Mary, Mother of Holy Desires

"Mary, Mother of Holy Desires" by Sr. Margaret Kerry, fsp (

“Mary Queen of Apostles” photographed by Sr. Mary Emmanuel Alves, fsp – (c) by Daughters of St. Paul

Do you sometimes feel that you are unsure of what God is asking of you? Do you wonder what God’s dream is for you? Do you desire to do God’s will?

• “I’m very busy doing what I have to do; I am unable to do what I hope to do. “
• “My own family is in such need, I can barely assist others who are in need.”
• “I want to carry out a mission for the gospel but I’m in a hostile environment.”

Our very desires are an evangelizing mission that affect the lives of others. Mary helps us reflect on the efficacy of our desires as genuine mission. Each time the Third Person of the Trinity gives life to something new, Mary is present. When we pray with Mary, “Here I am. Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done unto me as you say,” (Lk. 1:38) the Spirit is out-poured. Marian attitudes of adoration and silence transform the whole Christian community into a living icon of the Spirit. With her desires, the Holy Virgin hastened the coming of the Messiah, the incarnation of the Word and his first public miracle at Cana in Galilee. Mary Mother of Holy Desires, pray for us!

St. Catherine of Siena wondered how it was possible to heal all the wounds of the Church. Talking to God about this she realized:

“I know what you will do, you will raise up souls with ardent desires; their activities will be limited but their desires will be boundless: when united to one another, they will succeed in saving the world.”

Saint Therese of the Child Jesus was a cloistered nun who became patron of the missions. Her prayer was an offering holy desires,

“I want to be your spouse . . . a mother of souls. But this is not enough for me. I feel the call to be a soldier, a priest, an apostle, a doctor, a martyr . . . to lead heroic undertakings; to die defending the Church. . . . With what love I would take care of children! I want to enlighten the Doctors, the Prophets, and at the same time proclaim the Gospel to the ends of the earth; to be a missionary not for just a few years but until the end of time!”

It was revealed to St. Matilda that Jesus rewards desires in the same way he rewards actions. St. Gertrude realized that the Lord accepts good resolutions as if they were works. One day she asked why St. James was honored with so many miracles and conversions in Compostella, Spain. Jesus answered: “Because while he was on earth he yearned to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth, but he was martyred before he could do this. Now, from heaven, he can do what he desired to do while he was alive.” Blessed Alberione called people with holy desires “Seeds that Bud.” His exhortation to the Pauline Sisters and Brothers was, “Seeds that Bud! Do not be afraid. Even if all your plans and activities do not come to fruition God takes into account your yearnings, prayers and desires.” He believed God’s dreams for us are always bigger than our dreams for ourselves.

Our heart can become an altar of holy desires and ardent yearning. In his book, The Discernment of Spirits, Fr. Scaramelli wrote,

“At times the Spirit of God stirs up in us a desire to do good things that, in reality, he doesn’t want us to accomplish. All he is looking for is a docile will and good dispositions: he is satisfied with that. God ordered Abram to sacrifice his only son, whom he loved very much. Abram obediently prepared everything for the holocaust, but when he raised the knife to strike his son, the Lord held back his hand. God inspired David to build a Temple. But when he took steps to do this, God sent the prophet Nathan to tell him: ‘No, you are not the one who will build my Temple. Your son Solomon will do it.’”

In the same way the Holy Trinity inspires missionary zeal in souls who will never be sent to the missions, resolutions of penance and fasting in people who are physically weak and need to nourish themselves, a yearning for a life of solitude in persons who need to remain with their families. The Lord is uses our holy desires as we pray with Mary “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; Let it be done to me according to your Word.” (Lk 1:38)

St. Francis de Sales said all holy desires are summed up in these: that the Lord may be known, loved, glorified; that all souls may be saved and be holy.

• Yearn to do God’s desires, desiring God’s glory. In the morning pray: “Holy be your Name, your Kingdom come, your will be done.” Mt. 6
“God, you are my God, I am seeking you.” Psalm 63
• Desiring the good of others. “Glory to God and peace to people.” Luke 2:14
• Offer your desires, thoughts, words and actions as Mary did in union with Jesus. Morning offering: “Divine Heart of Jesus, I offer You, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mother of the Church, and in union with the Holy mass throughout the world, my prayers, actions, joys and sufferings of this day, in reparation for sins, for the salvation of all people, in the grace of Holy Spirit, for the glory of the Heavenly Father. Amen.”

“Jesus listens to holy desires and desires are always holy when they aim for the glory of God, for our sanctification, for the sanctification of our neighbor. These are graces that God surely grants.” Blessed James Alberione.

This thought a day features artwork every day of May, a reflection on Mary’s role in salvation and in our lives, a prayer for the day, and a link to a Marian song. It is “a daily dose of beauty and inspiration.”

The Apostolate of Holy Desires by Blessed Alberione 

Copyright 2017 Sr. Margaret Kerry, fsp


Mary: Icon of Integrality Father Joseph Forlai, igs

Alberione, James; Mary, Queen of the Apostles


About Author

A Daughter of St. Paul for 40 years Sr. Margaret continues to pursue new ways to proclaim the Gospel: sharing the Pauline Charism with the laity, writing books (St. Anthony of Padua: Fire & Light; Strength in Darkness: John of the Cross; Prayers for the New Evangelization), & through direct evangelization. She is available for workshops on the Vocation & Mission of the Laity, Media Literacy, and The New Evangelization.

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