The Glories Of Mary
by ST. ALPHONSUS LIGUORI
OF THE CHARITY OF MARY FOR HER NEIGHBOR
LOVE to God and our neighbor is commanded by the same precept: "And this commandment we have from God, that he who loyeth God, love also his neighbor." And St. Thomas gives it as a reason for this, that he who loves God, loves all things which God loves. St. Catherine of Genoa one day said to God: "Oh Lord, it is thy will that I love my neighbor, and I can love none but thee." God answered her in these words: "He who loves me, loves all things loved by me." But as there never has been and never will be one who loves God more than Mary; so there never has been and never will be one who loves his neighbor more than Mary. Cornelius a Lapide, remarking on these words: "King Solomon hath made him a litter of the wood of Libanus . . . the midst he covered with charity for the daughters of Jerusalem," says, that this litter was the womb of Mary, in which the incarnate Word dwelt, filling the mother with charity, that she might succor all who had recourse to her. Mary was so full of charity when she was on earth, that she assisted unasked, those who were in need, just as she did at the marriage of Cana, when she told her Son of the trouble of the family: They have no wine: "Vinum non habent," and begged him to give them wine by a miracle. Oh! how she hastened to the relief of her neighbor, when she went to the house of Elizabeth on an errand of charity: She went into the hill country in haste: "Abiit in montana cum festinatione." She could in no way show greater charity than by offering her Son for our salvation; so that St. Bonaventure says: Mary so loved the world as to give her only-begotten Son. Therefore St. Anselm addresses her in these words: Oh, blessed among women, who dost excel the angels in purity, and the saints in pity! Neither does the charity of Mary for us fail, says St. Bonaventure, now she is in heaven; but is much increased there. Because now she sees more clearly the miseries of men. Hence the saint said: Great was the mercy of Mary towards the wretched when she was still an exile on earth; but it is far greater now that she is reigning in heaven. And the angel said to St. Bridget, that there is no one who prays that does not receive graces through the charity of the Virgin. Miserable should we be were Mary not to pray for us. Jesus Christ himself also said to the same saint: "If the prayers of my mother did not interpose, there would be no hope of mercy."
Blessed is he, says the divine mother, who hears my teachings and considers my charity, in order to practise it towards others in imitation of me: "Blessed is the man that heareth me, and that watcheth daily at my gates, and waiteth at the posts of my doors." St. Gregory Nazianzen says, that there is nothing by which we may more surely gain the love of Mary, than by the practice of charity towards our neighbor. Hence, as God commands us, saying, "Be ye merciful, as your Father also is merciful;" so Mary appears to say to all her children: Be ye merciful, as your mother also is merciful. It is certain that God and Mary will show mercy to us, according to the charity we practise towards our neighbor. "Give, and it shall be given to you." "For with the same measure that you shall mete withal, it shall be measured to you again." St. Methodius said: Give to the poor and receive paradise: "Da pauperi et accipe Paradisum:" for, according to the apostle, charity towards our neighbor renders us happy in this life and the next: "But piety is profitable to all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." St. John Chrysostom, remarking on the words of Proverbs, He that hath mercy on the poor, lendeth to the Lord, says, that he who assists the needy, makes God his debtor. Oh mother of mercy, thou art full of charity for all. Do not forget my miseries. Thou dost even now see them. Recommend me to that God who denies thee nothing . Obtain for me the grace of being able to imitate thee in holy charity towards God and towards my neighbor. Amen.