Ave Maria Meditations
Here is to be found one of the deeper aspects of the dogma of the Communion of Saints: The closer one of these privileged souls is to God, the author and source of every good which can adorn and rejoice souls, the greater is her beneficent action on those around. What graces she can demand from the Spouse, wresting them from Him for the whole Church!
How powerfully she can co-operate in the conversion of sinners, the perseverance of the just, the salvation of those agonizing, the entrance of the holy and suffering souls into the bliss of heaven! What a wonderful fruitfulness is hers!
The fecundity of nature is limited; hers is unlimited, it is as a radiance emanating from her soul; those who approach her are embalmed “in the good odor of Christ;” there is, as it were, a divine virtue which goes out from her to touch souls, obtain their pardon, console, strengthen, raise, tranquilize, gladden, and make them show forth the glory of her Spouse. In fact, it is the Word who lives in her, and always living is never inactive, for His action is love, by which He enlightens, vivifies and saves souls. She is a true co-operator in the redemption. The extent of her actions, of her fecundity, cannot be measured. Their action resembles the snow which, covering the heights, is melted by the warm rays of the sun, and descends in life-giving streams to fertilize the valleys and plains.
Without doubt God alone knows the powers of action of the soul He has chosen. Those unillumined by faith understand nothing of these invisible realities; they imagine that such souls separated from the world are in active and sterile for God’s work, and their preference is all for those who devote themselves to external and tangible works. Certainly such works are necessary, indispensable, clearly willed by Heaven, and required by the Church. But what gives their fecundity? God alone. “I have planted,” writes St. Paul, “another has watered the plant, but it is God who gives the increase”: Deus incrementium dedit, and again, “Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.”
As a general rule in God’s providential order, this growth is caused by ardent prayer and a pure life; and was it not this special intention that St. Teresa proposed to her daughters in founding her various Carmels? When, then, you really live this life of union with the Word, a life which is the definite end and motive of your vocation, how much you can do for the salvation and sanctification of souls! … If this is true for one virginal soul, wholly given up to the goodwill of her Spouse, what a supernatural power does a monastery possess, where all the members live in a generous and continual forgetfulness of themselves, in a donation of their whole life to God, and in continuous union with Jesus Christ? Such an assembly possesses an incalculable power in the world of souls. And what a fruitful source of light and grace it is for the Church of Christ! What a cause of joy to the heart of the Spouse! What a pure glory it brings to the Father.
Let us then live in these verities. Each must have a keen and continual desire to attain to this blessed state, and so participate in the ardent zeal which animates the heart of the Word incarnate for the glory of the Father and the sanctification of souls. … Do not limit yourselves to being simply pious souls, with limited ambitions easily satisfied: such an existence will not respond to God’s special love manifested in your vocation, neither to the grandeur of the promises you have made, the height of the duties demanded of a spouse, or the abundance of the favors lavished upon you. Aspire, then, without ceasing, with the help of grace, by a life of humility and humble devotion, to attain the height of that intimate union Our Lord wishes to contract with your souls: there is nothing which can please His Sacred Heart more.
Blessed Columba Marmion