• Sarah Raad


“I am more convinced every day that authentic humility is the supernatural basis for all virtues!” (Saint Josemaría Escriva).

Madonna of the Magnificat (Botticelli)

I have five younger sisters, and four of them were born before God sent us our first brother, and then another girl was born before God sent us our last brother… And because I grew up in a household so dominated by girls, ours was a very girlie-centric household!

And being very girlie-girls, one of our favourite things to do is a good old-fashioned makeover. In fact, straight after she completed her honours degree in biochemistry, one of my younger sisters undertook a professional makeup artistry course so that she could learn how to better use makeup and apply makeup at home. Now, she worked as a makeup artist for some time but it was never her primary source of income, yet, though the course was expensive, it was a worthwhile investment in our family because that sister was able to teach the rest of us girls how to use makeup! And lucky for us we had a trusted and honest makeup artist on hand for every wedding or function in our family!

I have been reflecting on makeup and makeovers over the last few weeks. You see, a girl (or boy) goes into a makeover feeling a bit unattractive, and after some work, there remains the most important part of a makeover… the final reveal! In that important moment, the stylist asks the person to look into the mirror and see the results of the makeover. And it is genuinely – if the makeover has been done well – a beautiful time!

And it is upon this final reveal that I have been reflecting because that mirror is very important!

And the greatest mirror that was ever created in all the world was the Blessed Virgin…

You see, when Saint Elizabeth called out with JOY to the Blessed Virgin, as her child – Saint John the Baptist – leapt within her womb, “Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm, He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree.’” (Luke 1:46-56).

And it is in this moment – in this MAGNIFICAT – that the Blessed Virgin shows us the power and beauty of a mirror, for a mirror is as beautiful as the thing it reflects - and Our Blessed Mother reflects all the INFINITE GLORY of GOD!

You see, her response to Saint Elizabeth is a demonstration of such perfect humility, because she reflects every glory back to God! And she did that when she was probably only thirteen or fourteen years old! Yes… That perfect teenage child accepted all compliments and all glory that she received and she chose to immediately reflect them back to God – who is the MASTER of ALL goodness!

Is it any wonder that we call her MEDIATRIX – which really means “go between” between us and GOD?

For Our Blessed Mother’s heart remains empty – every praise and honour she receives is immediately passed onwards to God.

I recently read a reflection by a priest I do not know, who said, “A box that is filled with sand cannot be filled with gold; a soul bursting with its own ego can never be filled with God. The emptier the soul is of self, the greater room in it for God.”

And this is the utter and unimaginable JOY of Our Blessed Mother – she is entirely empty of self… For if she were not, she would have no way to pass on all glory to God and therefore no room for Him in her soul…

And it is because of this that Saint Josemaría said, “It was the virtue which attracted the gaze of the Most Holy Trinity to his Mother and our Mother: the humility of knowing and being aware of our nothingness... ‘Because he has looked graciously upon the lowliness of his handmaid’ ...I am more convinced every day that authentic humility is the supernatural basis for all virtues!”

And this is why when I see a mirror, I can image the transformation of Our Blessed Mother in Heaven – for she spent her earthly life remaining empty so that she could reflect the glory of God – and now in Heaven, her empty heart is filled with GOLD, and her mirror reflects such glory as I cannot imagine…

What a joy that shall be to behold – what an utter and unimaginable joy…

For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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