In preparation for the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which we observe on August 15, I invite you to a three-part reflection on learning from Our Blessed Mother how to be evangelizers. Both Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI spoke of Mary as the “Star of Evangelization” because of the way in which she brings people to Christ. Pope Benedict XVI, reflecting on the meaning of Mary’s journey to visit her cousin Elizabeth writes, “[Mary] wants, above all, to help others to meet Jesus. We have come to the truest meaning and most genuine purpose of every missionary journey: to give people the living and personal Gospel, which is the Lord Jesus Christ himself” (Discourse at the End of the Marian Month, May 2010).
One mark of an evangelizer is a deep and lively faith. This is the first characteristic of an evangelizer that we learn from Mary. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains, “Only faith can embrace the mysterious ways of God’s almighty power. This faith glories in its weaknesses in order to draw to itself Christ’s power. The Virgin Mary is the supreme model of this faith, for she believed that ‘nothing will be impossible with God’” (see section 273 of the Catechism).
Mary’s faith is the model of what our faith should be. Like us, Mary was a human being who had to struggle to hear and accept God’s word and to grasp the mysterious ways in which God works. She did so with such consummate fidelity that she is forever the example of what we mean by true, profound faith.
We cannot equal Mary in the wondrous mysteries in which she participated and in the privileges she received. But we can certainly emulate her faith as Mary said, in effect, “Although I do not always understand the unfolding of God’s plan and God’s providential order, nonetheless, if God calls, I accept. If God challenges, I respond.”
My faith and yours—the faith of all believers—is challenged to be the faith of Mary. As the Catechism says, she is the supreme model of what it means to believe.
The meaning of Mary’s role in God’s plan of salvation is summed up in Paul’s letter to the Galatians: “But when the fullness of time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law so that we might receive adoption.” (Galatians 4:4).
This explains why Mary has such an important role in the life of the Church. When Mary said, “Let it be done to me according to your will” (Luke 1:38), through her faith she set in motion the divine plan that would lead to the restoration of all that was lost in the fall—and eventually to our salvation through the death and resurrection of her Son and our Lord, Jesus Christ. We remember this each time we pray the rosary.
By using the words of Scripture, the rosary challenges us to meditate on all the mysteries of Mary’s relationship to Jesus, our Savior. For this reason, devotion to Mary and particularly the recitation of the rosary are an integral part of the prayer life of the Church. If we intend to live our faith fully and put it into practice, the rosary is certainly a powerful instrument to help us accomplish this goal.
Pray the Rosary.
What does God challenge me to do? Do I respond with Mary’s faith? How do I show my devotion to Mary? In what way is her faith my model?