The Message of Mary
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By Deacon Keith Fournier
Annunciation - Simone Martini - 1333
Madonna Annunciate - Francesco di Girgio Martini - 1469
Annunciation - James Powell - 1888
The Annunciation - Rogier van der Weyden - 1440
"And Mary said to the angel, "How shall this be, since I have no husband?" And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible." And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her (The Gospel of Luke 2:34-37) (Luke 2:38).
How "impractical" the spiritual life seems to some. Maybe this is because we have become what we call "practical" - meaning that we have lost the ability to hear and see God? This loss of the sense of the sacred is why the Way of Mary is so vital in this age which has lost its path to peace. In the words of one of the great, holy Bishops of our own age: "The so called "practical people" are not really the most useful in the service of Christ's Church, nor are those who merely expound theories. Rather it is the true contemplatives who best serve her; those with the steady generous and passionate desire of transfiguring and divinizing all creation with Christ and in Christ. It may sound paradoxical, but in the Church of Jesus Christ, the mystic is the only practical person" (Bishop Alvaro del Portillo).
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Perhaps we have followed the "pied pipers" of some schools of self improvement that neither improve nor help us truly find the self we seek to improve?
Perhaps we have followed modern simplistic formulas packaged as remedies for our emptiness and despair, only to find them even more meaningless at the end of all that effort? Mary's Way invites us to learn to listen for the voice of God, to change the way we live. It is the way of surrender to the One whom she bore and who was her Redeemer and Son. We need to learn to listen to the One who seeks a relationship of communion. When we learn to listen, to stop our incessant flurry of activity, we will begin to hear His wooing, His loving invitation as Mary did and enter into an authentic relationship with the God who created us and knows both who we are and who we can become. He calls, we hear and say "FIAT", "Yes." That is Mary's way. The path to a fruitful spiritual life is surrender to God.
This is a paradox to the modern mind. In losing our life we find it. (Mt. 10:39) In surrendering our self through love we find out who we are meant to become. This insight is not simply a paradox but a path, a way that leads us to authentic prayer. It grounds us in the love of God and the life of grace, no matter how hectic our daily routine becomes. Prayer becomes not something we "do" but a participation in the very life of God, a way of being with God, with ourselves and for the whole world. It prompts a new way of seeing the world wherein the ordinary becomes extraordinary and daily events become naturally supernatural. This is the beginning of authentic spirituality, the kind that truly improves us because it leads us to the One who is the "Way, the Truth and the Life." Mary's way must become our own.
More Mary, Mother of God
Appearances of Mary
The term "appearance" has been used with Marian apparitions and visions of Jesus Christ. The Church will confirm an apparition as worthy of belief, but belief is never required by divine faith. Read More
Mary as Mother
From antiquity, Mary has been called "Theotokos", or "God-Bearer". The word in Greek is "Theotokos". The term was used as part of the popular piety of the early first millennium church. Read More
Mary was there at the Incarnation, Birth, Crucifixion, and Resurrection of God Incarnate. She was there throughout the often called "hidden years" in Nazareth. In the life of the Redeemer... Read More
Since the Virgin Mary's role in the mystery of Christ and the Spirit has been treated, it is fitting now to consider her place in the mystery of the Church. She is acknowledged as... Read More
Mary as Model
Christian Scripture calls the "more excellent way", the way of Love. Mary understands this Way and walked on it with extraordinary humility. Follow her in journey through the Scriptures. Read More
A Bishop named Nestorius objected to the title of Theotokos, Mother of God or God Bearer for Mary. The Council of Ephesus met in 431AD and affirmed Mary was the "Mother of God"... Read More
Devotion to - and love for . Mary, the Mother of God, is a foundational part of the Christian Church both East and West. The Eastern Christian emphasis, both doctrinally and devotionally, is... Read More
Mary as Disciple
Way of Mary
And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her. (The Gospel of Luke 2:34-37) Read More
Mary's Prayer teaches us to stay afloat in the ocean of life, with all of its undertows. Mary's way is to become an ark within, where the same God who became incarnate within her... Read More
Mission of Mary
In a beautiful apostolic exhortation entitled the Sacrament of Love, issued in 1997, Pope Benedict XVI wrote these words under a section entitled The Eucharist and the Virgin Mary... Read More
Before they were called Christians (Acts 11:26), at Antioch, they were referred to as "the Way". A Rabbi named Saul spoke of persecuting "the way" (Acts 22:4) before he was profoundly converted... Read More
"Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother... When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, Woman, behold, your son." Read More
Message of Mary
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Devotion of Mary
When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals - one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, "Father, forgive them... Read More
But at daybreak on the first day of the week they took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb; but when they entered... Read More
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