“Let us always remain with Mary, our Mother on Calvary near the crucified Jesus….”1 For Mother Teresa, Mary was her guide to Jesus. This raises the point that if we are to be a Christocentric people, Mary needs to be, in some way, a part of that life. She is after all the mother of Jesus Christ, the mother of God.
Suffering, the cross, all these were experienced by Mary, and all of these are experienced by us. Her Son uses her to fill us with his grace. A grace that fills the chalices of hearts with love, a self-sacrificing love that pervades all, loving those we might think unlovable, loving during the harshest of times, in moments of great suffering, times in which it might seem impossible to love.
Thus a consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary is an act of discipleship to Christ. This is especially articulated in the New Testament when we look at Mary and the beloved disciple at the foot of the cross. For it is in that context in which Jesus passes on his mother to the disciples, to us the Church. There too, he also entrusts us to Mary, indicating that we will now come to Jesus through his mother, our mother--showing again how we are called to come to Christ, to embrace his cross through Mary.
Even in our prayer life, our “heart to heart” with God, is seen the heart of Mary. What we the Church call the Immaculate Heart of Mary could also be called the “contemplative heart of Mary.” As Mother Teresa prayed about the establishment and work of her new congregation, The Missionaries of Charity, she chose the Immaculate Heart of Mary as her and her sisters’ patron. She knew the power and grace that God uses through His blessed creature and instrument – the Virgin Mary and her heart. In light of this, Mother Teresa’s main weapon for persevering in the face of any evil or enemy was simply the family rosary. She says,
“We are taught to love and say the rosary with great devotion. Let us be faithful to this heavenly devotion for it will bring us closer to our heavenly mother. Our rule asks of us never to go to the slums without first singing the Mother’s praises. This is why we have to say the rosary in the streets and dark holes of the slums. Cling to the rosary as the creeper clings to the tree, for without our Lady we cannot stand.”2
Again, in our Christian lives of love, service and self-sacrifice, we cannot do so without God’s grace of course, but also without embracing our own poverty, brokenness and darkness. Giving it to the Lord through His mother, who experienced such poverty of her own – suffering with and offering up her only Son to the Father. She too was emptied of consolation throughout her life. All is brought back to the cross where Mary stands and prays, suffers, loves and offers her own poverty for all her children – the Church. Mary is the first Missionary of Charity.
And so, we pray with Mother Teresa and her sisters, trusting that Mary will bring us closer to her Son, the Dawn from on High:
"Immaculate Heart of Mary, cause of our joy, bless your own Missionaries of Charity; help us to do all the good we can. Keep us in your most pure Heart, so that we may please Jesus through you, in you and with you."3