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Hopefully Devoted to You

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Last month, we talked about faith, the fourth of the Blessed Virgin Mary's Evangelical Virtues. This month, we address Mary's fifth Evangelical Virtue: devotion.

The Blessed Mother's fifth Evangelical Virtue speaks to Mary's loving commitment to the Lord, which during her life on earth was grounded in frequent prayer. We encounter Mary's great devotion to God in the first chapter of Luke, in what we call her "Magnificat." She says, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior" (Lk 1:46). Mary prays extemporaneously to the Lord, enumerating the ways that He had revealed His mercy and justice to her and to the world.

If we are committed to someone, it only makes sense that we would frequently talk to them and about them with admiration. As Venerable Fulton Sheen explains in his book The World's First Love:

[Mary] says only a "Fiat" to an angel, she says nothing to Joseph, but she chants verse upon verse of song to God, who looked down on the humility of His handmaid. As the infant leaped in the womb of Elizabeth, so a song leaped to Mary's lips; for if a human heart can so thrill to ecstasy, what joy did she know, who was in love with the Great Heart of God!

In her Magnificat, Mary praised the Lord because she loved Him. In this case, she poured out her love for Him in prayer because even though He is the greatest, most powerful being in the universe, He considered her in His plan of salvation. In other words, God loved the Blessed Mother, revealed His love to her most powerfully, and she joyfully reciprocated. So Mary devoted herself to the Lord above everything else, expressing her devotion to Him through frequent prayer.

Another example of Mary's devotion occurs in the next chapter of Luke, when the shepherds arrive at the Nativity and tell Mary about everything the angels had told them regarding Jesus. Scripture says, "Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart" (Lk 2:19). Scripture repeats the same line after the Child Jesus (whom Mary had just found in the Temple) asks her, "Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" (Lk 2:29)

When we ponder the mysteries of our faith, when we listen and think about what the Lord has done for us, we demonstrate our devotion to Him. This is why we call the traditional prayers of the Church "devotions." When we say the Rosary, for example, we contemplate Jesus, pondering His life and what He has done for us. This is just what the Blessed Virgin Mary did. When we pray like this, meditating upon the Lord, we open ourselves up to receiving God's grace in a most powerful way.

Though the Blessed Mother lived a quiet, humble life, never seeking the spotlight, because of her devotion to the Lord, God lifted her up as an example for all of us to follow. Mary, Most Devout, pray for us!

Next month, we'll reflect on the sixth of the Blessed Virgin Mary's 10 Evangelical Virtues: obedience.

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