May Allocutio 2024

The closer to Mary, the nearer the Holy Spirit

Fr. Paul Churchill, Concilium Spiritual Director

At the Last Supper Our Lord called his disciples to this standard: “Love one another as I have loved you!” Now that is a tall order. Why? Because he showed us a love that was one of total sacrifice and oblation. The thought that he calls us to share in his sufferings, self-denial and death can put anyone off. The apostles, to take an obvious example, believed Jesus to a point and followed him to a point. But when the crunch came, they were not able to stay with Jesus and did not love him as he had loved them. The reason is that they had not yet received the Spirit of Love. Once they received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, they were able to go and put themselves at risk and even to die.

Our Lady however had bravely endured the Passion with her Son and had stood by him even if her heart must have been through unspeakable pain and sorrow. This is another of the proofs that she already had the Holy Spirit in her. That Spirit of God’s love shone out in her as she stood there, not just as mother of her Son but Mother of us all, offering the Holy Sacrifice on behalf of humanity.

Beside her stood St John. He had aligned himself with her and Jesus would use him to say to him and through him to us all, “This is your mother”. But surely it is significant that the one apostle who was able to stay with Jesus to the end was that apostle who stayed close to Mary. And we cannot but note that in the Acts of the Apostles it was when Mary joins the Apostles that the door is opened to them to receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:14).

And this leads me to words of St Louis-Marie de Montford. He is very clear. “I do not believe that any person can achieve intimate union with Our Lord and perfect fidelity to the Holy Spirit unless he has established a very deep union with the Blessed Virgin and a great dependence on her help” He also says this, “When the Holy Spirit finds his Spouse in a soul, he flies to that soul, to communicate himself to her, to fill her with his presence, in proportion as he discovers therein the presence and fullness of his spouse. One of the major reasons why the Holy Spirit does not now work blinding wonders of grace in our souls is that he does not find in us a sufficiently strong union with his indissoluble spouse.”

St Louis Marie de Montford puts words, so to speak, in the mouth of the Holy Spirit addressing Our Lady thus: “Reproduce yourself in my elect; let me rejoice to see in them the roots of your invincible Faith, of your deep humility, of your all-embracing mortification, of your sublime prayer, of your ardent charity, of your steadfast hope, and of all your virtues. You are still my spouse, unswervingly faithful, pure and faithful.”

And he says, “By the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, Mary has produced the greatest which was or ever shall be: the birth of the God-Man. Consequently, it is she who will produce the great events that will mark the ending of time …. Only this excellent and miraculous Virgin can produce, in union with the Holy Spirit such mighty and extraordinary events.”

And of course this very special relationship between Our Lady and the third Person of the Blessed Trinity is developed by Maximillian Kolbe and Frank Duff. To quote Frank: “Mary is made and meant to display to us a likeness to the Holy Spirit analogous to the likeness of Jesus Christ to the second divine person.” And Frank would say that just as Jesus is the visible expression of the second Person of the Blessed Trinity so Mary is, without being the third Person of the Trinity, as good an image of the Holy Spirit that we can get.

So the closer to Mary we get, the nearer we come to the Holy Spirit. And because she was his Spouse, the more we associate ourselves to Mary the more the Holy Spirit can dwell in us and act through us. And just as the first Pentecost in the Church needed her presence so also our own Pentecost depends on her.

The Tessera is deliberately designed so as to reflect this with the Holy Spirit hovering and overshadowing her, a reality begun at her Immaculate Conception and brought to its fruitfulness in the Incarnation. In that same Tessera we have an array of souls under her watchful care and working with her to bring effect to the apostolic work begun on the day of Pentecost.

If Mary won for those disciples that courage of the Holy Spirit which helped them overcome the fears that were paralysing them, so she can do the same for us. This woman who, with the Holy Spirit brought God into the world, can help us all who have her in our lives to allow the Holy Spirit overcome our inhibitions to proclaim God’s truth to a world which needs it.

So on this Pentecost Day I ask you to renew and deepen your relationship with Mary. And remember that the more you do this the more the Holy Spirit will use you for the greater glory of God. Amen.