Maria is touted as a saint for many reasons but the one thing about her story that strikes me is her total reliance on God. Certainly she saw God with her when she rebuffs Alessandro's sexual advances but when he attacks her it seems to me that at that moment she relied the most heavily on God and so after the horrible moment passes she sees it through God's eyes and is therefore, even in her pain and suffering, able to give him the gift of true forgiveness.
That is the lesson her life gives to me: to know that God is with me at every moment, good and bad, and that love does not change even amidst great evil.
Maria, pray that I may have the strength in life's struggles to keep God ever before me so that even the greatest of evils done to me are seen as but the merest of slights.
Jesus said to his disciples:
"Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies,
it remains just a grain of wheat;
but if it dies, it produces much fruit.
Whoever loves his life loses it,
and whoever hates his life in this world
will preserve it for eternal life.
Whoever serves me must follow me,
and where I am, there also will my servant be.
The Father will honor whoever serves me."
-- John 12:24-26