The Mother Of Christ by Father Vassall-Phillips Part 63.

"It is the boast of the Catholic religion," writes Newman, "that it has the gift of making the young heart chaste; and why is this, but that it gives us Jesus Christ for our Food and Mary for our Nursing Mother?" (Sermon on The Fitness of the Glories of Mary.) The truth of these words is brought home every day to a priest in the exercise of his sacred ministry. Catholics who neglect their religion are sometimes more immoral than their neighbours. Catholics who use their religion, who go frequently to Holy Communion and love the Blessed Virgin, are so strengthened by divine grace that they lead lives that are angelic amongst their fellow-men. The holy Angels are pure spirits—as such they could never know temptations of a flesh which is not theirs. Christian men, strengthened by the Angels' Bread and guarded by the Angels' Queen, are sorely tempted in a region beyond the Angels' ken, yet learn to overcome.

The strength to persevere and advance in super natural virtue is given to us in response to prayer. Nor was it otherwise with our Lady during the days of her earthly pilgrimage. She grew in every virtue by means of constant prayer which knit her will into harmony with the Will of her Creator.

From early childhood the Blessed Virgin had devoted herself to the service of God—first in the Temple, then in her holy home at Nazareth—prayerfully awaiting the coming of the Redeemer. Mary united the aspirations of her soul to the cry which was at that hour of expectation arising from the very heart of Israel— yearning for the coming of the Desired of nations— above all from maidens consecrated to their Lord.

At last He came. He came to Mary, His Mother, pre-elected from Eternity. The Holy Ghost overshadowed her. When her time was accomplished, her Child was born. Henceforth for thirty years our Lady's life was spent day by day, hour by hour, in the visible Presence of Jesus Christ. It will be well to reflect on what this means from the point of view of prayer.