“I will convert sinners.”— Our Lady of Beauraing
When Mary spoke to Gilberte Voison, one of the children of Beauraing to whom she appeared, she made a very bold and emphatic statement: “I will convert sinners.” For me, this raised a question that became a topic of prayer, reflection, and meditation. I asked, “How does she do it? How does Mary convert sinners?”
These are a few answers I came up with.
By Her Presence
The very theme of our Lenten meditation, the messages she spoke in her many apparitions, become a source of conversion for those who listen to and live the messages. Mary’s presence in the world, speaking messages, in most cases, to children, but on occasion to adults, facilitates the conversion of sinners. In Guadalupe, Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego, and in the years that followed, many people were baptized. Other individuals have heard the message of Mary, and it completely transformed their lives. Alphonse Ratisbonne was a skeptic about the Miraculous Medal but ended up converting to the Faith and becoming a Catholic priest. One way Mary converts sinners is through her presence and through the messages she speaks because of her concern for God’s wayward children.
By Her Prayers
Mary prays for the conversion of sinners. This is her role as the Queen Mother; she advocates before the throne of her Son for the world and all people, sinners that we are. Mary becomes grieved by our sins and, seeing them, pleads for our conversion. Many a sinner has been converted by her prayers and our prayers joined to hers.
By Her Example
We meet the Blessed Virgin in the pages of the Gospel. The way she lived her life offers us a great example. When we are confronted with vices, we look to Mary’s virtues. When we are tempted toward pride, we remember her humility before God. When we want to be disobedient, we recall her obedience to God’s will. When impurity and unchastity confront us, her example of purity and chastity inspires us to live similarly. When we wish to ignore the needs of our brothers and sister in Christ, her attentiveness and generosity toward Elizabeth beckon us to respond to others’ needs.
Mary, my mother, please pray for me, that I may know the areas in my life where God is inviting me to conversion. As I reflect on your role in salvation history, especially through the Rosary, allow me to know your virtues; and pray for me, that I might put them into practice in my life.
An Action for Lent
Open your Bible today and read chapters 1 and 2 of Luke. Then pray about this question: “How does Mary’s example in the Scriptures invite me to conversion in my life?” What do you admire about Mary’s response to God and her interaction with others? This week, try to find moments to live like Mary, growing in that virtue you found in her example.
This article is adapted from a chapter in Fr. Looney’s A Lenten Journey with Mother Mary. It is available as a paperback or ebook from your favorite bookstore or online through Sophia Institute Press.