Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
By St Josemaria Escriva (1902-1975)
DAY THREE – 2 December
Mary, Teacher of Prayer
The Lord will grant you the ability to discover many other aspects of the faithful response to grace of the blessed Virgin. And to know these facets of her life is to want to imitate them: her purity, her humility, her fortitude, her generosity, her fidelity… But now I want to speak to you of an aspect that in a way encompasses all the others because it is a condition for spiritual growth. I’m speaking of her life of prayer.
To take advantage of the grace which our Mother offers us today and to follow up at anytime the inspirations of the Holy Spirit, the shepherd of our souls, we ought to be seriously committed to talking with God. We cannot take refuge in the anonymous crowd. If interior life doesn’t involve a personal encounter with God, it doesn’t exist – it’s as simple as that.
There are few things more at odds with Christianity than superficiality. To settle down to routine in our Christian life is to dismiss the possibility of becoming a contemplative soul.
God seeks us out, one by one. And we ought to answer Him, one by one: “Here I am, Lord, because you have called me.”
We are ordinary Christians. We work at the most varied professions. All our activity takes place amid everyday circumstances. Everything follows a customary rhythm in our lives.
The days seem the same, even monotonous . But don’t forget that our condition which is apparently so common has a divine value. God is interested in everything we do, because Christ wishes to become incarnate in our things, to vivify from within even our most insignificant actions.
Review these thoughts in your prayer. Take occasion of them to tell Jesus that you adore Him. And thus you have a formula to become contemplatives in the middle of the world, amid the noises of the street, at all times and in all places. This is the first lesson we should learn in the school of intimacy with Christ. And in this school, Mary is the best teacher, because the Virgin always kept this attitude of faith, of supernatural vision, regardless of what happened around her: “And his mother kept all these words in her heart.” (Christ is Passing By, 174)
Our Mother had meditated deep and long on the words of the holy men and women of the Old Testament who awaited the Saviour and on the events that they had taken part in. She must have marvelled at all the great things that God, in His boundless mercy, had done for His people, who were so often ungrateful. As she considers the tenderness shown time after time by God towards His people, Mary’s immaculate Heart breaks out in loving words, “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour, for he has looked graciously upon the lowliness of his handmaid.” The early Christians, children of this good Mother, learned from her; we can, and we ought to do likewise. (Friends of God, 241)
Let us Pray
Let us ask the blessed Virgin to make us
contemplatives, to teach us to recognise the
constant calls from God at the door of our
heart. Let us ask her now:
Our mother, you
brought to earth Jesus,
who reveals the love of
our Father God.
Help us to recognise Him
in the midst of the cares of each day.
Stir up our mind and will,
so that we may listen to the voice of
God, to the calls of grace.”