A Prayer to Mary
1. The prayer which forms the subject of this meditation was composed by the French writer and theologian L. de Grandmaison, in 1888 when he was twenty years old and a Jesuit novice. Throughout a long and fruitful life He used to say that prayer frequently, and he induced many others to recite it. It is the prayer of a generous, upright, pious young man. What he asks from the Mother of God can be summed up thus: a childlike heart, a generous heart, a valiant heart.
2. Petition: Fixing our gaze on the immaculate Virgin, Mother of God, with humility and confidence we beg of her to obtain for us those graces.
I. A Childlike Heart
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Preserve in me a childlike heart;
Pure and sparkling as the fountain.
Obtain for me a simple heart,
That does not relish being sad.
“Unless you become like little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of God.” By those words our Saviour warned the Apostles against ambition. They had asked Him, “Who thinkest thou is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus, calling unto Him a little child, set him in the midst of them” and proposed him to them as an example. (Matthew 18:1-3).
A little child is by nature simple, devoid of ambition and not inclined to envy. It is innocent and has nothing to hide; a childlike heart knows no secrets nor dark corners, and therefore a child’s eye is clear and transparent.
Someone said, “If I owned all the world’s wealth, gladly would I barter it for a child’s heart.”
The heart of the Mother of Jesus is the purest and the most sinless that ever beat: she was conceived without sin, and full of grace. Of her the liturgy sings: “When I was little I was pleasing in the sight of the Most High.” Everything in her was directed straight to God; she gladly received every grace that was offered her, she believed every word that was spoken to her in the name of the Lord; she said “Yea” to whatever God asked of her, and her Fiat knew neither limit nor reservation; in her wise and faithful childlike Heart she preserved and pondered over all that God had done to her.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, preserve in us a childlike heart.
II. A Generous Heart
A heart that royally can give itself,
That tenderly feels
A loyal heart, and prompt to give,
That ne’er forgets a
Nor ever resents an injury.
Make my heart meek and
Loving, wanting no return.
Ready to yield its place in another’s
So that Thy son may take that place.
A generous heart abhors all petty selfishness; it gives itself without counting, without seeking profit for itself.
Mary is the Mother of fair and generous love (Ecclus. 24:24). Her Fiat was a complete, loving, self-forgetting surrender to God. When the hour had come, she saw Jesus leaving her for good. From her watchful and generous Heart sprang her request at Cana, “They have no wine.” When on a certain occasions she desired to speak to Jesus, who was indoors, teaching a group of people, she heard Him say, “Who is My Mother and who are My brethren?” And stretching forth his hand towards his disciples He said, “behold my mother and my brethren; for whosoever shall do the will of my Father, that is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister and mother” (Matthew 12: 46-50). Possibly those words caused her pain; they did not humiliate her, for she gladly gave way to the brethren of her divine Son.
Even like Jesus, she forgave from the bottom of her heart: Peter, who three times had denied her son; the apostles who during the awful night had deserted Him; the executioners who had nailed Him to the Cross.
Most generous Heart of Mary, make our hearts like unto thine.
III. A Valiant Heart
A great heart, and undaunted,
Which no ingratitude can close;
By no unkindness hardened.
A heart aflame for the Master’s glory,
heart where bleeds the wound of love,
That only can be healed in heaven.
A stout or valiant, heart is not cast down even by severe trials; it fearlessly faces all troubles; it perseveres silently; it needs no witnesses to be valiant. Mary’s Heart was a valiant Heart, as was evident at the time of the Angel’s message, and when Simeon spoke to her in prophecy. She always had before her eyes the sword which the old man said would pierce her heart. The prophecy was fulfilled on Calvary, when she stood by the cross of her dying Son. After having seen Him gloriously ascending into heaven, Mary still lived for some years, the support and solace of the new-born Church, bearing in her Heart a wound that love had made, and which heaven alone could heal.
Mary, Queen of martyrs, pray for us.
Prayer: Fully conscious of our frailty and our cowardice, we pray with confidence to the Mother of Mercy: Holy Mary, Mother of God …