Freedom, Poverty, and Mary

In the Spiritual Exercises, Saint Ignatius of Loyola tells us to develop a spirit of detachment which allows us to let go of those things that prevent us from loving God.

As I I reflected on today's celebration of the Immaculate Conception, I thought about how the Blessed Virgin Mary shows us how to develop the kind of interior freedom we need to love and serve God.

  • Pay Attention. Mary is attentive to God. She listens to God. (Luke 1:26-29) But not only to God. She paid attention to daily reality, the people she encountered, the events she experienced, and the inner movements of her heart. (Luke 1:39-46; John 2:1-12) Attentive listening to God, Pope Francis explains, and attentive listening to the events of life go hand in hand. (Church of Mercy, pp. 133-135)  We have to do both.
  • Reflect and Understand. In listening to God, we see that Mary took the time to reflect and understand reality. She’s not in a hurry, but she takes her time, and contemplates on what she just heard: she asks clarifying question, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” (Luke 1:34)
  • Act Decisively. But she doesn’t stop there. Once she has understood what God has asked of her, she acts decisively. (Luke 1:38) She acts with courage--not without fear or trepidation, but with the courage to go beyond her fears--fear of divorce, even fear of being executed. And she acts with love--she took with her the most precious thing she has--her son, Jesus.

May Our Lady always pray for us, that we may develop the detachment necessary to be poor in spirit.