MODIFIED. Original photo, “Mother of Fair Love”, by sculptor Pasquale Sciancalepore, a gift of Josemaría Escrivá to the University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
MOTHER OF FAIR LOVE,
PRAY FOR ALL THOSE WHO HAVE GIVEN THEIR LIVES TO YOUR SON!
I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope.
In me is all grace of the way and of the truth, in me is all hope of life and of virtue.
Come over to me, all ye that desire me, and be filled with my fruits.
I am the mother of fair love said Mary, for she is the Mother of Jesus Christ, True-God and True Man, whose Love is the greatest among all loves, being God, Love Himself.
She is the Mother of fair love because her love, second to none except to God’s love, is incomparable to the best love which any person could give. Her love for God and for humanity made it possible for Love to assume human flesh, commence God’s entry into humanity for its salvation -Be it done unto me according to Thy Word-, and maternally continues to bring all men and women to God who is Love, and would never cease till the end of time. Her motherly love renders the souls of men beautiful to God’s eyes since through her we have been spiritually born in Christ’s life; and as our heavenly mother, she continuously asks, provides and assures our material and spiritual welfare as her children.
And as a mother loves her children, and watches over their well-being, “so thou, oh our most sweet queen, lovest us, and dost procure our happiness,” says St. Bonaventure.
As St. Josemaria wrote:
Ego quasi vitis fructificavi…: ‘like the vine I sprouted beautiful branches and my blossoms gave forth savory and rich fruits.’ We have read these words in today’s Epistle. May our souls and the souls of all Christians be full of that sweet fragrance which is devotion to our Mother, and may it bring us to trust entirely in her who watches over us at all times.
‘I am the Mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge and of holy hope.’ These are the lessons which Mary reminds us of today. The lesson of fair love, of living a clean life, of having a sensitive and passionate heart, so that we may learn to be faithful in our service to the Church. This is no ordinary love. It is Love itself. There is no room here for betrayal, or calculation, or forgetfulness. It is a fair, a beautiful love, because its beginning and end is God, who is thrice Holy, who is all Beauty, all Goodness and all Greatness.
But there is also a reference to fear. For myself, the only fear I can imagine is that of turning away from Love. God Our Lord certainly does not want us to be inhibited, timid or lukewarm about our dedication to him. He wants us to be daring, courageous and refined. When the sacred text speaks of fear here I am reminded of a complaint we find elsewhere in Scripture, ‘I searched for my heart’s love, but found him not.’
This can happen, if one has not yet fully understood what it means to love God. Then our hearts can be swayed by things which do not lead to Our Lord and so we lose sight of him. At ther times it may be Our Lord who hides himself. He knows the reason why. In such cases, he will be encouraging us to seek him more earnestly and, when we find him, we shall be able to cry out with joy, ‘I took hold of him and I will never let him go.’
The Gospel in today’s Mass has called to our minds a moving scene in Jesus’ life, when he stayed behind in Jerusalem teaching in the temple. Mary and Joseph ‘had gone a whole day’s journey before they made enquiry for him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances. When they could not find him, they made their way back to Jerusalem in search of him.’ The Mother of God, who looked for her Son so anxiously when he was lost through no fault of her own, and experienced such great joy in finding him, will help us retrace our steps and put right whatever may be necessary when, because of our carelessness or our sins, we have been unable to recognize Christ. With her help we will know the happiness of holding him in our arms once more, and telling him we will never lose him again.
Mary is also the Mother of knowledge, for it is with her that we learn the most important lesson of all, that nothing is worthwhile if we are not close to Our Lord. All the wonders of this earth, the fulfillment of our every ambition, all this is worthless unless the living flame of love burns within us, unless there is the light of holy hope giving us a foretaste of never-ending love in our true homeland in heaven.
‘In me is to be found every grace of doctrine and of truth, every hope of life and of virtue.’ How wise the Church is to put these words on our Mother’s lips so that we Christians do not forget them. She is our safety, the Love that never fails, the refuge ever open to us, the hand ever ready to caress and console.” (St. Josemaria, Friends of God, 277-279)
At this very moment, you should trustingly beg Our Lady, as you accompany her in the solitude of your heart, without saying anything out loud: “Mother, this poor heart of mine rebels so foolishly! If you don’t protect me…” And she will help you to keep it pure and to follow the way to which God has called you. St. Josemaria, Friends of God, 180
MOTHER OF FAIR LOVE, PROTECT THE HEARTS AND SOULS OF THOSE WHO HAVE GIVEN UP THEIR LIVES FOR THE SERVICE OF YOUR SON, OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, FOR GOD’S GLORY, AND THE GOOD OF HIS CHURCH AND ALL SOULS!
Today marks the anniversary of the foundational date of the Women’s section (1930), and of the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross (1943) of Opus Dei. Let us thank God for the self-giving of these women and men to God, and for more vocations for the service of His Church and of all souls.