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Commentary

Victorious month (3)

St. Francis’ life was an awakening to Christ’s mandate to pass through the narrow door to assure entrance into glory.

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“The Lady of All Nations… was once Mary.” The simple, humble, unpretentious, plain, God-loving woman of Nazareth is now Queen of heaven and earth. Being the Mother of God, on Calvary She had also become the Mother of all mankind.

God chooses the little and lowly for the achievement of His marvelous plan. His victory is attained through humble and trusting souls. The first day of the Victorious Month recalls the saint of the Little Way: “Unless you be like little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.” At the age of 10, sick in her bed, St. Therese, the teacher of the knowledge of divine love (doctor divini scientiae amoris), was visited and cured by Our Lady of Victories. The image that miraculously smiled on her came to be known as Our Lady of the Smile. The smiling image is associated with littleness and childlike/innocent joy.

4 October celebrates the feast day of a saint who espoused poverty to gain imperishable wealth. The person of St. Francis of Assisi evokes Holy Mary of the Angels (Sancta Maria degli Angeli). In the church in Assisi dedicated to the Blessed Mother under this title, one finds a small chapel repaired by St. Francis, instructed by the Lord in a vision: “Build My church.” It is called Portiuncula, which means “little gate.” While he understood the sentence literally, God actually called on him to strengthen the Church, which during his time was undergoing a severe crisis.

What came to be historically called Franciscanism saved the Church from further decadence due to too much power and worldliness. St. Francis’ life was an awakening to Christ’s mandate to pass through the narrow door to assure entrance into glory. The narrow door, manifested in the life of “the Woman Who once was Mary,” and followed by the saints, is the difficult path, the little way, the humble and simple but trustful attachment to God.

The simple and humble way is obviously the Good News proclaimed by the Son of God become man. The gospel story is the journey of Jesus, Who leads, followed then and now by His disciples.

The first and foremost disciple is none other than the Lady of All Nations, Who once was Mary. All are meant to follow the Savior in the journey from this transient life into eternity. The only way is imitation of Mary Who was and remains always united to Her divine Son. 7 October, for centuries the feast of Our Lady of Victories, became the feast day of the Holy Rosary.

For many, the rosary is the repetitious recitation of Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be. There is nothing wrong in such repetition. These prayers originate not only from the Bible. Indeed, they come from heaven. Truly the rosary, which literally means a bunch or garden of roses (very beautiful flowers offered to one so dear), is a reflection on the life journey of Mary totally united to Jesus, the life of Jesus completely lived by Mary. Their total union on earth finds fullness in heavenly glory.

This journey of life until its eternal fulfillment is for all. The simplicity, humility, dedication, purity and holiness of the “the Lady of All Nations, Who once was Mary” must be present in all destined to be children of God, sons and daughters of the Mother of all mankind. This is the key to victory. The Rosary Month is an excellent time to strive to become children of the universal Mother Who once was the humble Nazareth Maiden.

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