Mary the Mirror of Justice
Praised be Jesus Christ!
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
One of the titles by which we address Our Blessed Mother in the Litany of Loreto is Mirror of Justice (Speculum Iustitiae). The title reminds us that we see in Mary the image of how to live in obedience to God’s law and so grow in the likeness of Christ, that is, grow in the pure and selfless love of God and of our neighbor. Perhaps, we have not been accustomed to consider the relationship of Our Blessed Mother to the administration of justice, but it is real and essential. By her Immaculate Conception, the Mother of God participates in the justice of God, which finds the fullness of its expression in the Redemptive Incarnation, in the sending of His only-begotten Son into the world, in order that He might suffer and die to save us from sin and everlasting death.
When the Mother of God appeared to Saint Juan Diego in December of 1531, she identified herself immediately as “the ever perfect Holy Virgin Mary” (Nican Mopohua, no. 26). She then announced her mission, namely to have a chapel built, in which she would manifest God’s mercy and love to those who would come to her on pilgrimage. In fact, by God’s miraculous writing of her image on the mantle of Saint Juan Diego, Our Lady continues her mission.
In the Blessed Virgin Mary, we see the perfection of the disciple of Christ who, in the words of the Apostle James, looks into the mirror of “the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer that forgets but a doer that acts” (Jas 1, 25). In other words, when Mary looks into the mirror of justice, the mirror of holiness of life, she recognizes Christ, and, at the same time, she recognizes herself, as His first and best disciple, as the one who, by God’s favor, shared in His Redemption even before she had conceived Him in her womb.
As the Mirror of Justice, she leads her children to look into the mirror and to recognize their true identity in Christ and not to forget that identity but to strive to reflect it in every thought, word and deed. In the Blessed Virgin Mary, we see the model of the steadfast pursuit of holiness of life, the perfection of the Father’s mercy and love, which we behold in His only-begotten Son, God the Son Incarnate, Son of God and Son of Mary. We behold in Christ our true identity as sons and daughters of God, called to life in His only-begotten Son.
In a totally secularized culture, the exercise of judicial power becomes simply a way to accomplish certain ends without respect for the order with which God has created us and the world for which we are His stewards. In its worst manifestations, it becomes absolute and leaves society bereft of all justice and on the way to self-destruction. The ministry of justice, on the other hand, is exclusively at the service of the order inscribed by God the Father in creation and, above all, in the human heart, and restored by the Redemptive Incarnation of His only-begotten Son. It protects and builds up the individual and society in unity and peace. Our Blessed Mother inspires us and guides us in the service of our brothers and sisters through the administration of justice. Given to us as our Mother by her Divine Son, as He died upon the Cross for our eternal salvation, the ever-Virgin Mary draws us with maternal love to her Immaculate Heart, under which God the Son took a human heart, as Pope Saint John Paul II reminded us (Angelus Address, 14 July 1985). She leads us to place our hearts, with her Immaculate Heart, totally into His Sacred Heart. She guides us to trust in God’s never-failing mercy, to trust, as she trusted, that God’s promises to us will be fulfilled.
Her maternal care of all men is manifested in her final words recorded in the Gospels. She spoke them to the wine stewards at the Wedding Feast of Cana who came to her in anguish over the lack of sufficient wine for the guests of the newlyweds. She addressed their great distress by leading them to her Divine Son, also a guest at the Wedding Feast, and instructing them: “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2, 5). She manifested the deepest meaning of her maternal counsel, when she stood at the foot of the Cross at her Divine Son’s death, one in heart with His Most Sacred Heart, pierced by the Roman soldier’s spear after He had died for our salvation.
Her simple words at Cana express the mystery of the Divine Maternity by which the Virgin Mary became the Mother of God, bringing God the Son Incarnate into the world for our salvation. By the same mystery, she continues to be the channel of all the graces which immeasurably and unceasingly pour forth from her Divine Son’s glorious pierced Heart into the hearts of His brothers and sisters, adopted through Baptism, as they make their way on earthly pilgrimage to their lasting home with Him in Heaven. We are Mary’s sons and daughters in her Son, God the Son Incarnate. With maternal care, she draws our hearts to her glorious Immaculate Heart and takes them to Him, to His Most Sacred Heart, and she instructs us: “Do whatever he tells you.”
Placing our hearts, with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, into the glorious pierced Heart of Jesus, we receive the grace to carry out our mission of the administration of justice. Our love of Our Lord Jesus, expressed in devotion to His Most Sacred Heart, is not some static state or feeling. It is, rather, a relationship with God the Son made man, in which we, with His Immaculate Mother, take up with Him the mission given to Him by the Father, so that all men may be saved and our world may be prepared to welcome Him at His Coming on the Last Day. Placing our hearts into the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we, with Mary Immaculate, are necessarily engaged in His kingly mission, in which to reign is to serve, especially, to serve our brothers and sisters in most need (Pope St. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptor Hominis, no. 21). So may Christ the King reign in our hearts, as He reigned perfectly in the Heart of Mary from the moment of her Immaculate Conception.
May Mary Immaculate guide us and protect us always, drawing us unceasingly to make our hearts, like her Heart, one with the Sacred Heart of Jesus. So may we grow in an ever deeper love of Our Lord and an ever purer and more selfless service of Him and of our neighbor, especially our neighbor who is in most need.
Imploring Our Lord, through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, to bless you, your homes, your families, and all your labors, I remain
Yours in the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and in the Purest Heart of Saint Joseph,
Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke
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