According to the Council of Trent, faith is “the beginning, the foundation and the root of all justification”. What is the role of Mary to strengthen our faith?
First of all, belief in Mary’s glories is an intense exercise of the virtue of faith.
One can marvel at Christ without faith, and many people in fact do just that: they regard Him as a leader, an example, a reformer, a philosopher or even a friend of all men, a heroic figure who had great influence on all mankind.
Mary, however, cannot be understood in a merely natural light. Viewed in that way, she would be nothing but an unassuming, poor woman who says almost nothing and also does almost nothing.
Mary makes no sense to unbelievers. She is what she is solely in the supernatural order, and only in the light of faith can she be recognized.
If you see a scholar or an artist in a great church during a solemn ceremony, you can’t tell yet what brought him there: faith or some purely human motive (aesthetic sense, the desire to be seen, ties of family or friendship, etc.). But if you see the same individual kneeling before a statue of the Blessed Mother and praying the Rosary, then you know that you are dealing with a believer.
Although Christ Himself is our greatest example for all the other virtues, this is not the case with faith and hope, since Christ always possessed the beatific vision and could never lose it.
Faith, however, is conviction about the invisible revelation of God, to which I adhere on the basis of His authority. Accordingly, the real and noblest example of faith is Mary: “Blessed art thou that hast believed!”
She had to believe in the angel’s words, that she would become the Mother of God without losing her virginity. She had to believe that the small, weak child that she bore in the stable and laid in the manger was not only the Messiah but God Himself. She had to believe in His everlasting triumph even at the moment when He was hanging on the Cross and apparently had suffered the ultimate defeat.
How many times God demanded of her a heroic act of faith! And just as many times she responded without hesitating even an instant. Mary hands this faith on to all those who entrust and consecrate themselves to her.
Saint Louis Mary Grignion writes: “Therefore the more you gain the friendship of this noble Queen and faithful Virgin the more you will be inspired by faith in your daily life.
It will cause you to depend less upon sensible and extraordinary feelings. For it is a lively faith animated by love enabling you to do everything from no other motive than that of pure love.
It is a firm faith, unshakable as a rock, prompting you to remain firm and steadfast in the midst of storms and tempests.
It is an active and probing faith which like some mysterious pass-key admits you into the mysteries of Jesus Christ and of man's final destiny and into the very heart of God himself.
It is a courageous faith which inspires you to undertake and carry out without hesitation great things for God and the salvation of souls.
Lastly, this faith will be your flaming torch, your very life with God, your secret fund of divine Wisdom, and an all-powerful weapon for you to enlighten those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death. It inflames those who are lukewarm and need the gold of fervent love. It restores life to those who are dead through sin. (Treatise of the true devotion No 214)