Mary: Our Life, Our Sweetness And Our Hope…
She is the Daughter of God the Father, the Mother of God the Son, and the Mystical Spouse of the Holy Spirit—yes, the Blessed Virgin Mary. She is the Queen of the Angels, the Queen of Confessors, the Queen of Martyrs and Virgins, as well as the Queen of the most Holy Rosary—yes, the Blessed Virgin Mary. She is our heavenly Mother, proclaimed from the cross—“Woman, behold thy son; son, behold thy Mother.” (Jn. 19: 26-27) Yes, once again, this is the Blessed Virgin Mary. Finally, Saint Louis de Montfort honors this same woman in these sublime words: “Mary is the Masterpiece of all of God’s creation.” The same saint attests that the quickest, easiest, and most secure pathway to Jesus Himself is through the person and intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In these most difficult times in which storms, tempests, and powerful whirlwinds seem to be engaging the world at large, now more than ever we must seek safety and refuge in the person of Mary, in her most pure and Immaculate Heart.
As in those sinful times of Noah when the only refuge to be found was in the Ark constructed by Noah, so must we seek refuge in a secure Ark of Refuge—that is, in the embrace of our Heavenly Mother. The Immaculate Heart of Mary must be for us the modern Ark of Noah. In Fatima, Our Lady herself made a most consoling prophecy: “In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”
May we be transformed into fiery arrows in the hands of Mary who is Mother, Queen, and General of an army arrayed in battle formation. Our Lady desires ardently that we give our heart, mind, and soul to her, but she also ardently desires that we bring others, and many others, to her heart as a most secure haven and refuge.
So as to be transformed into ardent disciples of Mary, and of course Jesus—because Mary always paves the way to Jesus—we must strive to get to know Mary better and better.
This will be the purpose of our short exposition. We will offer several ways in which we can grow in our knowledge of Mary, so as to love her more ardently, and entrust our lives to her completely. Indeed, our modern Ark of safety and refuge is the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
1. MARY AND SACRED SCRIPTURE. First and foremost, let us get to know Mary from the best of all sources and that is Sacred Scripture, the Bible, which is indeed the living Word of God. Among the most important passages are those found in the Gospel of Saint Luke, Chapters One and Two. In these two chapters we discover the mystery of the Incarnation and the five Joyful Mysteries of the most Holy Rosary. There are many other passages, but let’s start with Luke chapters one and two.
2. THE GLORIES OF MARY: SAINT ALPHONSUS LIGUORI. Many literary masterpieces have been penned in the past 2000 years on the topic of Mary. True! However, of paramount importance is the literary Marian gem and masterpiece of Alphonsus Liguori, saint and Doctor of the Church. In this work, Ligouri takes the Hail Holy Queen and in the most minute detail explains a word at a time, this beautiful prayer that we pray at the conclusion of the most Holy Rosary. His superb explanation is gleaned from a vast reservoir of resources: Sacred Scripture—both Old and New Testaments, the Fathers of the Church, the saints of the Church, the Popes, and many other reliable resources. It would be almost impossible to read this masterpiece without falling even more in love with Mary who truly is our life, our sweetness, and our hope.
3. THREE KEY MARIAN APPROVED APPARITIONS. Even though not strictly obligatory for our belief, still it would not be wise to discard or fail to give credence to the three key approved Marian Apparitions. Of course these would be Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Lourdes, and Our Lady of Fatima. Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to the Indian Saint Juan Diego four times in 1531 stating that she was our Mother, and from this, close to eight million Mexicans were converted in about 30 years! No wave of conversions in such a short time equals this intervention of Mary! Our Lady of Lourdes appeared 18 times to Saint Bernadette Soubirous. In the last apparition, Bernadette asked the beautiful Lady for her name. Mary proclaimed herself in these words: “I am the Immaculate Conception.” When Bernadette reported this to the priest, authenticity of the apparitions was confirmed. Pope Pius IX had proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception only four years earlier and there was no way this poorly educated peasant girl could have any knowledge of that. Finally, Our Lady appeared in Fatima, Portugal, six times to three humble shepherd children—Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta. At the end, Mary identified herself as “Our Lady of the Rosary.” In every one of these Apparitions, Mary exhorted that the Holy Rosary be prayed daily.
4. MARIAN ART: OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP. Marian Art Masterpieces are almost beyond count. However, you might make an effort to obtain a beautiful depiction of OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP. According to tradition, this Marian Masterpiece was most likely painted by the great Saint Luke. Contemplate the serious gaze of Mary and imagine her looking at you with love as she embraces the child Jesus who is contemplating the instruments of his upcoming passion. See the sandal falling off one of his feet. Also, contemplate the presence of the angels in this artistic masterpiece. Have no reluctance placing yourself in Mary’s arms seeking her consolation and protection as your Mother.
5. THE LITANY OF LORETO. Among the many Biblical, poetical, and mystical expressions that honor the richness of the person of Our Lady are her many Litanies. Start with the Litany of Loreto—the classic Litany that honors Mary. If we love and honor a person, we desire to accentuate and highlight the virtues of that person. This Litany of praise includes a huge number of attributes or sublime virtues that Mary lived and practiced, and serves as a motivation for us to imitate these virtues and become the saint that God has called us to become. We tend to imitate those whom we love!
6. MARIAN FRIENDS IN CONVERSATION. I have noticed over time that there is a real spiritual camaraderie and bond of friendship among persons who have an ardent love and devotion to Mary and who desire to grow in this most noble pursuit of growing in true devotion to Mary. In a word, come together with others to share your knowledge of Mary. Indeed, it is an enormous act of charity to share spiritual treasures, most especially knowledge and love for Mary. How many people have been brought to Jesus and eternal salvation once they were introduced to the love of our Mother—our Heavenly Mother Mary. “Never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection was left unaided” (The Memorare Prayer).
7. MARIAN CONFERENCES OR SEMINARS. Have your eyes and ears open for good, solid, orthodox conferences, seminars, or talks on the Blessed Virgin Mary. Father Donald Calloway, in the past years has written an excellent work on Mary—THE CHAMPIONS OF THE ROSARY. He has also given superb talks on the power of the most Holy Rosary in the History of Salvation.
8. MARIAN COMPENDIUM. With your permission, I would humbly invite all to purchase my book Marian Compendium, (TAN Books, 2022). After several years of toil and suffering this book has been published; I believe it to be a masterpiece. In all honesty, I believe this work of love for Mary can help you immensely to grow in your love and devotion to Mary and your desire to imitate her most sublime virtues. In this compendium, written in a literary style easy to follow, you will discover the essentials of a solid Mariology—true understanding of Mary and true love for Mary. The book contains the following: Marian Dogmas, Marian Devotions (a real plethora), approved Marian Apparitions, Feasts honoring Mary, marvelous and inspiring Marian art masterpieces, and finally, the most renowned Marian prayers.
In conclusion, friends in Jesus and Mary, one of the most important initiatives and enterprises, as well as goals, that we can and should undertake in our lives, is to get to know Jesus and love Jesus more fully, totally and fervently all the days of our lives. However, we should strive to get to know Jesus through the person of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Pope Saint John Paul II, I believe, hits the nail on the head in his Apostolic Letter, The Blessed Virgin Mary and the Rosary. This great Marian Pontiff, whose Papal emblem and motto was Totus tuus—Mary, I am all yours from Saint Louis de Montfort, stated in this writing that we should strive to contemplate the Face of Jesus through the eyes and Heart of Mary. Friends, this should be the goal of our lives: to contemplate the Face of Jesus through the eyes and Heart of Mary. If done in this life, then we will contemplate without interruption the Face of Jesus forever in Heaven, close to Mary who will be our life, our sweetness and our hope for all eternity.
Photo by Antônia Felipe on Unsplash