Month of Mary – May Devotions – Day 15 – The Devout life of Mary!
A hearty congratulation for your steadfastness in the May devotions in honour of the person of our Lady, Mother, and Queen! I can see that you have already made my blessed duty of sharing insights about the person of our Mother and particularly her virtuous life simple. A certain couple had approached me for spiritual direction and after welcoming and affirming them for their thoughtfulness for seeking spiritual direction, I asked them what they need spiritual direction for, and guess what? They quickly answered, “We want to develop and sustain a devout life.” I was overwhelmed by their need because, nowadays many shy away from the devout life, since it is demanding and requires a lot of discipline and they argue that Priests and Religious are the ones called to live and lead such sacrificial and regimented life. Next, I asked them, “What do you mean by devout life?” And here is what one of them said, “The devout life is a noble work of generously committing oneself in and out of life to the fundamentals of a true religion, faith or belief system.” Aha! Again, I was flabbergasted and I asked “Did you study spiritual theology?” The responded sharply, “No!” So, I kept searching for the source of this rich meaning of the devout life. And to my third degree of amazement, they explained, “We have read over and over again, the Introduction to the devout life by St. Francis de Sales and we sincerely desire to be devout or to become special seekers of the love of God.” My dear brothers and sisters, you would agree with me that the aforementioned couple have already set the ball rolling on the devout life of Mary. One who is wise and prudent cannot do without the devout life as a true believer in Christ. The devout life is a life of steadfastness to the life of the Spirit in a daily changing world of ours. A life of commitment to the essentials of our faith or religion. A life of Christian piety that is immersed in the tide of our daily activities. See, the example of a devout client of Mary: “St. Charles Borromeo, who was so celebrated for piety and learning, was not ashamed, when Archbishop of Milan, to descend from his carriage or his horse in the open streets to recite the Angelus in honour of Mary.”
To be devout is to be devoted in “taking full advantage of all the channels of grace that our Lord has given to us, especially prayer and the sacraments.” To this end, a devout life has two major wings: 1). Life in the sacraments and the Word of God: through these means the Lord comes to us and 2). Prayers and devotions: through these means the Lord draws us to Himself. There are numerous examples in scriptures to show the devout life of Mary. Pope St. John Paul II spoke about the devout life of Mary at length in his Wednesday General Audience address in Rome on Sept. 10, 1997:
Mary represents the model of the Church at prayer. In all probability, Mary was absorbed in prayer when the angel Gabriel came to her house in Nazareth and greeted her. This prayerful setting certainly supported the Blessed Virgin in her generous assent to the mystery of the Incarnation. … She who at the annunciation showed total availability for the divine plan represents for all believers a sublime model of attentiveness and docility to the Word of God. In replying to the angel, “Let it be to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38), and in stating her readiness to fulfill perfectly the Lord’s will, Mary rightly shares in the beatitude proclaimed by Jesus: “Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and keep it” (Lk 11:28).
A quote from St. Francis de Sales: “One thing more, dear reader. It is too true that I who write about the devout life am not myself devout, but most certainly I am not without the wish to become so, and it is this wish which encourages me to teach you. A notable literary man has said that a good way to learn is to study, a better to listen, and the best to teach. And St. Augustine, writing to the devout says, that giving is a claim to receive, and teaching a way to learn.”