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Some Thoughts on Our Lady from Bl. Columba Marmion

Ave Maria Mediations: A Meditation on the Blessed Virgin Mary October 3rd: Bl. Columba Marmion OSB (1858-1923)
Besides being extremely acceptable to Jesus Christ, this devotion to the Blessed Vir?gin is very profitable for us, and this for three reasons which you will have already fo?reseen. First of all, because, in the?Divine Plan, Mary is inseparable from Jesus and our holiness consists in entering as far as we can into the Divine economy. In God’s? eternal thoughts, Mary belongs indeed to that very essence of the mystery of Christ. As the Mother of Jesus, she is the Mother of Him in whom we find everything. According to the Di?vine plan, life is only given to mankind through Christ the Man-God: “No man cometh to the Father, but by me” (Jn.14:16) but Christ is given to the world only through Mary: for us men and for our salvation, He came down from heaven and was incarnate … of the Virgin Mary. [credo of the Mass.]

This is the Divine order and it is unchanging. Remark that this order was not meant only for the day when the Incarnation took place; it still conti?nues as regards the application of the fruits of the Incarnation to souls. Why is this? Because the source of grace is Christ, the Incarnate Word; but as Christ, as Mediator, He remains inseparable from the human nature which He took from Mary. “God ha?ving once willed to give Jesus Christ to us by the Blessed Virgin, and the gifts of God being without repentance, this order never changes. It is and ever will be true that having received through her charity the universal princi?ple of all grace, it is still through her that we receive the divers applications of grace in all the different states which compose the Christian life. Her maternal love having contributed so much to our salvation in the mystery of the Incarnation, which is the universal principle of grace, she will eternally contribute to it in all the other ope?rations which are only dependent on this mystery”, says Bossuet. Let us li?kewise quote these words of Pope Leo XIII: “Of the magnificent treasure of grace brought to us by Christ, nothing. according to the eternal designs is to be distributed to us except through Mary. Hence, it is through her we must go to Christ, almost in the same way as through Christ we approach our Heavenly Father”.

The second reason, which is very closely related to the preceding, is that no one has more influence than the Mother of God in obtaining grace for us. In consequence of the Incarnation, God is pleased to recognise the credit of those who are united to Jesus, the Head of the Mystical Body (not however in such a manner as to derogate from the power of His Son’s mediation but on the contrary to extend and exalt it) this credit is so much the more powerful according as the union of the saints with Christ is the more intimate. “The nearer a thing approaches to its principle”, says St. Thomas, “the more it expe?riences the effects produced by this principle. The nearer you come tto a furnace, the more you feel the heat which radiates from it”. The holy doctor adds: “Now, Christ is the principle of grace since, as God, He is the Author of it, and, as Man He is the ins?trument of it; and the Blessed Virgin being the nearest of any creature to the Huma?nity of Christ, Christ having taken this human nature from her, she has received from Him higher graces than any creature”.

“But each one receives from God (it is still St. Thomas who is speaking) grace propor?tionate to his providential destination. As Man, Christ was predestined and elected in order that, being the Son of God, He might have power to sanctify all men, therefore He, and He alone, was to possess such plenitude that it might overflow an all souls: of this fulness we all have received. The fulness of grace received by the Blessed Virgin had for its end to bring her nearer than any other creature to the Author of grace; so near, indeed, that she enclosed in her womb the One Who is full of grace, and in giving Him to the world by bringing Him forth, she, so to speak, gave grace itself to the world, because she gave Him who is the source of it”, In giving us Je?sus, Mary has given us the very Author of life. The Church sings this in the prayer after the antiphon to the Blessed Virgin, during Christmastide, when celebrating Christ’s Birth. “By whom we have been made worthy to receive the Author of life”.

If therefore, you wish to draw largely from the fountain of Divine Life, go to Mary; ask her to lead you to this fountain for she it is, more than any other creature, who will bring you near to Jesus. That is why we so justly name her: “Mother of Divine grace”.??Jesus alone is the one Mediator;? but who more surely than Mary will lead us to Him, who will have more power to render Him propitious to us than His Mother? She has, moreover, received from Jesus Himself a special grace of maternity towards His mystical body. That is the last reason why devotion to the Blessed Virgin is so profi?table for souls. Christ, having received human nature from Mary, associated His Mother with all His mysteries from the offering in the Temple to the immolation on Calvary.

Now, what is the end of all Christ’s mysteries? To make of Himself the example of all our supernatural life, the ransom for our sanctification and the source of all our holiness; to create for Himself an eternal and glorious fellowship of brethren like unto Himself That is why Mary, like a new Eve, is associated with the new Adam; but much more truly than Eve, Mary is the?”Mother of all the living”, the Mother of all who live by the grace of her Son. This association was not only outward. Christ, being God, being the omnipotent Word, created in the soul of His Mother the feelings she was to have towards those who being born of her and living by His mysteries, He willed to constitute His brethren. The Blessed Virgin, for her part, enlightened by the grace abounding in her, responded to this call of Jesus by a Fiat of entire submission and in union of spirit with her Divine Son. In giving her consent to the Divine proposition of the Incarna?tion, she accepted to enter into the plan of the Redemption in a unique capacity; she accepted, not only to be the Mother of Jesus, but to be associated in all the mission of the Redeemer. To each of these mysteries of Jesus, she had to renew this Fiat full of love until the moment whenshe was able to say: “All is consummated”, after having offered at Calvary, for the world’s salvation, this Jesus, this Son, this Body she had for?med, this Blood which was her own. At this blessed hour, Mary entered so deeply into the mind of]esus that she may truly be called Co-redemptress.?Like Jesus, she, at this moment, achieved the act of love of bringing us forth to the life of grace.

Mother of our Head, according to the thought of St. Augustine, in bea?ring Him corporally, she became spiritually the Mother of all the members of this Di?vine Head. And because here below she is thus associated in all the mysteries of our Redemption, Jesus has crowned her not only with glory, but with power. He has placed His Mother at His right hand that she may dispose of the treasures of eternal life by a unique title – that of Mother of God: ‘The queen stood on Thy right hand. (Ps. 44:10).

Full of confidence, let us then say to her with the church: “Show thyself a Mother: Mother of Jesus by thy influence with Him; our Mother by mercy towards us. May Christ receive our prayers through thee, this Christ Who, born of thee to bring us life, willed to be thy Son”.

Who, indeed, better than she knows the Heart of her Son? We find in the Gospel a splendid example of her confidence in Jesus. It is at the feast at Cana. She is there with Jesus and she is not so absorbed in contemplation as to know nothing of what is passing around her. The wine begins to fail. Mary notices the confusion ofher hosts; she says to Jesus: “They have no wine”. We here recognise the heart of a mother. What of those “mystics” who would not have wanted to think of the wine! And yet what are they in comparison with the Blessed Virgin? Urged by her kindness, she asks her Son to come to the aid of those whose embarrassment she sees. Our Lord looks upon her and only says: Woman, what is to me and to thee? But she knows her Jesus. She is so sure of Him that she says at once to the servant: “Whatsoever He shalt say to you, do ye”, and indeed, at the word of Christ, the amphorae are found to be filled with excellent wine.

What shall we ask of the Mother ofJesus, if not that, before and above all, she will form Jesus within us by communicating her faith and love to us? All Christian life consists in forming Christ within us and making Him live in us. This is the idea of St. Paul. Now where was Christ first formed? In the Virgin’s bosom, by the operation of the Holy Ghost. But, say the Holy Fathers, Mary first bore Jesus by faith and love, when, by her Fiat, she gave the awaited consent: she conceived in her spirit before conceived in her body. Let us ask of her to obtain for us this faith that will make Jesus dwell in us, for this love which will make us live by the life of Jesus. Let us ask of her that we may become like to her Son; there is no greater favour we can ask her, neither is there any she more wishes to grant us. For she knows, she sees that her Son cannot be separated from His mystical body; she remains so united in heart and soul to her Divine Son that, now in glory, she only desires one thing, and this is that the Church, the kingdom of the elect, bought with the Blood of Jesus, should appear before Him, as a “glorious Church not having spot or wrinkle, but … holy and without blemish”. (Eph 5:27)

Therefore, when we speak to the Blessed Virgin, let us do so united with Jesus and say:? “The Incarnate Word, your Son has said: All that you do to the least of Mi?ne, you do it unto Me. I am one of the least of the members of your Son Jesus; it is in His name I come before you to implore your?help”. In refusing petitions thus made, Mary would be refusing Jesus something.

Let us, then,go to her with full confidence. There are souls who go to her as to a Mother, confiding to her their interests, laying before her their sorrows and difficulties, having recourse to her in all their needs and temmptatiins, for eternal enmity exists between the Virgin and the devil; with her heel, Mary crushes the head of the infernal serpellt. (Gen 3.15) On every occasion, such souls as I have spoken of deal with the Blessed Virgin as children with a Mother; they will go before one of her statues to tell her what they want. But this is childishness, you may say. Perhaps it is, but has. not Christ said: “Unless you become as little children, you shall not enter into thi” kingdom of heaven?” (Mt 18:13), let us, moreover, ask Our Lady that, from the Humanity of her Jesus Who possesses tne fulness of grace, grace may be poured forth abundantly upon us, so that by love may become more and more conformed to this beloved Son of the Father, Who is her Son. It is the best request we can make her. Nothing pleases Mary more than to hear it proclaimed that Jesus is her Son, and to See Him beloved by all creatures.

The Gospel, as you know, has only preserved a very few words of the Blessed Virgin. I have just reminded you of one of these words, that which was said to the servants at the marriage feast at Cana: “Whatsoever my Son shall say to you, do ye”. (Jn. 2:5) This word is like an echo of the word of the Eternal Father: “This is my beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased: hear ye Him”. (Mt 17:5; 2 Pet 1;17) We can apply to ourselves this word of Mary: “Do all that my Son shall say to you”. That will be the best fruit of this conference; it will be, too, the best form our devotion towards the Mother of Jesus can take. The Virgin Mother has no greater wish than to see her Divine Son obeyed, loved, and exalted. Jesus is the Son in whom she, like the Eternal Father, is well pleased.

Blessed Columba Marmion OSB: Christ, the Life of the Soul

Sr. JosephMary f.t.i.

Author Sr. JosephMary f.t.i.

Our Lady found this unworthy lukewarm person and obtained for her the grace to enter the Third Order of the Franciscans of the Immaculate. May this person spend all eternity in showing her gratitude.

More posts by Sr. JosephMary f.t.i.

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