Mary, a Model for Spiritual Warfare

News: Commentary
by Fr. Paul John Kalchik  •  •  December 13, 2021   

Our Lady and battling temptation

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Our Blessed Mother, who was conceived without sin, is a model for us in spiritual combat against the evil one.

Mother Mary crushing the serpent

A misunderstanding many hold on to is that Mary, by her Immaculate Conception, was given some sort of a "free pass" — that she would be spared of demons' temptations. 

Far from it! The Devil hates Our Lady to the ninth degree! Mary was hated by the Devil because of her humanity. Mary was despised by the Devil because she was made in God's image and likeness. Mary was loathed by the Devil because she was the new Eve, made without any stain of original sin. Bet that during Mary's earthly days, there was not another human being alive on earth that the Devil did not try his darndest to disgrace more than Mary.

Mary, a bulwark against the evil one during her days on earth, is now in Heaven at God's side, our bulwark against the evil one and his followers.  

Upon Mary's Immaculate Conception and birth, a prideful Satan most likely presumed that he had an easy task ahead in bringing on humanity's second fall, through the lowly young woman Mary. The Devil had successfully tempted Adam and Eve in Eden and brought about the fall of mankind. But Mary, in her humility and meekness, would beat the Devil in all his assaults — unlike Eve. These assaults would barrage her for all her days on earth, till her blessed Assumption into Heaven.

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As Sacred Scripture attests in Luke's Gospel, in the text of Our Lord's Presentation, "the righteous and devout Simeon" prophesied that because of humanity's sinfulness and the evil one's presence in the fallen world, a "sword" would pierce Mary's heart (Luke 2:22–38).

Seven swords pierced the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Mary's heart was not merely pierced once; rather, it was pierced numerous times in the course of her earthly days. Mary's heart would be pierced, for instance, when she fled with the Christ Child and Joseph to Egypt; when the boy Jesus' whereabouts were unknown for three days (only for Him to be discovered in the Temple preaching to the elders); and when she witnessed, up close and ugly, the townsfolk of Nazareth rejecting her Son after Jesus began His active ministry. Then Mary's heart would be shattered when Jesus suffered His passion and death on the Cross. Mary's trials were, as are most of our trials, temptations to despair — to give up all hope and faith in God when things appear utterly hopeless.

Mary's example of steadfast faith during that behemoth trial she underwent burying God's Son is an example for all of us.

Imagine Mary's heart upon her personal witness of her Son — God himself in the flesh — when He was executed and put to death on the Cross. You might ask yourself, How did Mary deal with the anguish and trauma of all this, awaiting Our Lord's Resurrection during those long hours He was entombed?

Most men and women in comparable circumstances would have succumbed to despair and given up belief in God totally. Like Judas, many in comparable circumstances to Mary's would end their despair in suicide or some other form of escape.

But Our Blessed Mother, despite watching God's Son, Jesus, die on the Cross, maintains hope and faith, and is privileged to be one of the first witnesses to Jesus' Resurrection from the dead.

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How did Mary sustain her hope during those long hours Jesus was in the tomb? How do any good disciples maintain hope in face of adversity and trial? By prayer, by fasting, by abstinence and by almsgiving. Mary's example of steadfast faith during that behemoth trial she underwent burying God's Son is an example for all of us to keep at the front of our minds, as the tempter throws curve balls at us. No temptation the evil one throws at us can compare to what the Devil pelted at Mary during those long hours Jesus was in the tomb.

St. Dominic receiving the Holy Rosary

It's one thing to fall into doubt and despair in the aftermath of going through a severe injury or illness. It's altogether a different level of trial to know that humanity has not only rejected the very God who brought everything into being, but also attempted to thwart — by executing God's own Son — God's attempt to redeem the world! But Mary's faith was steadfast during this superlatively severe trial. And Mary, the new Eve, won the battle!

Mary, as Queen of Heaven, can and does aid us in overcoming our trials and temptations as we do battle with the evil one. Through St. Dominic, Mary has bequeathed to the world the Rosary, and to this day, there is no greater tool than the Rosary to do battle against humanity's oldest adversary.

There is no greater tool than the Rosary to do battle against humanity's oldest adversary.

Take this to heart when, in the course of your daily life, the evil one throws you a curveball. When the curveball comes your way, pull your best weapon out of your pocket and start reciting a Rosary. The Devil, who hates to be reminded of his greatest challenge and his greatest loss (never being able to defile Our Blessed Mother), will flee. He does not take to being shamed. It's no accident many exorcists recommend to the faithful the recitation of the Rosary when they or a loved one come under diabolical attack. So take to heart Mary's stalwart example of successful battle with the evil one and use your Rosary. There is no other weapon more powerful against the evil one.

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