The Imitation of Mary

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We are called to respond fully to the graces that God has in store for us individually. Each of us is unique and unrepeatable. In the history of the world, there will never be another you or another me. God has destined each one of us to exist at this particular time, in this place, and to grow in His grace and bear much fruit. Jesus tells us, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide” (John 15:16). Like Mary, each of us has a role to play in God’s plan of salvation. If we imitate our Blessed Mother, we, too, can fully live out our vocation and fulfill our role in God’s ongoing work of redemption.

When we imitate our Blessed Mother, we do not lose our own identity. On the contrary, we discover our authentic identity as the person God created us to be, free from sin and capable of cooperating with His grace for our own sanctity and that of others. When we imitate our Mother and model, we acquire the temperaments, dispositions, and qualities that are most pleasing to God. The attributes of the Virgin Mary are most conducive to meriting more graces. Mary’s soul is like the rich soil in which God is free to plant seeds of grace knowing that they will grow and flourish and blossom into beautiful trees that provide necessary shade and bear much fruit for the world. When our life takes on the qualities of our Blessed Mother, we become like porous sponges that can absorb all the graces that God wants to give us. These qualities make us most receptive to God’s gifts. We will be like that one soul in St. Faustina’s vision who was closest to the heart of Jesus, the one who gathered all the gifts for herself and for others.

The dispositions and actions of Mary are ideal for meriting an increase in graces. Remember, the graces we receive individually also affect the entire Body of Christ. We are all connected. When one member thrives, the whole Body benefits. And vice versa, when members do not live up to their potential, the Body suffers the consequences. Personal holiness contributes to the building of God’s kingdom on earth both positively and negatively. God wants us not only to grow in holiness but also to become a channel of grace for others. As with Mary, God wants us to become His presence, His instruments, and His representatives, so that through us, He can dispense grace to others. When we go to heaven, we are not meant to go as a lone star but as one star leading a cluster of other stars. If we live out our vocation, we will be forming a new constellation of stars in the sky of heaven. We are called to lead our families, friends, and communities to God. Mary, as our Mother, guide, and example, shows us how to achieve the fullness of grace by meditating upon and imitating her qualities.

By meditating on these attributes of the Blessed Virgin Mary and asking the Holy Spirit to enlighten us about the ones in which we are most lacking, we can then focus on and practice those qualities that are most difficult for us. Different qualities will come up at various times to remind us where we still need to grow. As we practice these qualities, they will become more ingrained and take on the form of habits, and we will develop a permanent disposition that is most conducive to an increase in grace. Once they become part of our personality and way of life, we will grow rapidly in grace and become God’s instrument in the world. We will fulfill our vocation to holiness, bear witness to Christ, and build God’s kingdom on earth.

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This article is adapted from a chapter in The Imitation of Mary by Fr. Quan Tran which is available from Sophia Institute Press.

Art for this post on the Mary: Cover and featured image used with permission.

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