God gives us all the graces of conversion and sanctification through Mary. We respond to this gift of God by receiving these graces more and more, letting them come alive and bear fruit in us.
And since God has His graces ready through Mary for every moment, for every situation, for every event and every state and condition, we must do this return to God in everyday life in a conscious turning to the Mediatrix of all graces. This happens when we accept her Immaculate Heart into our lives.
The Immaculate Heart of Mary is, according to St. John Eudes, “the source and the principle of all her privileges, glories, prerogatives and qualities, which exalt her above all creatures. (…) It is also the source of all the graces that accompany these qualities, but also the source of all the virtues that she practiced.
“But why is her heart the source of all this? Because it was the humility, the purity and the love of her heart that made her worthy to become the Mother of God and consequently to receive all the other gifts and prerogatives that accompany such an exalted dignity. (…)
“We must honor in the Virgin Mary not only certain mysteries and deeds of hers, such as her birth, presentation in the temple, visitation, etc., not only certain qualities of hers, such as her Divine Maternity, or the fact that she is the Daughter of the Father, Spouse of the Holy Ghost and Temple of the Holy Trinity. We must first and above all honor in her the source and the origin of her holiness and of the dignity of all her mysteries, of all her deeds and personal qualities: and that is her love, for according to the holy Doctors of the Church, love is the means of merit and the principle of all sanctity.”
Entering into Mary’s Heart, therefore, is the beginning of life under the banner of love, which is in fact the only way that leads us back to God. Love, as the pattern of all virtues, gives to our whole moral life its value: “At the sunset of our lives we will be judged on our love,” says St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus. Not what we have done and accomplished, but rather how we have done it, i.e. with how much love, will determine the value of our life.
Without supernatural love all our moral acts and only “a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1), but this love is given to us gratuitously in the Heart of the Immaculata; therefore we can increase the value of the acts that we perform in our daily life insofar as we do them in the Immaculate Heart.
Thus Mary becomes in the fullest sense “the Mother of Fair Love”. This communication of the love of her Immaculate Heart is nothing other than the mediation of all graces, which, indeed, are nothing less than the rays of Divine Love given to us.
Fr. Kolbe says: “Life has value to the extent that it is filled with acts of divine love. Now, our demonstrations of love are full of imperfections. St. Thérèse was aware that her whole life would be imperfect.
“Not that she possessed any attachment to these imperfections, but [she knew that] she would always discover new attachments. Now if the soul gives its acts to the Immaculata as her property, then she hands them on to God as her own. In this way our acts of love for God receive all her beauty.”
If we consider our everyday life in the light of the Catholic doctrine about grace, then we know that, besides sanctifying grace as a state, we also receive various actual graces, “helping” graces, that anticipate a human act, accompany it, and lead it to perfection.
If we can describe sanctifying grace as the presence, the life and the working of Christ in us, and the life of the Holy Trinity with Him, then we can fittingly describe actual graces as the presence of the Immaculata, who, after all, is nothing other than, so to speak, the incarnate mission of the Holy Ghost.