Imitating Mary

Mary is the Masterpiece of creation, in the words of St. Louis de Montfort. She is worthy of imitation. Mary is the Daughter of the Eternal Father; she is the Mother of the Eternal Son and she is the Mystical Spouse of the Holy Spirit. In other words, Mary is intimately united to the Trinity and therefore she can unite us with God. For that reason, Saint Louis de Montfort says: “Mary is the quickest, shortest, and easiest path to Jesus.”

If we get to know Mary, then we love her; if we love her, then we want to imitate her; and imitation leads to a desire to make her known. Finally, we become like the one we love, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me”… and now we can say, “It is no longer I who live, but Jesus and Mary who live in me.” Therefore, let us pray for the grace to imitate the Blessed Virgin Mary in her most sublime virtues; she will lead us to heaven.

Let us learn the ten virtues of Mary and beg Our Lady for the grace to put them into practice!

1. Mary was truly a woman of great faith. At the prospect and reality of the death of Jesus, the faith of the Apostles was deeply shaken, shaken to its very foundation. Our Lady suffered intensely, but her faith never wavered. So let us turn to Mary in the midst of the storms, tempests, and intense trials of life to have faith. Mary, strengthen my faith! Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, specifies that Mary was the first disciple of Jesus—indeed the most faithful disciple!

2. Not only did Mary have a deep and solid faith, but she had unwavering hope. Saint Ignatius of Loyola and Catholic tradition have pointed out that Jesus first appeared to His Mother Mary after He rose from the dead. Our Lady helps us to lift our mind, our heart, our soul, our total being to God and heaven. More than anything else Mary wants to help us to get to heaven. This is hope—trusting that through Mary’s prayers we will arrive safely at heaven.

3. Mary possessed charity and supernatural love. The greatest of all virtues is charity—supernatural love: to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength. Nobody ever loved God and neighbor more than Mary. Her love for God was a blazing fire, and her zeal for the salvation of souls has no limits, and will never have limits! Mary sparks love in our hearts, and due to her powerful intercession an ardent love for God and neighbor. Dear Mother Mary, teach me how to love like you, and like you to die of love!

4. Model of patience. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, one of the virtues that we need most is that of patience, better yet, heroic patience!Our Lady patiently waited upon the Lord; she patiently accepted all of the contradictions and sufferings that God allowed her to undergo. She patiently accompanied Jesus on the Way of the Cross. But most especially, Mary patiently stood beneath the cross suffering with Jesus for the salvation of the world. Dear Mother Mary, teach me to grow in patience.

5. Model of purity. Our Lady of Fatima said that most souls are lost for all eternity due to the sins of the flesh—that is to say, due to the sins against the sixth and ninth commandments related to purity. Consecration to Mary and to her most pure and Immaculate Heart is a most powerful means to attain purity, be an example of purity, live modesty, and die with a pure heart. Mary most holy, Mary most pure, attain for me purity of heart, mind, body, and soul. Help me to live out the Beatitude: “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they will see God.”

6. Obedience of Mary. Jesus was “obedient to death, even to death on a cross.”(Phil. 2) Like Jesus, Mary treasured and lived out that most demanding virtue of obedience. By pronouncing her Fiat (Yes), Mary was expressing her desire to be totally submissive to the will of God in obedience. “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word.” Dear Mary, in a world marked by so much rebellion and disobedience, help me to treasure and live out obedience.

7. Deep and constant prayer. Our Lady had a constant, dynamic, and profound union with God at all times and places—this is prayer! One of the primary messages of Our Lady is to pray, and to pray constantly. Our Lady teaches us how to pray. But of great importance, Mary’s prayers for us are all-powerful! The first Public Miracle of Jesus, at the Wedding Feast of Cana, came about through the powerful intercession of Mary. Mary, I beg you, teach me how to pray and grant me a great desire to pray. Mary, pray and intercede for me always!

8. Mortification and penance.  At both Lourdes and Fatima Our Lady mentioned the dire need for prayer, but also for the practice of penance, or if you like, the importance of offering sacrifices, especially for the conversion and salvation of sinners. At Fatima, Our Lady said that many souls are lost because not enough people offer prayers and sacrifices for them. Our Lady told the children at Fatima that they could offer everything as a sacrifice to God, especially for the conversion of sinners. It is not so much the greatness of the act, but the love that accompanies the act that gives power and merit to the action. Let us offer our penances to God through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

9. Angelic sweetness and meekness. Another sublime virtue of Mary is that of her angelic sweetness or sublime meekness. By this we mean that Mary was very kind, loving, meek, affable, attractive, and appealing, and always pointing to God. In our dealings with others, may Our Lady inspire in us great sentiments of kindness, compassion, gentleness, meekness. As Our Lady greeted Saint Elizabeth with exquisite charm, may we do the same in our social meetings and encounters. Pope Francis expressed this in his document Joy of the Gospel.

10. Mary most holy embodied a true gentle and meek spirit, this is so true. However, she also was a strong woman. This is exemplified most clearly as she stood at the foot of the cross, the Stabat Mater (the Mother Standing). In the last moments of our life, when we are about to breathe forth our spirit, let us turn to Mary and beg her for courage and strength, and for the grace of all graces, to die in the state of grace so that we will be united with her forever in heaven praising the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit!

In conclusion let us go to the saints, also called the Masterpieces of God (Pope Saint John XXIII) and meditate upon their words of praise given to God through the Glorious Blessed Virgin Mary.

image: By Sailko (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Fr. Ed Broom, OMV

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Father Ed Broom is an Oblate of the Virgin Mary and the author of From Humdrum to Holy, which offers more words of wisdom for how to become a saint today. He blogs regularly at Fr. Broom's Blog.

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