The Meaning of Morality in the “Life” of the Blessed Virgin Mary
This essay poses the question: What is Mary asking of you? Should you respond to her directions? I strongly advise you to think long and hard before turning your back on her instructions. She will not leave you in any doubt as to the wishes of her Son.
Mary is the ultimate exponent of so many virtues, yet what lies behind her meekness and humility? How does the mother of the conquering Christ convey her message to us and secondly what is her demanding lesson to each one of us? Like it or not this message will reach our minds and hearts, be we Christian or non-Christian. And what is more we will, God willing, act on her prompting so enduring and endearing whether consciously or subconsciously. That is Mary the mother of God at work within us her “children”.
At heart we are all children. As Christ said,
“If you are not like one of these little children you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven.”
In truth those “children” do not construct barriers between believers whether they be Christians, Islamic or Jewish. Nor do those “children” put up obstacles between these believers and non-believers. Thus I conclude if we are “children of Mary” these walls come crashing down. That is how Mary conveys the Christian message to us. Her only Son had been a child once like us and He clung to that happy time throughout His life thanks to Mary and Joseph His parents. It is the relationship: parent and child which is the vehicle for Mary’s teaching to us. Yes we are her “children” and her Son is the Great Teacher.
As His immaculately conceived mother she has begun her own teaching role after the miracle of her Glorious Assumption into Heaven, herself incorruptible, a few days after her Earthly death in Asia Minor 2000 years ago. How does she speak to us and teach? The Apparitions, of course, but more importantly the prayer life of the Roman Catholic Church as linked to Mary by the Rosary, the Shrines, the Holy Mass and the self-denying and sacrificing lives of all women on Earth in their own motherhood of their children. I argue the motherhood of the 21st Century matters most as the living maternal representation of Mary the mother of the Child Jesus. Once we die we pass into Heaven. On Earth the living count the most. We are all part of this motherhood of Mary in our lives on Earth alongside the 21st Century mothers I write of.
I am no priest or religious luminary nor am I a lawyer. After 38 years in the law I retired on 25 May 2013. I was a lawyer in the family law of children over the last ten years of my professional life admittedly. I am impressed by the self-denial and composure of all mothers and fathers for their children’s sake, even in dire circumstances. I am a married man with three sons all brought up Roman Catholic like myself and my wife. She and I saw to that. My belief is Mary delivers her message on the back of her Son’s ultimate Sacrifice on the Cross then, and still now in the Holy and Living Sacrifice of Christ in the Catholic Mass. This mass is offered time and again by the Roman Catholic Priesthood for all mankind: good and bad - living and dead.
I now move from the delivery to the moral message itself. What is the moral of Mary? Of course this is contained in her life on Earth: the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary particularly, but equally the Sorrowful Mysteries and Glorious Mysteries: All three of which mysteries, so sacred, Mary participated in. But there is a deeper unseen meaning for us living men and women. Essentially she waits. Her patience during her Son’s life and passion and death is quite astonishing. The same goes for the period AD - i.e. since the time of Christ. There is no chronological time in Heaven but make no mistake, Mary waits as Heaven itself is patient.
Why? Because Mary is waiting as always for her Son. How does she wait? She is always active and vital. She stimulates the minds and hearts of men and women to be composed and calm and then move into action when the time is right. Mary could not control events in her lifetime, nor can we in our lives. Yet her Son has won us time - precious time - which He has underlined in our hearts. Her Son has gained the Crown of the Queen of Heaven (Eternal Happiness) for His mother as the reward for her long-suffering on Earth (a sword did pierce her soul figuratively on Earth). This is Mary’s moral message for us: Be patient and persistent but when your time comes act and act with true conviction and understanding.
Mary, strange though it may be, was not a woman of action in her Earthly life: She essentially was the “Handmaid of the Lord”. In her Heavenly role she is truly instrumental in conjunction with the prompting of the Holy Spirit by whose power she conceived the Child Jesus. She is willing to cross the boundary from the unseen to the seen which even her Son does not do. He leaves it to His mother to conduct this role as at La Salette, Lourdes and Fatima. The best analogy is the theatre Director and the actors. The Director rehearses the actors and infuses them with the play’s spirit and his idea behind their parts as the cast. Then the actors perform their roles as the Director wishes. Mary is the Director herself and we learn from her in quiet and private prayer. Mary was powerfully and physically transformed by the Holy Spirit at the conception of Christ in her womb. Thus the Holy Spirit will always abide deeply within her being more than in any of us now on Earth.
Her “directions” to us mortals are deeply felt because of her relations to this Holy Spirit yet she is not divine herself, only divinely inspired - a vital distinction. The Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is greatly respected by Mary. Indeed by her more than any other, as has been the case since time immemorial and her Assumption. She teaches us that lesson. We are the chosen actors, she the Director and the Holy Trinity the audience and judges. This audience decides if the performance is worthy of praise and applause. The judges in law make the choice: Is the cause of action well founded and the remedy to be granted? Both analogies apply to my thinking. Mary is the engine and combustion of the play and legal case. That is the way of Christ.
I come back to the “children”. There is much Drama taught in our schools. Thank God! Mary will “school” us her children in the drama of life. Will we respond? She chooses the actors and the play. We can be actors or participate in the audience with the supreme Holy Trinity. We are equal: - actors and audience. Only the Law Advocate goes before the panel of Judges, but we all respond to the Rule of Law as laid down by the Court and rejoice in Justice seen to be done as in the Magna Carta itself in 1215 at Runnymede England.