Marian Mondays is a weekly post focusing on Our Blessed Mother, Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth. In this post, we explore her life, her special mission, her sanctity, and the Biblical bases for the beliefs of the Church.
We pray with Mary. We experience her practically, emotionally, and rationally. We feel confident in the truth of her existence. We realize that she is unique, chosen for a special purpose by the Lord. We recognize the importance of her name. But what of her Christian virtues? We hold Mary, the Mother of God, up as the first disciple of Christ, as in her agreeing to serve as the vessel of the Incarnation, she became the first Christian. She believed in her Son. And as we will see, she lived His teachings, even before He taught them, such was her connection to the Lord. In the next three weeks, we will look at Mary, in light of her faith, hope, and charity—at first only small glimpses of these virtues contained in her visitation with Elizabeth, but necessary to set the stage for a further exploration of the virtue of the Mother of God.
Mary demonstrated a life of faith that few of us can even begin to understand. As we consider her life, given her unique role in the redemption of mankind, it would be easy to assume that her day to day experiences were those of angelic visitations and miracles. But these are just moments in the vastness of her approximately fifty years of life! The majority of her days were spent in ordinary tasks, tasks that we each undertake every day—but the extraordinary aspect of her life was the faith with which she undertook these tasks, the faith with which she heard and answered the call of the Lord.
Of course, we know that the same faith that filled Mary, also came to rest on Elizabeth—so much so that she knew the truth of the promise of the Lord long before Mary appeared on the horizon. “Blessed are thou among women, and blessed it the fruit of your womb!” she cried out, running to greet her.
Without faith, we are lost. We can’t possibly begin to navigate the struggles and trials of everyday life—we are like a toy boat being tossed about on the great waters of the ocean. With faith, by bowing before the Lord, by accepting His will and His call, by placing our simple, fragile, and flawed lives in His hands, are we able to continue our journey toward heaven. We look to Mary, the Mother of God, whose faith never wavered, as a model of virtuous living.
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."