The Virgin Mary is Mother and Model for the entire Chuch. I recently read a book by Fr. Santiago Martín, entitled, María, camino de perfección (Mary, Way of Perfection); it is a reflection on the Virgin Mary’s 12 essential virtues. Exactly twelve, like the stars on her crown and the months of the year. The author invites us to choose a virtue to grow in each month with the help of Our Blessed Mother.
1. Model of Faith
The Virgin Mary always had an integral faith; she accepted God’s plan and fully trusted in His Word. We ought to ask Our Blessed Mother to be our teacher in the faith so that, like her, we may trust that the Lord always knows what is best for us. Mary can help us grow closer to God by helping us accept Him as Our Father and believe in His Love, knowing that He will never abandon us.
2. Model of Hope
Mary is a point of reference and model of hope in God. She never abandoned God’s will but always trusted that after the Cross comes the Resurrection. Let’s ask the Virgin Mary to teach us to place our hope in God alone, even in tough moments, knowing that we are never alone.
3. Model of Love
The Virgin Mary’s life could indeed be summed up in one word: love. All she did was love always. Love was never missing in her life. And it wasn’t an abstract love. Rather, this love was translated into two fundamental attitudes: generosity and diligence. Generosity, because She knew that all that we have is a gift from God, and she lived “giving until it hurts.” Diligence, because her love was made manifest in simple, day-to-day things.
4. Model of Chastity
Mary is virgin before, during, and after the birth of Jesus. In Her, chastity is a wake-up call for us, especially for the youth nowadays. Her chastity was united to Love, she lived in chastity to serve love, to love more and better.
5. Model of Poverty
The Mother of God was poor because of her generosity and love. In her, poverty was linked to austerity and simplicity. In a world like ours, she wouldn’t fall into consumerism or spending money just for the sake of it. She lived her life in simplicity, poorly, and with a sense of justice toward those who had nothing.
6. Model of Obedience
Obedience is not only a virtue for religious life. It’s an essential virtue for every Christian. It helps us carry out God’s Will before satisfying our own desires and despite our attachments. The Virgin Mary's obedience was not characterized by an attitude of resignation, but by her complete trust in God’s hands. In the Annunciation, we see how she obeys even when God’s request was not part of her plans. Let’s learn from the Virgin Mary to obey the Lord’s Will just as she did: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord.”
7. Model of Humility
Mary accepted her condition as God’s creature at all times. She understood perfectly where her place was and where God’s was. Our Blessed Mother can teach us how to live, as she did, doing everything for God’s glory alone, knowing that we are just a poor pencil in God’s hands. The Virgin Mary is a model of humility especially in Bethlehem and at the foot of the Cross. Here we can see very clearly how she trusted God without complaints or demands.
8. Model of Patience
The Virgin Mary is a teacher in knowing how to wait and accept God’s times, especially when things don’t turn out the way we hoped or in the midst of suffering. Mary tells us, like St. Teresa, “God alone suffices!” She encourages us to have the same patience God has with us.
9. Model of Mercy
Our Blessed Mother knew how to receive and have mercy on everyone: the spouses of the wedding feast at Cana, the fearful Apostles after Jesus’ death, all of us when we sin, etc. She is always there to embrace us, never judging us and interceding for us continually. Mary believes all things, endures all things and bears all things. Let’s ask her to teach us to always do good and to be compassionate towards those who suffer.
10. Model of Joy
Mary lived with a special and interior joy that was not at all superficial. She was happy with what she had and received all that the Lord gave her with joy. Hope is the fruit of Mary’s joy. Because of her union with God, only source of true joy, she was able to recognize what was truly essential and thank God for all she had.
11. Model of Gratitude
The Virgin Mary lived in constant thanksgiving for the Lord's countless gifts. Therefore, she can teach us to imitate her gratitude toward the Lord for His infinite mercy and generosity. She can help us give our best to God and be happy with what we have. A practical way you can do this is not going to sleep without having thanked God for at least 10 things that happened to you throughout the day.
12. Model of Prayer
Our Blessed Mother is a teacher of prayer; she was the first to live in intimacy with God, and all her life was union with her Son. Let us ask Mary to help us unite our hearts to the Heart of Jesus in every moment of our lives, and to do everything through Christ, in Christ, and for Christ.
My name is Beatriz, I'm a nurse and I belong to the Home of the Mother Youth. A few years ago I took part in a mission trip to Ecuador where I realized the importance of Christ's real presence in my life. I had always been Catholic, but I was more centered on myself than on God. I realized that a life that doesn't give of itself starts to rot, and that living for myself alone, superficially, I was losing what God had given me until then. Seeing that the Lord had always been with me, that He loved me and suffered because of my lack of fidelity changed my life radically. It pushed me to want to go to Heaven by leaving my superficiality, struggling every day to be holy and to bring to others the great treasure I found. That is why I try to share the joy of the Faith with everyone, especially with young people, and one way of doing this is through this blog. Pray for me!