Ave Maria Meditations
Three most precious fruits of the virtue of justice are simplicity, humility, and gratitude. Simplicity is the sincere love of the pure and simple truth. Humility is the honest confession of one’s own nothingness. Gratitude is the loving acknowledgment of benefits received. First let us consider our Blessed Lady’s simplicity.
Once only is it recorded of our Lord in the gospel that He expressed pleasure and satisfaction during His life on earth. It was when He rejoiced in spirit and gave thanks to His Father because the mysteries of God had been disclosed not to the wise and prudent, but to the little ones, such as are simple souls.
“Jesus rejoiced in spirit and said, I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth that Thou hast hidden these things from the wise and prudent and hast revealed them onto little ones.” (Lk 10:21)
But who can say how often, while dwelling in the little cottage at Nazareth, He rejoiced in heart to see the child-like simplicity of His dear Mother, the guilelessness of mind and heart with which she work and prayed, and the noble sincerity of her motives, of her deeds, of her words, of her silence? In that dear cottage at Nazareth all lead a life of innocence and holiness. Their food was the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. They cared and sought for God alone. They spoke with the simple truthfulness of childhood. Their speech was “yea, yea, nay, nay.” They thought and spoke well of all men, with loving dove like simplicity.
Mary, like Jesus, with simple gaze saw God everywhere, in the birds of the air and the lilies of the field, and in men and in things. She loved simplicity in everything, even in the practice of the highest virtues. She was simple in faith, believing in revealed truth without scrutiny; simple in hope, rejoicing in the happiness to come as though it were already present; simple in charity, for she loved only God or for God’s sake.
She was simple in her thoughts, which were ever intent on the Sun of Justice, in her judgment never swayed by passion; in her affections virgin and immaculate; in her words and deeds free from duplicity and pretense. In fine, Mary in all things showed herself simple as a dove.
They say that genius is simple, because it cares for but one thing, it lives for one idea which absorbs all its energies. This is true of the saints who, whether the world believes it or not, are the greatest among men. In their lives appears an admirable simplicity and unity in thoughts, aims and affections. They are governed by one idea, which seems to be the Polar star that directs their course. Their one thought is of God, to whom they offer their simple prayer. This simplicity of mind and heart is compared in the language of scripture to keenness of sight… Hence Our Lady is praised in the Canticle because her eyes are like those of the dove. Indeed, Mary belonged wholly to her Beloved, as He was all hers. She had no other love in her heart than that of Jesus.
This explains the heroic intrepidity of Mary on Calvary. Weak and timid as she was, in that throng of soldiers, executioners and spectators who pressed around the cross, Mary, heedless of danger and forgetful of self, saw none but Jesus. Having followed him to the foot of the cross she mourn over him and would have died with him such was the simplicity of her love.
+ Fr. Luigi Lanzoni