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“And Mary said – 
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour”

– Luke 1:46-47

It is tempting to think that for Mary, everything came very easily. I suspect the reality is somewhat different. The fruit of Her Immaculate Conception was that Her will was pefectly attuned to the will of God in all things and with no exception – but this did not in any way lessen Her free will; at any moment, She could have made choices that were not so attuned. Of course, She never did this – the other word for this is sin, and Mary was (and remained) entirely free of any actual sin throughout Her earthly life.

(In contrast, the rebellious Angels were similarly attuned to the Divine Will to begin with – but, for reasons best known to themselves, they chose to follow their own path and to reject the will of God.)

To keep Mary’s will attuned to that of the Lord, She required Her free will to build upon the grace granted to Her by the Almighty. And to do so perfectly, as She did, required a constant act of the will. This says a great deal about Her personality and Her strength of character – but then, this interior strength and determination is evident in every word of the Gospel which concerns Her.

We see the beginnings of this strength and interior disposition at the moment of the Annunciation, where She declared Herself to be the Handmaid of the Lord, adding “let it be done to Me according to your word”. This ‘fiat’, as it is known, persisted for the entirety of Her earthly life and She never once wavered from it.

It is no wonder that the late Cardinal John Henry Newman (very soon to be canonised), once referred to Her as “this tainted nature’s solitary boast”. In other words, She is the very pinnacle and perfection of humanity – She is the sole example of a perfect nature, as God intended it to be, always close to Him and never moving away from Him.

We, alas, are not at all in the same league as the Blessed Virgin. But we do have Her as our mediatrix, to constantly pray for us to Her Divine Son, and to obtain for us from Him, every single grace that we need.

Tonight, whatever needs we perceive ourselves to have, let us place them with confidence at the feet of the Mother of God; She understands our needs better than we do and She can obtain for us all that we need to help us in the battles of life.