Happy Feast of Mary, Queen of Apostles!
Today is a beautiful reminder for Catholic artists how Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is the best communicator of Jesus. Mary’s few words in the Gospels are simple and eloquent, leading us directly to Jesus. “Do whatever he tells you,” is a beautiful example of how every word and action of Mary points us to Jesus. But Mary’s example is even more powerful than her words. She is the ultimate model for an evangelizer through her witness of life: Mary’s entire life is a portal to Jesus for others. Mary “proclaimed” Jesus through her life, actions, words, canticle of praise, silence. And Mary continues to be a portal to Jesus from heaven.
In his meditations on Mary, our Founder, Blessed James Alberione, specifically honors Mary as Queen of Apostles. (Blessed James not only gave the Pauline Family this particular devotion to Mary, he named one of our sister-congregations after her.) In one of these meditations, he describes the “apostolates” that we are all called to, in order of urgency:
1) Interior life–in other words, working for our sanctification
6) Action (all active apostolates)
Mary lived all of these aspects of being an apostle. She was present not only at the beginning of Jesus’ mission, at the wedding feast of Cana, but she was also present at the beginning of the Church’s mission, gathered in the upper room, praying with the disciples at Pentecost.
With Mary in mind, Alberione goes on to describe what a real apostle is:
An apostle is one who bears God within and radiates him everywhere. An apostle is a holy person who stores up treasures and bestows the surplus on others. An apostle has a heart filled with love for God and for people; she cannot restrain or repress what she feels and thinks. An apostle is a vessel of election that overflows, and to whom people rush to slake their thirst. An apostle is a temple of the Blessed Trinity, which is at work in her at full power. An apostle is a person who exudes God from all her pores: through her words, works, prayers, gestures, attitude… Inhale God! Exhale God!
This “inhaling and exhaling” of God–that our relationship with God is our very life’s breath–is what it means to be an apostle. And Mary can show us how. I love how St. John Paul II called Mary the Star of the New Evangelization. We certainly need a model for all our communication…but often, we need a reminder of where our “apostleship” begins–where all our communication starts: in our hearts.
To Mary, Queen of Apostles
by Blessed James Alberione
I thank you, merciful Jesus, for having given us Mary as our Mother. And I thank you, Mary for having given to the world the Divine Master, Jesus, Way and Truth and Life, and for having accepted us all as your children on Calvary. Your mission is united to that of Jesus, who “came to seek those who were lost.” Therefore, oppressed by my sins, faults, and negligence, I take refuge in you, Mother, as my supreme hope. Turn your eyes of mercy toward me. Bestow your most maternal care on this, your most needy child.I place all my trust in you for pardon, conversion and sanctity. Form a new class among your children, that of the most needy: those in whom sin has taken root, where formerly there abounded grace. This will be the class that will most move you to pity. Receive my poor soul into this class. Work a great wonder by changing a great sinner into an apostle. It will be an unheard-of-wonder, and a new glory for your Son, Jesus, and for you, his and my Mother. I hope to receive everything from your heart, Mother, Teacher and Queen of the Apostles. Amen.
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A last note: I was unable to preview the film, The Fault in Our Stars, opening this weekend. But for those who are interested, I would like encourage you to check out Sr. Rose Pacatte’s reflective, well-balanced review here.