Saturday of the Fourth Week After Easter
|℣. In resurrectione tua Christe, alleluia.||℣. In thy resurrection, O Christ, alleluia.|
|℟. Cœli et terra lætentur, alleluia.||℟. let heaven and earth rejoice, alleluia.|
Saturday brings us once more to the dear Mother of our Jesus. Last Saturday, when closing our week’s considerations upon the establishment of the Church, we reverently drew a parallel between these two Mothers—Mary and the Church. During the present week, we have been considering how our Savior confided his Doctrine—that is, the object of our Faith—to his Apostles: let us devote this last day to a loving remembrance of the dogmas which Jesus revealed to them regarding the dignity and office of Her whom he chose for his own and our Mother.
Holy Church teaches us several truths concerning Mary; and these truths are the object of our faith, on the same ground as the other articles contained in the Catholic Creed. Now they could not be the object of our faith, except inasmuch as they were revealed by the lips of our Divine Lord himself. The Church of our days has received them from the Church of past ages, just as this last named received them from the Apostles, to whom Jesus first confided them. There has been no new revelation since our Savior’s Ascension; consequently, the manifestation of all the dogmas transmitted to the Church and promulgated by her to the world dates from the teaching given by Jesus to his Apostles. It is on this account that we believe them with theological faith—a faith which can only be given to truths directly revealed by God to man.
How beautiful is the affection here shown by the Son of God to his Mother! He revealed to his Apostles the impenetrable secrets of the Divine Essence, the Trinity in Unity, the eternal generation of the Word in the Father’s bosom, the eternal procession of the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son, the union of the two Natures in one Person in the Incarnate Word, the Redemption of the world by the Blood of the Man-God, the restoring of fallen man and the elevating him to a supernatural state by grace. But this same Jesus also reveals the prerogative of his dearest Mother; and we are to believe them, and with the same Faith, as we do the dogmas which relate to God himself! Jesus, the Wisdom of the Father, the Conqueror of death, has revealed to us Mary’s dignity with the same lips that taught us what he himself is; we believe the two revelations with equal faith because he spoke both.
Jesus said to his Apostles, and they, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, communicated his teaching to the Church: “Mary, my Mother, is a daughter of Adam and Eve; but the stain of original sin was not upon her. The decree—that every human being should be conceived in sin—was suspended in her regard. She was full of grace from the first moment of her Conception. Jeremias and John the Baptist were sanctified in their mother’s womb; Mary was Immaculate from the first moment of her existence.“
Jesus also said to his Apostles, and commanded them to repeat his words to the Church: “Mary is truly Mother of God, and must be honored as such by all creatures; for she truly conceived me and gave me birth, according to my human nature, which forms but one Person with my divine nature.”
Jesus also said to his Apostles, and commanded them to repeat his words to the Church: “Mary, my Mother, conceived me in her chaste womb without ceasing to be a Virgin, and she gave me birth without her Virginity suffering any injury.”
Thus, Mary’s Immaculate Conception—which prepared her for her sublime office—her divine Maternity, and her perpetual Virginity, are three dogmas of our faith which were revealed to the Apostles directly by our Lord. holy Church merely repeats them after the Apostle, just as the Apostles repeated them after hearing them from their Divine Master.
But did not Jesus reveal other prerogatives of his august Mother—prerogatives which are consequences of the three magnificent gifts just mentioned? Let us ask the Church what she believes on this subject, and what she teaches, both by her doctrinal utterance, and by her equally infallible practice. Every development, which is produced in her by the action of the Holy Ghost, is based upon the Word of God, which was spoken at the beginning. Thus, it is impossible to doubt but what our Savior made known to his Apostles his intention of raising his Blessed Mother to the dignity of Queen of the universe, of Mediatrix of men, of Mother of grace, of Cooperatrix of our Redemption. Had she not, by the three unparalleled gifts just mentioned, already been raised above all other creatures? No, we cannot doubt it—these glories of the Mother of God were known, revered, and loved by the Apostle; and we, who have received from the Church these same sublime and consoling truths, we too prize and love our knowledge. Should we not be offering violence to every noble feeling of our nature, were we to believe that Jesus ascended into heaven, without having made known to the world the glories of his Mother, whom he loved both as her Son and her God!
What must have been thy sentiments, O Mary, thou most humble of creatures, when Jesus unveiled thy glories to the Disciples? They already reverenced thee, but they could never have known the grand gifts bestowed on thee by God unless that God himself had revealed them. What glorious things were said to thee, O City of God! If thy humility was troubled when the Archangel called thee full of grace and blessed among women; how must thou not have shrunk from the homage paid thee by the Apostles, when they were first told that thou was the Mother of God, the ever spotless Virgin, Immaculate from thy very Conception! But no, Blessed Mother! thou canst not shun the honors that are richly thy due. The prophecy spoken by thyself, in Zachary’s house, must be fulfilled: All generations shall call thee Blessed! The time is at hand: in a few days hence, the preaching of the Gospel will have commenced. Thy name, thy ministry, thy glories are an essential part of the Creed which is to be carried throughout the world. Up to this time, thou hast been shrouded in a veil of mystery; that veil must now be drawn aside—Jesus will have it so—and thou must be known as Mother of the God who, when he came to save us, disdained not to assume our human nature in thy chaste womb. Dearest Mother! Queen of Angels and Men! suffer us to unite our fervent homage with that which the Apostolic College gave thee, when Jesus first revealed to them thy glories!
Let us, in honor of the blessed Mother, recite this Sequence of the Cluny Missal of 1523. It is a graceful imitation of the Victimæ Paschali.
|Virgini Mariæ laudes
|Let Christians offer to the Virgin Mary their hymns of praise.|
|O beata domina,
Tua per suffragia
|O Lady ever blessed! let sinners be reconciled to God by thy prayers.|
|Fiant per te liberi
A fermento veteri,
|May they that received the Paschal Lamb be, by thy intercession, cleansed from the old leaven.|
|Da nobis, Maria,
Virgo clemens et pia
|Give us, O Mary, thou merciful and loving Virgin!|
|Aspectu Christi viventis,
Et gloria frui
|To enjoy the sight of the living and risen Christ.|
|Tu prece nos pia,
|Reconcile us with Jesus, by thy holy prayers,|
|Quæ sola Mater intacta,
Verbi Dei facta.
|O thou the spotless Mother of the Word of God!|
|Credendum est ex te Deum
Et hominem natum,
|We believe that the God-Man, who was born of thee, hath risen again in glory.|
|Seimus Christum surrexisse
A mortuis vere;
Conserva Mater nos et tuere.
|We know that Christ hath truly risen from the dead. Do thou, O Mother! preserve and defend us. Amen.|
This text is taken from The Liturgical Year, authored by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)