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10.03.2023 01:15:13 1480x read.
Mary, full of Grace By: Fr. B.M. Mardiatmaja SJ

Mary, full of Grace

By: Fr. B.M. Mardiatmaja SJ


The theme that I would like to share is the dogma (1854: “Ineffabilis Deus” of Pius IX) about the teaching that the Virgin Mary is without the original sin from the beginning of her existence. It was mentioned in different words by Gabriel “You are full of grace”. The five words have formed the most joyful expression, which has helped me to explain, what Brother FIC is: “honoring the immaculate Lady of Nazareth, the Mother of Jesus”. Because, her being ‘full of grace has enabled her to be the mother of Jesus’ and it has made her ‘be immaculate, since the beginning of her existence’. 


It was the year 1949 when I entered the Primary School of the Brothers. I was very much touched by their friendship, even to the little children. And I was even more ‘impressed’ by their love to Mary since my mother was baptized under the name of Mary, the Immaculate Lady. Singing for “Holy Mary” in front of her picture has given me so much joy, that I sing them very often. When I was 14 years old, I was glad, because the Brother said to me “You may join us”. What a great joy. But then I entered the seminary, to enable me to teach more children, like the FIC Brothers. But afterward, I entered the Society of Jesus. In the Society of Jesus, we honor the Immaculate Mary since Saint Ignatius Loyola honors her deeply. 


During the whole formation years, we have many instances to celebrate the Immaculate Mary. Our joy has not ended, since I was ordained priest on 8 December 1973, to be able to celebrate with the Immaculate Mary. Afterward, I have written books on different theological themes, and also about Mary. I have always had a kind of joyful affection when writing and teaching and singing about Mary. Why? Because that is the finest and deepest way to united with Jesus, who has said to me “You are my friend” (John 15:15) and I become also the son of Mary, the immaculate Mary, to be saved from all sins. And together with Saint Ignatius Loyola, that is the deepest way to be a Jesuit priest. At the same time, I was glad, that for some years I was assigned to work and live with the Congregation of Mary, a group devoted to the Immaculate Mary. It has helped me to accompany so many people, to honor Mary as well as to spread the love of Mary to various groups, especially the young generations. And that is one of the very important point in the Spiritual Exercise of Saint Ignatius Loyola: to be united with Christ and, thus, to be close to Mary. 


There is another point to be considered meaningful in the devotion of Mary, when we remember, that under the Cross, Jesus has entrusted to His Disciples to carry for His Mother. The word ‘care’ here means a lot for me; and make the joy even greater, in the devotion to Mary. It is much deeper to ‘care’ for somebody than to understand him. That’s why, this way of loving Mary has very much to do with the devotion of the Holy Heart of Jesus. That way, I have tried to unite the Devotion to the Heart of Jesus and to the Heart of Mary. It helps me to enrich my vocation: especially after I have finished my study in theology and since I have to teach theology. It helps the lectures not to be too intellectual but more affective. And that has helped very much the priests, that I have taught and have to work very hard in the pastoral activities. Otherwise, their life would be full of managerial works and various human contacts, that could give them a hard life. Whereas ‘spiritual care’ from the Lord and from Mother Mary can give them more joy in their life, their work, and even to their hard life. Well, it is very enriching, since, everything comes from the merciful Father, through the loving Christ, in the caring Spirit: accompanied by Mary. 


In all that, we should ask ourselves, why is it possible, that Mary helps us? Because she has accompanied the Son, since the beginning of His being sent by the Father to redeem us (Phil 2:1-11). In the conversation between Mary and the Angel, it was clear, that everything happens, because “She is full of Grace.” And that is also the only possibility that she answers “Yes” and to be fully united with the Son. And that is also the only possible cause, that Mary is the Immaculate woman. We have to be more joyful. Since the Second Vatican Council has invited so many important persons from different Churches and has decided, to include the Immaculate Mary in the most important dogmatic Constitution “Lumen Gentium”, in the 8th Part. 


Afterward, I was more joyful, after receiving the Letter ‘Redemptoris Mater’ from the Pope. It means that the most responsible authority in Churches was of the same heart, in loving and honoring our Lady. And now back to the beginning of this paper: “That is the most important expression, that has given me the explanation, what Brother FIC is: “honoring the immaculate Lady of Nazareth, the Mother of Jesus”. Let us be joyful and God bless us!

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