Mary in High Definition
By Fr. Tito Mary
(Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception
70 W Main Street
Baltic, CT 06330-1348)
Homily– She loved God to Virginity. To love God alone is to not love Him at all, because love of neighbor is needed in order to love God.
One theologian used to call Mother Teresa the Gospel in Technicolor. She brought the Gospel to life. We could say that the Blessed Virgin Mary is today, the Gospel in High Definition (HD). She’s today’s Gospel in HD. She models the Truth, she wears that Truth, she lives the Truth. The Truth of God’s two greatest commandments: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind. And the second you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I think in the Annunciation and the Visitation Mary shows us what these two commandments mean in HD, in high definition.
Mary is called full of grace. And full of grace means filled with God’s life, God is love. And the more we’re filled with God’s life, the more we’re filled with God’s love. At the Annunciation she’s told that "you will conceive and bear a son and you are to name him Jesus." And Mary is disturbed. She says: "How can this be since I know not man?" Mary had consecrated her virginity to God as a child and so she’s disturbed because she’s going to bear a child but she’s
also already given herself completely to God. Actually Mother Teresa says what the Blessed Virgin Mary was asking the angel is: "How can I give to a man what I’ve already given to God?" Mary had already given her whole self, her mind, her heart, her will to God. How could she conceive a child? And the angel explains, "Well, it’s by the power of the Holy Spirit that this will take place." And Mary’s response is: "Be it done unto me according to your word." We say that’s Mary’s autobiography. Mary gave God a blank check on her existence – a carte blanche. And she persevered in that openness to God, in that surrender to God throughout her entire life.
Fr. Peyton’s rosary prayer books say: As a child Mary had vowed her virginity to God and gone was any earthly hope of becoming the Savior’s mother. Other Jewish maidens might cherish such an honor, but Mary’s love for God was so great that she could not find self in it. That she was renouncing anything did not even occur to her. She simply loved God unto virginity and left everything else to Him and that’s how she became the Mother of God.
Mary was totally abandoned to God’s Providence. Total surrender. We might say: Mary was all in. In poker when you put all your chips on the table, when you wager everything you have, you go all in. Well, Mary was always all in with God. Like we say: mind, heart, soul. She loved God with all her whole being. And as a result she was always increasing in her capacity for grace. Mary was always full of grace, but she also grew in her capacity for grace. So as she grew in her capacity, she was always filled with grace. We say she loved God unto virginity with that purest love.
In the Visitation, we see the second part of the Gospel, the Second Commandment: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Again Fr. Peyton says, Mary’s Visitation was like a prophecy of her Son’s Commandment: Love one another. In the Visitation, Mary goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth. She’s just found that she’s going to become the Mother of the Messiah, and she goes and visits her cousin Elizabeth. And Fr. Peyton explains it. He says: To love God alone is to love Him not at all. Loving God requires that I love everyone else, even those I cannot like.
And Mary goes out and visits her cousin Elizabeth. That sums up the corporal and spiritual works of mercy when Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth. It’s a corporal work of mercy because she attends to her cousin Elizabeth who is with child and is elderly. So Mary does the corporal works of mercy, taking care of the older woman Elizabeth as she prepares to bring John the Baptist into the world. But she is also performing a spiritual work of mercy. She’s bringing Divine Grace to Elizabeth and her unborn child. John is cleansed of original sin and filled with
Divine Grace at the Visitation. Mary brings the grace of Christ wherever she goes. That’s the spiritual works of mercy. That’s Charity--Charity for people’s souls, for their salvation.
There’s a painting of the Visitation in which the whole path that Mary traveled from Nazareth to Hebron is illumined with Light. Wherever Mary goes, she brings the grace of her son. Fatima, Lourdes, Guadalupe. Wherever Mary goes, she brings the grace, the life and the light of Christ into the world. So Mary models the Gospel. She teaches us how to put on Christ, how to wear the Truth. By meditating on those mysteries of the Rosary, we can be more fully clothed with His grace, with His virtues, with His humility, with His charity, with those virtues that bring the Gospel alive, that bring it to life in Technicolor, in high definition.
Note: Books of Fr. Peyton’s rosary meditations are viewable online, too.