Living in the Two Hearts

My Spiritual Insights and Musings

Infancy of Mary

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on December 4, 2008

Greetings!: This is a continuation of an Advent reflection as seen from the eyes of the Mother of the Redeemer, the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Please refer to the first post in this series: INTRODUCTION if you are a first time reader.

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EIGHT DAYS AFTER MARY’S BIRTH, all the friends and relatives of the family gathered in St. Joachim’s house for the ceremony of naming the baby (tradition continued to Jesus’ time: cf Luke 2:21)  … St. Joachim placed his daughter in the hands of their richly-robed leader, who lifted her up as if offering her to the Lord, and recited prayers. Then he wrote the name Mary on a parchment placed it on her chest. After the singing of some psalms, the ceremony was over and Mary was taken back to St. Anne…

Later, St. Anne and St. Joachim took Mary to the Temple in Jerusalem for the ceremony of the purification of the mother, (cf. Lk 2:22-24). St. Anne humbly gave her offerings of a lamb and a turtle dove, and prayed to the Lord to forgive her all her faults. Then, entering the Temple with her daughter in her arms, she offered up Mary to God with devout and tender tears. In her heart she heard a voice urging her renew her vow to give Mary to God’s service in the Temple within three years.

The holy man Simeon had been deeply moved when he saw Anne and Mary, and now as he dimly perceived the mystic light…And he prayed still more fervently for the coming of the Redeemer… [Satan] had also been studying St. Anne, but when he saw that she humbly submitted to all the regulations of the priests and even asked them to intercede for her, he decided she was just another pious woman.

During the next three years in the home of her loving mother, Mary was treated as other children of her age and passed her infancy subject to the common laws of nature…While she showed a special affection for her mother and father, they were inspired by God to handle and caress her with unusual restraint. She ate less than other children and she slept much less, for whenever she could, she prayed and meditated and performed interior acts of love for God.

Though she was thus filled with the light of God and His mysteries, nevertheless Mary judged herself to be the least of all His creatures, and she always ascribed to herself the last place of all. Whenever, during that first year and a half, St. Anne freed her daughter’s little arms and hands, Mary would immediately grasp her dear parents’ hands and kiss them with reverent humility…she continued practice as long as they lived.

When she reached the age of eighteen months, Almighty God urged her to pray many times every day for the coming of the Messiah, and He told her that it was now time her to converse with others… God promised her…that He would assist her in directing all her words to His service and glory…one day little Mary spoke her first words to her beloved parents, asking their blessing. At the same time she showed them that she could walk by herself.

With intense joy St. Anne took Mary into her and said: “O darling of my heart, this is a blessed hour! Let your words be few and well considered, and may all your footsteps be directed toward the honor of our Creator!”

In order to [encourage] her [to] talk, St. Anne used to call her and ask her to speak of God and His mysteries.  Mary, however, would humbly beg her mother rather to instruct her.  Thus mother and daughter passed many hours in sweet conversation about holy things.  [Also] eager to express in her actions her conviction that she was the least of God’s creatures, little Mary tried to help in cleaning and scrubbing the house whenever she could.

Almighty God had already revealed to Mary how grievously the sins of men offended Him. Consequently she would often retire to her room and prostrate herself on the floor and beg for mercy for poor sinners.

THE BLESSED VIRGIN SAID TO VENERABLE MOTHER MARY OF AGREDA:

“At the first sight of the Highest Good, my heart was wounded with love, and I gave myself entirely to Him. I underwent the hardships of infancy like other children.  I felt hunger, thirst, sleepiness, and other infirmities of body. In all the difficulties which I endured after I was born into the world, I was resigned and contented, since I merited none of God’s gifts.  Be very devout toward my most sweet name.”

Previous Posts:

Anne and Joachim
Nativity (Birth) of Mary

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