The best gift to give to our heavenly mother, according to St. John of Avila

Virgin Mary by Sassoferrato Public Domain CNA Virgin Mary by Sassoferrato. | Credit: Public domain

Along with other saints, every May 10 the Church honors St. John of Avila, the patron saint of the Spanish clergy. This renowned founder of schools and centers of formation and study recorded in one of his writings what he considered to be the best gift we can give to our heavenly mother, the Virgin Mary.

St. John of Avila’s recommendation appears today in a section of the website of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference. In the text, St. John of Avila asks himself: “What shall I do for the virgin? God has given me many good things through her.”

The answer to the question, the saint says, is found in the Gospel account of the wedding feast at Cana

There, the Virgin pointed out to her Son that the wine had run out. When Jesus responds, “What concern is that to you and me? My hour is not yet come,” it seems that nothing is going to happen. Nonetheless, the Mother of God immediately proceeds to tell the servants: “Do whatever he tells you.”

St. John of Avila says the Virgin’s words are tantamount to a brief and powerful sermon. With those few words, he says, she preached “as much as Isaiah, St. Paul, St. Luke, and all the prophets and apostles.”

“Listen to what I want to tell you; perhaps from the mouth of the Mother it will be imprinted on your hearts: Do whatever my Son tells you, (Jn 2:5). And so the greatest service you can do for her is to do what her Son commands,” St. John of Avila said.

The beloved saint then provides examples of things that can be done for love of the Virgin, such as forgiving an injury, giving up an inappropriate love, keeping quiet and remaining silent, or: “whatever pains me the most to do or to stop doing, offer it for the Virgin.”

The saint also points out that just loving the Virgin but not imitating her is of little benefit.

“Let us imitate her in humility and in the other virtues, for she is the model from whom we must obtain the virtues, and in so doing, we shall obtain grace and then glory,” he concludes.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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