Walking with Mary
VATICAN - AVE MARIA : Mgr. Luciano Alimandi -
Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - Walking the “Marian way”, Mary's way of faith and humility, we see ever more clearly the presence of the Lord Jesus who, except for sin, lived our same human experience. His human existence began in the womb of a mother, the holiest of all mothers, the Blessed Virgin Mary. She generated Him and then followed Him as his disciple, with her robust and genuine faith.
The Church, through the centuries, joined Elizabeth in her praise of Mary at the Visitation and has continued to repeat: “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb! Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord?... blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.'” (Lk 1, 42).
The conception of Jesus through the working of the Holy Spirit and His birth in Bethlehem of the most humble Virgin Mother, are masterpieces of God's grace poured out on humanity and before our eyes on Christmas day. A unique Birth which marked a turning point in human history. The heavenly angels announced that wondrous event to the shepherds at Bethlehem: “ Look, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. And here is a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.'” (Lk 2, 10-12). Still today the Lord Jesus is wrapped in “swaddling clothes”, because he chooses to hide in humble things, to reveal himself to the humblest of people, since they alone are able to perceive Him through his simple guise; think of the mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist!
In this, the greatest of Sacraments, which likens us to Jesus, He is wrapped in "swaddling clothes" and only the faith of the simple who walk the "Marian way" are able to believe in His real Presence, His Body and His Blood, His Soul and Divinity. In the celebration of every Mass He is once again present and the angels call us to adore, in the Bread of Life, the Lord Jesus, who chooses and consecrates simple men through whom to prolong His Presence on the Altars of the world.
Yes, the path of humility which starts from Nazareth and shows itself in Bethlehem, the via par excellence of the Mother, is walked by countless sons and daughters of Mary, disciples of those beatitudes of Jesus, of which the first is Blessed are the “poor in spirit” and the last Blessed are those “persecuted for the justice's sake” (cfr. Mt 5, 3-11). We find the beatitudes splendidly lived by the Blessed Virgin Mary, the first to walk the path of humility and total trust in God. She shows us how to reach Jesus, to walk without losing our way. Praying the Rosary, the Marian prayer par excellence, with a simple and trusting heart, we experience the meekness and clarity of this way because we are led by the hand of the Virgin Mother from mystery to mystery. With her powerful intercession she never fails to offer support and guidance.
In one of numerous Catechesis dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Servant of God John Paul II said this about the Rosary and Marian devotion in general:
"In Marian devotion the Rosary has taken on an important role. By repeating the "Hail Mary", it leads us to contemplate the mysteries of faith. In nourishing the Christian people’s love for the Mother of God, this simple prayer also orients Marian prayer in a clearer way to its goal: the glorification of Christ.(John Paul II, General Audience, 5 November 1997).
Pope Paul VI, like his Predecessors, especially Leo XIII, Pius XII and John XXIII, held the recitation of the Rosary in great esteem and wished it to be widely spread among families. Moreover, in the Apostolic Exhortation Marialis cultus, he explained its doctrine by recalling that it is a "Gospel prayer, centred on the mystery of the redemptive Incarnation", and stressing its "clearly Christological orientation" (n. 46)… As the liturgy and Christian piety demonstrate, the Church has always held devotion to Mary in high esteem, considering it inseparably linked to belief in Christ. It is in fact based on the Father’s plan, the Saviour’s will and the Paraclete’s inspiration. Having received salvation and grace from Christ, the Blessed Virgin is called to play an important role in humanity’s redemption. Through Marian devotion Christians acknowledge the value of Mary’s presence on their journey to salvation, having recourse to her for every kind of grace. They especially know that they can count on her motherly intercession to receive from the Lord everything necessary for growing in the divine life and for attaining eternal salvation”
Walking towards Jesus, guided by Mary, is the synthesis of Christmas and indeed of Christianity. The Son cannot be separated from His Mother: if we find the Child, we find the Mother and if we find the Mother we find the Son of God. The Church teaches “devotion to Mary is indissolubly connected with faith in Christ”, and so our devotion to Our Lady fortifies our faith in Jesus.
To pray the decades of Rosary in front of the Blessed Sacrament, beads in hand, is one of the most beautiful expressions of going towards the King led by the Queen, of adoring Him with the faith of Mary. It is the Marian way which helps us discover the beauty of belonging to Jesus! May we walk this way, Rosary beads in hand, every day of the new year.
(Agenzia Fides 14/1/2009; righe 63, parole 957)