In his Last Supper discourse Jesus told his apostles, “If you know me you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him. Philip said to him, ‘Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us’. Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn 14: 7-9).
The infinite love that Jesus had for the Father made him a special image of the Father; it made him an “icon” of the Father. An icon is not simply an image; it is a window into a spiritual reality. Jesus essentially told Philip, “If you know me, you know the spiritual reality of who the Father is”.
Mary has been called the Icon of the Holy Spirit, no doubt, because of the profound love that united her to the Holy Spirit throughout her life. As an icon of the Holy Spirit, Mary reveals the Holy Spirit to us. And we should also see Mary in the Holy Spirit. Saint Maximilian Kolbe believed this, because he called the Holy Spirit the “Uncreated Immaculate Conception” and he called Mary the “created Immaculate Conception”. (In one of her apparitions at Lourdes, when asked her name, Mary said, “I am the Immaculate Conception”). Being the “Immaculate Conception” is not the same as being conceived immaculately. St. Maximilian Kolbe explained the difference this way: Being conceived immaculately is like being a white object, but being the Immaculate Conception is like being “whiteness”. A white object can be stained, but whiteness cannot. Being the Immaculate Conception, a whiteness that cannot be stained, means that from all eternity Mary was destined to be sinless and full of grace for her entire existence. (See Rosa Lombardi, MFP, Mary, Reflection of the Trinity and First-Fruits of Creation, page 243)
The Holy Spirit is the Love between the Father and the Son. Since love is associated with the heart, we could say that the Holy Spirit is the Heart of the Trinitarian family. Mary, on the other hand, is the heart of the Holy Family consisting of Jesus, (the image of the Eternal Word), of St. Joseph, (the image of the Heavenly Father), and herself, (the icon of the Holy Spirit). Mary as mother of all the faithful is also the heart of the Church, the Family of God.
Mary and the Holy Spirit both live a hidden silent life. The Heavenly Father spoke in audible words to the Patriarchs and the Prophets. In the New Testament the voice of the Father is heard saying, at the baptism of Jesus, “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased”. At the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor the Heavenly Father was heard saying to Peter, James, and John: “This is my beloved Son, listen to him.”
The Eternal Son of God made himself visible in Jesus and proclaimed the Good News to us. The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, is described as invisible like the wind; you might say, like the breath of God. The Incarnation, the Baptism of Jesus, and Pentecost are manifestations of the Holy Spirit, but the voice of the Spirit is not heard. We only know the Holy Spirit by the effects that he produces. The Holy Spirit infuses his seven-fold gifts on the believers in silence.
Mary was also known for her profound contemplative silence. The only words that we could say that Mary directed to us are the words that she spoke to the servants at the wedding feast in Cana, “Do whatever he [Jesus] tells you”. Yet, because she is the Mediatrix of all Graces, she transmits innumerable blessings to us. She, too, infuses her gifts directly into the souls of her devotees. We know her by the effects that she produces in the lives of those devoted to her.
Let us meet the Holy Spirit and Mary in contemplative silence and open our hearts to receive the blessings they wish to communicate to us in silence.
By Deacon Antonio / MariaNews.com
Read More by Deacon Antonio here.
Antonio is a retired deacon in the Archdiocese of Denver. Last September his wife, Maud, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of cancer. They were told that she didn’t have long to live. Since she is 83 years old, they decided to refuse the chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Last October they were sent to Hospice. They have now been there for 8 months. Antonio’s wife is not experiencing the symptoms of multiple myeloma other than the fact that she cannot move and has to stay in bed all the time. She is also in the last stages of Alzheimer’s disease. You prayers will be appreciated. Antonio spends the entire day with his wife.