Mary and the Circles of Love

Our Lady of the Sign (by a Polish priest)

In the dark of the early morning, on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (12-12-12), I awoke and heard in my mind a statement: “Mary is the Mother of Love.” The beauty and truth of that statement led me to repeat it silently in my heart, “Mary is the Mother of Love.” In stillness I pondered it for many minutes. That truth alone blotted out the dark and made the morning bright with joy. I then was led to ponder the simple Truth that the Heavenly Father is the Father of Love. I repeated silently, “The Father of Love.” I ruminated on a passage in John Paul II’s Crossing the Threshold of Hope, the gist of which is that the modern world denies this fundamental truth, that God is a Father of Love. (I later looked up the passage found in the last chapter of the book: “The ‘rays of fatherhood’ contained in this formulation belong to the Trinitarian Mystery of God Himself, which shines forth
from Him, illuminating man and his history.  .  . [yet] in human history the ‘rays of fatherhood’ meet
a first resistance in the obscure but real fact of original sin. This is truly the key for interpreting
reality. . . . Original sin attempts, then, to abolish
fatherhood, destroying its rays which permeate the created world, placing in doubt the truth about
God who is Love.”  The rays of Divine Fatherhood penetrate through the darkness of the culture in which we live. Indeed, “And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” Jn 1:5

Why is the Blessed Mother so crucial to the revelation of God the Father, as the Father of Love? The light that shineth in our dark world is the Christ. The Man of Love, Jesus Christ, was born of the Virgin Mary. So my mind and heart circled about the fundamental truths of faith, Mother of Love, Father of Love, Man of Love, Jesus Christ. Guardini, in The Rosary of Our Lady, says about the birth of Jesus (Christmas, or the mystery of the nativity) – “At the same hour something happened that concerned Mary alone: in her own personal being, in her spirit and heart, Christ moved into  the open expanse of her perception and love; the attitude of expectation became a communion face-to-face. . . . As her heart overflowed, a flaming flood rushed toward Him who came with the love of the Redeemer.” I seemed to have encountered that flaming flood of truth that evokes love of the Father. 

As I rose to meet the day, I continued to meditate on the Mother of Love, on this great Feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I realized that as I ponder the divine love, there is as well a fourth person and a fifth. The Spirit of Love proceeds from the Father and the Son. Mary conceived by the Holy Spirit: “Behold thou shall conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shall call His name Jesus” and “the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee.” The Holy Spirit was manifest at the baptism of Christ in the Jordan by John the Baptist: “Coming out of the water, he saw the heavens open and the Spirit descending and remaining on him. And there came a voice from heaven: Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.” The message of divine love was made manifest in the deeds of Christ, healing and providing for the people who came to Him in faith. His words, particularly the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, give specific form to the life of divine love. The greatest sign of God the Father’s love and mercy is the paschal Mystery, the Last Supper, the Death and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Of the suffering of Christ on the cross, Blessed John Paul II said: “The words of that prayer of Christ in Gethsemane prove
the truth of love through the truth of suffering.” Guardini again — “Mary connects us with all of these happenings. . . . She is the reason that I do not run away when my faintheartedness becomes unbearable, but that I remain. She herself remained ‘until all was consummated.'”

And fifth, the Church is formed by the Man of Love as the People of God. The members of the Church are called to be the People of Love, the Holy Church of God. Mary is the Mother of the Church. She was present at the cross with the disciple of love, John. She was present at Pentecost when the Spirit descended (Acts 1:14). Guardini says “When the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples, He equipped them for their mighty work. When at the same time He came to Mary, her work was already accomplished. All that remained to do for her was to bring her fuller understanding.” The apostles are sent to bring to the world the signs of the divine love, namely baptism, reconciliation and the Eucharist. Augustine frequently cited this passage from St Paul: “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.” Guardini again helps me see as he says of the Visitation: “the whole mystery is filled with the unspeakable intimacy in which Mary carried the life of the God-Man, giving Him hers and receiving of His.” Guardini says that all Christians imitate Mary insofar as Christ “takes possession of our being, draws our strength toward Himself, penetrates our thoughts and volition, and sways our emotions and sentiments, so that ‘It is no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me’ (Gal 2:20).” Christians then become signs of love, doing works of Mercy.

Much more could be said to fill in the “vision of love.” But I beheld on that Feast Day the wholeness of the circles of love, the three converging circles of love: the circle of the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; the circle of Mary, Joseph, Christ, John the Baptist, the apostles and all the friends of Jesus Christ; and the circle of the Church, the People of God, with Mary, the Apostles, all the saints (men and women of Love), and all of us poor sinners who journey along the way. We are blessed to be brought into the circle of Mary, the family of God, to know Jesus Christ and the Father of Mercy, and to be granted the Holy Spirit.  
Dante speaks to us:

“To every captive soul and gentle heart
into whose sight this present speech may come,
so that they might write its meaning for me,
greeting in their Lord’s name, who is Love.”
-Dante, La Vita Nuova

I received from a Polish priest an icon Our Lady of the Sign, pictured above. On its significance see the following posts here
and here

Guardini’s The Rosary of Our Lady (isbn 918477786) is available from Sophia Institute Press.



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