In the Footsteps of Mary

For the month of October we publish a writing by Igino Giordani revealing his deep relationship with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and a growing understanding of her mystery.

“The Church today insists on presenting the imitation of Mary in terms of hearing and practicing God’s Word. This is best summarised in her attitude towards the will of God and words of Jesus: “But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart” (Lk. 2:19).

She made her heart into a paradise of divine treasures, a chamber for the Incarnate and spoken Word of God. She held Wisdom in her heart, just as she held Jesus in her womb. She was able to welcome God into her womb because she was always so accustomed to emptying herself, so that he could fill her with his mind. She lived the ordinary life of most people in her world, burdened with the work and concerns of the family that were common to everyone else. In order to become all things to all people she turned the common everyday events of her life into the raw material of her holiness showing that one can ascend to the heights of God without ever living outside the realm of common existence. In this way she is the model for every living person; and every living person is in a position to reproduce, to prolong her mission in the human family – and to reproduce her under any human condition.

Every soul can imitate Mary. It only has to act in such a way that whoever sees the way it expresses itself will recognise or maybe even discover Mary who gave the world its Redeemer. Everyone can find himself in Mary: the poor, the worker, the ailing and the aging; and in her you can just as easily find the scholar, the scientist and the statesman: Bernard, Aquinas, Dante, Milton and Manzoni. . . Many do not know how to define Christianity, and they also ignore the secondary definitions. But from their mothers or at school, they have taken away and cherish an image of Mary. They know from that image that Christianity is a collection of good things: love, loyalty, solidarity, strength, innocence, joy, beauty. . . Mary is all the most desired virtues put together that moreover are lived in a simplicity which makes them accessible to all. It’s enough to rely on God as she does, placing yourself in his hands (. . .)

If you look at your neighbour with your own eyes and consider with your own mind the economy, politics and all the models of coexistence, you’ll only come up with bitterness. But if you look at people and things with the eyes of Mary, you will more surely be filled with pity. Her tears drench everything in love. And in the divine light all that seems grandiose, horrific and fatal is deflated. Everything is returned to its truly small dimensions (. . .) if you look at the world with the eyes of Mary sparks of human sympathy and poetry begin to arise from even the gloomiest faces and darkest situations. The divine life begins to surface, which had been inserted in humanity by the Incarnation.

Mary is simple and thus the imitation of Mary involves the total dismantling of complicated words, studied gestures and relationships woven by diplomacy (. . .) in other words washing away all the makeup that has been applied to the soul, so that one can uncover one’s self as God created it. There could be the objection that acting in such a way would leave you open to the attacks of the clever and sophisticated. But perhaps the best defence against such attacks (and also the cleverer) rests in simplicity which is dismounting. Truth is the subtlest form of diplomacy. Mary proceeds straight on her way, says what she thinks, does what she must. All the souls that use the arms of goodness, prayer, repentance and forgiveness are able to find themselves in Mary. Imitating Mary, or better, uniting ourselves to Mary, the march of existence turns into a Heavenward ascent. The bitterness of life becomes sweetness if we let ourselves be taken by her hand, her pure and motherly hand that never grows tired.”

Igino Giordani in: Maria modello perfetto, (Rome: Città Nuova, 2001).



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