The 10 Virtues of Mary and How to Live Them in Everyday Life
“In every action then, we should consider how Mary performed it or how she would perform it if she were in our Place. For this reason, we must examine and meditate on the great virtues she practiced during her life.” - St. Louis de Montfort
As Catholics, we are called to imitate Christ in every way. Well, easier said than done. The fall has made sure of that. But we have hope through our Blessed Mother who perfectly imitates her son in all things. She perfectly conformed her life to the will of God and is now celebrated as Queen of Heaven.
In his book, True Devotion to Mary, St. Louis de Montfort lists “ten principal virtues of the most Holy Virgin Mary.” When looking at them initially, they can seem daunting, but it is possible to practically practice these in our own lives.
Our Lady radiates joy and kindness to all she encounters. Whether it's when she greets Elizabeth during the Visitation or appears to the mystics of Guadlupe, Fatima, Lourdes, and others. All are struck by how lovely and radiant she is.
Where can we be a source of sweetness in our world? Smile at people as you pass them in the grocery store, look the homeless man on your street corner in the eye to remind him of his humanity.
Our Blessed Mother is selfless. Although she was with child herself, she immediately rose up following the angel’s visit and went to visit Elizabeth to serve her. Mary could’ve stayed where she was comfortable and familiar. But she chose not to, bringing Christ to Elizabeth, Zechariah, and John the Baptist.
In your own life, open up your heart and allow a spirit of servitude to enter, putting the needs of others before your own. How can you bring Jesus to them?
Mary was asked to do what may have seemed impossible. To raise a perfect, beautiful baby boy into a man who would ultimately die for the sake of all humanity. She was warned by Simeon that “a sword also shall pierce your heart.” She could have chosen not to give Jesus up. She could have chosen to stay in Egypt when the Angel called on the Holy Family to return to Galilee. However, she was obedient to the Lord’s will despite the personal cost.
When I see a guide dog leading their handler down a busy sidewalk, I am always in awe of the total trust the blind man has in their dog to lead them away from dangerous situations to their destination. We can trust that the Lord's plan for us is greater than any we could make for ourselves, especially when the going gets tough. Know that you’re not alone. Just as the Lord was with Mary, He is with you, guiding you along the way.
Constant Mental Prayer
Our Blessed Mother’s entire life was a prayer. She was always in the Lord’s presence. She wasn’t kneeling before Him at all times, singing His praises. She served Him in her daily duties and offered everything to Him.
A young priest I know once walked up to a homeless man talking to himself on his street corner and asked him who he was speaking to. The homeless man looked at him and pointed to the cars who were passing them and said, “I’m praying that the Lord blesses them as He blessed me before I threw it away.” The man opened about his struggle with addiction and loss. The priest was struck by the man’s generosity of spirit and his faith.
How are you praising God, especially in the silent moments of your day? Thank Him in all things and ask for His help. Offer it all to Him.
Mary knew in her bones, from the moment of her creation, right from wrong. She knew that the Lord had a plan, even in the hard times and trusted in that. When it could’ve been easy to hate King Herod as he ordered the slaughter of the innocent, she prayed for him and understood the Lord was working through it all.
Divine Wisdom is a gift we receive from the Holy Spirit. The first step is to ask for it. Ask Him to help you see the world and all situations through the eyes of the Lord.
Mary entered into motherhood knowing that the cross lay at a certain point of her journey. Watching her son suffer and die could not have been something she looked forward to. But she understood what was at stake. She endured it all with the hope of the resurrection on Easter Sunday.
Patience is not my biggest strength. There are moments in my life where I have an “I want it now!” attitude. Oftentimes, the Lord’s answer to our prayers is a simple, “Yes, but not yet.” and that can be really hard to accept. But, in the moments I offer that suffering to the Lord, he takes up my suffering with Him on the Cross and bears it out of love for me.
“The Lord is with you!” What would Mary think when hearing such a high greeting! She was full of life and joy because she had surrendered herself wholly to the Lord. Her devotion to Him was unchanging. She saw him at his most vulnerable. While the disciples lost hope and went their separate ways (down the road to Damascus), she still had hope in the Resurrection.
Ask the Holy Spirit to descend on you and bestow you with Mary’s lively faith. Seek to find the good in the moments of suffering and understand that it is all part of God’s plan.
Mary is the second most interesting person in the Bible. But we only see her speak seven times throughout all of Sacred Scripture. I’d love to hear stories about her childhood, her marriage with St. Joseph, and what she was up to during Jesus’ public ministry. But we don’t have that record since she desires that we are ultimately led to Jesus.
Our ego can be very powerful. It’s easy to think of ourselves as the main character. But we’re not. God is. It can be difficult to release pride and arrogance, but a good place to start is by praying the Litany of Humility and asking God to help you.
Mary was completely and totally free from sin. She was as pure as fresh, white fallen snow before the kids run out to play in it and the street plows drive by. It was impossible for her to do wrong.
We, unlike Mary, are sinners. The response is frequenting confession and focusing on heavenly things and not the world. This doesn’t mean we have to be praying the Rosary constantly instead of enjoying movie night with our spouse or roommates. We have to be mindful of the media and people we invite into our lives that lead us to near occasions of sin.
Mary said humbly, “Be it done to me according to thy will.” She wasn’t just consenting to carry, deliver, and raise Jesus. She was saying yes (fiat) to it all: the crucifixion, death, and resurrection included! She put the will of the Lord before her own despite the cost.
When I see the word mortification in relation to our faith, I think of the saints of the middle ages wearing hair shirts and publicly lashing themselves. This, of course, is not something that we are called to do. But, we can accept the daily discomforts and humiliations quietly. When the stranger cuts us off in traffic, we can offer a merciful prayer for them. When the alarm clock rings, we can get up without hitting the snooze button.