Saturday, October 29, 2005

Mary, Model of Faith

The following is from here:

Mary, Model of Faith
by Leon J. Suprenant, Jr

One of the many hallmarks of John Paul II's papacy was his consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary, as represented by his papal motto "Totus tuus" ("All yours, Mary").

"Let It Be Done to Me According to Your Word"

His deep devotion to Our Lady is reflected in his magnificent 1986 encyclical Redemptoris Mater (Mother of the Redeemer), which provided us with a profound meditation on Mary in the mystery of Christ and His Church. More recently, he gave us his 2002 apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae (Rosary of the Virgin Mary), which introduced the new Luminous Mysteries of the rosary and called for a "Year of the Rosary."

Pope John Paul II also reminded us that Mary "is proposed to all believers as the model of faith which is put into practice." Perhaps at the close of this month specially devoted to Our Lady, we can allow Mary's faith to provide practical insights on how we can live out our faith. As the pope said, the faithful not only venerate and invoke Mary, "but also seek in her faith support for their own" (
Redemptoris Mater, no 27). Let's use St. Luke's Gospel as our guide for making Mary's faith our own.

Our faith must be obedient. The obedience of faith must be given to God as He reveals Himself, and involves a complete submission of one's self to God. At the Annunciation, Mary's fiat ("let it be done," Lk 1:38) demonstrates her complete obedience to God and to His will for her. In fact it was by means of her fiat, her obedient faith, that "the mystery of the Incarnation was accomplished" in accordance with God's plan (
Redempotoris Mater, no. 13). Vatican II highlighted the importance of Mary's "obedient faith":

Rightly, therefore, the Fathers see Mary not merely as passively engaged by God, but as freely cooperating in the work of man's salvation through faith and obedience. For, as St. Irenaeus says, she "being obedient, became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race." Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert with him in their preaching: "The knot of Eve's disobedience was untied by Mary's obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith" (Lumen Gentium, no. 56).
What is the application for us? Assuredly we are called to give our lives completely to Christ in ways great and small (cf. Lk 19:11-27; 21:1-4). We must also accept with obedient faith Christ's teachings as preserved and proclaimed by the Church (cf. Lk 10:16). We should pray often for an increase of faith (cf. Lk 11:9; 17:5-6) and encourage each other (cf. Lk 22:32).

When it comes to living out our "obedient faith" in the concrete circumstances of our lives, we must carefully discern the Lord's voice and not turn back (cf. Lk 9:62; 18:28-30). We demonstrate our obedient faith by submitting to lawful authority out of love of God (cf. Lk 20:22-25). St. Paul even applies this principle to marriage: "Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ" (Eph 5:21).

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