Mary, Model of Hope

As we reflect on the virtue of hope, we will take Mary as our model. She is our greatest human example of this virtue because, by being filled with the Holy Spirit, she was never subjected to the sins of presumption, pride, or despair which are the worst enemies of the virtue of hope.

For many centuries, Israel maintained a great hope in God and in a Saviour who was to come and deliver it from the hands of its oppressors. But as great as was this hope, we also know that the people oftentimes were unfaithful and that they adored idols and disobeyed the word of God as it was spoken through his prophets. Consequently, the Israelites would become disheartened and fall into despair. But, this was not true of Mary. She corresponded her will to the immense grace the Lord had bestowed upon her in choosing her to be the Mother of Jesus, Our Saviour and Lord.

Today we live in a culture devoid of Christian values. Instead, emphasis on the temporary and disposable take away all hope and generates individual and general insecurity. In view of this, the presence of Mary, as our Mother and example of hope is extremely important.

Mary's life was full of hope

Mary's "FIAT" was a definite and affirmative answer to God's proposed plan for her life. By her secure response and steady faithfulness, she gives us an example of hope and confidence in the Lord.

Mary accepted God's plan for her life only knowing that she would be the mother of the promised Saviour but without knowing how this promise would develop. How many surprises followed, such as the discomfort, poverty and the Birth in Bethlehem, the prophecy of Symeon, the flight to Egypt, the hidden life in Nazareth. But, "as for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart" (Lk 2:19).

Mary always showed her trust in the Lord despite outward circumstances. Her life was an immense hymn of heavenly hope. From the conception of Jesus until the loneliness of his Cross, Mary's life was an extended testimony of firm hope in God. She never despaired.

Our Testimony

As sons and daughters of God, we are expected to witness hope to a hopeless world. This must be a basic point in our work of evangelization, in our ministries, and in our teachings. Lack of hope signifies infidelity. Our Father loves us individually; He gave Jesus his only son to die for us and continues to pour out his mercy every day of our lives. Lack of hope, therefore, would mean that we are not willing to respond to God's plan of salvation for us.

As sons and daughters of God, we are called to be faithful and holy. Because of our decision for Jesus, we understand that it is impossible to serve him or to take up a ministry without a consecrated and profound search for holiness and intimacy with the Lord. This is a question of fidelity and fidelity includes trust and hope in the Lord.

Mary's Prayer

Mary is also our model intercessor, as she is our model of hope. In our needs, we can trust that the intercession of Mary will reach heavens and open the way to unexpected solutions. We saw this happen at the Wedding at Cana (Jn 2), when Mary placed herself between her son and her people, and interceded on their behalf. "They have no wine" (Jn 2:3). Even after the reluctant answer Jesus gives her, she says to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you" (Jn 2:4), She is hopeful and trusting that he will not reject her request. And he does not.

Mary, the servant of the Lord, was elected by the Father and supported by the Spirit to accomplish the mission given her. At the foot of the Cross, she became the Mother of all humanity and is our model of hope and also our advocate, always giving us hope of salvation.

Mary teaches us to pray the rosary. And the rosary is a prayer of hope. The Incarnation, which we pray in the Joyful mysteries, is the fulfilment of the greatest messianic hope. The Sorrowful mysteries, and especially the Passion, is the price of our Redemption and gives us hope in God despite our sins. The Glorious Mysteries confirm the aspiration of christians; the hope for heaven and the glories we are promised.

The Unity of All Christians

Mary is also our hope for unity between all christians. She is the hope of humanity as she intercedes for all people, especially non-christians, so that they may come to know Jesus as their Saviour and God. In Lumen Gentium we are invited to trust the unity of christians to Our Lady. May the Mother of all humanity, exalted in Heaven above the angels and the saints, intercedes for us all in the communion of the saints. As in the first community where the presence of Mary promoted union of hearts when they met to pray, may her intercession today join christians of all denominations today in one heart and mind.

Peace and unity are the objects of the hope of the Church and of all men. They are the gifts of the Holy Spirit for which we may ask through the intercession of Mary. Her intercession, full of hope, will always support us on our way to the Father.

Elizabeth, her cousin, proclaimed: "Blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled" (Lk 1:45). When we believe this word and take Mary as our model, we will become the prophets of hope which the world so much needs.

Let's ask Mary, Our Lady of Hope, to help us avoid every attitude against hope. May we, as Mary was, be faithful to the graces the Lord has granted us. May we turn to her in joy and gratitude for being the Mother who takes us to Heaven, where what we have hoped throughout our existence will become reality as we praise and adore the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit forever.