Lively Faith: Ten Virtues of Mary

Lively – 
1.  full or suggestive of life or vital energy; active, vigorous, or brisk:
2.  animated, spirited, vivacious, or sprightly:
3.  eventful, stirring, or exciting:
4.  bustling with activity; astir:
5.  strong, keen, or distinct; vivid:
1. confidence or trust in a person or thing:
2.  belief that is not based on proof:

I have to admit that one of the last words that pops into my head about the Virgin Mary is “Lively”.  Every image I’ve ever seen of her is rather subdued.  I imagine her quietly sitting of to the side or calmly and serenely going about her day to day tasks.  I don’t automatically think of her as drawing much attention, yet the first phrase we are given about her in this exercise is “Lively”.

It takes four definitions of “lively” before the dictionary gets away from a definition that has to do with action.  The fifth definition is what grabbed me.  It is not Mary’s active faith that I need to reflect on; in fact we know very little about her active role in much – other than her tendency to give advice to her son at weddings.  We don’t know how great her cooking was, or how rowdy or well decorate her holidays turned out.  We don’t know how planned her meals, crafted or even interacted with those outside her family.  But we do know, just from one simple action, how “strong, keen, distinct and vivid” was her faith.

The sum of Mary’s faith was not in her decorating, her participation in Temple activities or her perfect Passover meal.  The sum of her faith was God.

I know I don’t live up to Mary’s example even on the best days.  I worry too much about my decorations, reading the right books, the right blogs, saying all the right prayers and appearing like the good girl I want to be.  I try to make my faith look vivid and lively and enticing.  I want people to ask questions about our feast days and copy my recipes.  I want those approving looks when my pre-schooler finally behaves in Mass or that pat on the back when I defend my beliefs.

I get caught up in the action of having a lively faith even though I know those are just the trappings and not the real fruit.  I know there’s nothing wrong with having a energetic, eventful or bustling faith life; in fact, we have so many homes and parishes that need more of that energy.  However, in the end, that is not the “lively faith” we’re called to.

We’re called to have a strong faith, a vivid faith no matter what or how that faith is acted out.  We’re called to emulate Mary from her most important moment – her fiat.  Her simple act of faith, the most distinct and vivid since Adam and Eve in the Garden, changed the course of human history.

We should be encouraged to live an energetic faith – be that woman who uses her talents to make her home welcoming, her parish engaging or her holiday meal delicious.  But we should not forget that at the core we must strive to emulate the strongest aspect of Mary’s faith – her faith in God.  Not only that God exists or that his rules are true, but that he will care for us and see us through.  We should strive to energetically and actively show that strong, keen and vivid faith that rests in our heart and soul; to be filled with such Grace that it becomes an energy of its own guiding us and leading others back to God.

This post is part of a series on the Ten Virtues of Mary, hosted by To the Heights and running every Tuesday until the middle of December. So if you need some help in the virtue department, here’s a great place to start 😉
October 7 – An Introduction to the Ten Virtues of Mary – Olivia of To the Heights
October 14 – Lively FaithMolly of Molly Makes Do
October 21 – Blind ObedienceKendra of Catholic All Year
October 28 – Constant Mental PrayerJenna of Call Her Happy
November 4 – Heroic PatienceKelly of This Ain’t the Lyceum
November 11 – Profound HumilityCarolyn of Svellerella
November 18 – Angelic SweetnessRegina of Good One God
November 25 – Divine WisdomBritt of The Fisk Files
December 2 – Universal MortificationAbbey of Surviving Our Blessings
December 9 – Divine PurityGina of Someday Saints
December 16 – Ardent CharityChristy of Fountains of Home
December 17 – Massive GIVEAWAY at To the Heights – Just in time for Christmas

13 thoughts on “Lively Faith: Ten Virtues of Mary

Add yours

  1. What a wonderful post! And I relate to it in so many ways. Perhaps the balance of a true lively faith is being aware of what you're doing….but not TOO aware…if that even makes sense! I suppose to do those things for your family and parish and home joyfully and naturally, not because you feel like you have to. And sometimes— thats really hard!


  2. What a beautiful post, Molly. Reading through the definitions, my thoughts went off in a different direction. “Full of life” – as a woman who had only one child, though He be THE Child, she is such an example of bringing life to the world through faith (spiritual motherhood) even when she is not literally bringing new life into the world. Exactly the model I need right now.


  3. Thank you for your insight! It was a great start to the ladies' group a friend started up specifically for this virtues study!

    Know that you have a little group of ladies in West Texas (and two who Skyped in from Dallas and Indiana) who were grateful for you and your post in our first meeting last night!

    One friend shared this, which I found strikingly beautiful. Thought I'd pass along her great find. 🙂 (especially the 2nd paragraph!) God bless you!


  4. And wanted to share this vision of lively. 🙂 (there is another of Mary, filled with joy and laughing as she feels the belly of Elizabeth as John the Baptist leaps in her womb. It's so beautiful. I love images of Mary laughing, vivacious, full of life! She was, after all, a young Jewish woman who was strong enough to dismiss the admonishing she certainly received as a pregnant, unmarried woman… But who also loved enough to take care of her family and community, as seen at the wedding and at her visiting Elizabeth. What an amazing young woman she had to have been!)


  5. Hello, I just came across this wonderful meditation and am wondering if I may share it with my Women's Bible study? I would probably read it out loud to them as I guide them in a teaching about Mary. And of course I will give you all the credit!


  6. Absolutely Alycia – and don't forget to check out the other parts of the series linked above; we're about half way through! =) p.s. If anyone asks, it's Olivia from To the Heights that gets the credit for coming up with and organizing the series!


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