Manila Auxiliary Bishop Bernardino Cortez

MANILA, August 7, 2013—As influences of secularism continue to threaten Catholic conventions, a high-ranking church official on Saturday urged the Catholic faithful to emulate the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary in their everyday life by living according to Marian ideals and imitating her ways.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Bernardino Cortez on Saturday called on Catholics to recognize the vital role played by the Blessed Mother in the mystery of Christ and of the Church, noting that she never fails to provide comfort and hope to those who seek her name.

“Where (the Blessed Mother) has gone, we hope to follow. But it does not end there. The challenge is to live as she lived and go where she has gone. What kind of life she has led, we too have to live,” he said in his talk during the Marian Conference held at the San Carlos Seminary.

Citing Marialis Cultus, the apostolic letter of Pope Paul VI, as an important document that guides the Catholic faithful in their emulation of the works and deeds of the Holy Mother, Cortez urged the laity to establish a deeper sense of faith in knowing Mary to truly realize her inner dispositions and virtues.

He added that in order to realize these attitudes, the laity must ask, “What is with the life of Mary that made her listen to the word of God and act on it? What is her interior disposition and attitude that moved her to charity and spirit of service? What led her to be the first and most perfect of Christ’s disciples?”

“She is our model, not only in exterior, but through the interior life she lived,” Cortez noted.

Emulating the Virgin 

Referring to the same Vatican document, the prelate noted four Latin expressions to guide the efforts of the laity in imitating the Holy Mother—virgo audiens (listening virgin), virgo orans (praying virgin), virgo parens (virgin mother), and virgo offerens (offering virgin).

Expounding on Mary as the listening virgin, Cortez said the laity must imitate her personal disposition of listening to others through maintaining silence in their lives.

“There are a lot of noises around us. In fact, not only around us but even within us…In order to listen, one must be silent because through it, we are able listen to ourselves, to others, and even to the voice of God and our conscience,” he said, urging people to listen through their hearts.

“True listening, as shown by the example of the Blessed Mother, is not merely listening with your ear and mind. It must also be done with your heart,” he added.

Cortez discussed the role played by Mary as the praying virgin by emphasizing the need for individuals to recognize their limitations and weaknesses as humans, as well as their dependency to a Higher Being.

“Through listening to one’s heart, we will gain the realization that we are dependent individuals. Our life is not in our hands, thus we all have to be humble,” he said.

“If we will listen to the voice of God, we are moved to bend our knees in adoration and thanksgiving,” the prelate noted.

Ultimate offering 

He also stressed Mary’s role as the mother of humanity, saying that she never fails to express love and concern to all her children.

Cortez urged the faithful to imitate her parenthood by listening and praying for others.

“Through prayer, we become a parent to others. We become a parent not in the physical sense but through other aspects such as spiritual parenthood, psychological, material, and even financial,” he said.

Despite Mary’s strong sense of motherhood, the prelate said she made the ultimate sacrifice by offering her Son to the Divine.

“Her offering of Jesus, her Son, to the Father is not easy for it entails sacrifice, even contradictions. But the truth remains that the Blessed Mother has no desire but to lead and offer us to Jesus,” he said.

He said people must live by these Marian acts by asking themselves of the greatest offering they can sacrifice in the name of faith.

“What is the best offering that we can give to our loved ones? Is it our talents? Our treasures?” Cortez asked the laity.

Whatever one’s offering will be, Cortez noted the important thing is to give it wholeheartedly without expecting anything in return.

“The Blessed Virgin Mary is sharing with us her virtues, humility, hope, and love. Since we are her children, all those things are also ours,” he said.

“Let us lead and offer them to Jesus,” he added. (Jennifer M. Orillaza)