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Our Blessed Mother possessed a “living faith”, meaning that she believed actively all the truths revealed by God on the basis of His authority. If He revealed them, then that was enough for Our Lady.
Mary’s was a dynamic faith. The profundity and fervor of that faith intensified with each passing day.
In his very helpful treatise entitled La Madonna (Padova: Gregoriana, 1966), Passionist Father Giacomo Pesce hailed the Ever-Virgin Mother of God as a “model of faith.” Mary possessed a faith that was heroic, prudent and fruitful. But that is not all. Mary’s faith was proven. Just as silver is tried in the fire and gold in the furnace, and the Lord tests hearts (see Proverbs 17:3), so the faith of Our Lady was tried and shown to be splendid!
Mary believed in her Pure Immaculate Heart that her Son Jesus was the Creator of the world even when He was weak and suffering in Bethlehem’s rustic cave. She knew Him to be the King of Kings while she and her chaste husband Saint Joseph fled with the Child to Egypt in order to escape the treacherous grasp of the evil King Herod. She was convinced that He was the Omnipotent One despite His neediness and subjection to others. She acknowledged Him to be the “Joy of Paradise” notwithstanding His infant tears. She admitted that He was the wisdom and the strength of God although He grew in age, wisdom and grace before God and men. She confessed that He had descended from Heaven in order to conquer Satan and redeem humanity never mind His exhausting work as a carpenter at the side of His Foster-father.
Why did Jesus, who miraculously multiplied the bread and fish, not provide the Holy Family of Nazareth with a plethora of money? Why did Jesus, the true Messiah, stir up hatred and aversion against Himself? Why was Jesus the target of more spying than any murderer or thief? Why did the Father allow His Divine Son to be so mistreated? Why did the Father not permit the Sacred Divinity of His Son to be recognized? Why did the Father allow His Divine Son to take on the likeness of sinners even to His ignoble death on the Cross?
Father Pesce marveled at the incredible faith of Mary. “All these questions Our Lady heroically overcame. In all these terrible trials, the Virgin Mary repeated: ‘Behold the handmaiden of the Lord!’” (page 303)
In capturing his own wonderment, Father Pesce names ours, too. “We admire the Madonna who did not vacillate during the most difficult hours; on the contrary, she became a very brilliant beacon for all Christians.” (ibid.)
As sons and daughters of God the Father, brothers and sisters of God the Son and temples of God the Holy Spirit, we have inherited the magnificent faith of Mary our Spiritual Mother. With the abundant grace provided by the Lord, Our Blessed Lady went forward in faith. We treasure her example and seek to imitate it.
We rightly conclude with a prayer offered by Father Pesce: “Virgin Mary, we believe all that God commands us to believe. Reinvigorate our faith. Increase it in such a way that we believe with all our hearts.” (page 304)
Mary, model of faith, pray for us!
(Published in Missio Immaculatae in the August/September 2006 issue on pages 14-15. Used with permission.)