05 December 2009

Chosen from the Boundless Crowd of Humanity

These wonderful thoughts about our Blessed Lady come from a monk, ascetic and writer of the Carthusian Order named, Ioannes Iustus Lanspergius. This is the Latinized name of John Gerecht of Landsberg. His name, however, most often appears simply as “Lanspergius.” He lived in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century. He was born in Bavaria, Germany. He joined the Carthusian Order at twenty years of age after studying philosophy at the University of Cologne. After spending ten years in Cologne he was made Prior of the Charterhouse of Cantave. Along with his duties as Prior, he gave himself completely to God in prayer, asceticism, mysticism and writing. In this post, Lanspergius plunges deeper into Sacred Scripture, most specifically the scene of the Annunciation. We can see the mind of a contemplative at work in how this is written.

The good and gracious Creator became intolerant in seeing man fall into the abyss. Overcome by inexpressible mercy, He sent an angel, chosen among the most worthy, the archangel Gabriel – to a town in Galilee called Nazareth.

The angel came into the house which was inhabited by the parents of the future Mother of God, the Blessed Virgin, who had now returned from the temple, and was betrothed to Saint Joseph.

The angel then appeared to the Virgin. And what a Virgin! A Virgin in body and having the pure soul of an angel; a Virgin whose beauty is so bright, that the King of heaven, the Son of the Most High, would have her for His Mother, choosing her from the boundless crowd of humanity.

The angel came to greet the Virgin and bring a message from God – an unheard of message – no words of this kind had ever been brought to the earth until that day.

It is written that the angel came to her. But where did He enter? Mary had withdrawn to her father’s residence, sitting in her small bedroom, totally absorbed in entreating God to free humanity. She was immersed in divine contemplation and was completely suspended in God as her spirit remained closely united to Him constantly, due to the extraordinary purity of her heart. For as often as she wished, she could move towards the Almighty through contemplation.

And so, there she sat, earnestly beseeching the Lord to send into the land the Christ, the long-awaited Messiah. The angel enters into the room where Mary is devoted only to God, by herself, absorbed. Gabriel turns with the utmost respect towards her who is about to become the Mother of God, and greets her: Hail, full of grace.

Hail, full of grace. You are free from every stain, even the slightest shadow. You’re so perfectly beautiful and Immaculate that nothing in you has ever displeased God.

Grace has invaded you and you possess it completely. The Lord is with you, in you the Trinity dwells, and not in an ordinary manner, but in a special way. The Lord is pleased with you, He created you and enjoys dwelling in you always, enamored by your beauty. He has completely enveloped you, protecting you from the invasion of the enemy. The Lord is always with you, He strengthens you, surrounds you with His grace which will never abandon you.

Almighty God has prepared in you a worthy and adequate dwelling for His Son, Who wished to be born in your lap.

Blessed are you among women, among all creatures. The sweetness of God you have received with so many blessings that the Omnipotent Creator decreed to be your Son. The Immense One desired to be born like a child, thanks to you.

Blessed are you among women, you who enjoy the honor of virginity and are the Mother of the Almighty.

Unique among all women you have conceived without the stain of sin and without suffering. This conception made you even more pure and more holy.

You have favor with God. I know that your bewilderment and your fear are not from defects, but are the fragrant flowers of your virtues. With certainty you have found favor with God, appreciated and likened unto Him beyond measure.

Your eminent virtues, your continuous prayer, and the fire of your love has asked for and obtained His grace.

Blessed are you, Mary, for you have received not the grace of men, but of God.