• Mary’s clear and understanding faith
• Mary’s union in prayer with the Heart of her Son
• Mary’s plain and courageous living out of the will of God in her life
The Faith of Mary
Mary exercised a deep, unquestioning faith. She believed everything God told her was true. We see this, for example, at the Annunciation. Despite the sufferings the prophets had foretold about the Messiah, her response was, “Be it done to me…” God could make the impossible possible, not only by doing things in us and for us, but to us.
She saw God’s will amid the trials of her life. It was faith that sustained her during her 30 years with Jesus at Nazareth and the three years of His public ministry. Mary alone had absolutely no doubt that her Son, though crucified and buried, would rise from the dead. Every Saturday is appropriately called the Day of Faith.
There is nothing more fundamental, nothing more necessary in the work of a catechist than a share in the unquestioning and understanding faith of Mary. Those who believe do so because someone shared it with them.
All catechists, since Mary’s day, teach only in so far as, like her, they really, really believe.
The Prayer of Mary
Mary kept in mind all these things, pondering them in her heart.
Prayer is the soul of religious instruction. Mary prayed in the depths of her being. Her principal prayer was in the heart, of the heart and with the heart. Jesus was always on her mind.
Catechists who pray communicate what they have learned from communication with God. As our minds and wills are influenced in the still moments, we in turn are able to enlighten other minds and move other wills.
Mary had the wisdom and humility to ask God to enlighten her, to have her will inspired by His grace so He could use her as His channel to inspire those whom she taught. This was her apostolic mission.
The Life of Mary
The Blessed Virgin lived in constant conformity with the will of God. Her Magnificat echoes what it means to do God’s will. To do God’s will is not to aspire to earthly power or riches, but to be satisfied with little and to be willing to be poor. To do God’s will is to see oneself as a mere servant who claims no rights from God but is always conscious of the duties that a servant must fulfil.
As she stood beneath the Cross, Mary knew it was God’s will that she be there, suffering in spirit in union with her Son. After the Ascension, Mary also knew it was the divine will that she be with the Apostles and disciples to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit.
She always saw the will of God as the Providence of God in her life. The circumstances in which she found herself, she saw as part of his all-wise plan for her. She responded accordingly. She saw the mysterious hand of God in the actions of human beings, including Augustus Caesar who ordered the census that forced her to go to Bethlehem to give birth to her Child, including Herod who forced her to fly to Egypt with the same Child in her arms, and including Pilate who condemned her Son to death as a criminal and the executioners who nailed Him to the Cross.
Like Mary, the spiritual life of catechists is the principal textbook from which they instruct those under their care.
No one else had been taught by Jesus to such depth as the Mary who lived with Him for most of His earthly years. She was both Mother and disciple. Blessed John Paul II referred to Mary not merely as a catechist, but as “the Mother and model of catechists” in the measure that, like her, we are catechists who believe, pray and live what we pray for and believe. Eastlyn Rawlinson, Archdiocesan Catechetcal Office
Source: Mary as Model Catechist Fr John A. Hardon, SJ Archives