Oft times when we set out on the tried and tested mystical way of “Purification, Illumination and Union” we hope to make steady progress through each stage, and fortunately some saints do set us this wonderful example of heroic virtue and steady perseverance, but for many of us it can often seem as is we are stuck at the stage of Purification and indeed hardly making any progress even in that first stage of spiritual development. However, by the grace of God and the prayers of Our Lady and the Saints even whilst still "beginners" there are moments of Illumination and even Union through meditation and other spiritual exercises. We must never forget that we struggle in the world of time, but in the eye of eternity our salvation has already been accomplished by the sacrifice of Christ and the “Fiat” of Mary, whose “Yes” to God, made our salvation possible.
That is why in the Collect at Lauds this morning we prayed (from the Monastic Diurnal):
Forgive, we beseech thee O Lord, the offences of thy servants: and grant that we who by our own deeds are unable to please thee, may be saved through the intercession of her who brought forth thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ. Who with thee liveth and reigneth, one God world without end. Amen.
Not only did Our Lady’s co-operation with the Holy Spirit provide the channel for our redemption, the church also teaches us that she is still the channel by which all God’s graces come to us. How fortunate we are to have such a loving mother, who does not scold her little children or withdraw her love when they fall in the mud of life, but rather, patiently washes and restores them to pristine condition every time.
As a church, we have had some rough times this year, especially having to suffer the calumnies of some jealous and disgruntled former clergy, but thanks be to God, these assaults of the Adversary only leave us stronger and more at peace, not because of any worthiness on our part, but because of our boundless trust in the help of Mary.
If our church can be conspicuous for just two things I would hope that we might be known for our devotion to Our Lord’s abiding presence with us in the Blessed Sacrament, the fount of all graces, and in the Help of Mary, Mediatrix of all those graces.
Fraternally in Jesus and Mary,