“Always joyful in the Lord” – Letter to the Philippians “Find your joy in God”

Author: SSpSAP
Subject: Constitution 115: Mary model of the contemplative missionary The Gifts of Knowledge and Wisdom
Language: English, Spanish
Publisher: SSpSAP Generalate
Year: 1997
  1. To fulfil her call as a contemplative missionary, Bl. Maria Virgo had to live through the night of faith. She had to follow the path that Mary, the pilgrim woman of faith, walk beside her Son, and that even Jesus had to pass through suffering extreme temptations. She had to learn how hard it can be to believe, when all support has been taken away and only darkness and uncertainty surround us. (BMV p. 78)
  2. Called to share in the life and mission of Jesus, Bl. Maria Virgo had to conform herself to the radical self-emptying that Paul describes in the Letter to the Philippians. This total self-emptying leads Christ to experience fully the human condition and to accept totally his role in the Father’s plan of salvation. (BMV p. 70)
  3. Mother Mary Michael knew the same call to self-emptying in her missionary contemplative vocation and wrote to a newly appointed superior who was experiencing the night of faith: “Bury your fears in Jesus’ loving heart and take up your important task with holy courage and with unbounded confidence in Him. Do not be afraid. ‘I can do all things in Him who strengthens me’— everything.” (MMM 2 p. 173)
  4. In the midst of difficulties Mother Mary Michael would remain calm and say: “God has always helped us in the past and his power is not lessened today. It seems to me that we have every reason to be satisfied with God’s way of doing things. Let us honorhimby our confidence. If we always strive to please himby a life of hidden fidelity, then I am sure he will never forsake us. He takes such good care of us that we should always be on our knees thanking him.” (MMM 2 p. 126)
  5. When she was diagnosed with a serious liver condition at the end of her life, Mother Mary Michael said to the Sisters: “Ah well, after all, the good God knows what is best. We must all die once, and however God wills it is the best for us. We can do nothing better than to surrender ourselves to him. We are entirely in his hands.” (MMM 2 p. 181)
  6. Bl. Maria Virgo said the same “yes” to being conformed to the self-emptying of Christ’s passion and death and by the power of the Holy Spirit she surrendered herself to God in love so that new life might be brought forth in those whom she served. She did not possess her own life any longer but allowed it to be poured out minute by minute with the precious blood of Jesus Christ in service of others. (BMVp.131)
  7. Only against this background of self-emptying can the interior joy which radiated from Bl. Maria Virgo as she lived out her contemplative missionary vocation be fully appreciated. She wrote: “Every thought of our holy vocation should lift our hearts in spiritual joy.” (BMV pp. 29 & 76)
  8. Mother Mary Michael loved to invoke Our Lady under the title of Immaculate Spouse of the Holy Spirit. Like Mary the Mother of God, she sought by the power of the Holy Spirit to surrender unconditionally to the will of God and found that deep joy comes from such surrender (MMM 2 p. 26)
  9. The example of Mother Mary Michael helped many Sisters to accept the mystery of conformity to Christ crucified in their lives and to see that surrender to God’s will led to deep joy.
  10. Fr. Hermann Fischer remarks that Bl. Maria Virgo witnessed to that same joyful surrender when she transferred at Bl. Arnold’s request to the contemplative sisters: “She made the sacrifice with utmost generosity and no one noticed in her any sign of the great inward struggle this cost her. Cheerfulness and goodness radiated from her. She knew how to combine her great fidelity to duty with the simplicity and joy of a child of God.” (MMM 1 p. 13)
  11. For both Mother Mary Michael and Bl. Maria Virgo, the gift of knowledge, which helps us to know how to do God’s will in daily life, enabled them to fulfill their contemplative missionary vocation with fidelity each day. They could say with St. Paul in his letter to the Philippians:

    “For the sake of Christ I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having any righteousness of my own based on the law but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God, depending on faith to know him and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by being conformed to his death.” (Phil3:8-10)

  1. The deaths of Mother Mary Michael and Bl. Maria Virgo witness to the faith, hope and love that enabled them to “find their joy in God”. Mother Mary Michael’s last audible words: “Jesus, Mary!” and Bl. Maria Virgo’s last audible words: “Jesus, I die unto you flow from the gift of wisdom, which sees everything in the light of God’s merciful love throughout the whole of a lifetime. (MMM 1 p. 28 & BMV p. 107)
  2. In their lives of holiness and service, Mother Mary Michael and Bl. Maria Virgo say to us in this year of centenary celebration what Paul said to the Philippians:

    “Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:4-7)

Sources and Abbreviations

MMM 1 – – Aglow with the Fire of your Love MMM 2 – – Burning Lamps: Mother Mary Michaele BMV – – Sister Franziske Carolina Rehbein, SSPS. Helena Stollenwerk A Charism Nurtured: Mission and Surrender OSB – – Of Time Made Holy: A Statement on the Liturgy of the Hours in the Lives of American Benedectine Sisters.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Sign up to receive new content in your inbox.
The subscription is a multistep process, so please check your email after you submit the form and follow the instructions.

We promise we’ll never spam! Take a look at our Privacy Policy for more info.

Suscríbase para recibir nuevos contenidos en su bandeja de entrada.
La suscripción es un proceso de varios pasos, así que revise su correo electrónico después de enviar el formulario y siga las instrucciones.

¡Prometemos que nunca haremos spam! Echa un vistazo a nuestra Política de Privacidad para más información.