This is Our Lady’s birthday week. (September 8, is the Nativity of Mary.)
I have been thinking about her a lot, and wondering what I could give her for her birthday.
While I have been thinking about her, it seems she has been thinking about me, and giving me gifts for her birthday.
One who loves very much receives in giving.
Mary is all about love. Her name is love.*
Mary is said to have said, “My heart will triumph.” *
She seems to be telling me, “Your heart will triumph, too.”
What does the triumph of the heart of Mary mean?
Maybe it means that our hearts will be like hers is shown to be in the Scriptures; open, flexible, listening, actively loving, responsive to the Spirit, reflecting on the Gospel, radiating God. She was always in close union with Jesus, Who is Love Incarnate. Her heart was filled with the Holy Spirit, Who is creative life-giving Love Itself.
In the morning, when I pray for the gift of of love, and for an open heart, that day I sense grace, peace, hope, and creativity growing in me. When I can love, my heart is healing. It rests me to love. I needed to remember that.
Maybe the triumph of Mary’s heart will be a world full of deep, warm, human love, reflecting the divine.
To open our hearts, especially when the temptation is strong to harden them, we might need to ask to be willing. My mom used to say, “Sometimes we have to ask to be willing. And sometimes we have to ask to willing to be willing. And sometimes we have to ask to be willing to be willing to be willing.” Wherever we need to begin, let us begin to ask for this willingness in prayer.
When we are deeply wounded by circumstances , or when others present us with heartlessness, we have to be willing to be opened to love, and to present heart-fulness, if God will give us strength.
When our hearts are pierced with sorrow, we can ask that they will bleed clean without resentment or bitterness, instead, being opened, with deeper love, compassion, and beauty, just like Mary’s at the foot of the cross.
I can imagine that her heart echoed and offered all she shared with Him then.
*When Jesus said, “Father forgive them,” she prayed for mercy for all who do violence in any way. She did this simply by her loving presence and union with Him in all things. She did not have to think about it.
When Jesus cried, “God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” she shared His desolation and we know that because of this she always weeps with those who weep, who feel abandoned by God, and betrayed by men, and that she is with them, more closely than at any other time.
When Jesus said, “Today, you will be with me in Paradise,” she longed with Jesus that every soul would be drawn into His love.
When He said from the cross, “Behold your mother,” and “Woman, behold you son,” in her suffering, she accepted the spiritual motherhood of us all, of anyone her Son would give her. Maybe she didn’t understand it. But it happened, because her will was with His like a perfect, intuitive musician improvising with a Master, is deeply in and with the music. She was in current with the movements of His will as it happened for her. Her prayer was perfect and simple: profound presence, willingness, and love. She did not have to direct it.
He said, “I thirst.” In this, I am reminded of the prayer mission of St. Therese, “To make Love loved,” and of Mother Teresa’s focus on the thirst of Jesus for our gift of self, for our hearts. If the saints understood this, then maybe Mary could see into the depths of His thirst as well, and in her being, she wanted to console Him with our love.
When He said, “It is accomplished,” maybe, in her acceptance, humility, love, and union with her Son, this was when she crushed Satan under her feet. That’s what happens when we love, especially when darkness seems to have its day, yet we lean our hearts into love. The darkest day is transformed, and evil is defeated, by love.
When Jesus prayed, “Father, into Your hands, I commend my spirit,” this is when her heart became an altar, like Abraham’s before her.
In her prayerful acceptance and open-ness of heart, Love became the water from within, given by Jesus, that gave her life. (John 4:14)
And that was the resurrection of her heart, that grew brighter, lightening her burden of sorrow, through all her life even after the Ascension. It was that she loved, and with God’s strength, she opened her heart more and more. And I think she was happy.
Maybe we can honor Mary’s birthday by being willing to have our hearts opened, by asking for the gift of love every day.
Her name is love.
It’s what she wants.
And the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness. (Galatians 5:22)
That’s what I’m getting from her for her birthday.
“God is love, and whoever lives in love, lives in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:16
Mother Mary has helped me see that this is the meaning of my life, my prayer, and everything I try to do. I want to know the Great Love. I want to be love. I want to find the Great Love in the faces and lives of others, and I have faith that it is there in every single person on earth. I want always to be seeking God every minute, in my innermost heart, and in the truth of others who God created and loves completely, believing He is to be found there. I want to draw out love in others, and have it also grow in me. I want to love relentlessly. I want to know in my life that GOD IS the GREAT LOVE.
Thank you, Mary. When I need it the most, you always help my heart live.
You heart will triumph. And mine will, too.
Our hearts will triumph together.
- “Her name is love.” It’s likely that Mary’s Hebrew name, Miriam, was derived from the Egyptian word for “love.”
- “My heart will triumph,” refers to the Marian apparitions at Fatima and Medjugorje.
- These Scripture verses are known as the “Seven Last Words of Jesus.”