Undoubtedly one of the greatest hindrances to grace in our souls is the idea that we ourselves are the main force in whatever we are doing. It is so easy to let ourselves get into the way of thinking: ‘I am doing this..’ In the spiritual life we must always be aware that grace comes only from God and this devotion ensures that every grace is acknowledged. Never in any action do we say: ‘It is mine’, but ‘It is Our Lady’s’. Therefore we guard against the possible inclination to pride. Being mindful also of the presence of Mary we realize how much we gained by the very thought of her. It is natural then to thank Our Lady for the graces with which she has enlightened us. The idea of ownership or self-esteem is repugnant to a soul thus seeking only the glory of God. ‘Moreover…there is no practice other than this by which we easily rid ourselves of a certain sense of ownership which slips imperceptibly into even our best actions.’ How often we attribute to ourselves the gifts God has given us. A person may sing well or speak well, but for one reason only – to receive the congratulations of others. His gift is used only for self-glorification. This does not mean that we should not use whatever gifts God has given. Use them by all means, but do so in the spirit of Mary. Place them in her hands and ask her to eliminate all pride in the use of them.
This temptation to pride and ownership is something we must always watch against. If we are in any way proficient we may be tempted to think of it as all coming from ourselves (e.g., teaching, nursing, etc.). We must not take from God the glory that is His. It is work that He has asked us to do for Him and for which He has given the necessary talents. We can understand that those who place everything in the hands of Mary will gain a hundredfold because they are seeking that the talents God has given will be used well. By offering them to Mary they are ensuring that they will be used as perfectly as possible for God. Mary is thus invited deliberately to assist us in using all our talents for the greater glory of God. Those gifts and their fruit are placed at Mary’s disposal for her to use them as she thinks fit. The example of Our Blessed Lord is one that we should always have in mind. ‘He dispossessed Himself…’ Why do we wish to retain anything when we know it is for God?
The Immaculate Way