Mary's Heroic Virtue
As we come to a close on Lent and embark on Holy Week, I am finding that I am drawn to the Blessed Virgin Mary and her heroic virtue. I remember the first time I saw a live Stations of the Cross, I just kept looking at Jesus’ Mother. In the movie, Passion of the Christ, I again, found myself totally drawn to Mary and her incredible strength. Every time I see a depiction of her reaching out to Christ on his way to Calvary, I weep. I cannot fathom her pain, or her faithfulness. She just kept being faithful to God’s plan, even as it unfolded in the most horrific way. Now, as a mother, I can relate to Mary in such a deep way, but also am even MORE in awe of her grace.
The first time I felt that intense need to protect, my oldest was only 1 day old. A nurse had come in to obtain some blood samples from his heel, and she was not very gentle, probably because she needed a lot, and probably because she was doing the best she could. My little Oliver screamed in pain, and I envisioned myself throwing that woman out the window. Of course, the intense post partum hormones did not help, but this idea that someone was hurting my baby, even when it was totally necessary, triggered something in me that I was not expecting. A Mama Bear instinct so strong that I was willing to hurt another person. I am not the Blessed Virgin Mary, so my sinful nature became crystal clear to me on that day. My mind drifted to all that Mary must have seen. Her son wasn’t carefully swaddled in a warm room while a lovely lady came in to do some necessary blood samples. Her son was whipped, almost beyond recognition and humiliated over and over again until his death. It was not a peaceful death, in a comfortable bed, with his loved ones joyfully surrounding him. It was a death so bloody and painful, and barbaric, that even though we KNOW it happened, I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around it. Yet, Mary stood, tall, faithful, and prayerfully loving her son and supporting him in his mission to open the gates of heaven to us.
Mary is full of grace in a way that I only aspire to be, so open to the Holy Spirit and the will of God, that nothing, not even seeing her son tortured and murdered before her eyes would shake her resolve. What if we opened our hearts to God like that? Always welcoming His will, no matter how hard, with peace and confidence that He knows best? I know that I fight Him a lot when His will makes me uncomfortable, sad, angry, or when it makes me realize just how NOT in control I actually am. I love that Mary never felt or acted betrayed by God. How often does something happen that makes me feel like God has tricked me, or lied to me, when in reality, I am the one lacking the holiness to see that His plan is perfect in every way?
Mary knew without a doubt, what we ALL know but struggle to grasp. God is NOT A LIAR. He does not do things to hurt us, or make us feel less than. He is ONLY Good. He doesn’t know how to be anything else. I have so much love for the Blessed Mother and there are so many things that inspire me about her. One of those things is that she intimately knows the Father and allows Him to intimately know her. This intimacy makes her seek Him in all things, love Him in all things, cling to Him in all things, and worship Him in all things. Another thing that I love about her is that she is ALWAYS pointing to Jesus. She takes no glory for herself, she merely wants to be an icon to her Son. She is the perfect mother.
I pray that as you enter into Holy Week, that you immerse yourself in this prayerful time. I pray that our Lady inspire you to follow Christ closely, and without reserve. I pray that you encounter God intimately. May we all strive to imitate Mary, so that we too, can become icons to her Son.