1. Mystery of Obedience in Gethsemane
From the Gospel of Luke 22:39-46
He then left to make his way as usual to the Mount of Olives, with the disciples following. When they reached the place he said to them, “Pray not to be put to the test”. Then he withdrew from them, about a stone’s throw away, and knelt down and prayed. “Father,” he said “if you are willing, take this cup away from me. Nevertheless, let your will be done, not mine.” Then an angel appeared to him, coming from heaven to give him strength. In his anguish he prayed even more earnestly, and his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood. When he rose from prayer he went to the disciples and found them sleeping for sheer grief. “Why are you asleep?” he said to them. “Get up and pray not to be put to the test.”
Like Jesus, Mary is also exposed to the temptation of refusing the incomprehensible will of the Father, of fleeing terrified before the absurdity and horror of the cross that seemed to make a lie out of all God’s promises. In her too, however, love is victorious. Her obedience was indeed a sign of her immeasurable love for and cleaving to the Lord… In that final hour, as much in the dark as the disciples and all the others, she showed herself sweet and strong and free. Out of love, she was nailed with her Son to the will of the Father… In her, lady of listening and obedience that come from faith and love, is reflected the Church and every Christian soul.
2. Mystery of Prayer
From the Gospel of Matthew 6:6
But when you pray, go to your private room and, when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in that secret place, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.
Mary, Our Lady of Prayer is one of the most influential titles attributed to the Mother of God… O the silence and humility of that purist praise. To listen obediently is a powerful prayer. It has been rightly affirmed that if one obeys God and calls on him, God listens to and grants their prayer. Mary received the divine Word and through the Holy Spirit, returns him to the Father. Her whole being was a vessel of wondrous perfumed incense, of nard and cinnamon (Sg 4:14) yet in the humble surroundings of Nazareth she knew only the smell and taste of simple everyday things; the smell of bread, oil, sheep or wool being worked… Her domestic tasks were synchronised to the rhythm of her heart that longed to contemplate the Lord’s face. Mary does not teach us to pray in the strict sense of the word, rather to allow ourselves to be moulded by the Spirit that leads us to holiness and to adore God, that makes us celebrate God’s mercy, and sing of his glory. Prayer is in fact a gift of grace, a work of God in us.
3. Mystery of the Passion of Jesus Christ
From the Gospel of Mark 15:1-5
First thing in the morning, the chief priests together with the elders and scribes, in short the whole Sanhedrin, had their plan ready. They had Jesus bound and took him away and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate questioned him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” “It is you who say it” he answered. And the chief priests brought many accusations against him. Pilate questioned him again, “Have you no reply at all? See how many accusations they are bringing against you!” But, to Pilate’s amazement, Jesus made no further reply.
It was in the silence of Nazareth that the Word that would echo around the world grew to full maturity but not before receiving that baptism of blood through Gethsemane and the cross. Mary, ever silent, among the crowd that looked on and shouted; in the moment on meeting on the road to Calvary, silent on Good Friday and Holy Saturday… A silence of unspeakable pain, of the total, loving acceptance of the will of the Father. Mary’s soul descended with her Son into hell, crossed the darkness of the kingdom of death and with the strength of love defeated it to re-emerge into the realms of a new and shining light. And when the others, astonished, spoke of him as alive and appearing, she alone, quiet in attentive self-giving, told no one of how she had perhaps seen and heard more than anyone. We must learn this silence from her which is born of not harbouring dreams, ambitions or illusions but by accepting with healthy realism, even the most disconcerting events of life, by opening oneself to the amazement of God’s unexpected visit… From her we can apprehend that true silence which is the death of the self in order to live for Christ.
4. Mystery of the Care of the Son of God by his Mother
From the Gospel of Luke 2:19
As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.
She who is already in the glory of heaven was once, like us, a pilgrim on earth, her feet grew weary treading dusty paths, her heart spent itself night and day concerned with human worries and troubles. Think only of the three tumultuous days searching for her young Son still in Jerusalem… Mary could not but see her everyday existence, the meaning of her life in relation to the person of her Son. She truly lived in poverty, growing in hope and counting only on God, the almighty who had given her that only Son of grace… The substance of her hope is not therefore a fully outlined project but ever and always a mystery of grace before which she laid every moment and event of her own existence.
5. Mystery of Mary’s Faith in God
From the Gospel of John 19:25-27
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, “Woman, this is your son”. Then to the disciple he said, “This is your mother”. And from that moment the disciple made a place for her in his home.
The terrible hour of darkness came and seemed to destroy forever that firm hope. For them all, even for Mary, hopelessness was close at hand… There, right under the cross, the Mother yet remained a wall and bulwark against the waves of death that tried to drown the last hope of humanity. Mary conquered together with Jesus, remaining tethered to the Word she had heard, to that Word that had been accomplished in her and was still being accomplished in her heart pierced by the sword that had opened the Heart of her Son. See the springs of living water welling up to eternal life. Refreshed by this water, Mary was able to await the dawn of the third day and shed tears like dew on
that new growth of life closed in the sepulchre.
Let us pray
O Mary, Our Lady of Silence,
you who were the womb of the eternal Word,
help your children
hear the word of love
that flows like living water from your breast.
Give us the gift of an open ear,
open to him who through the touch of his love
transforms our life and history
into a work of art, illuminated and colourful.
O Mary, Our Lady who listens,
help us to see the paths of life
and the designs of our heavenly Father
who loves us in a unique, eternal and
O Mary, help us to love as God desires,
so that we may live in eternal joy
together with the angels and saints.
This blog is extracted from Our Lady of Silence. In the Vatican offices is an icon of Mary with her finger pressed to her lips called Our Lady of Silence. This icon, which promotes listening to God and not speaking ill of others, is explained here, accompanied by a rich selection of devotions.
Be inspired by this new devotion to Our Lady by ordering your copy of Our Lady of Silence.