Ave Maria Meditations
Prayer to Jesus Living in Mary
O Jesus living in Mary:
Come and live in Thy servants,
In the spirit of Thy holiness,
In the fullness of Thy power,
In the perfection of Thy ways,
In the truth of Thy virtues,
In the fellowship of Thy mysteries,
Rule Thou over every adverse power,
In Thy Spirit, for the glory of the Father.
The prayer is obviously made up of three parts of unequal length: the first part indicates the person addressed; the second, the object of the prayer; the third, the final aim of the prayer.
1. The Person addressed is JESUS, LIVING IN MARY, that is to say, the Incarnate Word, the God-Man, Who in the oneness of His Person possesses at once the divine and the human natures and Who is the meritorious, the exemplary and the vital cause of our sanctification
We address ourselves to Him as living in Mary. For nine months He dwelt physically in her virginal womb: our prayer does not allude to this indwelling in Mary which ended with Our Savior’s birth. He also lived in Mary sacramentally through Holy Communion, but this sacramental presence came to an end with Mary’s last Communion on earth. He lived. and still lives in her mystically, as the Head of a mystical body of which all Christians are indeed members, but Mary the most exalted of all, since she occupies the place of honor in that body . He lives in Mary through His Divine Spirit, that is to say, through the Holy Ghost, Whom He imparts to His Holy Mother in order that this Spirit may produce in her dispositions similar to those which He wrought in His own holy soul. By virtue of the merits and prayers of the Savior, the Holy Ghost comes then to sanctify and glorify Mary, to make her more and more like Jesus until she becomes the most perfect living image of Christ.
Father Olier explains this well: What Our Lord is to the Church, that He is preeminently to His Holy Mother. Thus He constitutes her interior and divine plenitude of grace, and as He sacrificed Himself more particularly for her than for the whole Church, He imparts to her God’s life more abundantly than to the entire Church. This He does from a sense of gratitude, in return for the life which He received from her ; for just as He promised to render to all His members a hundredfold for what they give Him here on earth, so He wills to render to His Mother a hundredfold for that human life which He received from her love and devotion. This hundredfold is the Divine Life of infinite value. We must then regard Jesus as Our All, living in the Most Blessed Virgin in the plenitude of Divine Life, of that Life which He received from the Father, and of that other life which He acquired and merited for men through the mediation of His Mother. It is in her that we must see all the treasures of His riches, the glory of His beauty and the bliss of the Divine Life. There He dwells in all His fullness; there He works with all the power of His Divine; He is but one heart, one soul, one life with her.
Jesus lives fully in Mary in order to sanctify not only her, but through her the other members of His mystical body. She is, as St. Bernard says, the aqueduct through which all the graces merited by her Son reach us. “He willed us to have all things through Mary.” It is therefore most pleasing to Jesus and most profitable to our soul that we address ourselves to Jesus living in Mary.
2. The object of this prayer is the interior life with all its constituent elements, which is nothing less than a participation in that life which Jesus communicates to His Mother and which we beg Him to deign to communicate to us as well.
A) Since Jesus living in Mary is the source of this life, we humbly beg Him to come and live in us, and we promise Him to submit in all docility to His influence: COME AND LIVE IN THY SERVANTS.
a) He comes to us as He comes to Mary, through His Divine Spirit through habitual grace. Every time sanctifying grace is increased the Spirit of Jesus likewise grows in our soul, and consequently each time we perform a supernatural, meritorious act, this Divine Spirit comes to us and makes our soul still more like the soul of Jesus and that of Mary. What a powerful motive for multiplying and intensifying our meritorious actions by animating them with divine love !
b) He acts in us through actual grace which He merited for us which He imparts to us through His Divine Spirit: “He worketh in both to will and to accomplish.” He becomes the mainspring of interior movements, of our interior dispositions, so much so that acts proceed only from Jesus communicating to us His Own His sentiments, His affections, His desires. Then we can say with St. Paul: “I live, now not I, but Christ liveth in me”.
c) That this be so, we must let ourselves be led by Him as faithful servants and we must cooperate with His grace. Like the humble Virgin we must say in all sincerity: “Behold the servant of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word.” Conscious of our misery and our helplessness, we must obey promptly the least inspirations of His grace. This means for us honorable servitude, for to serve Him is to reign. It means a service of love that subjects us to Him Who is indeed Our Master, but also Our Father, Our Friend and Who commands nothing that is not profitable to our own soul. Let us then open our hearts to Christ Jesus and to His Divine Spirit that He may reign therein as He reigned in the heart of His Blessed Mother!
B) Because Jesus is the source of all holiness, we ask Him to live and to act in us, in order that He may communicate to us His Own sanctity: IN THE SPIRIT OF THY HOLINESS.
There is in Him a twofold holiness: substantial holiness which flows from the hypostatic union, and participated holiness which is nothing else but created grace. It is this latter holiness that we beg Him to communicate to us. It consists first of all in a horror of sin and in the severance from whatever may lead thereto, in a thorough detachment from creatures and from all self-seeking; but it consists also in a participation in the Divine Life; in an intimate union with the Three Divine Persons; in a love for God which controls every other affection; in a word, in positive sanctity.
Since we are unable to acquire such an exalted sanctity through our own efforts, we beg Him to come to us IN THE FULLNESS OF HIS POWER. Nay, since we fear lest we turn traitors to God, we pray with the Church that He “deign to subject to His sway our rebellious faculties”.
It is an efficacious grace therefore that we beg for, which, while it respects our liberty, knows how to touch the secret springs of the will and to procure its free consent; a grace which is not rendered powerless by our instinctive repugnance or our irrational opposition, but which sweetly and firmly works in us to will and to accomplish.
C) Since holiness cannot be attained without the imitation of Our Divine Model, we beg Him to make us walk IN THE PERFECTION OF HIS WAYS, that is to say, to make us able to imitate His conduct, His exterior and interior actions, in all their perfection. I n other words, we ask to become living images of Jesus, other Christs, that like St. Paul we may be able to say to those who would learn of us : “Be ye, followers of me, as I also am of Christ. ” So perfect is this ideal that, of ourselves, we can not realize it. But Jesus becomes our way:” I am the way,” a shining and living way, a moving way, so to speak, which draws us in its wake: ” And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all things to myself.” We shall willingly allow ourselves to be drawn by Thee, 0 Divine Model, and we shall live to reproduce Thy virtues!
D) Hence we add: IN THE TRUTH OF THY VIRTUES, we ask for real virtues. There are persons who, under a veneer of exterior righteousness, conceal a pagan pride and sensuality. External manners do not constitute holiness. What Jesus comes to bring us therefore are interior virtues, crucifying virtues: humility, poverty, mortification, perfect chastity of mind, heart and body; and unifying virtues: the spirit of faith, of confidence and of love.. This is what makes the Christian and this is what transforms him into another Christ.
E) Jesus practiced all these virtues especially in His mysteries, and on this account we pray Him to make us partake in the grace of His mysteries: IN THE FELLOWSHIP OF THY MYSTERIES.
No doubt, all the principal actions of Our Lord are called mysteries, but more especially those six great mysteries described by Father Olier in his Christian Catechism: the Incarnation, which invites us to put off all self-love in order to consecrate ourselves entirely to the Father in union with Jesus: “Behold I come to do thy will, O God;” the Crucifixion, Death and Burial, which express so many degrees of that total immolation of self by which we crucify our disordered nature and seek to put off and bury our evil inclinations; the Resurrection and the Ascension, which are the symbols of a perfect detachment from creatures and of the altogether heavenly life which we desire to lead in order to reach heaven.
F) We can not assuredly attain such perfection unless Jesus comes to vanquish our powerful enemies, the world, the flesh and the devil: to rule over every adverse power. These three enemies will never cease their bitter onslaughts, nor will they be completely annihilated as long as we live upon this earth. But Jesus, Who triumphed over them, can thwart them and subjugate them by giving efficacious graces wherewith to resist their attacks. It is this for which we humbly pray.
3. Lastly, in order to obtain this grace more readily, proclaim that with Him we have but one end in view, to procure the glory of the Father under the action of the Holy Ghost: BY THY SPIRIT UNTO THE GLORY OF THE FATHER. Since He is come to earth to seek His Father’s glory: “I glorify the Father,” we beg Him to fulfill His work in us and to impart to us His own interior holiness, so that with Him and through Him we may be enabled to give glory to that same
Father and that we may have Him glorified by those about us. Then shall we be truly members of His mystical body, true worshippers of God, and He will live and reign in our hearts for the greater glory of the Most Adorable Trinity.
This prayer therefore constitutes a synthesis of the spiritual life and a summary of our Compendium…we cannot but bless and invite our readers to bless with us, that God of love, that loving Father, Who in making us partakers of His own Life, has filled us with all manner of blessings in His Son.
BLESSED BE THE GOD AND FATHER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, WHO HATH BLESSED US WITH SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS IN HEAVENLY PLACES, IN CHRIST.
(St. Louis de Montfort)
O Jesu vivens in Maria
Veni et vive in famulis tuis,
In spiritu sanctitatis tuae,
In plenitudine virtutis tuae,
In perfectione viarum tuarum,
In veritate virtutum tuarum,
In communione mysteriorum tuorum;
Dominare omni adversae potestati,
In Spiritu tuo ad gloriam Patris.