Chapter Five: The Heavenly Mission of the Immaculate Heart
There’s actually one more element to Our Lady’s earthly mission, but it serves as a bridge to her heavenly mission, so let’s begin with that. It is her consecration as Queen and Mother of the Church by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Her manifestly glorious, heavenly coronation would have to wait until she was bodily assumed into the Eternal Kingdom, but even while on earth she undoubtedly held a place of special honor among those who formed the first communities of the newly-born Church.
Mary was the closest link to Jesus once He ascended to Heaven. She knew Him more intimately than anyone else, and she enjoyed a more profound mystical communion with Him after He had ascended to his Father. Mary had been filled with the Holy Spirit, intimately united to Him and wholly possessed by Him from the moment of her conception. But at Pentecost the Holy Spirit placed a new and special anointing upon the Immaculate Heart of his beloved Spouse. Jesus told St John at the foot of the Cross to behold in Mary his own Mother, and the Holy Spirit at Pentecost opened the eyes of all the disciples to behold the same.
So the Heart of the Blessed Virgin was opened to receive everyone as her own children. Thus she became the universal Mother, who would eventually be recognized as the heavenly Queen, when she would be exalted at the right hand of her divine Son. While she was still in this world, it was not Mary’s mission to evangelize the nations like the Apostles, but rather to be the contemplative Heart of the Church, the Seat of Wisdom, the honored Lady to whom all could have recourse when they needed counsel or prayer.
Mary’s mission as Mother and Queen continues in Heaven. God has made the Immaculate Heart of Mary the Mediatrix of all Grace so as to fulfill this heavenly mission. Mediatrix of all Grace is the highest honor God could possibly bestow upon a creature, for it gives Mary an authority and an exalted mission held by no other save God Himself. The element of power and authority that is Mary’s as Mediatrix belongs to her role as Queen; the actual distribution of graces that is Mary’s mission as Mediatrix belongs to her role as Mother.
An article by Dwight P. Campbell entitled “The Holy Spirit and Mary,” gives us a concise expression of the mystery of Mary’s maternal mediation, according to the insights of St Maximilian Kolbe: “All grace, says the Polish saint [i.e., St Maximilian], ultimately comes to us from God the Father, through the merits of Jesus Christ, his Son, and is distributed by the Holy Spirit; and the Holy Spirit, in distributing all grace, works in and through Mary—not because he has to do so, but precisely because in his plan of salvation, God wills to do so. And God wills to do so for a reason: Jesus, the Source of all grace, came through Mary via the work of the Holy Spirit; therefore it is fitting that all grace continue to come through Mary by the work of the Holy Spirit.”
St Maximilian himself says: “Just as the Son, to show us how great his love is, became a man, so too the third Person, God-who-is-Love, willed to show his mediation as regards the Father and the Son by means of a concrete sign. This sign is the Heart of the Immaculate Virgin, according to what the saints tell us, especially those who love to consider Mary as the spouse of the Holy Spirit. This was the conclusion drawn by St Louis de Montfort, in accordance with the teaching of the Fathers… Since the death of Christ, the Holy Spirit acts within us too, by means of Mary.”
Let us remember the divine logic and beauty of this mystery: “Jesus, the Source of all grace, came through Mary via the work of the Holy Spirit; therefore it is fitting that all grace continue to come through Mary by the work of the Holy Spirit.” Why should any grace not come to us through Mary once the divine Source of grace came to us through her? If the Blessed Mother of God really is to be the Mother of God’s children, then God must give to her everything she needs to take care of us. What we need most, because nothing is more important than eternal salvation, is divine grace, so God has seen fit, in his infinite wisdom and everlasting love, to entrust Mary with all his graces.
Thus, in union with the Holy Spirit—a union which characterized her entire life—the Immaculate Heart and heavenly hands of Mary are the means by which all graces are granted to us. While it is not necessary to explicitly invoke Mary for every grace we seek, if we choose to do so we will discover such a wealth of love, beauty, sweetness and goodness that we will always desire to be as personally and consciously united to our heavenly Mother as possible.
Our Lady’s mission is accomplished in us through the events and experiences of our daily lives. As Mother, she is also teacher, and our union with her Heart is the means by which she communicates divine truths to us and helps us live according to the Gospel of Christ and the Tradition of his Church. If we make Mary’s Heart our home and refuge, as she has asked us, we will be able to see the events of our lives and of our world through the “lens” of her Heart. She will help us see things as she does and will help us understand and interpret them in the light of the Holy Spirit.
Mary will also help us understand the Scriptures if we consciously unite ourselves to her Heart and seek her assistance whenever we read the Bible. A good mother will take her child on her lap, and from the earliest years of the child will teach him or her about God and the Faith. Our heavenly Mother does the same for us. She has witnessed the events through which our salvation was won for us, and she herself was an integral part of them. She has been filled with the Holy Spirit from the first moment of her conception, so she is rightly called the Seat of Wisdom.
If we ask our Mother, we will be able to interpret the Scriptures from the perspective of her own Heart, and she will show us things we’ve never recognized or understood before, and at times she herself will speak to us through the inspired words. We can hear her voice, for example, in passages like this: “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you making my prayer with joy… And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel thus about you, because I hold you in my heart… For God is my witness, how I yearn for you with the affection of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:3-8). All this is just a part of what it means to live in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
To be continued…