Saturday, July 6, 2013

Maria, Perfecta Fidei Icona

In his first encyclical, Lumen fidei, Pope Francis has given us many beautiful things to meditate on. But he has also given us, I think, another lovely title for Our Lady: "Perfect Icon of Faith" (Perfecta Fidei Icona). 
In paragraph 58 he writes:
In the parable of the sower, Saint Luke has left us these words of the Lord about the "good soil": "These are the ones who when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience endurance" (Lk 8:15). In the context of Luke’s Gospel, this mention of an honest and good heart which hears and keeps the word is an implicit portrayal of the faith of the Virgin Mary. The evangelist himself speaks of Mary’s memory, how she treasured in her heart all that she had heard and seen, so that the word could bear fruit in her life. The Mother of the Lord is the perfect icon of faith; as Saint Elizabeth would say: "Blessed is she who believed" (Lk 1:45). 
Beautiful stuff!   As we mull over the Holy Father's words, we can keep Our Lady before our eyes and ask her to help us in our struggle to love and serve her Son.

At the end of the encyclical, the Holy Father offers a prayer to Mary for faith, it serves as a fitting invocation to Our Lady as Perfect Icon of Faith:
Mother, help our faith!
Open our ears to hear God’s word and to recognize his voice and call.
Awaken in us a desire to follow in his footsteps, to go forth from our own land and to receive his promise.
Help us to be touched by his love, that we may touch him in faith.
Help us to entrust ourselves fully to him and to believe in his love, especially at times of trial, beneath the shadow of the cross, when our faith is called to mature.
Sow in our faith the joy of the Risen One.
Remind us that those who believe are never alone.
Teach us to see all things with the eyes of Jesus, that he may be light for our path. And may this light of faith always increase in us, until the dawn of that undying day which is Christ himself, your Son, our Lord! 

Mary, Mother and Perfect Icon of Faith, pray for us

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