus' perfections in herself, Mary has made them more accessible to us, has brought them within our very reach. None can say as well as she: "Be ye followers of me, as I also am of Christ" (1 Cor 4:16). Since Jesus came to us through Mary, it is wholly appropriate that we should go to Jesus through her. Since jesus came to us through Mary, it is wholly appropriate that we should go to Jesus through her.

"O my most sweet Mary, you call me and say to me: 'If anyone is a little one, let him come to me.' Children always have their mother's name on their lips, and they call her whenever that are in danger, fright, or difficulty. O sweet Mother, O loving Mother, you want me, like a little child, to call upon you always and to have unceasing recourse to you...Permit me then to invoke you constantly and to say: 'O Mother, loving Mother!' Your name consoles me, moves me tenderly, and reminds me of my obligation to love you. Your name encourages me to confide myself to you. 'My Mother,' thus I call you and thus I want to call you always. After God, you are my hope, my refuge, and my love in this vale of tears. O my sweet Lady and Mother! by the love you you show your children you ravish their hearts. Ravish also my poor heart! I truly want to love you,....but love makes a lover resemble the loved one....I know how different I am from you! Could this be a sign that I do not love you? You are so pure, and I am so impure! You are so humble, and I am so proud! You are do holy, and I am so wicked! But this is what you ought to do, O Mary, since you love me: make me like you. You have the power to change hearts; then take mine and transform it. Show all the world how great is your power in favour of those you love! Sanctify me and make me worthy of being your child" (St Alphonsus).

Credits: text from "Divine Intimacy" and the picture is by unknown artist, depicting crowned image of Mary with the Child and the Sun beneath her feet.