Ave Maria Meditations
“If the winds of temptation arise,” sings St Bernard, “if you run into the reefs of trials, look to the star, call upon Mary. In danger, sorrow or perplexity, think of Mary, call upon Mary.” There are times when the hard road of the “nothing” frightens us, miserable as we are; and then, more then ever, we need her help, the help of our Mother. The Blessed Virgin Mary has, before us, trodden the straight and narrow path which leads to sanctity; before us she has carried the cross, before us she has known the ascents of the spirit through suffering. Sometimes, perhaps, we do not dare to look at Jesus the God-Man, who because of His divinity seems too far above us; but near Him is Mary, His Mother and our Mother, a privileged creature surely, yet a creature like ourselves, and therefore a model more accessible for our weakness. Mary comes to meet us during this month, to take us by the hand, to initiate us into the secret of her interior life, which must become the model and norm of our own.St Thérèse of the Child Jesus, referring to certain discourses on the Blessed Virgin, said, “She is spoken of as unapproachable, whereas she should be represented as imitable” (Novissima Verba). Mary is inaccessible, it is true, in the sublime privileges which flow from her divine maternity, and it is right to consider these prerogatives in order to admire and contemplate them, to praise our Mother’s greatness and hence always to love her more and more; but, at the same time, we must consider Mary in the concrete picture of her earthly life. It is a simple, humble picture, which never leaves the framework of the ordinary life common to all mothers; under this aspect, Mary is truly imitable. Our program for the month of May, then, will be to contemplate the grandeurs of Mary, that we may be stimulated to imitate her virtues.
We shall consider Mary especially as the ideal and the model of our interior life. No one has understood, as she did, the depth of meaning in the words of Jesus: “But one thing is necessary” (Luke 10,42), and no one has lived by these words better than she. From the very first moment of her life, Mary was entirely God’s and lived only for Him. Consider the years spent in the Temple in silence and prayer, the months passed at Nazareth in recollection, and in adoration of the eternal Word incarnate within her, the thirty years lived in sweet intimacy with Jesus, her Son and her God; then the sharing of His apostolic life, the union with Him in His Passion, and finally, her last years with St John, during which, by her prayers, she was the support of the infant Church. Although the scenes in which she moved changed in appearance, although the external circumstances varied, her life remained unchanged in its substance, in her interior search for the “one thing necessary”, and in her adherence to God alone.
The succession of events and her exterior activity did not hinder her from persevering in that attitude of continual prayer in which St Luke presents her to us: “Mary kept all these words [the divine mysteries], pondering them in her heart” (2,19).
If, in imitation of Mary, our heart is firmly anchored in God, nothing can distract us from our interior occupation: to seek and love the Lord and live in intimacy with Him.
“O my soul, do you fear to approach God? He has give you Jesus as Mediator. Is there anything that such a Son could not obtain from His Father? The Father who loves Him will answer Him, because of the love He bears Him. But do you yet hesitate to approach Him? He made Himself your brother, your companion, and in everything sin excepted, He willed to undergo all the humiliations of human nature, just to compassionate your miseries. Mary has given you this brother. But His divine Majesty still awes you, perhaps; for, although He is man, He does not cease to be God. Do you want an advocate with Him? Have recourse to Mary. Mary is a pure creature, pure not only because she is free from sin, but also because of her unique human nature. I am sure, O Mary, that your prayers will be heard because of the respect you deserve; your Son will certainly hear you because you are His Mother; and the Father will hear His Son. This is why my confidence is unshakeable; this is the reason for all my hope! O Blessed Virgin, the Angel declared that ‘you have found grace before God’. You will always find grace, and I need only grace; I ask for nothing else” (cf. St Bernard).
“Draw me after you, O Virgin Mary, that I may run in the odor of your ointments. Draw me, for I am held back by the weight of my sins and the malice of your enemies. Since no one comes to your Son unless he is drawn by the Father, I dare to say that no one, so to speak, come to Him if you do not draw him by your prayers. You teach true wisdom, you beg grace for sinners, you are their advocate, you promise glory to those who honor you, because you are the treasury of grace. You have found grace with God, O most sweet Virgin, you who have been preserved from original sin, filled with the Holy Spirit, and have conceived the Son of God. You have been given all these graces, O must humble Mary, not only for yourself, but also for us, so that you may be able to help us in all our necessities” (cf. Ven R Jourdain).
+Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene (Divine Intimacy)