Editor’s Pick: MARY’S HUMILITY AND OUR VIRTUESOctober 10, 2012 No Comments
October 10, 2012 / MariaNews.com
MARY’S HUMILITY AND OUR VIRTUES
By Deacon Antonio Sandoval
True Devotion to Mary leads Mary’s devotees to imitate her virtues, particularly, her virtue of profound humility, but also her virtues of continual prayer, her prompt obedience, her heroic patience, her universal mortification, and her divine purity, because humility is the root of all her other human virtues.
Humility is truth, the truth that we were created by God out of love, and everything we are and everything we have that is good is a gift from God. The truth that we do not belong to ourselves, we belong to God. The truth that we are dependent on God for everything, even every heartbeat and every breath we take; the truth that by nature, we are inclined towards evil; and without God’s grace we will become victims of our own evil inclinations. A firm conviction of these truths enables us to comply with what God wants of us, and in doing so, we will become virtuous.
Scripture says, “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted (Mt 23:12). Since Mary is the creature most highly exalted by God, she is also the most humble. In relationship to God, Mary considered herself to be lower than the dust. Therefore, imitating Mary in her humility is the key to our acquiring virtue.
In the Canticle of Mary (Lk 1:46-55) we get a glimpse of Mary’s humility. She says, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord”; (She doesn’t proclaim her own greatness.) ”my spirit rejoices in God my Savior”. (Mary calls God her Savior because she recognizes that as a daughter of Eve she was in need of salvation, but by a special privilege, God gave her salvation by anticipation at the moment of conception so she could be the Immaculate Conception) “For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me and holy is his name” (Mary recognizes the truth of her blessings, but attributes them to what God has done for her).
Humility is necessary for the virtue of continual prayer. We must humbly admit that without the help of God we cannot even pray properly. The catechism says that humility is the foundation of prayer. Only when we acknowledge that “we do not know how to pray as we ought” (Rom 8: 26), are we ready to receive the gift of prayer. “Man is a beggar before God.” (St. Augustine) (CCC #2559) Humility makes it possible for us to approach God as beggars and sets us free of pride which is the root of most sins.
The virtue of obedience is directly related to humility. Scripture says that Jesus humbled himself and became obedient even unto death (Phil 2: 8). Self-exaltation is the opposite of humility and leads to disobedience of God. (CCC #1850) The Blessed Virgin Mary does not exalt herself; “Her soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord… and she speaks of her own lowliness” (Lk 1:46-48), and unlike the first Eve, she is obedient to the Lord.
The Blessed Virgin Mary had the virtue of heroic patience. Humility gives us the conviction that God knows better than we do what is best for us and the right time for us to receive his blessings. With this conviction as the pillar of our prayers, we can wait with heroic patience for God to satisfy the yearnings of our soul.
Mary also had the virtue of universal mortification. Humility informs us of the truth that we are weak and can’t let go of the saving hand of God. We must put an end to self-reliance and replace it with God-reliance by dying to self. For Jesus said, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Mt 10:39).
The virtue of divine purity consists in having the focus of our faith and our hope exclusively on God. Humility informs us that making self, or some other creature, the focus of our faith and our hope is idolatry.
Praise be to Mary, our model of how to live a virtuous Christian life!
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