Of the Birth of Mary,
Feast Day - 8 September
(Celebrated Ninth (9) Months after the
Feast of the Immaculate Conception, 8 December)


The Birth of Mary - by BOCCACCINO, Boccaccio - from Cathedral, Cremona

 

A Work, only Surpassed-by God

 

Of the Birth of Mary

by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

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Mary was Born a Saint, and a Great Saint; for the Grace with-which God Enriched her, from the beginning, was Great, and the Fidelity, with-which she Immediately Corresponded-with it, was Great.

Men usually Celebrate the Birth-of their Children, with Great Feasts and Rejoicings; but they should rather Pity them, and show Signs-of Mourning and Grief, on Reflecting-that they are Born, not only Deprived-of Grace and Reason, but Worse-than this, they are Infected-with Sin, and Children-of Wrath, and therefore, Condemned-to Misery and Death. It is indeed Right, however, to-Celebrate with-Festivity and Universal Joy, the Birth-of our Infant Mary; for she First (1st) saw the Light-of this World, a baby, it is True, in Point-of Age, but Great-in Merit and Virtue. Mary was Born a Saint, and a Great Saint. But to-Form an Idea-of the Greatness-of her Sanctity, even at this Early Period, we must Consider:

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) First (1st), the Greatness-of the First (1st) Grace, with-which God Enriched her; and

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Secondly (2nd), the Greatness-of her Fidelity, in Immediately Corresponding-with it.

 

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Spouse of the Holy Spirit,
Hail Mary, Full-of Grace

First (1st) Point To begin-with the First (1st) Point, it is certain that Mary's Soul was the most-Beautiful, that God had ever Created; nay more, after the Work-of the Incarnation-of the Eternal Word, this was the Greatest and most-Worthy-of Himself, that an Omnipotent God ever did, in the World. Saint Peter-Damian calls it "A Work, only Surpassed-by God". Hence it follows that Divine Grace did not come into Mary by 'Drops', as in other Saints, "but like Rain on the Fleece", as it was Foretold-by David. The Soul-of Mary, was like Fleece, and Imbibed the Whole Shower-of Grace, without Losing a Drop. Saint Basil-of-Seleucia says, "that the Holy Virgin was Full-of Grace, because she was Elected and Pre-elected by God, and the Holy Spirit was about to take Full Possession-of her". Hence she said, by the Lips-of-Ecclesiastes, "My Abode is in the Full Assembly of Saints"; that is, as Saint Bonaventure explains it, "I Hold-in Plenitude, all that other Saints, have Held-in Part". And Saint Vincent-Ferrer, speaking Particularly-of the Sanctity-of Mary before her Birth, says "that the Blessed Virgin was Sanctified" (surpassed in Sanctity) "in her Mother's Womb, above all Saints and Angels".

 

Immaculate Conception of Mary
Conception: Saint Joachim's Sperm, by the Will-of-God, fertilized Saint Anne's Egg Cell. From the Moment-of-Conception, 46 Chromosomes with 30,000 Genes, Combined-to Determine all the Physical Characteristics of Mary: Sex; Facial features; Body type and the Color of her Hair, Eyes and Skin. dna.gif (3927 bytes) Even more amazing, Intelligence and Personality - the way Mary would Think and Feel, her Talents, Tastes, Abilities and more - were put-in place within Mary's 'Unique' Genetic Code, as established-by God, in Eternity.
littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) At the Moment-of Conception, Mary was already Essentially and Uniquely herself - no bigger than a Grain of Sugar.
littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Also, Instantly, at the Moment-of Conception, Almighty God Created Mary's Immortal Soul, and Fused it to her Minute Body. There it remained, as a Fountain/Receptacle-of God's Love for her, until she died, and saw Him Face-to-face. Mary's Soul was Immaculately Created-by God, Full-of Grace and Free-from all Traces-of Original Sin; a Fitting Temple-of-God.

 

The Grace that the Blessed Virgin Received, Exceeded not only that of each Particular Saint, but of All the Angels and Saints put-Together, as the most-Learned Father Francis-Pepe, of the Society-of-Jesus, Proves, in his Beautiful Work on the Greatness-of Jesus and Mary. And he Asserts that this Opinion, so Glorious-for our Queen, is now Generally Admitted, and Considered as beyond-Doubt, by Modern Theologians (such as Carthagena, Suarez, Spinelli, Recupito, and Guerra, who have Professedly Examined the Question, and this was never done-by the more-Ancient Theologians). And besides this he relates, that the Divine Mother sent Father Martin-Guttierez to thank Father Suarez, on her part, for having so-Courageously Defended this most Probable Opinion, and which, according-to Father Segneri, in his "Client-of-Mary", was afterwards Believed and Defended-by the University-of Salamanca.

 

Opinion and Probability become Dogma
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The Immaculate Conception-of Mary, within the Womb of Saint Anne -
by Piola, Domenico - from Church of Santissima Annunziata del Vastato, Genoa

This depiction is Filled-with Symbolism. At the Instant-of her Conception, within the Womb-of Saint Anne, at the Instant her Soul was Created-by Almighty God, Mary's Soul is shown being Crowned-by her Father, and Filled-with Grace by her Spouse, the Holy Spirit. Mary Tramples on the Head-of the Evil Beast, Assisted-by an Angel carrying her Son's Cross-of-Redemption. Satan sits, very much Confused-by the Soul-of Mary (the New Eve) over which he has no-Power, because-of the Absence-of Original Sin; and behind Satan is the "Old Eve" receiving the "Apple of Temptation" from the Evil Beast, which also has no-Power over Mary. Jesus' (the New Adam) Crucifixion and Mary's Role-as 'Auxiliatrix', was a Triumph-over Satan, Sin and Death, Necessary-to Correct the Sin-of both Adam and Eve.

In 1854, Pius IX Infallibly Proclaimed the Feast-of the Immaculate Conception. This interestingly followed the Lead-of the United States Bishops, who Eight Years earlier, had Decreed-in 1846, that the U.S. was Consecrated-to Mary's Immaculate Conception, and assigned December 8 as the Official Feast-of their Heavenly Patroness. Four years after Pius IX's Infallible Pronouncement, Our Lady herself Confirmed this Dogma at Lourdes, when she Proclaimed-to the Visionary Saint Bernadette, "I am the Immaculate Conception".

 

But if this Opinion is General and Certain, the Other is also Very Probable; namely, that Mary Received this Grace, Exceeding-that of all Men and Angels together, in the First (1st) Instant of her Immaculate Conception. Father Suarez, Strongly Maintains this Opinion, as do also Father Spinelli, Father Recupito, and Father la Colombiere. But, besides the Authority-of Theologians, there are Two (2) Great and Convincing, Arguments, which Sufficiently Prove the Correctness-of the above Opinion.

The First (1st) Argument is, that Mary was Chosen-by God, to be the Mother-of the Divine Word. Hence, Denis-the-Carthusian says, "that as she was Chosen-to an 'Order', Superior-to that of all other Creatures" (for in a Certain Sense, the Dignity-of Mother-of God, as Father Suarez asserts, belongs-to the 'Order'-of Hypostatic Union, "it is Reasonable to Suppose that from the very Beginning-of her Life, Gifts-of a Superior 'Order' were Conferred-upon her, and such Gifts, that they must have Incomparably Surpassed those Granted-to All other Creatures. And indeed it cannot be Doubted, that when the Person-of the Eternal Word was, in the Divine Decrees, Predestined to make Himself Man, a Mother was also Destined-for Him, from whom He was to take His Human Nature; and this Mother, was our Infant Mary".

Now Saint Thomas teaches that "God gives everyone Grace, Proportioned-to the Dignity which He Destines him". And Saint Paul teaches us the Same-thing, when he says, "Who also hath made us Fit Ministers-of the New Testament"; that is, the Apostles Received Gifts-from God, Proportioned-to the Greatness-of the Office, with-which they were Charged. Saint Bernardine-of-Sienna adds, "that it is an Axiom in Theology, that when a Person is Chosen-by God for any State, he Receives not only the Dispositions necessary-for it, but even the Gifts which he Needs to-Sustain that State, with Decorum". But, as Mary was Chosen to be the Mother-of God, it was quite-Becoming, that God should Adorn her in the First (1st) Moment of her Existence, with an 'Immense' Grace, and One-of a Superior 'Order', to that of all other Men and Angels, since it had to Correspond-with the 'Immense' and 'High' Dignity to-which God Exalted her. And all Theologians come to this Conclusion, with Saint Thomas, who says, "The Blessed Virgin was Chosen to be the Mother-of God; and therefore it is not to be Doubted, but that God Fitted her for it by His Grace"; so-much-so, that Mary, before becoming Mother-of God, was Adorned-with a Sanctity, so-Perfect, that it Rendered her Fit-for this Great Dignity. The Holy Doctor says, "that in the Blessed Virgin, there was a Preparatory Perfection, which Rendered her Fit to be the Mother-of Christ, and this was the Perfection-of Sanctification".

mary_t2.jpg (15072 bytes) And before making this Last Remark, the Saint had said, that Mary was called Full-of Grace, not on the Part-of Grace itself, for she had it not in the Highest Possible Degree, since even the Habitual Grace-of Jesus Christ (according to the same Holy Doctor) was not such, that the Absolute Power-of God, could not have made it Greater, although it was a Grace, Sufficient-for the End, for-which His Humanity was Ordained, by the Divine Wisdom, that is, for its Union-with the Person-of-the-Eternal-Word: "Although the Divine Power could make something Greater and Better than the Habitual Grace-of Christ, it could not Fit it for anything Greater, than the Personal Union-with the only Begotten Son-of the Father, and with-which Union, that Measure of Grace, Sufficiently corresponds, According-to the Limit placed-by Divine Wisdom". For the same Angelic Doctor teaches: "that the Divine Power is so-Great, that, however much it Gives, it can always Give-more; and although the Natural Capacity-of Creatures, is in itself, Limited-as-to Receiving, so that it can be Entirely Filled, nevertheless, its Power to-Obey the Divine Will is Limited, and God can always Fill it more, by Increasing its Capacity to Receive". As-far-as its Natural Capacity goes, it can be Filled; but, it cannot be Filled as-far-as its Power-of Obeying goes.

But, now to Return-to our Proposition, Saint Thomas says, "that the Blessed Virgin was not Filled-with Grace, as to Grace itself; nevertheless, she is called Full-of Grace as-to herself, for she had an 'Immense' Grace, One which was-Sufficient, and Corresponded-with her 'Immense' Dignity, so-much-so, that it Fitted her to be the Mother-of God". The Blessed Virgin is Full-of Grace, not with the Fullness-of Grace itself, for she had not Grace in the Highest Degree-of Excellence, in-which it can be had, nor had she it, as-to all its Effects; but she was said to be Full-of Grace, as-to herself, because she had Sufficient Grace for that-State, to-which she was Chosen-by God, that is, to be the Mother-of His only-Begotten Son. Hence, Benedict Fernandez says, "that the Measure whereby we may Know the Greatness-of the Grace, Communicated-to Mary, is her Dignity-of Mother-of God".

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Virgin Womb of Mary-
Mary, City-of-God,
Mary, Temple-of God,
Mary, Tabernacle-of-God,
Mary, House-of-God,
Mary, Mother-of-God

It was not without-Reason, then, that David said, that the Foundations-of this City-of God, that is, Mary, are Planted-above the Summits-of the Mountains: "The Foundations thereof, are in the Holy Mountains". Whereby we are to-Understand that Mary, in the very Beginning-of her Life, was to be more-Perfect than the 'United' Perfections-of the 'Entire' Lives-of the Saints, could have made her. And the Prophet continues: "The Lord Loveth the Gates-of Sion above all the Tabernacles-of Jacob". And the same King David tells us why God thus Loved her; it was because He was to-become Man, in her Virginal Womb: "A Man is Born in her". Hence, it was Becoming, that God should Give this Blessed Virgin; in the very Moment that He Created her, a Grace Corresponding-with the Dignity-of Mother-of-God.

Isaiah Signified the Same-thing, when he said that, in a Time to-come, a Mountain-of the House-of the Lord (which was the Blessed Virgin) was to be Prepared-on the Top-of all other Mountains; and that, in-consequence, all Nations would run-to this Mountain to-Receive the Divine Mercies. "And in the Last Days, the Mountain-of the House-of the Lord, shall be Prepared-on the Top-of-Mountains, and it shall be Exalted-above the Hills, and all Nations shall flow unto it". Saint Gregory, explaining this Passage, says, "It is a Mountain, on the Top-of Mountains; for the Perfection-of Mary is Resplendent above that of all the Saints". And Saint John-Damascene, that it is "a Mountain in which God was well Pleased-to Dwell". Therefore, Mary was called a Cypress, but a Cypress-of Mount Sion: she was called a Cedar, but a Cedar-of Libanus: an Olive-tree, but a Fair Olive-tree; Beautiful, but Beautiful as the Sun; for as Saint Peter-Damian says, "As the Light-of the Sun so Greatly Surpasses that of the Stars, that in it, they are no-longer Visible; it so Overwhelms them, that they are as-if they were Not; so does the Great Virgin Mother, surpass-in Sanctity, the Whole Court-of Heaven". So much so, that Saint Bernard, Elegantly Remarks-that the Sanctity-of Mary, as so-Sublime, that "no other Mother, than Mary, became (suited) a God, and no other Son than God, became (suited) Mary".

The Second (2nd) Argument, by which it is Proved-that Mary was more-Holy in the First (1st) Moment-of her Existence, than all the Saints together, is Founded-on the Great Office-of Mediatress of Men, with-which she was Charged-from the Beginning; and which made it Necessary-that she should Possess a Greater Treasure-of Grace, from the Beginning, than all other Men, together. It is well known with-what Unanimity, Theologians and Holy Fathers give Mary this Title-of Mediatress, on-account-of her having Obtained Salvation-for All, by her Powerful Intercession and Merit, so-called-of 'Congruity' (not Directly), thereby Procuring the Great Benefit-of Redemption for the Lost World. By her Merit-of 'Congruity', I say; for Jesus Christ alone is our Mediator, by Way-of Justice and by Merit, 'de Condigno' as the 'Scholastics' say, He, having Offered His Merits to the Eternal Father, Who Accepted them, for our Salvation. Mary, on-the-other-hand, is a Mediatress-of Grace, by-way-of Simple-Intercession and Merit-of-Congruity, she, having Offered-to God, as Theologians say, with Saint Bonaventure, her Merits, for the Salvation of all Men; and God, as a 'Favor', Aaccepted them "With" the Merits-of Jesus Christ. On this Account, Arnold-of-Chartres says that "She effected our Salvation, in-common-with Christ". And Richard-of-Saint-Victor, says that: "Mary Desired, Sought, and Obtained the Salvation of All; nay, even she Effected the Salvation of All". So that everything Good, and every Gift in the Order-of Grace, which each of the Saints received-from God, Mary obtained-for them.

bvm00086.jpg (50735 bytes) And the Holy Church, Wishes us to-Understand this, when She Honors the Divine Mother, by-Applying the following Verses-of Ecclesiasticus (Sirach), from the Latin Vulgate Bible, to her:

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) "In me, is all Grace of the Way and the Truth". "Of the Way", because by Mary, all Graces are Dispensed-to Wayfarers. "Of the Truth", because the Light-of-Truth is Imparted, by her.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) "In me is all Hope of Life and of Virtue", "Of Life", for by Mary, we Hope to obtain the Life-of Grace in this World, and that of Glory in Heaven; "And of Virtue", for through her, we Acquire Virtues, and especially the Theological Virtues, which are the Principal Virtues of the Saints.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) "I am the Mother of Fair Love, and of Fear, and of Knowledge, and of Holy Hope". Mary, by her Intercession, Obtains-for her Servants, the Gifts of Divine Love, Holy Fear, Heavenly Light, and Holy Perseverance.

From which, Saint Bernard concludes-that it is a Doctrine-of the Church, that Mary is the Universal Mediatress-of our Salvation. He says: "Magnify the Finder-of Grace, the Mediatress-of Salvation, the Restorer-of Ages. This I am Taught, by the Church Proclaiming it; and thus also, She Teaches me to Proclaim the same thing to Others".

Saint Sophronius, Patriarch-of-Jerusalem, Asserts-that the Reason, for-which the Archangel Gabriel called her, Full-of Grace, "Hail, Full of Grace!", was because only Limited Grace was Given-to Others, but, it was Given-to Mary, in all its 'Plenitude': "Truly was she Full; for Grace is Given-to other Saints Partially, but the Whole Plenitude-of Grace, Poured itself into Mary". Saint Basil-of-Seleucia, declares-that she Received this 'Plenitude', that she might thus be a Worthy Mediatress between Men and God: "Hail, Full-of-Grace, Mediatress between God and Men, and by whom Heaven and Earth are Brought-together and United". "Otherwise", says Saint Lawrence-Justinian, "had not the Blessed Virgin been Full-of Divine Grace, how could she have become the Ladder-to-Heaven, the Advocate-of the World, and the most True Mediatress between Men and God"?

The Second Argument has now become, Clear-and-Evident. If Mary, as the already-Destined Mother-of our common Redeemer, received-from the very-beginning, the Office-of Mediatress-of all Men, and consequently, even of the Saints, it was also Requisite-from the very-Beginning, she should have a Grace exceeding-that of all the Saints, for whom she was to-Intercede. I will Explain myself, more-Clearly. If, by the Means-of Mary, all Men were-to Render themselves Dear-to God, Necessarily, Mary was more-Holy and more-Dear to-Him, than all Men, together. Otherwise, how could she have Interceded-for all Others? That an Intercessor may-Obtain the Favor-of a Prince, for all his Vassals, it is Absolutely-necessary, that he should be more Dear-to his Prince, than all the other Vassals. And therefore, Saint Anselm concludes that Mary, Deserved-to be-Made the Worthy Repairer-of the Lost World, because she was the most-Holy and the most-Pure, of all Creatures. "The Pure Sanctity of her Heart, Surpassing the Purity and Sanctity of all other Creatures, Merited for her, that she should be made the Repairer-of the Lost World".

Mary, then, was the Mediatress-of Men; it may be Asked, but how can she be called-also, the Mediatress-of Angels? Many Theologians maintain-that Jesus Christ, Merited the Grace-of-Perseverance for the Angels also; so that as Jesus was their Mediator 'de Condigno', so Mary may be said to be the Mediatress, even-of the Angels 'de Congruo', she, having Hastened the Coming-of the Redeemer, by her Prayers. At least, Meriting 'de Congruo', to become the Mother-of the Messiah, she Merited-for the Angels, that the Thrones, Lost-by the Devils, should be Filled-up. Thus she at-least Merited this Accidental Glory - for them; and therefore Richard-of-Saint-Victor says, "By her, every Creature is Repaired; by her, the Ruin of the Angels is Remedied; and by her, Human Nature is Reconciled". And before him, Saint Anselm said, "All things are Recalled and Reinstated, in their Primitive State, by this Blessed Virgin".

bvm00189.jpg (17910 bytes) So that our Heavenly child, because she was 'Appointed' Mediatress-of the World, as also-because she was Destined-to be the Mother of the Redeemer, received, at the very Beginning-of her Existence, Grace, Exceeding-in Greatness that of all the Saints together. Hence, how Delightful a Sight must the Beautiful Soul-of this Happy child have been to Heaven and Earth, although still Enclosed-in her Mother's Womb! She was the most-Amiable Creature in the Eyes-of God, because she was already Loaded-with Grace and Merit, and could say, "When I was a Little One, I Pleased the Most High". And she was at the same-Time, the Creature of all others, that had ever Appeared-in the World, up-to that Moment, who Loved God the Most; so-much-so that had Mary been-Born Immediately-after her most-Pure Conception, she would have Come-into the World, Richer-in Merits, and more-Holy, than all the Saints, United. Then let us only Reflect how much Greater her Sanctity must have been at her Nativity; coming-into the World, after Acquiring all the Merits that she did Acquire, during the Whole-of the Nine (9) Months that she remained-in the Womb-of her Mother. And now let us Pass-to the Consideration-of the Second (2nd) Point, that is to say, the Greatness-of the Fidelity with which Mary Immediately Corresponded-with Divine Grace.

 

Second (2nd) Point It is not a Private Opinion only, says a Learned Author, but it is the Opinion-of all, that the Holy child, when she received Sanctifying Grace in the Womb-of Saint Anne, received also the Perfect use-of her Reason, and was also Divinely Enlightened, in a Degree corresponding-with the Grace with-which she was Enriched. So that we may well Believe, that from the First (1st) Moment, that her Beautiful Soul was United-to her most Pure Body, she, by the Light she had Received-from the Wisdom of God, knew-well the Eternal Truths, the Beauty of Virtue, and above all, the Infinite (∞) Goodness-of-God; and how much He Deserved-to be Loved by-All, and particularly-by Himself, on account-of the Singular Gifts with-which He had Adorned and Distinguished her above all Creatures, by Preserving her from the Stain-of Original Sin, by Bestowing-on her such 'Immense' Grace, and Destining her to be the Mother-of the Eternal Word, and Queen-of-the-Universe.

bvm00162.jpg (11762 bytes) Hence from that First (1st) Moment, Mary, Grateful-to God, began-to do all that she could do, by Immediately and Faithfully Trafficking-with that Great Capital-of Grace which had been Bestowed-upon her; and Applying herself entirely-to Please and Love the Divine Goodness, from that Moment, she Loved Him with all her Strength, and continued thus to Love Him always, during the Whole-of the Nine (9) Months, Preceding her Birth, during which she never Ceased-for a Moment, to Unite herself more-and-more Closely-with God by Fervent Acts-of Love. She was already Free-from Original Sin, and hence was Exempt-from every Earthly-affection, from every Irregular Movement, from every Distraction, from every Opposition on the Part-of the Senses, which could in any way, have Hindered her from always Advancing more-and-more in Divine Love: her Senses also Concurred-with her Blessed Spirit, in Tending-towards God. Hence her Beautiful Soul, Free-from every Impediment, never Lingered, but always Flew-towards God, always Loved Him, and always Increased-in Love towards-Him. It was for this Reason, that she called herself a 'Plane-tree', Planted-by flowing-Waters: "As a Plane-tree by the Waters ... was I Exalted". For she was that Noble Plant-of God, which always Grew-by the Streams-of Divine Grace. And therefore, she also calls herself a 'Vine'. "As a Vine, I have brought-forth a Pleasant Odor". Not only because she was so-Humble in the Eyes-of the World, but because she was like the Vine, which, according-to the Common Proverb, "Never ceases-to Grow". Other Trees -- the Orange-tree, the Mulberry, the Pear-tree -- have a Determined-Height, which they Attain; but the Vine always Grows, and Grows-to the Height-of the Tree to-which it is Attached. And thus, did the most Blessed Virgin always Grow-in Perfection. "Hail, then, O Vine, always Growing", says Saint Gregory-Thaumaturgus; for she was always United-to God, on Whom alone, she Depended. Hence it was of her that the Holy Ghost spoke, saying, "Who is this that Cometh-up from the Desert, Flowing-with Delights, Leaning-upon her Beloved"? which Saint Ambrose thus Paraphrases: "She it is that Cometh-up, Clinging-to the Eternal Word, as a Vine to a Vine-stock". Who is this, Accompanied-by the Divine Word, that Grows-as a Vine, Planted-against a Great Tree?

Definition of Speculative Philosophy/Theology
Philosophy, especially Traditional Metaphysical Philosophy, which makes Claims, that cannot be Verified-by everyday Experience-of the Physical World, or by a Scientific Method.

Many Learned-Theologians, say that a Soul, which Possesses a Habit-of Virtue, as-long-as She corresponds Faithfully-with the Actual Grace, which She Receives-from God, always Produces an Act, Equal-in Intensity-to the Habit She Possesses; so-much-so, that She acquires each-Time, a New and Double-Merit, Equal-to the Sum-of all the Merits, previously Acquired. This kind-of Augmentation was, it is said, Granted-to the Angels, in the Time-of their 'Probation'; and if it was Granted-to the Angels, who can ever Deny-that it was Granted-to the Divine Mother, when Living-in this World, and especially during the Time-of which I speak, that she was in the Womb-of her Mother, in which she was certainly more-Faithful than the Angels, in corresponding-with Divine Grace? Mary, then, during the Whole-of that Time, in each Moment, Doubled (2) that Sublime Grace, which she Possessed-from the First Instant; for, corresponding-with her Whole Strength, and in the most-Perfect manner, in her every-Act, she subsequently Doubled (2) her Merits in every Instant. So that, Supposing she had a Thousand Degrees-of Grace in the First Instant, in the Second, she had Two (2) Thousand, in the Third Four (4) Thousand, in the Fourth Eight (8) Thousand, and in the Fifth Sixteen (16) Thousand, in the Sixth Thirty-Two (32) Thousand. And we are as yet, only at the Sixth (6) Instant; but Multiplied-thus for an Entire Day, Multiplied-for Nine (9) Months, consider what Treasures-of Grace, Merit, and Sanctity Mary had already Acquired-at the Moment-of her Birth!

Let us, then, Rejoice-with our Beloved Infant, who was Born so-Holy, so-Dear to-God, and so Full-of Grace. And let us Rejoice, not only on her Account, but also on our own; for she came-into the World, Full-of Grace, not only for her own Glory, but also for our Good. Saint Thomas remarks, in his Eighth Treatise, that the most Blessed Virgin was Full-of Grace in Three (3) Ways: "First, she was Filled-with Grace as-to her Soul, so that from the Beginning, her Beautiful Soul belonged all to God. Secondly, she was Filled-with Grace as-to her Body, so that she Merited-to Clothe the Eternal Word with her most Pure Flesh. Thirdly, she was Filled-with Grace for the Benefit-of all, so that all Men might Partake-of it: She was also Full-of Grace as to its Overflowing for the Benefit-of all Men". The Angelical Doctor adds, that "Some Saints have so-much Grace, that it is not only Sufficient-for themselves, but also for the Salvation-of many, though not for all Men. Only to Jesus Christ, and to Mary, was such a Grace given, as Sufficed-to Save all. Should anyone have as-much, as-would Suffice-for the Salvation-of all, this would be the Greatest, and this was in Christ, and in the Blessed Virgin". So that what Saint John says of Jesus, "And of His Fullness, we all have Received", the Saints say-of Mary. Saint Thomas-of-Villanova, calls her: "Full-of Grace, of whose Plenitude, all Receive", so-much-so that Saint Anselm says, that there is no one "who does not Partake-of the Grace-of Mary". And who is there in the World, to whom Mary is not Benign, and does not Dispense some-Mercy? Who was ever-Found, to-whom the Blessed Virgin was not Propitious? Who is there, whom her Mercy does not Reach? From Jesus, however, it is (we must Understand) that we Receive Grace, as the Author-of-Grace, from Mary, as a Mediatress; from Jesus, as a Savior, from Mary, as an Advocate; from Jesus, as a Source, from Mary, as a Channel.

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Mary is the "Aqueduct" or "Channel" by-which God's Grace flows-from Heaven's Treasury, to Mankind. To Block that Channel, is Deadly to the Soul.

Hence, Saint Bernard says, that God Established Mary as the Channel-of the Mercies that He Wished-to Dispense-to Men; therefore He Filled her with- Grace, that each One's Part, might be Communicated-to him from her Fullness: A Full-Aqueduct, that others may Receive-of her Fullness, but not Fullness-itself. Therefore, the Saint exhorts-all to consider, with how-much Love God Wills that we should Honor this Great Virgin, since He has Deposited the Whole Treasure-of His Graces in her; so that whatever we Possess-of Hope, Grace, and Salvation, we may Thank our most Loving Queen for All, since All comes-to us from her Hands, and by her Powerful Intercession. He thus Beautifully expresses himself: "Behold with what Tender Feelings of Devotion, He Wills that we should Honor her! He Who has Placed the Plenitude-of all Good in Mary; that thus, if we have any Hope, or anything Salutary in us, we may Know that it was from her, that it Overflowed". Miserable is that Soul, which Closes this Channel-of Grace against itself, by Neglecting-to Recommend itself to Mary! lucifer.gif (13631 bytes)

When Holofernes, wished to Gain Possession-of the City-of Bethulia, he took care to Destroy the Aqueducts: "He Commanded their Aqueduct to be Cut-off". And this the Devil does, when he wishes-to become Master-of a Soul; he causes Her to Give-up Devotion-to the most Blessed Virgin Mary; and when once this Channel is-closed, She easily Loses Supernatural Light, the Fear-of-God, and Finally, Eternal (∞) Salvation. Read the Following Example, in which may be seen, how Great is the Compassion-of the Heart-of Mary, and the Destruction that he Brings-on himself, who Closes this Channel against himself, by Giving-up Devotion-to the Queen-of Heaven.

 

- End of Liguori Sermon -

 

Example

Church of Saint Maurice

Trithemius, Canisius, and others, relate that in Magdeburg, a City-of Saxony, there was a Man called 'Udo', who from his Youth, was so Destitute-of Talent, that he was the Laughing-stock of all his Companions. One day, more-Afflicted than usual at his own Incapacity, he went to Recommend himself to the most Blessed Virgin, and for this Purpose, was Kneeling-before her Statue. Mary appeared to him in a Vision, and said, "Udo, I will Console thee, and not only will I Obtain thee, from God, Sufficient Capacity to Free thee from the Scoffs-of others, but, moreover, such Talents as to Render thee an Object-of Wonder; and besides this, I Promise thee, that after the Death of the Bishop, thou shalt be Chosen-to fill his Place". All that Mary said, was Verified. 'Udo' made Rapid Progress in the Sciences, and obtained the Bishopric of that City. But, 'Udo' was to such a Degree, Ungrateful-to God and his Benefactress, as to give-up every Devotion, and became a Scandal to all. One Night, when in Bed, he heard a Voice which said, "Udo, Cease thy Wickedness; thou hast Sinned enough". The First Time, he was Enraged-at these Words, thinking it was some one who had Concealed himself, and thus Addressed him for his Correction. Hearing the same-Voice a Second and a Third Night, he began to Fear that it was a Voice-from Heaven. Yet, with all this, he continued his Wicked Life. After Three Months, which God gave him to Repent, Chastisement came, and it was this: a Devout Canon, named Frederic, was one Night in the Church-of Saint Maurice, Praying that God would apply a Remedy-to the Scandal, given-by the Prelate, when a Violent Wind threw-open the Doors-of the Church, and Two Young Men entered with Lighted Torches in their hands, Stationing themselves on either Side-of the High Altar. Two others followed, and extended a carpet before the Altar, and placed Two Golden Chairs on it. After this, another Young Man came dressed-as a Soldier, with a Sword in his hand, and standing-in the midst-of the Church, cried out: "O ye Saints of Heaven, whose Sacred Relics are in this Church, Come and Witness the Great Act of Justice, about to be Executed-by the Sovereign Judge". At this Cry, many Saints appeared, and also the Twelve Apostles, as Assessors-of this Judgment; and finally Jesus Christ Entered, and Seated Himself on one of the Chairs, that had been prepared. Mary then Appeared, accompanied-by many Holy Virgins, and her Son Seated her on the other Chair. The Judge, now Commanded the Criminal to be-Brought, and it was the Miserable 'Udo'. Saint Maurice spoke, and on the Part-of the Scandalized People, asked that Justice should be Executed-on the Prelate, for his Infamous Life. All Raised their Voices and Exclaimed, "Lord, he deserves Death". "Let him Die immediately", answered the Eternal Judge. But before the Execution-of the Sentence (see how Great is the Compassion-of Mary!) the Compassionate Mother, that she might not Assist-at that Tremendous Act-of-Justice, left the Church; and then the Heavenly Minister, who entered-with a Sword, amongst the First, approached 'Udo', and with One (1) Stroke, Cut-off his Head, and all disappeared. All remained-in Darkness. The Canon, Trembling went-to get a Light-from a Lamp, which was burning-under the Church, and found the Decapitated Body-of Udo, and the Pavement all-covered-with Blood. On the following Morning, when the People had Assembled-in the Church, the Canon related the Vision, and the Whole History of the Horrible Tragedy he had Witnessed. On the same day, the Miserable 'Udo' appeared-in the Flames-of Hell, to one of his Chaplains, who knew nothing of what had taken place in the Church. Udo's Dead Body, was thrown-into a Marsh, and his Blood, remained-on the Pavement, as a Perpetual Memorial, and was always kept Covered-with a Carpet. From that Time forward, it became the Custom, to Uncover it, when a New Bishop took Possession-of his 'See', that at the Sight-of such a Chastisement, he might Learn how-to Regulate his Life, and not be Ungrateful-for the Graces-of our Lord, and those of His Most-Holy Mother.

 

Prayer

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O Holy and Heavenly Infant, Thou Who art the Destined Mother of my Redeemer, and the Great Mediatress of Miserable Sinners, Pity me. Behold at thy Feet, another Ungrateful Sinner, who has Recourse-to thee and asks thy Compassion. It is True, that for my Ingratitude-to God and to thee, I deserve that God and thou, should Abandon me; but I have Heard, and Believe it to be so (Knowing the Greatness of thy Mercy), that thou dost not Refuse-to Help, any one who Recommends himself to thee, with Confidence.

O most Exalted Creature in the World! Since this is the case, and since there is no one but God above thee, so that compared-with thee the Greatest Saints of Heaven are Little; O Saint of Saints, O Mary! Abyss of Charity, and Full of Grace, Succor a Miserable Creature, who by his own Fault, has Lost the Divine Favor.

I know that thou art so Dear to God, that He Denies thee Nothing. I know also that thy Pleasure is to use thy Greatness, for the Relief-of Miserable Sinners. Ah, then, show how Great is the Favor that thou Enjoyest with God, by Obtaining me a Divine Light and Flame, so Powerful that I may be Changed-from a Sinner into a Saint; and Detaching myself from every Earthly Affection, Divine Love may be Enkindled-in me.

Do this, O Lady, for thou canst do it. Do it for the Love of God, Who has made thee so-Great, so-Powerful, and so-Compassionate. This is my Hope.

Amen.