The Divine Will Part V: The Patience of Mary

The month of September is dedicated to the Seven Sorrows of Mary.

Today, September 15th is the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows.

I want to continue the Divine Will Series by focusing on the Blessed Virgin Mary, especially the way in which she suffered.

Mary endured everything in her life with perfect patience.

Patience rarely exists in the modern culture. It isn’t always practiced because many things are expected to come easily and/or instantly.

Patience, however, is a virtue.

A virtue is an habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself. The virtuous person tends toward the good with all his sensory and spiritual powers; he pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions.

The goal of a virtuous life is to become like God.

(Catechism 1803)

By practicing patience, a person can grow in holiness and become a saint.

Because of her constant and complete surrender to God’s Will, Mary has been given the greatest glory. She is the holiest of God’s creatures, exalted above every angel and saint!

Saint Alphonsus Maria de’ Liguori, commonly known as Saint Alphonsus Liguori, had a deep devotion to Our Lady.

He was a prominent moral theologian of the eighteenth century and is a Doctor of the Church.

St. Alphonsus Liguori wrote The Glories of Mary — which is now one of the most widely used manuals of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

I want to share another excerpt from this book because it explains Mary’s virtue of patience, which teaches us how to suffer well and live in the Divine Will.

Of the Patience of Mary

Since this earth is a place of merit, it is justly called a valley of tears; for we are all placed here to suffer, and by patience to obtain for our souls eternal life: “In your patience you shall possess your souls,” said our Lord. God gave us the Virgin Mary as an example of all virtues, but especially as an example of patience. St. Francis of Sales, among other things, remarks, that at the nuptials of Cana, Jesus Christ gave an answer to the most holy Virgin, by which he seemed to pay but little regard to her prayers: Woman, what is that to thee and to me? Quid mihi et tibi est, mulier?” precisely for this reason, that he might give us an example of the patience of his holy mother. But why seek further? The whole life of Mary was a continual exercise of patience, for, as an angel revealed to St. Bridget, the blessed Virgin lived always in the midst of sufferings. Her compassion alone for the sufferings of the Redeemer was enough to make her a martyr of patience; wherefore St. Bonaventure says: The crucified conceived the crucified: “Crucifixa crucifixum concepit.” When we spoke of her dolors, we considered all she suffered, as well in her journey and life in Egypt, as during the whole time she lived with her Son in the workshop of Nazareth. But the presence of Mary on Calvary, with her dying Jesus, is alone enough to show us how constant and sublime was her patience: There stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother: “Stabat juxta crucem Jesu mater ejus.” Then, by the merit of this her patience, as blessed Albertus Magnus remarks, she became our mother, and brought us forth to the life of grace.

If we desire then to be the children of Mary, we must seek to imitate her patience. And what, says St. Cyprian, can enrich us more with merit in this life, and glory in the other, than bearing sufferings with patience? God said by the mouth of the prophet Osee: I will hedge up thy way with thorns: “Sepiam viam tuam spinis.” St. Gregory remarks on this passage, that the ways of the elect are hedged with thorns: “Electorum viae spinis sepiuntur.” For as a hedge of thorns protects the vine, so God encompasses his servants with tribulation, in order that they may not become attached to the earth; therefore St. Cyprian concludes, patience delivers us from sin and from hell: “Patientia nos servat.” And it is patience that makes the saints: “Patience hath a perfect work,” bearing in peace the crosses that come to us directly from God, as sickness, poverty etc., as well as those that come to us from men, such as persecutions, injuries, etc. St. John saw all the saints with palms, the emblem of martyrdom, in their hands. “After this I saw a great multitude …. and palms were in their hands;” signifying by this that all men must be martyrs by the sword, or by patience. Be then joyful, exclaims St. Gregory: We can be martyrs with out blood, if we preserve patience. If we suffer the afflictions of this life, as St. Bernard says, patiently and joyfully: “Patienter, et gaudenter,” oh, how much every pain endured for God will obtain for us in heaven! Hence the apostle encourages us in these words: “Our tribulation, which is momentary and light, worketh for as … an eternal weight of glory.” Beautiful are the instructions of St. Theresa on this subject: “He who embraces the cross,” she says, “does not feel it.” And again: “When a person resolves to suffer, the pain is over.” And if we feel our crosses heavy, let us have recourse to Mary, who is called by the Church: the comforter of the afflicted: “Consolatrix afflictorum;” and by St. John Damascene: The remedy for all sorrows of the heart: “Omnium dolorum cordis medicamentum.” Ah, my most sweet Lady, thou, though innocent, didst suffer with so much patience, and shall I, who am deserving of hell, refuse to suffer? [emphasis added] My mother, to-day I ask of thee the grace not to be exempt from crosses, but to support them with patience. For the love of Jesus I pray thee to obtain for me nothing less than this grace from God; through you I hope for it.

Fiat Voluntas Tua + Thy Will Be Done

2 thoughts on “The Divine Will Part V: The Patience of Mary

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