10 October 2009

Loving Mary as Jesus Loved Her

On Saturdays, the day of the week in which the Church honors Mary, here is a wonderful reflection from Le Mois de Marie Cartusien.

The Son of God was about to die. The Sacred Scriptures were fulfilled, the chalice had been drained to the dregs; all was consummated. Jesus could freely leave this life, which for our sakes he had freely taken up. But Mary, her heart transpierced by a sword, stood by the Cross with the beloved disciple. Seeing the immense void which His death was to create in the soul of His Mother, Jesus said to Saint John: “Behold thy Mother!”

What a gift! The Fathers of the Church have written long dissertations upon it. So profound is it that no human mind can fully penetrate its depth and meaning. Saint John himself, in whom it operated so many miracles of grace, did he realize all that it implied? Does not Jesus seem to say to the son of Zebedee: “Here is My Mother, I entrust her to you. My going is for her the supreme trial; without Me, earth will no longer hold anything for her. And yet, her presence is necessary to my infant Church. I adjure you, be to her another son; be to her a Jesus. Your affection, your tenderness, your filial love will help her to bear her exile. At the Last Supper, I allowed you to rest on My Heart and drink at the very source of divine charity, in order to prepare you for the mission with which I entrust you now. In this, as in all else, more than in all else, be mindful of my word – I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, so do you also.”

It was thus that devotion to Mary and love for her was established in the Church. It was, so to speak, a sacrament of grace for souls. The reason for it was obvious: it was that Mary might be loved as Jesus loved her.

The divine commandment made to us in the person of Saint John – to love our Lady – goes beyond all time. The Carthusian author of La Clef du Ciel said: “What we see in the homage paid by the Church to the glorious Queen of Heaven is still and always will be the love of Jesus for her. It is her, it is His Soul on fire with the ardor of the Holy Spirit, which secretly touches our hearts, as a musician plucks the strings of his lyre, to the glory of the most noble of all creatures.”

It is the desire of this Son, so tenderly drawn to His Mother, that we should imitate the zeal and devotion that He has shown, in order to give glory to His Blessed Mother. Out of the thirty-three years which were to make up His life on earth, thirty were consecrated to the sanctification of Mary. “God Who became Man,” says Saint Grignon de Montfort, “found His freedom in being hidden within the womb of Mary. He made His Omnipotence shine forth in letting Himself be carried by the Blessed Virgin. He found His own and His Father’s glory in hiding His splendors from all creatures here below, and revealing them alone to Mary. He glorified His independence and His Majesty in depending upon that sweet Virgin, in His conception, His birth, in His Presentation in the Temple, in His hidden life of thirty years, and even in His death, where she was to be present, in order that He might make with her but one same Sacrifice and be immolated to His Father by her consent, just as Isaac of old was offered to the will of God by Abraham’s consent. Jesus Christ gave more glory to God the Father by His submission to His Mother during those thirty years than He would have given Him in converting the whole world by the working of the most stupendous miracles. Oh how highly we glorify God when, to please Him, we submit ourselves to Mary, after the example of Jesus!” (True Devotion).

“If all our members were transformed into as many tongues,” cries Saint Bernard, “we would still be unable to render worthy praise to Mary.” We need never be afraid of honoring our Lady too much; we shall never honor her enough!