The Glories Of Mary
by ST. ALPHONSUS LIGUORI
MEDITATION FOR THE SECOND DAY OF JULY
On the Feast of the Visitation of Mary
1st. MARY set out from Nazareth to go to the city of Hebron, distant, according to Broccardo, seventy miles; that is to say, at least seven days journey over rough mountains and with no other companion than her spouse Joseph. The holy Virgin hastens, as St. Luke informs us: She went into the mountainous country in haste: "Abiit in montana cum festinatione." Tell us, oh holy Lady, why thou didst undertake this long and difficult journey, and why thou didst thus hasten on thy way? I am going, she answers, to exercise my office of charity; I am going to console a family. If, then, oh great mother of God, thy office is to console and dispense graces to souls, ah come to console and visit my soul. Thy visit then sanctified the house of Elizabeth; come, oh Mary, and sanctify me also.
2d. And now the holy Virgin has arrived at the house of Elizabeth. She had been made mother of God , but she is the first to salute her relation. She entered, and saluted Elizabeth: "Intravit et salutavit Elisabeth." Elizabeth enlightened by the Lord, already knows that the divine Word has become man and the Son of Mary hence she calls her blessed among women, and blesses that divine fruit that was in her womb: "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb." And, filled (at the same time) with confusion and joy, she exclaims: "And whence is this to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" But what does the humble Mary answer to tbese words? She answers: My soul doth magnify the Lord: "Magnificat anima mea Dominum." As if she would say: Ah, Elizabeth, you praise me; but I praise my God that he has chosen to exalt me, his poor servant, to be his mother: he hath regard ed the humility of his servant: "Respexit humilitatem ancillae sure." Oh most holy Mary, since thou dost dispense so many graces to those who ask them of tbee, I pray thee to give me thy humility. Thou dost esteem thyself as nothing before God; but I am worse than nothing, for I am, at the same time, nothing and a sinner. Thou canst make me humble. Make me so through love of that God who has made thee his mother.
3d. But at the first words of Mary, when she salutes Elizabeth, what happens? The child, John, exults with joy on account of the divine grace given him before his birth; Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit, and Zachary, the Father of the Baptist, not long after, is consoled by recovering his speech. So that it is indeed true, oh my queen and mother, that through thee the divine graces are dispensed, and souls are sanctified. Do not forget, then, oh my most dear Lady, me, thy poor servant, who loves thee, and has placed in thee all my hopes. Thy prayers are all graciously heard by that God who loves thee so much. Pray, then, for me, oh my mother, and make me holy.