The responsiveness of Mary is meant for all of us. The Church, the spotless, immaculate Bride of Christ, is always responding to her Bridegroom. In the Church, and thanks to the example and the prayer of Mary, we, too, can learn to be more responsive to Jesus. In the Church, we share all spiritual riches in common among ourselves, so we can use Mary’s responsive heart when we pray.
That’s just what we do when we pray the Rosary. We look upon Jesus with the eyes of Mary, we love Him with her heart, and we listen to Him with her ears. Prayer becomes so much easier when we try to pray in the company of Mary. Jesus becomes so much more alive when she is at our side.
The response to grace, which we seek to express in our prayer, is demonstrated to us by Our Lady in the mystery of her Annunciation. How simply she received the most unheard-of gift — the announcement of the Incarnation, accompanied by the offer of the divine motherhood. And what humility there is in that perfect simplicity: God is the master of His gifts. It is not for us to put forward conditions and objections, even were they objections coming from the realization of our unworthiness, but only to efface ourselves in submission — “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord” (Luke 1:38).
Our Lady gives us the purest example of this total effacement. As she received Christ, in Whom all grace is offered to us, so ought we to try to receive this gift of grace, through which we are incorporated into Christ and live in Him. The image of the young Mary at the Annunciation reveals so much: God’s will to become one of us through the Incarnation and Mary as the icon of human receptivity and responsiveness to God’s grace, or, put simply, Mary as the icon of prayer. She can help us to become prayer — because prayer is not something that we do, it’s something that we are and become.
Cardinal Anders Arborelius, O.C.D.
Chapter 10, To be responsive like Mary
Arborelius OCD, A. 2020, Carmelite Spirituality: The Way of Carmelite Prayer and Contemplation, EWTN Publishing, Irondale, Alabama.
Featured image: In 2016, bishops from the Holy Land Coordination celebrated Holy Mass with Jordanian Clergy and the local community in the majority-Christian town of Fuheis. Many of the faithful have adorned this statue of the Virgin with rosaries.
Photo credit: © Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk via Flickr (Some rights reserved).