ROME, OCT. 30, 2001 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II appealed to the faithful to pray in a special way during October to the Blessed Virgin for world peace. Here, ZENIT publishes some reflections on Mary by Father Marcial Maciel, founder and general director of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement.
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To speak of Mary is very pleasing and joyful, because it is to speak of someone I love profoundly and who has always been present in my life with her mother´s love, especially in the most painful moments.
I owe so much to Mary! I cannot forget that it was she who showed me my priestly vocation one day in May, many years ago, when I had just celebrated my 14th birthday. It was she who received my priestly ordination in Tepeyac. It was she who, despite my natural resistance to accept God´s plan for the foundation of the Legion of Christ, made me bow my head with the example of her unconditional fiat on the day of the Incarnation.
From the very beginning, she has always protected this work of hers and has accompanied me at the foot of the cross, as a light and source of unshakeable hope in my life as founder. In a word, during all this difficult journey of life I have had Mary very close to me, my sweet heavenly Mother, as a gentle but firm shepherdess who has known how to guide my steps!
The Holy Spirit made me perceive, from an early age, the moral beauty of Mary. I have admired her, contemplating her at the instant of the Incarnation of the Word as the most exalted and beautiful creature, the one most adorned by virtues. Her loving and unconditional fiat was for me the most perfect synthesis of a creature in relation to her Creator.
This fiat has been the beacon that has guided my life in my daily journeying toward the eternal goal indicated by my Lord. This perception of Mary was so profound, that it seemed to be the best explanation for why she was my mother — mother of my vocation and of my future priesthood.
I have always felt immensely proud to have such a mother, and I have always felt a vital need anchored in my soul to approach her for help against threats to my faith, for comfort in the face of difficulties and for the continual nourishment given by the simplicity and sublimity of her example.
From my earliest youth, the Lord gave me the grace to discern between devotion and devotions. This is why I understood that true devotion to Mary could be nothing less than the determined imitation of her virtues, as a son shows his closeness to his mother the more he is like her in his way of thinking, loving and acting.
If the Most Holy Virgin is the most perfect model of love of Jesus Christ, of intense dedication to his service, of loyal collaboration with his redeeming work, my ideal as a Christian and priest could not be otherwise.
From my own experience, I am convinced that when Mary takes possession of a soul, of a consecrated or priestly vocation, of a family or personal plan for spiritual perfection, it is very difficult for the devil to triumph, for she is the best shield to defend us from Satan´s snares.
Moreover, I know that whatever I ask her with simplicity and spontaneity, free of contrivance or false mysticism, she obtains for me from God, and I tangibly feel her help and protection.
Mary! My whole life has been enveloped by her loving and maternal mantle; her embrace and her Mother´s warmth are sealed upon my heart.