Behold Your Mother By Matthew Russell S.J. Part 12. Jealous of God's Mother!

There are many, thank God, of those who have not the happiness of belonging outwardly to the Church of the "Hail Mary," and who, nevertheless, are tenderly loyal to the Mother of Jesus Our Lord. We may hope that many such are Catholics without knowing it. But, on the other hand, the spite and jealousy of the genuine Protestant mind towards the Mother of God betray themselves in ways which would be amusing if they were not distressing. For instance, the Daily Express, of Dublin, is a frankly Protestant journal. Some years ago it gave a very warm appreciation of the unusual merit of the first book of poems published by Katharine Tynan, and very judiciously it assigned the palm to her religious poems ; but it added : "There is a mistake, by the way, in the first of them as to the historical facts of the Resurrection, which the author will do well to correct." The reviewer here alludes to the following stanza of ''Louise de la Valliere,'' in which the penitent tries to keep away despair by reminding herself how more than merciful the Redeemer had been to the penitent Magdalen :—

"And in Thy Resurrection's day of grace 
                     First Thou didst shine before Thy Mother's face; 
                    Next Thou didst seek in tender, strange disguise 
  Magdalen, weeping in the garden ways."

The poet, of course, knew that the first apparition recorded in Scripture is that to St. Mary Magdalen; for the interview between the Arisen Saviour and His Mother was too sacred to be thus recorded among the (as it were) public and official testimonies to the Resurrection. The ugly Protestant view would have us believe that Jesus never appeared to His Blessed Mother at all! The apparitions recorded were made to the persons who were appointed to be the public witnesses to the reality of the Resurrection. These were, so to say, official appearances. The apparition to the Blessed Mother was for her own sake. But tradition and Catholic instinct tell us that to the Mother of Sorrows this first joy of the Resurrection belonged.

St. Ignatius, in his plain, matter-of-fact "Points'' for the meditation on the First Apparition, says that, though the Scriptures do not mention expressly this visit to Our Lady, they suppose us to have proper understanding, and to take this for granted: else we should expose ourselves, lie says, to that reproach, "Are you also without understanding ?" Yet this Protestant journal, giving a very brief but very eulogistic notice of "Louise de la Valliere, and Other Poems," thinks it necessary to devote part of that brief notice to a protest against a supposition which St. Ignatius and every Catholic feels to be a Christian instinct and a mere matter of course. How can sincere believers in Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ allow themselves to be so meanly jealous of the honour paid by Him and by us to His Blessed Mother?