We have already mentioned
the profound devotion Father Félix had for the Mother of Jesus. But let us
not think that this element of our spirituality is simply a pious carry over
from the Society of Mary to the missionaries of the Holy Spirit; that is not
so. Mary enters by her own right into the spirituality of the Cross because
of her intimate relationship with Jesus, Priest and Victim.
Mary is the model for all
those who wish to follow Jesus as Priest and as a perfect offering to the
We see her in the temple
in Jerusalem, offering her Jesus to the Father, with a great sense of
reality and greater right than any priest at Mass. God Himself wishes to
enlighten Mary about the transcendent meaning of that offering, and He sends
Simeon to her as a prophet: "Behold, this child is destined to bring about
the fall and rise of many in Israel. He will be like a sign for which men
struggle, and the intentions of many hearts will be revealed. But for you,
all of this will be like a sword that pierces your soul."(Lk. 2:34). "And
Mary kept all this in her heart, and kept it in mind." (Lk. 2:19).
And when the time comes
for Jesus, it comes for Mary. It is the hour of the Passion, of scorn, of
blows, of spittle, of the crucifixion, of agony, of death... "And next to
the cross of Jesus was standing His mother." (Jn. 19:25). She was not there
as a leaf tossed by the tempest that was unleashed against Jesus. Freely,
she had been following in her Son's footsteps, until they reached Mount
Calvary and now she was standing there, like the priests who sacrifice a
victim to God. And the victim was her beloved Son, and also her own soul,
pierced by the sword of a pain greater than the sea... But Mary only
repeated the words that summarized her life: "Behold the handmaid of the
Lord. Be it done unto me according to your word..." (Lk. 1:38).
To live the spirituality
of the Cross is exactly to live the life of Mary: To offer to the Father, as
the only saving offering, the Son "in whom the Father is well pleased," and
offering ourselves with Jesus to do whatever pleases the Father, without
limit, unconditionally, without reservations. All for the glory of God, all
for the salvation of the brethren, all for love...
Mary did not just live,
she lives now, making that priestly offering of Jesus and of herself to the
Father, in that "eternal sanctuary, which is not of this creation, where
Christ acts as High Priest, where He offers His blood forever to obtain
eternal salvation for us." (Heb. 9:12).
The priesthood of Mary is
much more perfect now that she participates fully in the divine knowledge
and the eternal love of God Himself. That is why it is so recommended that
we offer the Incarnate Word and ourselves through MARY. What we intend is to
unite ourselves to her intentions, which are much wiser than ours are; and
unite ourselves to her love which is much more perfect than ours is. In this
regard, in No. 10 of the Constitutions of the missionaries of the Holy
Spirit, we read:
"The spirituality of the
Congregation is expressed by offering the Word Incarnate and offering
ourselves with Him to the Father, through Mary for the salvation of the
The years Mary, lived on
earth after the ascension of her son to heaven are of special interest for
us, because during this period in her life Mary was closest to us than ever
before. She lived by faith and hope. Like us, she walked in darkness,
awaiting the light. She walked with the great desire to see God, and with
the pain of not seeing Him. She walked believing in many promises, without
seeing them fulfilled. She walked in love that desires to be with the
beloved who is still far. She walked in the faith that feeds on pure faith.
She lived like us...suffered like us. And in the meantime her main concern
was the Church being born. It was the other part of her Jesus. This was a
new "Body of Christ" which had to be fed and cared for and loved with the
same tenderness as the Jesus of Bethlehem And Mary offered herself to the
Father for the disciples then and for those of today, and all time, and thus
exercised her priesthood in patient hope. She obtained for us graces of
salvation, with Christ, by Him and in Him.
Everything we have said
thus far is perfectly summarized in Nos. 56 and 57 of our Constitutions,
which explain why Mary is an integral part of our spirituality:
"Since the Incarnation of
the Word, Mary has remained inseparably united to the redeeming and
sanctifying work of Christ. In the presentation in the Temple, she made the
offering of Jesus to the Father, and later she was at the foot of the Cross,
accepting with love the death of her Son, and uniting her own sorrows to the
priestly immolation of Christ. Mary was given as Mother by the same Jesus to
all the believers, represented in the person of the beloved disciple.
Through Mary's powerful intercession, the gift of the Holy Spirit was
showered on Pentecost."
"After the Ascension of
her Son, Mary brought her maternal mission to its fullness, and with the
pain of her loneliness she attained graces for the Church of all times."
Of course, the Marian
piety of Father Félix is not limited to the priestly aspect of the life of
Mary, or to the years of loneliness, but rather it encompasses all the
splendid panorama of Catholic Mariology.
We will now present some
selected texts written by Father Félix about devotion to the Mother of
Christ. They are all taken from his book entitled "MARY", unless otherwise
"I am writing a book
entitled "MARY" (Her life, her virtues and her worship.). I want to offer
this little gift, although it is so poor, to our beloved Mary and I hope
that it will serve to make her more loved by others."(1)
"Upon finishing this
little work, seeing in Mary so many unique privileges, so many glories, so
much maternal goodness, and especially so much intimacy with the three
Divine Persons, I have understood more than ever that genial definition of
Mary given by St. Epifanius: 'Maria liber incomprehensus'. Mary is a book
not understood, impenetrable, because she personifies the unheard of joining
of the divine and the human."
"Mary, in the eternal
designs of God, was predestined, as no other creature, to collaborate very
closely in the mystery of human redemption affected by Jesus Christ,
especially because of her participation in the Incarnation and the Passion
and Death of Jesus."
"The predestination of
Mary to divine motherhood, establishes such an intimate connection between
the Word Incarnate and the Virgin Mother that it creates between these two
souls a communion of prerogatives and of graces. In virtue of that
association established by God, the humble Virgin of Nazareth has a special
place assigned to her in all the mysteries of the Savior, from Bethlehem to
Calvary, and from the perfect obedience to the Father until the
glorification, in body and soul, in the splendor of eternal life."
"See for yourselves how
magnificently Mary implements her priesthood: in Nazareth she accepts, in
complete freedom, to give heaven and earth the first pure Host which is
going to substitute for the holocausts which God no longer desires... Mary
is like the first altar in which Jesus offers Himself for us; in her begins
the celebration of that Mass which will be consummated in a bloody way on
“Oh, Virgin Mother, you
lived a fully priestly life. You begot the Victim of the new worship and
with your special power as a Mother offered it to the Most High for the sins
of the world, and when you gave us your Jesus from Bethlehem until Calvary,
you gave us life in Him and that is why you are Mother to all of us.
Because, isn't she who gives life, a Mother?"
"Mary, being the creature
most beloved of God, was doubtlessly the woman who suffered most in this
world. We would only understand the magnitude of her suffering if we
understood the immensity of her love for Jesus. And why did God wish her to
suffer so much? Because in His loving providence, He wanted Mary to be who
would be most intimately associated in everything to her son, and would
merit with Him the greatest recompense, for her obedience and heroic
fidelity, so that in her we would have a constant example."
"In the sacrifice of
Calvary, Jesus is at the same time Priest and Victim. He is Victim because
He is sacrificed, but He is also the Priest who immolates and offers: "No
one takes my life. I give it up voluntarily." (Jn. 10:18). And Mary also has
that role of priest and victim. She is priest because she freely accepts the
death of someone she can call HER offering, for the salvation of humanity;
and she is victim with Christ because her soul was pierced and her heart
crucified contemplating the martyrdom of Him whom she loved more than her
"Let us not ask why Jesus
did not save His Most Holy Mother the agony, so terrible and painful to her,
of His death on the Cross. It is evident that He wanted to associate her to
His life and to His work more so at that moment in which the redemption of
humanity was consummated. And Mary accepted it all with such perfect charity
that St. Alphonsus Liguori applied to her the same words that St. John uses
referring to God the Father: "So much did Mary love the world that she gave
us her Son, so that we might enjoy eternal life."
"The Redemption obtained
by Jesus Christ is the only true, total, superabundant cause of all our
salvation, without its being necessary to add anything else for the
Sacrifice of Jesus for us to be justified and sanctified. It is God Himself
who in His great goodness has wished to make us partners of Christ in his
redemptive work. It is the same Jesus who tells us: "The harvest is abundant
but the laborers are few: pray to the Owner of the harvest to send more
laborers to his fields." (Mt. 9:37-38).
"In different ways we are
all God's workers, collaborators with Christ for the redemption of
humankind. Some offer prayers, others sacrifices, others preaching, others
Christian education to their children, so the effort and the merits of each
one benefit all the people of God. This is the dogma of the Communion of
Saints, which we recite in the Creed, almost always without understanding
it. It means the sharing of spiritual goods that exists among all believers.
"It is in this area in
which the Mother of Jesus has collaborated like no one else, and in a unique
and exceptional way in our salvation, and for this reason she has merited
the title of Co-Redemptrix more than anyone else."
"For Mary it is the same
to be Mother of Jesus and our Mother, because Jesus has wanted to make us
ONE with Him: One vine with its branches (Jn. 15:5). One body united to its
Head (1 Cor 12:27).
"For her maternal heart it
is the same to love Jesus and to love us, because Jesus is our Brother and
we are the children of the Father. This certainty of being united to Jesus
is basic to our filial love for Mary: and we call her with all confidence:
'Our heavenly Mother, our most loving Mother, our tender Mother.”
“In the documents of
Vatican Council II, we find support for calling Mary "Our Mother":
"Mary is Mother as regards
the life of grace, because she cooperated in a unique way to the restoration
of our supernatural life, conceiving Christ, giving Him birth, feeding Him,
offering Him to the Father, and suffering together with Her Son while He
died on the Cross.
"And with reason the
Fathers of the Church consider Mary not a mere passive instrument in the
mystery of Redemption, but rather an active worker for the salvation of men,
by her faith and her obedience to God." (LG 56).
"Without a doubt we owe
much to our mother on earth; but let us raise our eyes on high, to our
Mother in heaven, who loves us even more than our mother on earth. The
Blessed Virgin, the Mother of all the Saints, the same Mother of Jesus, is
the Mother of each of us."
"Once received in heaven,
the Mother of Jesus and our Mother does not cease to collaborate with Christ
for the salvation of the faithful. Her love, her interest and her
intercession in our favor have become universal and more efficacious, so
that with just reason she is called: our advocate, Auxiliatrix, Help of
Christians, refuge of sinners and our Mediatrix before her Son, Our Lord."
"There is a phrase in your
letter which has made an impact on my soul, and it is a cry of love and
gratitude to the Blessed Virgin. I love her much more now, after having
written the book "MARY", because I had to read many very interesting things
about our beloved Mother of heaven. Since then, aside from my ordinary
meditation, I dedicate special time every day to meditate on the life of
Mary. This morning I was thinking about her life of intimacy with Jesus in
their little house of Nazareth."(2)
"We search for the will of
God. In the first place, we must look for it in terms of love. And what are
we asked to do? To love Him with all our heart, with all our soul, with all
our strength, but also to love His creatures, especially those He loved the
most. The first place belongs to the Most Holy Mother of Jesus."(3)
"Regarding the love of
Mary, our model is Jesus", Fr. Félix used to say frequently.
"I thank God because I
have seen that you look for Him anxiously in all the acts of your religious
life as missionaries of the Holy Spirit. But our life is difficult and we
need someone to help us. Look for constant support in the maternal heart of
Mary. She wants it more than anyone else, and she will help you in
everything you are doing and everything you want to do."
"When you participate in
the Eucharist, take your place very near the Mother of Jesus, there at the
foot of the Cross, where St. John was. She will teach you to offer this holy
"Win in this life the
place that you wish to occupy in the heart of Mary for all eternity."(4)
"Oh, Mary, my beloved
Mother, I consecrate myself to you with all the energy of my soul. Today,
tomorrow and all the days of my life I want to be yours, I wish to unite my
life intimately to yours, and to try to imitate your love, your purity, and
In a notebook, we found
this small "letter" from Father Félix to the Blessed Virgin. It is dated
March 29, 1937. He only had a few more months to live:
"My most beloved Mother: I
greet you with all the love of my soul and I want to share a great joy with
"I feel very clearly, very
strongly, that Jesus, in His infinite mercy has accepted me as His own, in a
special way so that I may become converted in these last days and will be
faithful to the graces of God.
"I write to you, Mother,
to humbly ask you to help me respond fully to the love of Jesus. With you, I
can do all things!
"Your son, Félix, who
loves you so much, and asks for your blessing."
Father Félix summarized
his spirituality in the following lines:
"To be hosts in honor of
the Father, in union with Jesus and Mary, under the inspiration of the Holy
Spirit, for the salvation of all."
We will end this chapter
with an enlightening quotation from Pope Paul VI:
"Given the singular place
which Mary occupies in the redemptive plan of God, she deserves a special
level of worship.”
"This intimate worship of
Mary in no way separates us from the only fountain of truth, life and grace
which is Christ; on the contrary, it leads us to Him, unites us to Him and
allows us to resemble Him. Because devotion to Mary, far from being an end
in itself, is a means essentially ordered to orient us to Christ, and in
this way to unite us to the Father in the love of the Spirit."(6)
1. To Rome, October 6,
2. Letter to a student, August 23, 1936.
3. Talk to the Novices, May 8, 1932.
4. Letter to a brother coadjutor, April 12, 1936.
5. Talk to fourth year students of the Apostolic School.
6. Talk, November 21, 1964.