The Glories Of Mary
by ST. ALPHONSUS LIGUORI
NOVENA OF MEDITATIONS
1st. "Rosa mystica:" Mystical rose. It is eaid of Mary, in the holy Canticles, that she was the inclosed garden of God: "Hortus conclusus soror mea sponsa." And St. Bernard explaining this passage, says that the Lord planted in this garden all the flowers that adorn the Church, and among others the violet of humility, the lily of purity, and the rose of charity. The rose is red; and therefore Mary is called the rose, according to the Idiot, on account of the ardent chanty with which her heart was always inflamed towards God, and towards us. And where can we find an advocate who is more occupied with our salvation, and who loves us more than Mary? We acknowledge that one alone in heaven is solicitous for us, as St. Augustine says of her. Oh my dear mother, if I could love as thou lovest me! I will not, however, fail of doing what I can to honor and love thee; my sweet Lady, obtain for me the grace to be faithful to thee.
2nd. "Turris Davidica: Tower of David. Mary is called, in the holy Canticles, Tower of David: "Thy neck is as the tower of David; a thousand bucklers hang upon it, all the armor of valiant men." St. Bernardine says, that the tower of David stood on high, that is, on Sion; and therefore Mary is called "The Tower of David," to denote the elevation of this great creature: as Sion was a most lofty place, so the blessed Virgin was most exalted. Hence, of Mary it is said in the psalms, that her sanctity in the beginning was more exalted than the mountains : "Fundamenta ejus in montibus sanctis." St. Gregory explains it by saying, that the divine mother was more holy in the first moments of her life than the saints have been at the moment of their death. Oh my queen and mother, I rejoice in thy greatness, and am ready to give my life that thy glory should not be diminished in the least degree, if it were possible that it could be diminished. Oh, that I might give all my blood to cause all the nations of the earth to honor and love thee as the Lady thou art!
3d. "Turris eburnea;" Tower of ivory. Thus Mary is also called: Thy neck is as a tower of ivory: "Collum tuum sicut turris eburnea." Mary is called the neck, for she is the mystic neck through whom from the head, Jesus Christ, are transmitted to us the faithful, who are the members of the mystic body of the Church, the vital spirits, namely, the divine help which pre serves in us the life of grace. In the words of St. Bernardine: Through the Virgin, the life giving graces flow from Christ, the head, into his mystic body. The saint adds, that from the time when Mary conceived in her womb the incarnate Word, she received from God such honor, that no one could receive any grace except through her hands. Ivory, in a word, is smooth and strong, hence Rupert the Abbot writes of Mary: As a tower of ivory beautiful in the eye of God, terrible to the devil. Thou, then, oh my Lady, because thou art so beloved by God, canst obtain for us every blessing; and because thou art terrible to demons, thou canst liberate us from all their snares. Have pity on us, for we glory in living under thy protection.