Month of Mary – May Devotions – Day 16 – The poverty of Mary!
The Blessed Virgin Mary is usually invoked as the poorest of the poor! Ordinarily no one prays or longs for poverty of any kind. We dread poverty like death and struggle tooth and nail to be rich or at least enjoy a comfortable life. Actually, in spiritual parlance, poverty is not simple a deprivation of goods like money, good food, luxuries and comfort. Poverty is understood from its internal resources, what the Lord and Master of the spiritual life taught as the first beatitude: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). Here is a virtue of great need for the kingdom! Internal poverty is best described as “spiritual poverty.” Poverty of this kind, helps us to be interiorly humble, detached from our earthly goods and endowment, confident in God as we approach life cheerfully irrespective of its difficulties and bitterness and above all live and rely absolutely on the divine providence of God.
Our Blessed Lady’s poverty remains very clear in Scriptures: “she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn” (Mt 2:7). In the midst of her poverty she rejoiced and did not complain about suffering this hardship. On the contrary, she rejoiced at the birth of Jesus, despite the poverty of her surroundings. From the school of holiness of the saints, St. Alphonsus Ligouri in his masterpiece on the Blessed Virgin Mary, entitled The Glories of Mary sums up her poverty: “Out of love for poverty she did not disdain to marry St. Joseph, who was only a poor carpenter, and afterwards, to maintain herself by the work of her hands, spinning and sewing, as we are assured by St. Bonaventure.” The truth is that those who are poor in spirit manifest the fourth beatitude of Jesus Christ: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, they shall have their fill” (Matt. 5:6). The Blessed Mother in her poverty had her fill as she says in her Magnificat: “He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty” (Lk 1:53). She enjoyed her fill because she recognised her emptiness and demonstrated it in her spiritual poverty and detachment.
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, through the office of your Blessed Mother and our Mother, you have taught us deep insights about the secret of riches – to be poor especially in spirit. This is not easy to accept and appreciate. So, I need the courage to embrace and internalize this teaching as our Mother has exemplified it. I have realised that to be poor in spirit will help me to be completely given to you and not to depend on money, human power and material resources, except YOU and YOU alone. With you as my divine providence, I will not hurt others to get material goods, I will experience the greatest riches – JOY (meaning Jesus, Others and myself). I will not be afraid to face life and its adversities, challenges and traumas but through all these issues, I will experience your mercy and generosity. Amen. Our Lady poorest of the poor – intercede for us!