Author Topic: The Humility of The Blessed Virgin Mary  (Read 322 times)

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Offline Binechi

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The Humility of The Blessed Virgin Mary
« on: July 17, 2017, 06:41:59 AM »
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    The Humility of Blessed Virgin Mary
    by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876

    "Mary hath chosen the better part, which shall not be taken from her."--Luke x, 42.

    "Mary is exalted above all the choirs of angels." Thus, does the Church rejoice on the feast of the Assumption. Yes, Mary is, indeed, elevated to the most exalted degree of glory in heaven; for enthroned as Queen of heaven and earth, her place is nearest her divine, her beloved Son.

    It is written of Jesus her Son: "God has exalted Him and given Him a name, that in the name of Jesus every knee shall bow in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus entered into the glory of the Father." This is also true of the glorification and honor of His most blessed Mother. He has elevated her and given her a name, that at the name of Mary every creature shall pay homage in heaven and on earth, and every tongue shall confess that Mary has entered into the glory of her Son.

    No other creature possesses such a share in the glorification of Christ, in heaven, as Mary; and why? Ah! it was because she stood nearest to Christ upon earth. And what, my dearest Christians, gained her this great grace? It was her deep humility. In other words: Mary descended into the deepest depths of humiliation by the perfection to which she carried the virtue of humility, according to the example and imitation of Jesus Christ; and in proportion to the depth to which she humbled herself on earth, Christ, on His part, exalted her throne in heaven.

    If we wish to enter the kingdom of glory as children of God; if we wish to reach heaven and participate in the glory of the Son; it is incumbent on us, while still on earth, to tread, with willing steps, the path of humiliations. If we wish to exalt the throne of our glorification in heaven, then it is essential that we humble ourselves in life. This will become clear to us if we consider Mary as our model.

    I say in this regard: Mary ascended the highest point of glory in heaven, because, after her divine Son, no one on earth ever descended so deep than she in the practice of humility.

    O Mary, most humble of all creatures, obtain for me, in preference to all other virtues, true humility of heart! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, for the greater honor and glory of God! I said: Mary attained the highest degree of glory in heaven, because she humbled herself most deeply on earth, and, by the humility of her heart, modeled her life on that of her divine Son. It is written of Christ, that He not only humbled, but, as it were, annihilated Himself, and that, therefore, God the Father exalted Him and elevated Him in glory above all the heavens. Through the prophets He styled Himself the lowest among men--an outcast of the people. He, the King of heaven, permitted Himself to die the death of a malefactor, to be ranked lower than a murderer, and even to be crucified between a murderer and a thief.

    If Christ thus lowered Himself to the rank of the least of men, such likewise must have been the disposition of her whom He placed nearest to Himself on earth. Most-justly, therefore, has St. Bernard said: "If Christ had found a virgin more humble than Mary, He surely would have chosen her, and not Mary, for His Mother." We are informed, by private revelations to the Saints, that it was the singular desire of Mary to have the happiness of being a handmaid of that chosen virgin who should be so highly favored as to become the Mother of the promised Messiah, and yet it was upon herself that the divine choice was fixed. And why?

    Mary herself, in that canticle of praise which is now entoned over the entire Catholic world, tells us why she was chosen: "Because He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid." Thus Mary proclaimed her holy joy in the "Magnificat," when Elizabeth saluted her as the Mother of the incarnate Word of God. But it was not only this disposition of her heart, this humility, which prepared her for the dignity of becoming the Mother of God; it was also because she reached, in each of her works, the highest perfection of merit. In this most perfect humility we can certainly find the reason that she never in any way followed her own will, that no single action of her's was ever marred by any shadow of self-will, but that her whole endeavor was to know and fulfill the Will of God.

    Even when the angel saluted her, she called herself "the handmaid of the Lord." And how beautifully was this disposition of her heart verified at her elevation to the Maternity of Christ; for when she was informed by the angel that she was the chosen Mother of the Saviour of the world, and therefore to be exalted above all creatures in heaven and on earth, she did not entone the "Te Deum;" no evidence of excessive or exuberant joy appeared in her heavenly countenance; but she uttered only the words of entire submission to the most holy will of God: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to Thy word."

     "My will in her"--that is, the praise which the Holy Ghost confers upon her. Oh, how majestic, how holy, how great, is Mary in the humility of her heart, which, excepting the Sacred Heart of Christ, was in no other creature, not even in the angels of heaven, manifested in so perfect a degree. And in this perfect humility can be found the reason why the merits of her actions surpassed, in an immeasurable degree, that of all others, both men and angels. It is not from the number of precious stones which are exposed to view that we judge of a person's wealth, but from their size, their clearness and value. All the good works of the angels and saints may be compared to precious stones; but what determines their value? I answer: conformity of intention with the most holy will of God unmingled with any alloy of self-will, or obstinacy, or self-interest. Therefore, if I were so happy as to have the merit of only one good work of Mary, I would not change it for the united merits of all the angels and saints.

    On the contrary, what, indeed, too often diminishes the merits of our good actions? It is a want of humility, the dust of self-love, self-conceit, and a lack of purity of intention, which causes man, with all the good works which he performs for the honor of God, to keep before his eyes himself---his own interest--which urges him to long for honor and distinction. Therefore, if we wish to increase the glory of that throne which awaits us in heaven, and to be nearer still to Mary, then it becomes necessary to humble ourselves, and to open, in all the good we do the contest with self-love, and to desire nothing else than the greater honor and glory of God, for He has promised: "Those who glorify Me, those will I also one day glorify."

    What will increase our glory in heaven is especially our union with the most holy will of God in all sufferings and afflictions. Glance at the most holy Virgin, in her earthly life, and you will realize the truth of this remark. On earth, nearest the Cross; in heaven, next to the throne of her divine Son: on earth, Queen of martyrs; in heaven, Queen of the glorious and resplendent host of saints and angels: on earth, suffering the pangs of a heart pierced with the sword of grief; in heaven, happy in the possession of a heart filled with the purest celestial bliss.

    And, my dear brethren, had not Christ Himself to enter into the joy of heaven by the rugged path of pain and grief? Undoubtedly He had, as we learn from the words addressed by Him through the Prophet: "Oh, all you that pass by the way, attend and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow!" This was the mournful plaint which Christ, through the lips of the prophet, uttered centuries before, and well might it be addressed, by Mary, to the children of men, as she stood beneath the Cross: "Oh, all you that pass by the way"--all you who, during the long course of centuries, will listen to the tale of my Son's passion--"attend and see if there be, except His, any sorrow like unto mine!"

    Thus Christ entered into His joys and ascended the throne of His glory; thus did Mary and all the blessed who ever entered, or will enter, heaven, attain eternal joy. There is no other way to heaven than that of patience, of suffering for the love of God, in perfect union with His most holy will. And why is it that we do not tread the path of suffering with the unfaltering step with which Jesus and Mary, and all the saints of God, walked therein? It is because humility is wanting in us; for how many, beloved in Christ, when the hand of the Lord presses upon them, cry out, in utter want of resignation: "What have we done, O Lord, to be thus afflicted?" This is especially so when the trouble, or injury, comes from someone, whom we have benefited, but who has repaid us with ingratitude. It seldom happens that the children of the Church do not receive the cross from the hand of man as well as from the hand of God Himself; but, alas! equally seldom do we find them exclaim, with sincere humility: "This and more yet have I deserved! It is, O God, Thy hand which strikes and chastises me, or which afflicts me, in order to give me occasion, through suffering, to show my love to Thee."

    The trial is still harder so, if the trouble comes from one at whose hands we have had reason to expect treatment of a different kind. Mary experienced all these afflictions at the foot of the Cross. But she rejoiced to suffer innocently with the innocent Jesus, and to take upon herself the scorn and derision of the enemies and crucifiers of our Lord, in perfect union with the most holy will of God.

    Behold here the degrees of humility, which lead us, while upon earth, through lowly paths, that in heaven we may reach to high degrees of glory, of that humility which prompts us to say: "O my God, O Lord, I deserve not the happiness of being a child of election, a child of thy Holy Church. I deserve no praise for the good I do. To Thee alone, O Lord, be all the honor. In every decree of Thine I will kiss Thy gracious fatherly hand; and when Thou dost please to try me by some heavy sorrow I will cry out: 'Thy will be done.'"

    And if you one day receive with this resignation the announcement of your approaching death, and yield up your spirit in perfect conformity to the will of God, desiring nothing further on earth than to die in the manner decreed by Him, O then, indeed, you will ascend so high in heaven that your throne will be bathed in the light of glory that inundates the throne of heaven's Queen; and this because, while here on earth, O happy child of Mary, you tried to be like her: Meek and humble! Amen.


    Prayer within the Octave of the Assumption

    Forgive, O Lord, we beseech Thee, the sins of Thy people: that we, who are not able to do anything of ourselves that can be pleasing to Thee, may be assisted in the way of salvation by the prayers of the Mother of Thine only Son. Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ etc. Amen


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