Monday, February 2, 2015

J.M.J. On this the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, we thank God for all consecrated persons in the Church, and we ask Him through Mary for many blessings upon them during this Year of Consecrated Life.

Our Lady is the Model of Consecrated Life.

Conceived without Original Sin and constituted by God in a state of intense holiness, Mary of Nazareth became the Mother of God when the Archangel Gabriel appeared to her at the Annunciation. Given her Virginity before, during and after the Birth of Jesus, the Church rightly hails her as “The Ever-Virgin.”

Our Lady and her husband Saint Joseph lovingly cared for the Christ Child. She faithfully attended to her duties as a daughter of the Living God as wife and as mother.

During her Son’s Passion, Mary was not far distant. At the foot of Calvary’s Cross, she, through her self-surrender and offering of Jesus to the Father, played a crucial role in the long-anticipated Redemption of the human race.

After Christ’s glorious Resurrection and Ascension, she joined the Apostles in awaiting the Descent of the Paraclete on Pentecost Sunday. Mary remained a stellar example of faith, hope and charity for the Master’s disciples. Eventually, she was assumed body and soul into Heaven where she was crowned by the Most Blessed Trinity as the Queen of the Universe.

Mary’s influence perdures. Interceding for us in Paradise, she constantly provides us with an unparalleled model of prayer and service to Jesus and His Chaste Spouse, the Church.

One notes immediately that the virtues extolled by the Master and rooted in the Beatitudes are easily recognizable in the Madonna. She, meek and lowly of heart like her Divine Son, was pure in intention. Completing the command to be perfect, Mary’s life illustrates the Beatitudes brilliant in bloom. Her prize was astonishing and is ceaseless: it is no less than the Kingdom.

Theologians and authors have long seen in Our Blessed Mother an exemplar of the vowed life. Possessing the supernatural and natural virtues to an extraordinary degree, Mary instructs consecrated persons how to strive for spiritual perfection in the midst of joy and sorrow. One epoch of consecrated men and women after another have attested to Mary’s enduring value with Jesus as the key to the meaning of Consecrated Life and its authentic execution.

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