The Glories Of Mary
by ST. ALPHONSUS LIGUORI
ACCLAMATIONS IN PRAISE OF MARY.
OH most holy Virgin Mary ! oh queen of angels! how complete and perfect heaven has created thee ! Oh, that I might appear in the eyes of God, as thou dost appear to me ! Thou art so beautiful and lovely, that with thy beauty thou dost ravish hearts. When thou dost appear, every thing appears deformed, every beauty is eclipsed, every grace disappears, precisely as the stars disappear at the rising of the sun.
Thy great servant, St. John Damascene, contemplated thee; and when he saw thee so lovely, it appeared to him thou hadst taken the flower and the best of every creature, and therefore he called thee: The comeliness of nature: “Naturae venustatem;” the grace and comeliness of all creatures. St. Augustine, the brightest light of the Doctors, gazed on thee, and thou didst appear to him so beautiful and lovely, that he called thee the form and countenance of God, and it did not seem to him adulation: Thou art worthy of being called the form of God : “Si formam Dei te appellem digna existis.” Thy de vout servant, Albertus Magnus, contemplated thee, and it seemed to him that all the graces and gifts that were found in the most celebrated women of the ancient dispensation were all sur passed in thee. The golden mouth of Sara, when with thy smile thou makest heaven and earth joyful; the tender and sweet glance of the fruitful Lia, with which thou dost soften the heart of God inexorable to sinners; the splendor of the countenance of the beautiful Rachel, as thou dost obscure the sun by thy radiant beauty; the grace and the comeliness of the discreet Abigail, with which thou dost appease the wrath of an angry God; the fire and strength of the brave Judith, when thou dost powerfully and graciously subdue the proudest hearts.
In a word, sovereign princess, from the vast ocean of thy beauty flowed forth, like streams, the beauty and grace of all creatures. The sea learned to curl its waves, and wave its crystals, from the golden locks of thy head, which, curling gracefully, flo ated upon thy shoulders and ivory neck. The crystal fountains, and their clear depths, learned their quiefc and steady flow from the serenity of thy beautiful brow and thy placid countenance. The graceful bow, when it is most beautiful, has carefully learned from thy eyebrow to arch itself gracefully, that it may better dart forth its rays of light. The morning Dian and the gentle Hesperus are flashes from thy radiant eyes. The white lily and the ruddy rose have stolen their colors from thy cheeks. The envious purple and coral sigh for the ruby of thy lips. The purest milk and sweetest honey are distillations from the sweet honeycomb of thy mouth. The odorous jasmin and the fragrant rose of Damascus have stolen their perfumes from thy breath. The loftiest cedar and the finest and most erect cypress esteem themselves happy when they see that they are the image of thy straight and lofty neck, and the palm-tree enviously, and in emulation, imitates thy stately stature. And thus, oh Lady, every created beauty is the shadow and copy of thy beauty. Therefore I do not wonder, oh sovereign princess, that heaven and earth are placed under thy feet; for they are so small and thou so great, that when thy feet only rest upon them they are enriched, and they deem themselves happy and blessed when they can kiss them: so the moon when St. John the Evangelist saw her at thy feet. And the splendor of the sun was increased, when thou didst clothe thyself with his rays. The Evangelist, blinded by the greatness of thy light, was lost in wonder, and beside himself at tht sight of so stupendous a miracle of beauty, in which the beauty of heaven and earth was contained, and he said : And there appeared a great sign in heaven: “Signum magnum apparuit in coelo.” There appeared a great wonder in heaven, that amazed the angels and terrified the earth. And that miracle was a woman clothed from head to foot with light and splendor, whom the resplendent sun chose for his mother, and he placed himself in her womb, and to her the fair moon serves as a robe encircled with silver, and innumerable stars crown her temples, and are emulous of encircling her locks, and adorn her head with a wreath of precious gems: And on her head a crown of twelve stars “Et in capite ejus corona duodecim stellarum.”
And thus the saints, oh most sacred Virgin, marvelling at so great splendor which surpasses the brightness of the sun, and the graceful loveliness of the moon, though they be the perfect flower and ideal of all beauty, and considering the acclamations that burst forth from the heavens, never ceased to admire thy beauty, and do nothing but exclaim, and extol thee also, with acclamations of wonder and amazement. St. Peter Damian, paying to thee his homage, says : “Oh holy, and m*t holy of all the sainte, and the richest treasure of all sancthy !” And St. Bernard : “Oh admirable Virgin ! Oh woman, the glory of all other women ! The best and greatest that the world has ever possessed St. Epiphanius : “Oh heaven more vast and extended than the empyrean ! Virgin truly full of grace !” And the Catholic Church, in the name of all, sings : “Oh most clement, most merciful, oh always sweet Virgin Mary !”
And I also, oh heavenly princess, with thy leave, although I am the least of thy servants, I also wish to make my acclamations of wonder and amazement. Oh gracious and beautiful heaven, more vast than the empyrean! since in this the immensity of God is not contained, but he was even concealed in thy womb. Oh richest treasure, in which was deposited the most rich jewel of our redemption! Oh mother of sinners, beneath thy mantle we are protected! Oh consolation of the world, in whom all the afflicted, infirm, and disconsolate find comfort! Oh beautiful eyes, that ravish hearts! Oh coral lips, that take souls captive! Oh beneficent hands, filled with hyacinths, that are always dispensing graces. Oh pure creature, who dost appear so like God, and whom I should have esteemed God, if faith had not taught me that thou art not God, although thou hast a splendor and I know not what of supreme Deity! Oh great Lady, empress of heaven, enjoy for a thousand eternities the grandeur of thy state, the immensity of thy graces, and the felicity of thy glory. Only 1 supplicate thee, oh compassionate mother, that thou wilt not forget us, who beg to be thy servants and children. And because thou art the depositary of all graces, and the best and most privileged of all created things, obtain for us thy servants, oh Lady, that we may be favored far more than any others in the world. And may all the world know that the dear children of Mary are the best of heaven and earth; the beloved children who are tenderly cared for, and enjoy the best that such a mother has to give; the wellbeloved, who are caressed in the bosom of the queen of heaven, and are doubly favored and doubly caressed by thy majesty. Thus I hope, oh most beautiful Rachel! and thus I trust thou wilt do, oh sovereign princess! In the name of what thou art; do it, for all heaven prostrate at thy feet, is supplicating and praying thee for this. Consent; utter but one loving fiat ; fiat fiat; be it done, be it done. Oh man, what art thou doing? How dost thou love the creatures of the earth, deceitful and lying creatures, who betray and make thee lose thy soul, and body, paradise, and God? And why not love Mary, the most loving, the most amiable, and the most faithful, who, after enriching thee with consolations and graces in this life, will obtain for thee, from her divine Son, the eternal glory of paradise? Oh Mary, Mary, beautiful above all creatures! lovely, next to Jesus, above all loves! dearer than all created things! more graceful than all graces! have pity on my miserable heart. Miserable because it ought to love thee and does not love thee. Thou canst kindle it with thy holy love. Turn, oh Mary, thy loving eyes upon me, look upon me, draw me to thyself, and obtain that, next to God, I may love none but thee, oh most gracious, most amiable Mary, mother of Jesus, and my mother.