The Mother Of Christ by Father Vassall-Phillips Part 62.

St. Ambrose continues in impassioned language to insist upon our Lady's virtues in all possible relations of her life, and continues :

" In such a manner did she discharge all the duties of life as not to learn, but to teach. Such was she of whom the Evangelist has drawn the picture; such was she whom the angel found, whom the Holy Ghost has chosen. And why should I linger to point out how her parents loved her, how strangers praised her, how she was worthy that the Son of God be born of her. . . . How good she was to her kinsfolk the Holy Scripture points out. For she became even more humble when she knew that she had been chosen by God, and went at once to her kinswoman in the hill-country—not that she might believe by seeing another, for she had already believed the Divine Word. 'Blessed art thou that hast believed,' said Elisabeth. And she remained with her three months. During so long a period she did not seek to strengthen her faith, but showed forth her goodness. And this even after the child, leaping in his mother's womb, had saluted the Mother of his Lord, having been filled with devotion, before the time assigned by nature. . . . She kept all these things in her heart. Although she was the Mother of the Lord, she desired to learn His commandments, and she who had given birth to God desired to know God. . . . Such was Mary, so that her life alone suffices for the instruction of all. How many different kinds of virtues shine forth in this one Virgin. ... O how many virgins will she not come to meet; how many will she not, in her embrace, bring to the Lord, saying : * Here is one that hath kept with unstained purity the bridal bed, the nuptial chamber of my Son.' . . . Therefore let Holy Mary set the pattern for the fashion of our life. . . . But someone may say: ' Why have you brought forward the example of Mary, as though anyone could be found who could imitate the Mother of the Lord?"' (DC Virginibus, II., 6—III., 21.)

It is not without significance that St. Augustine, when he would praise the style of Ambrose, his father in the Faith, as temperate and ornate, chooses as a specimen a passage in which St. Ambrose extols at length the virtues of our Lady. (De doctrina Christiana, Lib. iv. 48.) The style of Augustine is not the style of Ambrose; their doctrine in all things concerning our Lord and His Holy Mother is identical.

In the Litany of the Blessed Virgin, invocations are heaped up in order to express the Catholic sense of the immaculate purity of the Mother of God. " Mater purissima, mater castissima, mater inviolate, mater intemerata, ora pro nobis; vas spirituale, vas honorabile, vas insigne devotionis, turns Davidica, turris eburnea, domus aurea, ora pro nobis; Regina virgimun, ora pro nobis." Where the Church would praise Mary's stainless virginity of soul and body, there can be no redundancy of phrase, nor are the Faithful ever weary of hymning the inviolate sanctity of their immaculate Mother.

It should be carefully borne in mind that the purity which is pleasing to God is not merely a physical freedom from sins of the flesh; it goes far deeper and reaches to the heart and searches the very recesses of the being. The virtue of purity, as Catholics understand it and venerate it in its perfection in the immaculate Mother of our Saviour, keeps in check thoughts and words as well as deeds; yet more, it turns all the thoughts and affections and aspirations of the soul to God our Lord.

"The pure of heart shall see God." This divine promise is verified not only in the life to come, where alone we can see God as He is, but even in this life where we know God by faith. Any priest, any mother, can be at rest concerning the faith of a youth brought up as a Catholic, however seriously his faith may perhaps be tried by temptations of the intellect, if only that boy—or that young man—is striving to lead a clean life and to keep his heart pure before God. It is an experience which hardly can admit of exception that the Faith will not be lost, so long as the Sacraments are frequented and an effort is made after right living. Unhappily, the converse is also true. Pride continually causes men and women—leading them to rely upon their own strength—to fall into sins against purity—whilst sins of impurity, darkening the spiritual vision, receive their punishment—by no means always, but alas how often—in obscurity of the soul, sometimes even in complete loss of faith. If we would see God hereafter, if we would know God here, our great care should be to seek after holy purity, as a pearl beyond all price. In this effort our Lady will surely aid us, if we entreat her intercession.