A monthly column by the Emmanuel Community: 46 Rosalino Street, Woodbrook.
In last month’s column (June 25), we presented Our Lady as our model in faith and humility. This month, we look at other ways in which we can imitate her, and consider her as our intercessor.
Fr Frank Pavone of Priests for Life says that we must model Mary in her response to the news that her cousin Elizabeth is pregnant. Rather than isolating herself from others in an attempt to absorb some unique experience of becoming the Mother of Christ, Mary hurries off to the countryside to tend to Elizabeth’s needs. He stresses that the more real our encounter with God, the more attentive and responsive we are to the needs of our brothers and sisters.
In the pro-life movement, our concern extends to the welfare of the mother caught in a treacherous situation, as well as to that of the child whom we’ve encouraged or helped bring into the world.
As for Mary’s intercessory role, Fr John Hardon SJ, explains in ‘Mary: Mother of Divine Life: Model of Prolife Apostles’, why it is important for us to pray through her. Mary began her ministry of mediation of grace from Jesus even while she was carrying Him in her womb: sanctifying John the Baptist who leapt for joy in his own mother’s womb as the two women greeted each other.
It is also through her intervention that Jesus performed His first miracle at the wedding in Cana when, despite protesting that His time had not yet come, He changed the water into wine. We must ask Mary to pray for us, because Jesus will do what His mother asks Him to do.
Fr Hardon strongly recommends that we develop a deep devotion to Mary, for, as we say to her in the ‘Memorare’: “never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided”.
The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, says Fr Pavone, is significant in the pro-life movement as it brings hope to women in difficult situations, and hope for those who work to end the culture of death.
It brings the message that God is not a distant judge waiting to be appeased by blood, but that He has come among us to share our life. And just as the presence of the image led to the end of human sacrifice in Mexico, the presence of the image in our day leads many away from abortion and into trust in God.
Fr Pavone assures us that Mary addresses to us today the same message she addressed to Juan Diego: “Hear and let it penetrate your hearts, my dear little ones. Let nothing discourage you, nothing depress you; let nothing alter your heart or your countenance. Do not fear vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here, your Mother? Are you not in the folds of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else that you need?”
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.