IT WAS when Mary brought forth her Divine Son to the light of day, that she became our spiritual Mother. It was impossible that she should be the Mother of Jesus, without being our Mother as well, for He is the head and we are His members.
Later, Jesus would Himself sanction, by a solemn utterance, this special dignity of Mary. Hanging upon the cross on Calvary, and on the point of rendering His soul to God, He turned suddenly to Mary. Indicating to her St. John, He said: ''Woman, behold thy son"; and to St. John referring to Mary: "Behold thy Mother." Here was the testament of the Saviour of the world.
It is impossible to imagine anything more touching than this consecration, the solemnity of which is enhanced by the circumstances of time and place, as well as by the witnesses that are present. The hour chosen by Jesus is that of His consummation of the Great Sacrifice upon the cross, and of that of Mary in her own heart: the place is Calvary, where the Divine Victim hangs dying: the witnesses are men themselves, of whom Mary becomes Mother.
I thank thee, O my sweet Jesus, for having thus thought of me in the moment of Thine agony, and for having so loved me, as to give me Thine own Mother according to the flesh, as my spiritual Mother.
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The words of Jesus, like the sacraments, produce that which they signify: those which the Saviour uttered on the Cross consecrated Mary as our Mother, and inspired her soul with every tenderest and most exquisite maternal affection toward us.
Mary's motherly care embraces all. Beginning with those who were present on Calvary, she obtained for several of them, especially for the good thief, the grace of conversion and eternal life. The first Christians found also in Mary a Mother ever ready to console, to protect and instruct them in the knowledge of those mysteries, in which she herself had had so conspicuous a part.
And after her departure from this world, Mary ceased not to show men this same maternal affection. Her love is oyer us all, fostering us as her dear children. She defends us against our enemies both visible and invisible. She guards us in danger. She consoles us in affliction. She guides and instructs us in the affair of our salvation. In a word, the kindness, the care, the watchfulness of Mary in our regard, are so great, that no one is a stranger to her benefits. It is even a common teaching in the Church, that God grants no grace, except through Mary's intercession. We may, therefore, truly apply to this Blessed Mother the words of Divine Wisdom: "All good things came to me together with her, and innumerable riches through her hands." (Wisd. vii, 11.)
Rejoice, O my soul, that God has appointed thee so loving a Mother as Mary, who is able to aid thee in the difficulties of this life, and to bring thee to the harbor of eternal peace.
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Just, therefore, as we have a full confidence in God our Father, who loves us and cares for all our needs, so also we should have a boundless trust in Mary's powerful help. And this trust should be accomplished by those same sentiments of love, reverence and submission which a dutiful child entertains toward its mother.
Let our care be to love, honour and exalt Mary, our loving Mother, in such a manner that she may recognize us as her true children, and may be able to say of us: "These are my sons, whom God hath given me." (Gen. xlviii, 9.)
Example St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was born of pious and honest parents in Verosvres, a small village of Burgundy in France, on the twenty-second of July, in the year 1647.
From her earliest years she was visited by God with extraordinary favours, from which it was apparent that she was destined to perform some great work for the Church. When she had barely come to the age of reason, she manifested a great horror of sin, and at the same time an ardent desire of solitude, to which was united a special love of holy purity. So great was her fear of offending God, even by venial sin, that if she suspected this danger in any of her actions, she desisted from performing the same.
As Margaret Mary advanced in piety, she felt herself drawn in a very special way to honour the most holy Mother of God. In fact, she narrates this of herself: "I had recourse to Mary in my every want, and through her I was delivered from the greatest dangers. Not daring to address myself directly to her Divine Son, I had recourse to her and used to recite the Rosary in her honor, on bare knees, genuflecting at each Hail Mary and frequently kissing the ground." It is not be wondered at, therefore, if, through this devotion to the most holy Mother of God, Margaret was found worthy of that great vocation to which God had destined her, namely, of spreading far and wide throughout the world the devotion to the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
When Margaret Mary entered the monastery of Paray-le-Monial, she strove to become more united to her Divine Spouse, by the purity of her life and the endeavour to please Him in all things. Therefore Our Lord appeared to her several times, revealing to her how it was His will that devotion to His most Sacred Heart, should be spread throughout all the world, as a beneficent river to enliven the human race, withered with the leprosy of sin, and how she herself was chosen by Him for this great work.
St. Margaret faithfully corresponded to the invitation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and in a short time the monastery of the Visitation, where she lived, became the centre of this Devotion, now so widespread and so dear to the hearts of all Christian people. St. Margaret Mary died on the seventeenth of October, 1690, and was canonized by Pope Benedict XV in 1920.
O Mary, I firmly believe that thou hast been given us as our Mother, by the voice of thy Son hanging upon the Cross, and that thou never ceasest to act toward us the part of a most tender Mother. Obtain for us so to respond to thy love, that we may merit to be ever thy devoted children. Amen.