In the midst of my plight, I turn to you, O holy Mother of God, my Mother, begging you to turn the gaze of your merciful eyes upon me, surround me with your love and protection, and lead me to know and love your divine Son, Jesus Christ my Lord.
A loved one of mine was going through a difficult time in her life and, as I looked on, I sought to pray for her in the same measure as her difficulties were great.
My prayer was guided by what I had recently discovered about the intimate union of our Lady with the Sacred Heart of her divine Son, in the midst of His most difficult moments, through the revelations of Sister Maria of Agreda (a 16th century Franciscan nun in Spain).
Sister Maria writes that holy Mary, through a special grace, was given the privilege of “seeing” all that her divine Son suffered during His Sacred Passion, as well as perceiving the unceasing acts of love and prayer of His Sacred Heart.
Christ had long promised His Mother that “in return for the new human existence which she had given Him in her virginal womb [the Incarnation], He would, by His almighty power, give her a new existence of divine and eminent grace above all other creatures”, and this promise of Christ “was continually fulfilled [in the course of her earthly life].”
“To this favour was due also her deep science and enlightenment concerning all the operations of the sacred humanity of her Son, none of which ever escaped her knowledge and attention.”
But whatever Mary “perceived” in the interior of her Son’s Heart, she also ”imitated” with fidelity:
“Whatever she thus perceived she imitated; so that she was always anxious to study and penetrate [Christ’s interior acts] with deep understanding, to put them promptly into action, and to practice them courageously and zealously during all her life. In this neither sorrow could disturb her, nor anguish hinder her, nor persecution detain her, nor the bitterness of her suffering weaken her.”
As a consequence of her “deep science and enlightenment”, Mary “felt in her own virginal body all the torments of Christ our Lord, both interior and exterior.”
But within such a hidden mystery, “there was concealed therein another mystery. This was, that the desire of Christ to see His exalted love and [goodness] as exhibited in His Passion copied in all its magnitude in a mere creature, was fulfilled in her, and no one possessed a greater right to this favour than His own Mother.” (Mystical City of God, volume 3, Chapter XXII, 670)
Thus was Mary increasingly conformed to the likeness of her divine Son, both in His suffering and in His acts of mercy—even in the midst of His most difficult and painful torments.
Filled with these thoughts, I pondered, how much more can Mary’s vision penetrate the depths of our own experiences, trials, and struggles?
With each glance of her soul, Mary understood the depth of Christ’s suffering as well as the unfathomable love which moved Him to suffer. If her gaze can penetrate all the depth of the Son of God’s suffering, love, and interior movements, how much more can Mary penetrate all the depth of our own hearts?
Do we not pray in the Salve Regina, “…turn then, O most gracious advocate, your eyes of mercy towards us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus”?
Just as Mother Mary was fully present to Christ in His suffering, she is also able to be present to me in the course of my earthly pilgrimage, and nothing is impervious to the turn of her merciful gaze.
By a special grace from God, the one who is “full of grace”, with one glance of her eyes, understands me better than I understand myself. And with that understanding, Mother Mary sees clearly all the depth of my struggles, the nature of my pain, and the desires of my heart.
I therefore resolved to make the following prayer for my loved one, and to entrust her, and all the dimensions of her quest, to the holy Mother of God:
I beseech you, holy Mother of God, my Mother Mary, to turn your loving gaze upon my loved one, surround her on every side with your unfailing protection; cover her in your holy mantle; press her to your holy bosom; and receive all the depth of her needs, struggles, and intentions in your Immaculate Heart—both those intentions that are spoken, and those that remain hidden—with the same love with which you never failed to watch over your divine Son, unto peace, joy, and eternal life.
“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”