The Glories Of Mary
by ST. ALPHONSUS LIGUORI
OF THE HOPE OF MARY
FROM faith springs hope, for God enlightens us by faith with a knowledge of his goodness and his promises, that we may raise by hope to the desire of possessing Him. Mary, then, having the virtue of an extraordinary faith, had also the virtue of an extraordinary hope, which made her say with David: "But it is good for me to adhere to my God, and to put my hope in the Lord God." Mary was, indeed, that faithful, spouse of the Holy Spirit, of whom it was said; "Who is this that coineth up from the desert, flowing with delights, leaning on her beloved?" For she was always perfectly detached from affection to the world, which to her appeared a desert; and placing no confidence either in creatures or her own merits, but relying entirely on divine grace, in which alone she trusted, she always advanced in the divine love; and thus Ailgrino said of her: She ascended from the desert, that is, from the world, which she deserted and esteemed such a desert, that she turned away from it all her affection. Leaning upon her beloved; for she trusted not in her own merits, but in the grace of him who bestows grace.
And the holy Virgin plainly showed how great was her confidence in God: first, when she saw the trouble of her holy spouse, Joseph, because he knew not the mode of her miraculous pregnancy, and thought of leaving her: But Joseph .... minded to put her away privately: "Joseph autem. . . . voluit occulte dimittere eam." It appeared then necessary, as we have already said, that she should discover to Joseph the hidden mystery; but no, she would not herself reveal the grace she had received; she thought it better to abandon herself to divine providence, trusting that God himself would protect her innocence and her reputation. Cornelius a Lapide makes precisely the same remark, commenting upon these very words of the Gospel: The blessed Virgin was unwilling to make known this secret to Joseph, lest she should seem to boast of her gifts, but resigned herself in perfect confidence to the care of God, trusting that he would protect her innocence and reputation. Moreover, she showed her confidence in God, when, as the time for the birth of Christ approached, she saw herself in Bethlehem shut out from the lodgings even of the poor, and obliged to bring forth her Son in a stable. "And she laid him in a manger, be cause there was no room for him in the inn." She did not then utter a single word of complaint, but abandoning herself to God, trusted that he would assist her in her need. The divine mother also showed how much she trusted in the divine providence, when warned by Joseph that they were obliged to fly into Egypt, she set out the same night on so long a journey to a foreign and unknown country, without preparation, with out money, without other company than that of her infant Jesus and her poor spouse: "Who arose and took the child and his mother by night, and retired into Egypt." But much more did Mary make known her confidence when she asked from her Son the favor of the miracle of wine at the marriage of Cana; for having said: They have no wine: "Vinum non habent;" Jesus answered her: Woman, what is it to thee and to me? my hour has not yet come." But after this answer, by which it seemed clearly that he refused her request, she, trusting in the divine goodness, directed the people of the house to do as the Son should order, because the grace was secure: Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye: "Quodcumque dixerit vobis facite." And Jesus Christ did, indeed, order that the vessels should be filled with water, and then changed it into wine.
Let us learn then from Mary to trust in God as we ought, but principally as to what concerns our eternal salvation, in which, although our co operation is necessary, yet we ought to hope from God alone the grace necessary for obtaining it, entirely distrusting our own strength and saying with the apostle: I can do all things in him who strengtheneth me : "Omnia possum in eo qui me confortat."
Ah, my most holy Lady, of thee Ecclesiasticus says, that thou art the mother of holy hope : "Mater sanctae spei." The holy Church says of thee that thou art hope itself: Hail, our hope: "Spes nostra salve." What other hope then am I seeking? Thou, after Christ, art all my hope; thus St. Bernard called thee, thus I also wish to call thee: The whole reason of my hope: "Tota ratio spes meae;" and I will always say to thee with St. Bonaventure: Oh salvation of those who invoke thee, save me: "O salus te invocantium salva me.