The Mother Of Christ by Father Vassall-Phillips Part 193.

St. Bernard has written: " There can be no doubt that whatever we utter in praise of the Mother belongs to her Son, and also that when we praise the Son we are proclaiming the glory of His Mother. For if, according to Solomon, ' a wise man is his father's glory,' (Prov. x. i.) how much more glorious to be made the Mother of the Very Wisdom ?" (Super Missus est; Hom. IV. I.)

The more glorious is any son, the greater glory will accrue to his mother. In the case of our Lady all the extrinsic glory flows from the Wonder of her Motherhood, from the Person of her Son. It is the unique glory of our Lady to be the Mother of Jesus ; as then we think of her glory, our minds travel necessarily to Him who is her glory's source.

Let me write it once again, and for the last time : we could not separate Jesus and Mary even if we would. As Mary is the Stella Matutina, the Morning Star, whose rising heralded the coming of the Sun of Justice from the East, so is it in the lives of Christian men. It may be that the soul is, as it were, shut in, enveloped in darkness, when but a flicker of light is to be discerned in the prison cell, where it is held captive; yet some small shining from our Lady's gracious beauty pierces the walls, and prevents the blackness all around from being complete. The Mother of God has not been altogether forgotten. If it be only a Hail Mary that is said now and again in her honour, still her name passes the lips. If this be continued there is no cause for fear as to the ultimate result. The sun will shine anew, and its warmth will pierce the opposing barriers, and our Lord once more will return to the soul from which He had been banished. When I write this, I am writing that which I know. It is within the know ledge of every priest who has worked for souls that devotion to our Lady—unless abandoned—will certainly bring back, in the end, the grace of God that may have been lost by sin. As there always remains hope for a man's character, so long as he has preserved respect for womanhood, so is there always hope for a man's religion to assert itself and regain its hold upon his life, so long as he has preserved some devotion to our Lady.

It is impossible rightly to think of our Lord Jesus Christ apart either from His Eternal Father in Heaven, or from His human Mother on earth. He is true God, Son of His Father from Eternity. He is true Man, Son of His Mother in time. This is the essence of the Christian Creed. It is impossible rightly to know the Eternal Father, unless we know the Son, (John xiv. 6, 7 ; xvi. 3.) and we cannot separate even in thought the human Mother from her Divine Child. As devotion to the Mother of God necessarily preserves faith in the Godhead of our Lord Jesus Christ—so the love of Mary leads to the love of her Son. This has been the oft-repeated burden of this book. If it be false, there is no meaning in Christianity. But we know that it is not false, but true—no cunningly devised fable, but the very heart of reality.

So through life, every year that passes we learn more utterly to trust our Lady, more completely to abandon ourselves into her keeping. She will enable us to have our conversation in Heaven — an exhortation of the Apostle to which it is so hard to attend whilst we are yet dwelling upon the earth — she will hear us when we pray to her and will obtain for our souls the grace of her Son, she will succour us in our warfare with the powers of evil, she will help us to sorrow for our sins, she will teach us to pray to God, she will be causa nostræ Iaetiticæ, the joy of our lives, the comfort of the dark and lonely moments that must come to all from time to time as they sojourn in that which is a place of exile and therefore a valley of tears. And if we thank our Lord during life that He has taught us to love and trust His Blessed Mother, what will it be when we come to die ? How shall we be able to thank Him then ? Even now we may take to our hearts the consolation which St. Jerome proffered to his daughter Eustochium :

"Go forth, I pray, for a little while from prison, and picture to your eyes the recompense for present toil, which neither eye hath seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive. What a day shall that be when Mary, the Lord's Mother, shall come to meet thee." (Ep. xii., Ad Eustochium.)