“Behold Your Mother” (John 19:27) Part 3
“We must never forget, my very dear Sisters, that Mary, our august Queen and tender Mother, is for us the channel for all the graces of which her Son is the source. God in his wisdom and goodness has willed to bestow all his treasures through her. “Adelaide de Cice
During this Year of Mercy, I must comment on Mary in her role of Mother of Mercy. Pope Francis in his document Misericordiae Vultus refers to Mary as the Mother of Mercy and stated the desire for Mary to watch over us “so that all of us may rediscover the joy of God’s tenderness.” As Pope Francis points out in the document, Mary treasured divine mercy in her heart from Jesus’ conception onward, and continues to do so to this day.
Although the mention of Mary’s actions in the Bible are limited, there are three events that definitely exemplify Mary’s merciful action. First, at the annunciation, Mary’s positive response to the angel Gabriel, is an example of an action being merciful because that yes is what enabled Jesus to come into the world in human form, and share God’s love with humanity in a concrete way. Second, in the visitation to Elizabeth, on a practical level, given Elizabeth’s advance age, she surely could use all the help she could get, especially during the last trimester. Mary did not have to go to be with Elizabeth given her own circumstances, however, she chose to put the needs of Elizabeth before her own. The third event is at the foot of the cross where Jesus uttered the words “Behold Your Mother” to St. John. The church teaches that this action makes Mary the mother of all Jesus’ disciples and, therefore, she is meant to be our mother in heaven as well; with that motherhood comes her aid for us when we need it. In her role as “Mother of Mercy,” she is willing to intercede for us so that we receive the graces necessary to act as disciples of Jesus.
Mary is also the Mother of Mercy because by living what is known as her evangelical virtues, she gives us practical examples of what is required to live as disciples of Jesus. Mary’s giving
to us the various examples of the virtues necessary for discipleship, is definitely an act of mercy on her part. Mary’s evangelical virtues: purity, prudence, humility, faith, devotion, obedience, poverty, patience, charity, and sorrow. As Daughters of the Heart of Mary, we endeavor to follow Mary’s example by living these virtues daily to the best of our ability. Purity, by our consecration of our total lives to God by our professing and living the vow of chastity. Prudence, by considering our options using reason and in the light of faith. Humility, by accepting the fact that we are dependent on God for all we need. Faith, by our surrender of our lives to God’s will for us in our lives. Devotion, by drawing close to God in prayer, meditation, reflection on our spiritual reading, and the sacraments. Obedience, by being loyal to what God is asking of us through our religious and ecclesiastical superiors, our individual work requirements, and our living situations. Poverty both in spirit and materially by endeavoring to use possessions for the service of God and relief of the needs of others—trusting that God will provide us with the material and spiritual gifts necessary to fulfill God’s will in whatever we are doing. Patience, the ability to accept delay, trusting that God will act in a given situation in God’s time, not ours. Charity, in actions and/or words as the needs of others become known to us. Sorrow, by offering to God whatever pain or suffering we are experiencing in union with Christ’s passion in the hope that it will benefit others.
By no means are the above examples the sum total of how we as Daughters of the Heart of Mary attempt to live our lives modeled on Mary’s living of her evangelical virtues; however, these are the virtues that we are all called to incorporate into our lives regardless of what our vocation. I invite you to look over the list of virtues and ask yourself the following questions: Which ones do I currently practice in my life? Which ones am I not living and how can I incorporate them into my life? Are there some that I am living, but not as intently as I ought? What prevents me from living a more virtuous life? How do I treasure divine mercy in my heart and help others to treasure divine mercy in theirs? Linda DHM