The Virtues of Mary
A virtue is an attitude or way of life that will help us to control our action and guide our conduct so that we do the good things that God wants us to do. When we live a virtuous life we receive inner joy, strength and peace. In the following list of the ten virtues of Our Blessed Virgin Mary there are questions that we can ask ourselves to see if we are living by each of the virtues.
Purity is being in control of our passions and bodily desires, so that they always move us towards the true following of Jesus Christ in faith and love and never away from Him.
◗ Do I experience the fruit of self-control in my life?
◗ Do I respect myself and others by dressing modestly?
◗ Do I protect the purity of my mind and my heart in the things I read, watch, listen to, think about and talk about?
◗ How does Mary’s example inspire me? (Matthew 1:18, 20, 23) (Luke 1:27,34)
Prudence is the ability to consider your options carefully and to choose the right course of action in the light of Faith. Remember how Mary carefully considered the angel Gabriel's words to her at the Annunciation.
◗ Do I allow my faith to influence the decisions I make in all aspects of my life?
Humility is the knowledge and acceptance of our dependence on God for everything good, from the gift of life itself, to every natural and supernatural blessing. Mary is the shining example of gospel humility, for even when she was told that she was chosen to be the Mother of God, she referred to herself as the mere "handmaid of the Lord." (Luke 1:48)
◗ What are my achievements?
◗ What are my gifts?
◗ Do I always give the credit back to God?
◗ Does my pride ever get in the way?
Being faithful means to surrender ourselves, our minds and our hearts to God. Mary showed that she had surrendered herself completely to God, trusting Him to fulfill all His promises. (Luke 1:45) (John 2:5)
◗Are there areas of my life that I struggle to surrender to God, to fully trust in Him?
◗ Take a moment to pray for the gift of supernatural faith.
◗ “Lord I believe, help my unbelief.”
The English word "devotion" has several possible meanings, but here we use it to mean the virtue of using to the full all the means of grace that our Lord has given to us to draw closer to Him, especially prayer and the Sacraments. Mary showed herself a truly devout woman of prayer when she offered, in praise and thanksgiving, her Magnifcat, "My soul glorifies the Lord." (Luke 1:46)
◗ How often do I draw close to God through prayer and the Sacraments?
◗ Is God asking me for a renewed commitment in this area?
◗ Can I find a way to ‘pray constantly’? One suggestion could be learning a verse of scripture by heart, ‘O God come to my aid, O Lord make haste to help me’ or simply ‘Come, Holy Spirit!’
Mary was the model of obedience, especially to the will of her Son, Jesus. As she said to the servants at the wedding feast at Cana,“Do whatever he tells you." (John 2:5)
◗ Am I a law-keeper or a law-breaker?
◗ Am I loyal to my spouse/friends/parents/children?
◗ Do I obey Jesus’ will?
◗ Am I prepared to follow God with ‘blind obedience’ like Mary? (Luke 1:38; 2:21-2, 27)
By poverty we mean not just material poverty, but true simplicity of heart, in other words, detachment from all material things. The poor in spirit know that accumulating and enjoying worldly goods is not the purpose of our lives; rather material goods ought to be a "means" not an "end". They are a means to be used for the service of God and the relief of human suffering and need.
◗ Do I have a ‘holy detachment’ from worldly things?
◗ Am I thankful for God’s provision?
◗ Is there a particular worldly thing to which I cling too tightly?
Patience is the virtue that enabled Mary to endure all the wrongs and misfortunes of life without discouragement, but with trust in God instead. (John 19:25)
◗ Am I easily discouraged by the struggles of life?
◗ Do I trust in God’s providence for me and in His perfect timing?
See how merciful Mary was to her cousin, Elizabeth. No sooner had Mary heard from the angel Gabriel that her elderly cousin was pregnant, that she journeyed quickly through the hill-country to visit her, and stayed with her for three months to help her. (Luke 1:36-56)
◗ Am I willing to put the needs of others before myself, to come to their aid?
◗ Is there a particular person or situation that God is calling me to reach out to?
SORROWFUL (Luke 2:35)
Whenever we take our pain, grief and sorrow, and offer them up, in union with Christ's passion, then we can share in the saving work of our Saviour. (Colossians 1:24) As Pope John Paul II taught in his apostolic letter on the meaning of human suffering, Salvifci Doloris our unavoidable sufferings and sorrows can find meaning in Christ, and can be put to good use. We are not only to do good to the suffering, he wrote, we are also to be good by our sufferings. In the Temple, Simeon foretold that a sword would pierce Mary’s heart. (Luke 2:35) Think of Mary’s suffering at the crucifixion of Jesus, as she stood at the foot of His cross.
◗ What are my sorrows and sufferings?
◗ Contemplate the cross and unite your sorrows and sufferings to Christ.
CHAPLET OF THE TEN VIRTUES OF THE MOST BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
We can reflect on Mary’s virtues and ask her powerful intercession by praying the Chaplet of the Ten Virtues of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary:
Start by making the sign of the Cross,
then say 1 Our Father
followed by 10 Hail Marys,
mentioning after the words "Holy Mary, Mother of God " one virtue, in the following order:
1. Most pure
2. Most prudent
3. Most humble
4. Most faithful
5. Most devout
6. Most obedient
7. Most poor
8. Most patient
9. Most merciful
10. Most sorrowful
"Pray for us sinners now and at the hour
of our death."
Finish with 1 Glory be ...