Mary our model

Author: Cathal Broin
Issue: 25 – May 2008

Mary our model
The modern world needs to look less to pop stars and fashion models and more to true role models model people people who truly set the standard of how a person ought to be. Our Catholic Faith teaches us that we were created to know, love and serve God. To be reasonably happy in this life and perfectly happy in the next.

Our models are the saints, and to whom could we better look to as a model person (after Christ of course), than to Mary, the Mother of God. All of humanity can find in her the measure of what it is to be a perfect person. Whether they be man or woman, rich or poor, married, religious or single, all peoples of all ages can find in Mary more wisdom than a thousand books. She is a constant source of inspiration to those who pray to her and meditate on her life. In her we find hope. For she is our heavenly hero, a mother of mercy for all who turn to her. As she waits, with her maternal heart, watching over the world, she is forever ready to impart extraordinary graces to all those who seek her intercession.
Sometimes it is easy to forget that saints are people too. If they are different to others it is only that in life they loved God as He ought to be loved. Mary was created in Gods plan to be the Mother of Christ, and so was given the special privilege of an Immaculate Heart. But she still had to live. It wasnt all simply predestination. She had to choose. She had to struggle – even though we know that she never sinned. Do you think that she did not have to suffer any temptations? Of course she did, but it was how she responded that mattered. The Angel Gabriel saluted her as being full of grace. Her heart was full of love of God, and so, had no room in it for worldly attachments. It is love of ourselves and love of the world that can easily pull us down in the time of temptation. If we are truly full of the love of God, then no temptation, no matter how violent or persistent, can have power over us.

Everybody suffers temptations. They should not be a cause of shame or worry to us. They are simply the promptings of hell, trying to lure us from our heavenly destiny, to ensnare us in sin. It is only how we respond that matters.

We would most likely be shocked if we knew the assaults that Mary suffered. We can be very sure, as is the nature of good and evil that just as she was picked out by God to bring Goodness Himself into the world, so she was targeted, more than anyone else ever was, by the devil and his legions, to suffer, like no other mere human ever had to or ever will.

May is known as the Month of Mary. It is traditionally a time of special devotion to She who is the greatest of saints. There are of course many excellent things we can do. The Rosary, the Scapular, the Miraculous medal, etc., are all gifts from the Mother of God to help us to grow as Her spiritual children. We can be sure that we will gain extraordinary graces from all these things, to help us in our lives but it doesnt stop there. We must play our part we must try to imitate Her great virtues. We must be living children of Mary, living examples of Faith, hope and charity of chastity, humility and obedience.

The first act of disobedience came when the devils fell from Heaven, after Lucifer said non serviam to God I will not serve. Then came the fall of Adam and Eve, when they disobeyed a simple commandment given to them to test their loyalty to God. Through these prideful acts of disobedience, all evil was unleashed unto creation. How could anything be saved, one might wonder, after such defiance of the Creator?

Mary was the pivot, the gate of mercy. She brought to the world a second chance, one that it did not deserve. She became the second Eve, and Her words were the opposite of what had set the world and all of creation wrong. She said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord! Be it done unto me according to Thy word. She said that She was the handmaid, the servant, and with this spirit, She said yes! She gave herself entirely to God, so that He could do with her whatever He wished. We need to try to imitate this heroic self-giving. We need to try to surrender our will, our freedom completely to Our Creator. Rather than be slaves to the world, we should freely became servants of God, and who knows what He will accomplish in us. Where thy heart is, there also is thy treasure. If our treasure is in Heaven we shall have riches beyond measure!

So, Mary obeyed God She said yes in a life of total surrender. Obedience is born of, and lives with, humility. These two virtues must both go together. Obedience is essentially to act as a servant with the humility to know that God is first, that God is King. The devil said that he would not serve because he thought he knew better than God Himself. Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit because they wanted to be like unto Gods. They did not trust in God, but they trusted a serpent. How could they be so blind? Temptation brings distortion, and sin casts darkness on the mind and heart.

What use would it be to make a beautiful May altar if our hearts are ugly, consumed in worldliness? and , what good would it do to decorate such an altar with the choicest of roses, if our hearts are choked with weeds and thistles? All our devotion is shallow if we are not willing to amend our lives. Let our gift to Mary in this month of May be our hearts. Let us ask Her in humility to help us to become better people.

What would it cost us to meditate on the life of Mary during the month of May, even for five minutes a day, and to pray for her virtues? And what about a few acts of faith, of humility, of kindness in honour of the Blessed Virgin? We followers of Christ are supposed to be living witnesses to the goodness of God, but unfortunately, all too often, the only thing that the world sees from a so-called Christian is an impatient Pharisee sitting in judgement. This is not supposed to be so. We need our prayers as a means of sanctification, and we also need our neighbours. Every insult borne with patience, every fault ignored, every inconvenience swallowed when we accept the penance that comes from simply interacting with other people, we can show charity, acquire virtue and accumulate treasure in Heaven.

Little things do make a big difference. Take everyday situations. One could easily think why should I let that person go in front of me in the queue? or why should I give the nicer cream bun to my brother? I quite fancy the one on the right, it has more jam topping! What do we gain when we always seek to get our own way, when we always put ourselves first? We soon become like spoilt children, and every slight thing that goes against our wills becomes an excruciating torture. Then, the faade we have draped over our ego always seems to be slipping down, and we are always on the defensive, terrified that we might be seen as less than we suppose ourselves to be.

Modern pop-psychology teaches us to be confident in ourselves. True confidence can only be in found in Christ. What cause have I of confidence in my own goodness? It is like being confident in a horse without legs, to think that it can somehow win a race. We cannot be saints by our own. Without God with can do nothing.

Mary shows us the true way to success. It was not that She was clever, it was that She had Faith, for God alone occupied Her mind and heart it was not that She was self-confident, it was that She had Hope, for in Her humility She could see the Greatness of God and it wasnt that She was calculating, it was that She had Charity, for She listened for the voice of God and obeyed Him in everything.

Mary our model teach us how to be good.

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