8th March : Our Lady Of Virtues

Our Lady Of Virtues

Country : Portugal

Year :

All her lovely life long, Mary lit candles of the ten principal virtues which the Gospels attribute to her; namely:  purity, prudence, humility, faith, piety, obedience, poverty, patience, charity, compassion; candles which Our Lady lit to illuminate the pathway the children of God must travel to their eternal rendezvous with Him.

Mary lit a candle of purity on the day of her Immaculate Conception and kept it trimmed and aglow until the angel escorted her to Paradise.

When God sent the angel Gabriel to communicate to Mary the good news of the Divine Maternity; she knew this would mean ineffable joy and unutterable sorrow – she could have withdrawn her consent; instead, she lit the candle of obedience and submission to God’s will:  “Behold the Handmaid of the Lord.  Be it done to me according to Thy word.”  We have here a model of ready acceptance, on God’s authority, of what was naturally impossible.  Vowed to virginity, she did not doubt God’s promise that she should become the mother of His Son; she knew it to be possible with God.  She BELIEVED the Archangel Gabriel, she believed St. Joseph; she believed in and adored a God in swaddling clothes.  Well could her cousin Elizabeth call her “blessed” – because she had believed.

HOPE filled Mary’s heart on the first Holy Saturday, when the Apostles and disciples were mortally afraid that the cold tomb would not give up its dead.  Hope carried Mary high through the disappointments and frustrations that invariably beset the children of God, journeying toward the promised Heaven; and because she hoped in Him, she has become OUR hope.

Mary lit the candle of CHARITY.  At a time when might was right and tyranny clamped its iron grip upon the “little people” to terrorize them.  Mary fulfilled to perfection the new commandment of brotherly love.  Her heart was literally overflowing with love of God, love for men, love for God’s wonders wrought in her most humble person.  Charity prompted her to visit her aged cousin, although it meant a tiresome journey of seventy miles from Nazareth to Ain Karim.  Charity led her to solicit a miracle from her son at the wedding feast of Cana, Charity urged Mary to accept the death of Jesus, for the remission of the sins of mankind.  Mary has always loved us and still loves us – the combined loves of all earthly mothers past, present and to come, is like a block of ice in comparison with Mary’s love for one single soul.

Mary lit the candle of courage.  It took rare fortitude to travel to Bethlehem; to arise at midnight and head toward Egypt and exile.  What courage when the Jewish mob clamored for the death of her Son!  To take the taunts, the finger-pointing, the malicious gossip during the years of Christ’s public ministry; and pierced with sorrow, she nevertheless stood courageously at the foot of the cross.  Mary’s virtues are lovable, accessible.  She is the Mother of the Light of the World, who follows her, does not walk in darkness, but in the full effulgence of light that leads to sanctity.