Presence of God
O Mary, Mother of Good Hope, teach me the way of complete confidence in God.
I. In the Magnificat, the canticle which burst forth from Mary’s heart when she visited her cousin Elizabeth, we find an expression which specially reveals Mary’s interior attitude. "My soul doth magnify the Lord... because He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid" (Lc. 1, 46-48). When Mary spoke these words, they revealed the "great things" which God had done in her; but, considered in the framework of her life, they expressed the continual movement of her heart, which, in the full awareness of her nothingness, would turn always to God with the most absolute hope and trust in His aid. No one had a more concrete, practical knowledge of her nothingness than Mary; she understood well that her whole being, natural as well as supernatural, would be annihilated if God did not sustain her at every moment. She knew that whatever she was and had, in no way belonged to her, but came from God, and was the pure gift of His liberality. Her great mission and the marvelous privileges which she had received from the Most High did not prevent her from seeing and feeling her "lowliness." But far from disconcerting or discouraging her in any way—as the realization of our nothingness and wrechedness often does to us—her humility served as a starting point from which she darted to God with stronger hope. The greater the knowledge of her nothingness and weakness became, the higher her soul mounted in hope. That is why, being really poor in spirit, she did not trust in her own resources, ability, or merits, but put all her confidence in God alone. And God, who "sends the rich away empty, and fills the hungry with good things" (Lc. 1, 53), satisfied her "hunger" and fulfilled her hopes, not only by showering His gifts on her, but by giving Himself to her in all His plenitude.
II. Mary’s hope was truly absolute. We have a typical example of it in her attitude toward Joseph at the time when he, aware of her approaching maternity (of whose origin he knew nothing), "was minded to put her away privately" (Mt. 1, 19). Mary certainly perceived something of the state of mind of her pure spouse and of the doubts he was experiencing. She knew, likewise, the risk she was incurring of being "put away," because the Angel had said nothing which could have reassured her on this delicate point. However, completely confident in God’s help, she did not reveal her secret in any way. "In silence and in hope shall your strength be" (Is. 30, 15), said the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of His prophet. These words were to have their most beautiful realization in Mary’s attitude. She remained silent, and did not try to justify herself in Joseph’s eyes; she was silent because she was filled with hope in God and absolutely certain of His help. Silence and hope permitted her to rely entirely upon God; strong with His strength, she remained serene and tranquil in an extremely difficult and delicate situation.
We also hope in God, but our hope is not absolute like Mary’s. Lacking her complete reliance on the divine assistance, we always feel the need of resorting to many little personal expedients to obtain some security, some human support. However, everything human is uncertain; if we base our hopes on these things, it is quite natural that we shall be constantly disturbed and anxious. By her silent hope, the Virgin Mary shows us the only way to real security, serenity, and inner peace, even in the most difficult circumstances : the way of total confidence in God. "In te, Domine, speravi, non confundar in aeternum," In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped, let me not be confounded forever (Te Deum). No, God will never disappoint us if we hope in Him; just as He sent an Angel to Joseph to reveal the mystery of Mary’s maternity, He will always find a way to help and sustain a soul who entrusts itself wholly to Him.
" O Mother of holy love, our life, our refuge, and our hope, you well know that your Son Jesus, not satisfied with being our perpetual advocate with the eternal Father, has willed that you also, should implore divine mercy for us. I turn to you, then, hope of the unfortunate, hoping by the merits of Jesus and by your intercession, to obtain eternal salvation. My confidence is so great, that, if I had my salvation in my own hands, I should yet place it in yours, for I trust in your merciful protection more than I do in my own works. O my Mother and my hope, do not abandon me! The pity you have for sinners and your power with God are greater than the number and the malice of my faults. If all should forget me, do not you forget me, Mother of the omnipotent God. Say to God that I am your child and that you protect me, and I shall be saved
" Do not look for any virtue or merit in me, my Mother; look only at the confidence I place in you and my desire to improve. Look at all that Jesus has done and suffered for me and then abandon me, if you have the heart to do so. I offer you all the sufferings of His life : the cold He endured in the stable. His journey to Egypt, the Blood He shed, His poverty, His sweat, His sadness and the death He endured for love of me in your presence, and do you, for the love of Jesus, pledge yourselfto help me. O my Mother, do not refuse your pity to one for whom Jesus did not refuse His Blood!
" O Mary, I put my trust in you; in this hope I live and in this hope I long to die, saying over and over : ‘ Unica spes mea Jesus, et post Jesum virgo Maria, ’ My only hope isJesus, and after Jesus, Mary" (St. Alphonsus).
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