Month of Mary – May Devotions – Day 22 – The holiness of Mary!
Is there anyone in doubt that today we live in a world that is ruled by destructive forces, ideologies and influences? A world that dehumanizes fellow human beings for the sake of sexual pleasure and fantasy, a world that says hard work is archaic and tasking rather cheating in the forms of examination malpractice, infidelity in marriages, character assassination and political upheavals are commendable “values.” Aha! There is one special deficiency today and that is the lack in holiness. Therefore, we need to get back to the fountain heads of holiness, God our ultimate end and Mary our proximate end and rediscover our bearing. This important aspect of our spiritual life is best informed by the holiness of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
God created us to be holy as St. Paul says, “God chose us in Christ before the creation of the world to be holy and without sin in his presence” (Eph. 1:4). The hallmark of holiness is the fact that it is a divine attribute of God. This being the case, we are called to be holy as God is Holy (cf. Lev. 11:44; 19:2; 1Pt.1:16). More so, there is a clarion call to Holiness by Vatican II. She says, “The Church, whose mystery is set forth by this sacred council, is held, as a matter of faith, to be unfailingly holy… Therefore, all in the Church, whether they belong to the hierarchy or are cared for by it, are called to holiness…” (Lumen Gentium, 21 November 1964, n. 39.). What is holiness? Kelly (2010) asserts that “Holiness is surrendering to the will of God, and at the same time, it is grasping each moment and making it all it can be. Sometimes holiness means indulging yourself and sometimes it means renouncing yourself. Each event in your life is an opportunity to change, to grow, and to become a – better – version – of – yourself – and that grasping of each moment is holiness.”
The challenge in defining holiness is that sometimes we misconstrue holiness for religious piety and sanctimonious display in religious settings and miss the point. The surest signs of holiness are not how often a person goes to Church, how many hours he spends in prayer, what spiritual books he/she has read, or even the number of good works he/she performs. Even though the aforementioned spiritual exercises are necessary tools for attaining holiness, it must be clear that “The surest signs of holiness are an insatiable desire to become all God created us to be, an unwavering commitment to the will of God, and an unquenchable concern for unholy people” (Kelly. 2010).
From the beginning of her life, the Virgin Mary possessed the gift of the fullness of grace, hence she was addressed by God through the Angel as “Hail Mary, Full of Grace” (Luke 1:28). Blessed Pope Paul VI who promoted the cause of Mary, Mother of the Church also premised the motherhood of Mary on the signs of her holiness. She was “firm in her faith, ready in her obedience, simple in humility, exulting in praising the Lord, ardent in charity, strong and constant in the fulfillment of her mission” (Signum Magnum, 1967).
The world mocks, pities and ridicules those who strive to be holy. They say that God commands us to be holy, “Be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16), but the same God contradicts Himself when He says “No one is good but One, that is, God” (Mark 10:18). Matthew Kelly says, “These are all the very unnatural and unattractive ideas that the world proclaims about holiness. The world ridicules holiness. The world pities the saints, saying, “Oh, he could have been so much more! Or she had so much potential!”
Prayer: Dear Holy Mother of God, holiness is essential as God is and to recognise the necessity of holiness is to do the will of God. Holiness is compatible with all walks of life; therefore, there is the universal call to holiness by God, and the Church. Mother intercede for me to pursue holiness and live a life of holiness all the days of my life. Amen.
St. Rita – pray for us!