Mary’s Obedience


Mary’s Obedience

When the angel Gabriel announced to Mary God’s great designs upon her, she, through love for obedience, would only call herself a handmaid: Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Yes, says St. Thomas of Villanova,  for this faithful handmaid never, in either thought, or word, or deed, contradicted the Most High; but, entirely despoiled of her own will, she lived always, and in all things, obedient to that of God. She herself declared, that God was pleased with her obedience, when she said, He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid; for in prompt obedience it is that the humility of a servant, properly speaking, consists. St. Augustine says that, by her obedience, the Divine Mother repaired the evil done by Eve’s disobedience. Mary’s obedience was much more perfect than that of all other Saints; since all men, on account of original sin, are prone to evil, and find it difficult to do good; but not so the Blessed Virgin.


St. Bernardine writes that, because Mary was free from original sin, she found no obstacle in obeying God; she was like a wheel, which was easily turned by every inspiration of the Holy Ghost. Hence, continues the same Saint, her only object in this world was to keep her eyes constantly fixed on God, to discover His will, and when she had found out what He required, to perform it. Of her was said, My soul melted when He spoke; that is, as Richard explains it, My soul is as metal, liquefied by the fire of love, ready to be molded into any form, according to the Divine will.

Mary well proved how ready she was to obey in all things; in the first place when, to please God, she obeyed even the Roman emperor, and undertook the long journey of at least seventy miles to Bethlehem, in the winter, when she was pregnant, and in such poverty, that she had to give birth to her Son in a stable. She showed equal obedience in undertaking, on the very same night on which she had notice of it from St. Joseph, the longer and more difficult journey into Egypt. Here Silveira asks, why the command to fly into Egypt was given, rather to St. Joseph, than to the Blessed Virgin, who was to suffer the most from it; and he answers, that it was that Mary might not be deprived of an occasion in which to perform an act of obedience, for which she was always most ready.

Mary at the foot of the Cross

But, above all, she showed her heroic obedience when, to obey the Divine will, she offered her Son to death, and this with such constancy, as St. Ildephonsus says, that had executioners been wanting, she would have been ready herself to have crucified Him. Hence Venerable Bede, explaining our Lord’s answer to the woman spoken of in the Gospel, who exclaimed,  Blessed is the womb that bore Thee! Yea, rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it,’ says that Mary was indeed blessed in becoming the Mother of God, but that she was much more so in always loving and obeying the Divine will.


The Disciple relates that there was a poor sinner, who, amongst other crimes which he had committed, had killed his father and a brother, and therefore was a fugitive. One day in Lent, hearing a sermon on the Divine mercy, he went to confess his sins to the preacher himself. The confessor, on hearing the enormous crimes which he had committed, sent him to an altar of our Lady of Sorrows, that she might obtain him contrition, and the pardon of his sins.

alphonsus no true child of mary

The sinner obeyed, and began to pray; when, behold! He suddenly dropped down dead from excess of grief. On the following day, when the priest recommended the deceased to the prayers of the people, a white dove appeared in the church, and let a card drop at his feet. The priest took it up, and found the following words written upon it: The soul of the deceased, on leaving his body, went straight to heaven: continue thou to preach the infinite mercy of God.


We beseech thee, 0 most holy Lady, by the favor that God did thee, in raising thee so high as to make all things possible to thee with Him, so to act, that the plenitude of grace, which thou didst merit, may render us partakers of thy glory.

Holy Mother of God ora pro nobis!

Strive, 0 most merciful Lady, to obtain us that for which God was pleased to become man in thy chaste womb. 0 lend us a willing ear. If thou deignest to pray to thy Son for this, He will immediately grant it. It suffices that thou willest our salvation, and then we are sure to obtain it. But who can restrain thy great mercy? If thou, who art our Mother, and the Mother of Mercy, dost not pity us, what will become of us when thy Son comes to judge us?

Help us then, O most compassionate Lady, and consider not the multitude of our sins. Remember always that our Creator took human flesh of thee, not to condemn sinners, but to save them. If thou hadst become Mother of God only for thine own advantage, we might say that it signified little to thee whether we were lost or saved; but God clothed Himself with thy flesh for thy salvation, and for that of all men. What would thy great power and glory avail us, if thou dost not make us partakers of thy happiness? O help us then and protect us: thou knowest how greatly we stand in need of thy assistance. We recommend ourselves to thee; O, let us not lose our souls, but make us eternally serve and love thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ.


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