“Mary always and in everything”
During the special congress of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints that met on March 18, 1980, to discuss Raphael Kalinowski’s heroic virtues, the first “relator” recalled in his vote the deep Marian devotion of the Servant of God, evoking his maxim, “Mary always and in everything.”
The Virgin Mary clearly played a very special role in the saint’s life and occupies a unique place in his spirituality. His Marian spirituality corresponds fully to the directives the Council offered us sixty years after the death of the saint. Contemporary Mariology, following the direction Vatican II marked out emphasized Mary’s greatness as mother of Christ and super-eminent member and mother of the Church.
The theology of our times, therefore, treats the figure of the Blessed Virgin Mary in a Christological and ecclesiological context. Saint Raphael Kalinowski’s Mariology had such an orientation. His Marian spirituality does not stop with the figure of Mary, but through her leads to Christ, living and working in the Church, his Mystical Body. Let us briefly review the principal aspects of this spirituality:
- His conversion took place after college on account of Mary, and led Joseph Kalinowski to Christ through the sacramental ministry of the Church; [“With her help, I have been able to build up my interior life. I recognized the value of familiar religious principles and, finally, I turned toward them.”]
- His entrance into Carmel, the order of Mary, had as its goal to serve Christ more closely and to work for the unity of his Church; [“Precisely this Order should make the Eastern schismatics return to the breast of the Church of Rome.”]
- The testimony of a religious life in imitation of Mary—“the Book where the eternal Word of God, Christ the Lord, is read to the world”—is confirmed and blessed by the Church;
- Fidelity to the religious vocation of the Brothers [and Sisters] of the Blessed Virgin Mary does not consist of a sentimental love for her, but in “attending to her affairs,” [“We are her work and she does not cease calling us to be her ministers, to take care of her affairs.”] seeing in her the secure guide to Christ, in other words:
- Accepting and accomplishing—like her—the will of God, contemplating and preaching his Word made flesh in Christ Jesus, author of our salvation, of which the Christ is now the sacrament;
- Spiritually directing the souls of his brothers and sisters, pointing out to them the road ad Jesum per Mariam [to Jesus through Mary] or, better yet, ad Jesum cum Maria [to Jesus with Mary], taking as a base the common faith of the Church in her role as mediatrix of grace until all of the “old man” is stripped off and they put on the armor of the “new man”;
- Propagating the scapular devotion—a sign of salvation and the Mother’s gift—a sacramental of the Church that helps sanctify every moment of life and attain the salvation accomplished by Christ.
In the final analysis, Mary always and in everything, but inasmuch as she guides us to Christ and brings us to communion with him in his Church, “to make us living stones of this Church, willing servants of our brothers and sisters on this earth and, after death, participants in God’s glory forever.”
Szczepan T. Praskiewicz, O.C.D.
St. Raphael Kalinowski: An Introduction to His Life and Spirituality
II. Elements of his spirituality (excerpt)
Praskiewicz OCD, S 2016, Saint Raphael Kalinowski: An Introduction to his Life and Spirituality, ICS Publications, Washington DC.