Our Lady of Exile
Mary had known exile more than once in her life. In her youth she and the glorious saint Joseph had departed for Egypt, poor and humble in the eyes of the world. None of those who saw them thought more of them than what was warranted by their poverty and humility. But Oh, the wonderful sacraments of the Most High, hidden to the proud, and unpenetrated by the wisdom of the flesh! They did not walk alone, poor or despised, but prosperous, rich and in magnificence. They were most worthy of the immense love of the eternal Father and most estimable in His eyes. They carried with them the Treasure of heaven, the Deity itself. The whole court of the celestial ministers venerated them. All the inanimate beings recognized the living and true Ark of the Testament more readily than the waters of the Jordan recognized its type and shadow. They were accompanied by the ten thousand angels which were appointed by God Himself as the servants of her Majesty during that whole journey. These heavenly squadrons marched along as their retinue in human forms visible to the heavenly Lady, more refulgent than so many suns.
Tradition tells us that St John took Mary to his house in Jerusalem after the death of Jesus. Mary pondered over the wonderful mysteries of her life; she prayed for the new child of hers, the Church; she helped the Apostles with her knowledge of her Son and with her prudent advice. Mary was to all during those long years a pillar of strength. Every day she received Holy Communion; she said again her “Ecce Ancilla” when her God incarnate was within her.
She had to nurse the new-born Church and strengthen the Apostles with her example and prayers; and supply them with many details of Her Son’s Life. She had to establish her position as Mother of the Church. During those long years of exile, the Church learned to regard Mary as its Mother. Our Lord would give still more time to increase her merits by more suffering. Her crown was to be the most beautiful possible, and so she remained behind on earth suffering, which intensifies love, humility and submission of God’s will.
Mother Mary still “walks the earth” as her many apparitions, especially of late years, testify. We are not alone in this vale of tears in this earthly exile, as our Mother is always with us. All we need do is keep our hand tightly clasped in hers, walk in her footsteps, remain securely under the protection of her mantle, and never fear, but be secure and safe until she clasps us in her arm eternally to lead us to the throne of her Son to enjoy the mansion He is even now preparing for us.