What is it to be faithful? When we say a person is faithful, we generally mean that he or she is true, loyal to a superior, to a friend, to a cause, or truthful and exact in fulfilling obligations. A faithful friend is one you can depend upon to be true to you in misfortune and failure. A faithful servant adheres to his master, no matter what danger or difficulty comes in the way. A faithful person is "full of faith" in the sense that you can fully trust in him or her.
Never was there a heart so faithful as Mary's. First of all, in Her own life on earth, how true She always was to Our Lord in every need or sorrow or trial of His Life, from the sufferings and privations of his Infancy, the terrors of the Flight into Egypt, all through His Passion and Death on the Cross, She was always with Him, always ministering to Him, and even at the last, when She could do nothing more for Him, She stood by the Cross to the very end, fearing no danger to Herself, all Her thoughts fixed on Him. "There stood by the Cross of Jesus Mary, His Mother." These words are a history, a picture, of Mary's fidelity, its crown and consummation.
But there remained what was perhaps a still more searching test of Her fidelity to Jesus. He left Her bereft of His visible presence. He left to Her the care of His Church, His Mystical Body, then in its infancy as it were, just born, and needing a mother's care. Her whole Heart was with Jesus; earth was to Her without Jesus nothing but a blank wilderness, and yet She did this last hard task for Her Son's sake, just as She had done so many others. For fifteen long, weary years She lived patiently on without Him, fulfilling the charge He had left to Her, ministering to His Church, as She had done to Himself in His Infancy, watching over His Apostles and disciples, sympathizing with them in their difficulties, advising them in their doubts, encouraging them in their trials, assisting by every way in Her power, saving souls by Her example and Her mighty intercession.
Now in Heaven, to this very day, She is the same steadfast, loyal, faithful Virgin, so true to Her servants and Her children, that no one has ever served Her in the very least thing that has not been repaid a hundredfold. Who could count the souls of sinners saved by Her just because they had showed Her small honor or done Her some little service? She has been faithful to them; She will be faithful to us. Let us, in turn, be faithful to Her. St. John Berchmans, when asked what was the best devotion to Mary, answered: "Quidquid minimum, dummodo constans." ("Anything, no matter how small, provided one is faithful to it.")
We need never fear to be forsaken by Mary, the Virgin Most Faithful. In the Apocalyptic Vision the Son of Man is styled "faithful and true," and Mary, who so closely resembles Jesus, may also be described by these two words, "faithful and true." What a consolation for us to reflect on this truth!
We may, again, interpret "faithful" as "full of faith." How true of Mary is this aspect of faithfulness also! "Blessed art Thou that hast believed," said St. Elisabeth to Mary.
She was ever most faithful to Jesus, She was all for Him, all His; Jesus filled in Her the place that self holds in us. When we say with St. Gabriel, "the Lord is with Thee," one meaning of the prayer is that Our Lord is with Her inseparably and sovereignly, even as self is dominant in us. She is ever holding Him up to us, even in Her very statues and pictures, saying: "Whatsoever He shall say to you, do ye."
Motto: "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."
Practice: Be faithful to Mary.
St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori, in his Glories of Mary, relates the following example of Mary's fidelity to those who honor Her even in small ways:
A famous robber, who lived in the mountains of Trent in Italy, was one day admonished by a religious to change his life, but replied that for him there was no remedy, he was pledged by his evil companions to continue in the path he had begun.
"No," said the religious, "it is not so. Do what I tell you. Fast on Saturdays in Mary's honor. On that day make it a rule never to molest anyone, and Our Lady will obtain for you the grace not to die at enmity with God." The poor robber did as he was advised most faithfully, even going unarmed on Saturdays, that he might not fail in his vow.
But one Saturday he met with the officers of justice, and rather than break his vow, he let himself be captured. He was by this time an old, gray-haired man, and he said that he would offer his life in expiation for his crimes. After execution, a grave was quickly dug, and his body thrown into it without ceremony. But afterwards the Mother of God, with four Holy Virgins, was seen to take the body from that place, and wrap it in a rich cloth embroidered with gold. They then carried it to the city gate. Our Lady said to the guards: "Tell the Bishop in My Name, to give honorable burial to this poor man, for he was My faithful servant."
This was done, and all the people thronged to the place. There they found the body, the rich pall and the bier. From that time many of the people of that place began to fast on Saturdays.
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|Reference Library||The Story of Fatima||The Message of Fatima||The Fatima Cell||The Holy Rosary|
|Salve Maria Regina Bulletin||The Angel of Portugal||Promise & Plan of Our Lady||Cell Meeting Outline||Fatima Devotions & Prayers|
|Marian Apparitions & Shrines||Jacinta||Modesty||Monthly Cell Program||Seasonal Devotions|
|Calendars||Francisco||Scapular Consecration||Cell Reference Material||"The Fatima Prayers"|
|Saints||"Here You See Hell..."||Living our Consecration||Rosary Crusaders||Litany of Loreto|
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