Photo: Marian archives
By Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC (May 8, 2009)
Saint Faustina constantly affirms in her Diary the great title of Mary as Mother of God. Of course, St. Faustina understood Mary's Divine Motherhood as more than that; she is spiritual mother to us all. Father Donald Calloway, MIC, explain this in the following excerpt from his book Purest of All Lillies (Marian Press):
A consequence of the Divine Motherhood is Mary's role as spiritual mother of God's people. Saint Faustina deeply understood that, because of Mary's intimate maternal union with the Savior, there also existed an intimate maternal union between Mary and Christian disciples. For example, within the Diary we note that she refers to Mary as "spiritual" mother 20 times, to herself as the daughter of Mary 11 times and the terminology of "child" five times.
On one occasion Mary told St. Faustina that her role as spiritual mother is part of the will of God: "My daughter, at God's command I am to be, in a special and exclusive way your Mother; but I desire that you, too, in a special way, be My child" (Diary, 1414. Cf. Diary, 240). Knowing that Mary's role as personal spiritual mother in regard to St. Faustina was the will of God gave St. Faustina the understanding that she could entrust all of her cares and concerns to Mary, her spiritual mother. Maternity was part of the capacity God had given to the Virgin Mary, namely, to be a maternal presence in the spiritual life, one that nourished, protected, and taught St. Faustina how to grow closer to God.
The maternal presence of Mary in the life of St. Faustina was concrete. For example, on Dec. 9, 1936, she noted: "She [Mary], like a good Mother, watches over all my trials and efforts" (Diary, 798). In addition, the theme of Mary acting as a mother who guards, protects, and instructs her children in the spiritual life is a prominent one in the Diary. Saint Faustina even referred to Mary as "Instructress" (Diary, 620) and "Mother of grace" (Diary, 315).
Another interesting facet of how St. Faustina understood Mary's spiritual motherhood is that, much like her Divine Motherhood in which she co-suffered with Christ, she shares in the sufferings of her children. This theme comes up at least three times in the Diary, giving clear evidence that St. Faustina understood Mary's role as spiritual mother to be that of bringing comfort to her. Perhaps the clearest example of this dimension of Mary's spiritual motherhood can be seen in the following passage: "I know how much you suffer, but do not be afraid. I share with you your suffering, and I shall always do so" (Diary, 25).
Father Donald Calloway, MIC, is vocation director for the Marians of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He lives in Steubenville, Ohio. You can order Purest of All Lillies through our online catalogue.