MARY, Model of Contemplation
The contemplation of Christ has an incomparable model in Mary. In a unique way the face of the Son belongs to Mary. It was in her womb that Christ was formed, receiving from her a human resemblance, which points to an even greater spiritual closeness. No one has ever devoted himself to the contemplation of the face of Christ as faithfully as Mary. The eyes of her heart already turned to Him at the Annunciation, when she conceived Him by the power of the Holy Spirit. In the months that followed she began to sense his presence and to picture his features. When at last she gave birth to Him in Bethlehem, her eyes were able to gaze tenderly on the face of her Son, as she “wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger.” (LK2 : 7)
Thereafter, Mary’s gaze, ever filled with adoration and wonder would never leave Him. At times, it would be questioning look as in the episode of the finding in the Temple (LK2 : 48); it would always be a penetrating gaze, one capable of deeply understanding Jesus…as at Cana (JN2: 5) At other times it would be a look of sorrow, especially beneath the Cross , where her vision would still be that of a mother giving birth, for Mary not only shared the passion and death of her Son, she also received the new son given to her in the beloved disciple (JN19: 26-27). On the morning of Easter hers would be a gaze radiant with the joy of the Resurrection, and finally, on the day of Pentecost, a gaze afire with the outpouring of the Spirit (ACTS1: 14) JPII, Rosarium Virginis Mariae
Reflection: Some go through life without meeting what they call their ideal. This could be disappointing if the ideal never existed. But the absolute ideal of every heart does exist, and it is God. All human love is an initiation into the eternal.
God too, has within Himself blueprints of everything in the universe. As the architect has in his mind a plan of the house, so God has in His mind an archetypal idea of every flower, bird, tree, springtime, and melody. Every atom and every rose is a realization and concretion of an idea existing in the Mind of God from all eternity. A rose is a rose because it is God’s idea of a rose wrapped up in chemicals and tints and life. But it is not so with persons. God has to have two pictures of us: one is what we are and the other is what we ought to be. He has a model, He has the reality. God has to have these two pictures because in each and every one of us there is some disproportion and want of conformity between the original plan and the way we worked it out. The image is blurred. We are in constant need of repairs; we fall short of all God wants us to be.
Only one person in all humanity of whom God has one picture and in whom there is a perfect conformity between what He wanted her to be and what she is, and that is His Own Mother. Most of us are a minus sign, we do not fulfill the high hopes the Heavenly Father has for us. But Mary is the equal sign. The Ideal that God had for her. The model and the copy are perfect. She existed in the Divine Mind as an Eternal Thought before there were any mothers. She is the Mother of mothers — she is the world’s first love.
-Fulton J Sheen
Prayer UNDER YOUR PROTECTION (SUB TUUM PRAESIDIUM )
We fly to your protection, O holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions
in our necessities, but deliver us from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin.
The Sub tuum praesidium is the oldest known prayer to Mary. Preserved in a papyrus sheet found in Egypt in 1927, it is said to date from the fourth century. “Under the wing of your mercy we find refuge, Theotokos; do not reject our requests in time of need, but save us from harm: you alone are pure, you alone are blessed.” The prayer’s key word is Theotokos, Mother of God, the title adopted by the Fathers of the Council of Ephesus in 431 to defend Marian theological integrity against heresies of the time. This prayer is recited by those seeking respite from hardship.
- Song To Mary / Renzo Sala
Reflection: Mary is the most important and unique member of the Church. Her role in the Church and with humanity is extensive. Mary by herself cooperated through her obedience, faith, hope and charity in the work that Jesus would undertake in restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason she is a mother to us in the order of grace. This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace shall continue for all time. Now in heaven, she is our Advocate, Mediatrix and Benefactress. (CCC)
In your conception O Virgin Mary, You were immaculate
Pray for us to the Father whose Son, Jesus,
You brought into the world.
(A prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary)