Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of The Immaculate Conception
By St Josemaria Escriva (1902-1975)
DAY EIGHT – 7 December
Mary, our teacher in everyday life
We must imitate her natural and supernatural refinement. She is a privileged creature in the history of salvation, for in Mary “the Word became flesh and dwelled among us.”
But she is a reserved, quiet witness. She never wished to be praised, for she never sought her own glory. Mary is present at the mysteries surrounding the infancy of her Son but these are “normal” mysteries, so to speak. When the great miracles take place and the crowds acclaim them in amazement, she is nowhere to be found. In Jerusalem when Christ, riding a little donkey, is proclaimed king, we don’t catch a glimpse of Mary. But after all have fled, she reappears next to the Cross. This way of acting bespeaks personal greatness and depth, the sanctity of her soul….(Christ is Passing By, 173)
To become God-like, to be divinised, we must begin by being very human, accepting from God our condition as ordinary men and women, and sanctifying its apparent worthlessness. That is how Mary lived. She who is full of grace, the object of God’s pleasure, exalted above all the angels and the saints, lived an ordinary life.
Mary is as much a creature as we are, with a heart like ours, made for joy and mirth as well as suffering and tears. Before Gabriel communicates God’s plan to her, our Lady does not know she has been chosen from all eternity to be the Mother of the Messiah. She sees herself as a humble creature. That is why she can acknowledge, with full humility, that “he who is mighty has done great things” in her. (Christ is Passing By, 172)
We can’t forget that Mary spent nearly every day of her life just like millions of other women who look after their family, bring up their children and take care of the house. Mary sanctifies the ordinary everyday things – what some people wrongly regard as unimportant and insignificant: everyday work, looking after those closest to you, visits to friends and relatives. What a blessed ordinariness, that can be so full of love of God!
For that’s what explains Mary’s life – her love. A complete love, so complete that she forgets herself and is happy just to be there where God wants her, fulfilling with care what God wants her to do. That is why even her slightest action is never routine or vain but, rather, full of meaning. Mary, our mother, is for us both an example and a way. We have to try to be like her, in the specific circumstances in which God wants us to live. (Christ is Passing By, 148)
Let us Pray
We turn to Our Lady for protection, because we
can be quite sure that each of us, in our own
state in life – priest or lay-person, single, married
or widowed – if we are faithful in the daily
fulfilment of our duties, will achieve victory on
this earth, the victory of being always loyal to
Our Lord. And afterwards we will reach Heaven
and rejoice for ever in the friendship and love of
God, with the Blessed Virgin Mary.
(Prayer before Our Lady of Guadalupe, 24 May 1970)
Hail Mary full of grace!
It’s fair, gentle Lady,
for me to ask you for a present,
a proof of your affection –
contrition, compunction for my sins,
sorrow of love.
Hear me, O Lady, my life, my hope.
Take me by the hand
and if there is anything in me now
that is displeasing to my Father God,
make me see it,
and between the two of us,
we’ll tear it out.