The Glories Of Mary
by ST. ALPHONSUS LIGUORI
NOVENA OF MEDITATIONS
1st. "Virgo fidelis:" Virgin most faithful. Blessed is he who with his prayers, watches at the gates of Mary, as the poor wait at the gates of the rich to obtain relief! "Blessed is the man," as she herself says, "that heareth me, and that watcheth daily at my gates!" Oh, that we were faithful in serving this divine mother, as she is faithful in succoring us when we pray to her! Mary promises to those who serve and honor her, that they shall be free from sins, and shall obtain eternal salvation. "They that work by me shall not sin. . . . They that explain me shall have life everlasting." She invites all to come to her, and promises them every grace that they hope for: "In me is all grace of the way and of the truth; in me is all hope of life and of virtue. . . . come over to me all." St. Lawrence Justinian applies to Mary that other text of Ecclesiasticus: Her bands are a healthful binding: "Vincula illius alligatura salutaris;" and then adds: "Wherefore bands? unless to bind her servants, that they may not go astray into unlawful fields." Mary binds her servants that they may not take too much liberty, and thus cause their ruin. Oh mother of God, in thee I place all my hopes: thou must save me from falling again into sin. Oh my Lady, do not abandon me; obtain for me the grace to die rather than to lose the grace of God.
2d. "Causa nostrse latitise:" Cause of our joy. As after the darkness and gloom of night, the dawn is the cause of joy, thus after the darkness of sin, which for four thousand years before the coming of Jesus Christ had prevailed on earth, the birth of Mary, our Aurora, brought joy to the world. When Mary was born, the morning rose, says a holy Father: "Nata Virgine, surrexit Aurora." The dawn is the precursor of the sun, and Mary was the precursor of the incarnate Word, the Sun of Justice and our Redeemer, who by his death, freed us from eternal death. With reason does the Church sing of the nativity of Mary: "Thy birth, oh holy mother of God, announced joy to the whole world. " And as Mary was the beginning of our joy, so is she also the completion of it; for St. Bernard says that Jesus Christ has placed the whole treasure of his merits in the hands of his mother, so that every good we receive we may receive through Mary. Oh mother of God, thou art my joy and my hope, for thou dost refuse thy favor to none, and thou dost obtain from God whatever thou dost wish.
3d. Vas insigne devotionis: Vessel of singular devotion. Devotion, as St. Thomas teaches, consists in the readiness of our will to conform to the will of God. This readiness was the principal virtue that rendered his most holy mother so dear to God. And this we are given to understand by the answer of our Lord to the woman who called blessed the womb that bore him: "Yea rather blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it." By this, according to Bede, the Lord intended to say, that Mary was happy by the union of her will with that of God, than by being his mother. That flower which always turns towards the sun is a true type of Mary. The divine will alone was the only aim and satisfaction of the heart of Mary, as she herself sang: My spirit hath re joiced in God my Saviour." Oh, blessed art thou, my Lady, who wast always and entirely united to the divine will! Obtain for me the grace to live for the remainder of my life always in uniformity with the will of God.