Mary’s Humble Dependence on God Leads to Her Glorification
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: Luke 1:39-56
During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” And Mary said: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever. Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.
Mary sets out on her first mission of evangelization—to her own family. Her Spouse, the Holy Spirit, leads Elizabeth, as the text reads, to proclaim Mary “blessed” and the unborn Baptist to stir in her womb at Jesus’ presence. Mary, deeply rooted in the Scriptures of Israel, joins her personal praise of God to the Jewish Testament phrases. She identifies herself as one of the biblical anawim, God’s “little ones,” who humbly depend on God to defend and provide for them. Mary is the exemplar of all believers who trust God absolutely on their spiritual journey.
Without any arrogance, but with a divinely inspired revelation, Mary predicts that all generations to come will call her “blessed,” just as her cousin did. Her glory was not of her own making, but God’s gift. So again and again Mary’s role is emphasized in theology, as well as Catholic consciousness. Her shrines at Czestochowa, Guadalupe, Lourdes, Fatima, and elsewhere testify to our human need to show love to our Mother. A believer is spiritually impoverished who allows a day to pass without some expression of fidelity to her prediction.
It is a mistake to think that the purpose of doctrinal statements and the building of shrines is simply to glorify her, however; she who has already received the maximum glorification from God in heaven needs no glory from us! It is rather we who need to venerate her as model and celebrate her mysteries as corollaries of the mysteries of Jesus Christ. However the sacred arts and sciences exhaust themselves in Mary’s praise and name her “blessed,” the reason is always the same: she escaped our solidarity in guilt. She is the Immaculate Conception, the Virgin Mother!
The Words of St. Maximilian
(Magazine article: “The Secret of Strength and Power,” September 1925)
Sometimes one hears people complain: “I would like to correct myself; I would like to be better, but I just can’t!” In history we read about great leaders and conquerors who were not capable of dominating their own evil inclinations. One such, for instance, was the celebrated Alexander the Great, who died a premature death because of his licentious living. When we look about us, we observe the disappearance of all morality, which is really frightening, especially among the young. Indeed, truly diabolical associations are being formed which include crime and debauchery in their program.
How can we counteract this? In such circumstances it might seem to be a sign of humility to recognize one’s own powerlessness, just as when people say: “I can’t correct myself!” But in reality there is a secret sort of pride hidden there. All this shows is that they count on their own strength exclusively and think that they can do this or that, relying solely on their powers.
This is not true; it is a lie, because with our own strength alone, all by ourselves, without divine help, we are not capable of doing anything, absolutely anything (cf. Jn 15:5). What then should we do? Place ourselves totally, with unlimited trust, in the hands of divine mercy, of which Our Lady is by God’s decree the personification. We must not trust in ourselves at all. We should fear ourselves, yet entrust ourselves to her without restriction and turn to her like a child to its mother whenever we feel ourselves incited to evil. Then we shall absolutely not fail. The saints affirm that whoever turns to her in trust during all his life will certainly be saved.
(Magazine article: “More Thinking!”, November 1925)
Of course a heart corrupted by sin is fearful of eternity and hence avoids thinking about it. What can one do, then? Refusing to think about reality does not make it go away, so we have to think about it.
Well, now, we have a mother in heaven, the personification of divine mercy, the Immaculata. So then, if the thought of your past life and former sins torments you, if you do not have the courage to look at what is awaiting you beyond the grave, consecrate yourself totally and unreservedly to her. Entrust to her the whole problem of your salvation, your life, death and eternity. Confess your sins sincerely and trust fully in her. Then you will know what peace and happiness really are, a foretaste of paradise. And you will begin to yearn for it.
If you have never experienced all this, try it—see whether it is true or not—and you will find out.
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.