The Word’s Reliance on Mary

A few years back, the post-pandemic buzzword was “resilience”. It defined a forgotten kind of strength, i.e. the strength to withstand trials and adapt to challenging and changing circumstances. Just as our generation had to relearn the valuable wisdom of resilience, so we should also relearn the indispensable wisdom of reliance.

Why do I bring up “reliance”? Because, in the mind of our great Marian teacher, St. Louis de Montfort, today’s Solemnity of the Annunciation is all about Jesus’ reliance, aka dependence, on Mary.

Montfort writes in True Devotion,

“Those who undertake this holy slavery should have a very special devotion to the great mystery of the Incarnation of the Word. Indeed, the Incarnation is the proper mystery of this practice, inasmuch as it was a devotion inspired by the Holy Ghost…to honor and imitate the ineffable dependence which God the Son has been pleased to have on Mary, for His Father’s glory and our salvation; which dependence particularly appears in this mystery, where Jesus is a captive and a slave in the bosom of the divine Mary, and depends upon her for all things.” (243)

Jesus’ Ineffable Dependence

In living today’s solemnity to the fullest, not only should we celebrate with great joy the mystery of Christ’s “ineffable dependence” on Mary, but we should also resolve to imitate it.

How? By aiming for an “interior dependence”.

According to St. John Paul II, this is the true “spirit” of St. Louis de Montfort’s way, i.e. “that we be interiorly dependent on Mary Most Holy”.[1]

Spiritual Growth

The first means of “interior dependence” is attentiveness to interior growth. Before Jesus lived a hidden life in Nazareth, He was cloistered in Mary’s womb. The nine months that He spent in her womb were nine months dedicated to growth.

During the first nine months of His human existence, Jesus’ only task was growth and development. Thus, we can ask ourselves, how much quality time do I dedicate to my spiritual life? Is growing in grace, virtue, and knowledge of saving truth my top priority? Or perhaps other aspects of life are taking priority instead, i.e. fitness, health, occupation, hobbies, etc.

The mystery of Christ’s Incarnation in the womb of Mary teaches us the necessity of putting first things first. The first thing to entrust to Mary and with her help, the first thing to pay attention to daily is our spiritual growth.


The second means of “interior dependence” is through recollection. Mary’s womb was our Lord’s first earthly abiding place. Through this dependence on Mary, we can also learn how to be more present to the Lord and as a result more charitably present to the needs of others in our daily lives. One of the great obstacles to being “present” to God and others are distractions.

However, Jesus’ recollection in Mary—and likewise Mary’s recollection in Jesus—teaches us how to overcome distractions. In the spiritual classic Divine Intimacy, we read, “Mary teaches the Christian the secret of the interior life, a life of recollection in God present in his spirit. It is a recollection achieved by fleeing from curiosity, talkativeness, useless occupations and seasoned with silence, with a profound sense of the divine presence and adoration of the same. This silence is not poverty but fullness of life, intensity of desires…”

Interior Apostolate

A third means of “interior dependence” is the interior apostolate. Jesus’ hidden life in Mary and His dependence on acting through her—which is especially shown in the sanctification of John the Baptist in the womb—teaches us that we are better external apostles the more we take seriously the interior apostolate.

The Carmelite priest, Fr. Gabriel of Mary Magdalene writes, “The apostolate, considered in its totality, consists in everything we can do in collaboration with Christ to diffuse the supernatural life in souls.”

Then he goes on to say, “Our cooperation with Jesus for the salvation of souls must be deeply rooted in prayer and sacrifice…The more our action participates in what is deepest and most fruitful in Christ’s work, the more efficacious it will be; this is accomplished precisely by means of prayer and sacrifice, embraced with generosity and constancy, and united to that of Christ’s.”

Not only did Jesus take up the work of interior apostolate through Mary, but Mary was also the first to cooperate interiorly with Him. Thus, wherever the missionary adventure might lead us, we should remember that it is only by dependence on Mary—especially uniting our prayers and sacrifices to Jesus in Her—that we become better apostles of Christ in today’s world.

Four years ago an unexpected microscopic threat gave us the opportunity to learn the value of resilience. But today, the long-awaited celebration of a far more mysterious and historic event—the Lord’s Incarnation—provides us with a far more important formative opportunity: the relearn and recommit ourselves to being interiorly dependent on Jesus in Mary.

 Seize the day and make it all Hers!


Fr. Christopher Etheridge, IVE