Presence of God – O Mary, faithful adorer of God, show me how to make my life a continual prayer.
In order to have even a slight understanding of Mary’s prayer, we must try to penetrate the sanctuary of her intimate union with God. No one has ever lived in closer intimacy with Him. Let us reverently observe this intimacy from the viewpoint of the divine maternity. Who can imagine the secret communications between Mary and the Incarnate Word while she carried Him in her virginal womb? Although there was nothing to distinguish her exteriorly from other women in the same condition, yet, in the secrecy of her heart she led a life of the closest possible union between God and a mere creature. “Omnis gloria ejus ab intus”; all her glory is from within (cf. Ps 45:14). All Mary’s glory and grandeur were interior. In this true sanctuary which concealed the Holy of Holies, Mary, living ciborium of the Incarnate Word, was aflame with love, absorbed in adoration. Carrying within her the “burning furnace of charity,” how could Mary not remain all inflamed by it! The more she was inflamed with love, the more she understood the mystery of love which was taking place within her. No one ever penetrated the secrets of Christ’s heart as Mary did, or had a greater knowledge of the divinity of Christ and of His infinite grandeur. No one ever felt, as Mary did, the consuming need to give herself to Him, to lose herself in Him like a little drop in the immensity of the ocean. This was Mary’s unceasing prayer: to adore perpetually the Word made Flesh within her; to unite herself closely with Christ; to be immersed in Him and completely transformed in Him by love; to join the infinite homage and praise which ascended continually from the heart of Christ to the Trinity, and to offer this praise unceasingly as the only homage worthy of the divine Majesty. Mary lived in adoration of her Jesus and, in union with Him, in adoration of the Trinity.
There is one moment in the day when we, too, can share in this prayer of Mary in a most excellent way: the moment of Holy Communion, when we receive Jesus, real and living, into our heart. How we need Mary to help us profit from this ineffable gift! She teaches us to submerge ourselves with her, in her and our Jesus, that we may be transformed in Him; she teaches us to unite ourselves to that adoration which ascends from the heart of Jesus to the Trinity, and she offers it with us to the Father, thus supplying for the deficiencies in our adoration.
“O Mary, I can imagine how you must have felt when, after the Incarnation, you had within you the Word made flesh, the Gift of God! In what silence, what adoring recollection, must you have withdrawn into the depths of your soul to embrace the God whose Mother you were! Your attitude, O Blessed Virgin, during the months preceding the Nativity of Jesus, seems to be the model for interior souls, for those whom God has chosen to live within, deep in the unfathomable abyss. What peace and recollection accompanied your every action! You made ordinary things divine, because through them all, you remained the adorer of the Gift of God” (cf. Elizabeth of the Trinity, Letters – First Retreat, 10).
“O Mary, you are the throne of God, the ostensorium of His love. You are the living monstrance of Jesus, and when I adore Jesus within you, it is as if I am really adoring the Blessed Sacrament exposed, adoratio in ostensorio, adoration in the monstrance. O Mary, all theology confirms your beautiful title: Ostensorium of Christ! Ostensorium of Christ at Bethlehem, at the Presentation, at Cana, on the Cross, in the Eucharist, in heaven. Yes, even in heaven. Do we not say: ‘After this our exile show us (ostende) Jesus, the blessed Fruit of your womb?’ … O Mary, teach me to see and love Jesus as you see and love Him. Teach me to long for Him with your love, to give myself to Him to be wholly His as you are, and to adore Him with your own sentiments. O sweet Mother, teach me how to find Jesus and to pray to Him; fill me with Jesus, transform me into Him. O Mary, show me how to contemplate the life, the work and the divinity of your Son. Be the way which leads me to Jesus, the bond which unites me to Him, and which, with Him and in Him, unites me to the Most Blessed Trinity” (cf. E. Poppe).
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Art for this post on Mary’s Prayer: Virgin by the Host, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, 1852, PD-US published in the U.S. prior to January 1, 1923, Wikimedia Commons. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.