The Glory bestowed by the Creator on the creature; and the Glory derived from the creature to the Creator. 13


It seems at first sight a strange thing to say, but it is as strictly true as strange, that the very first of her joyful mysteries was a mystery of sorrow. Her consent at the Annimciation, when Gabriel conveyed to her the Divine message which solicited it, was a heroic act, transcending in its heroicity all the sufferings and death struggles of all the martyrs.

To the superficial reader of the sacred narrative this does not appear, for it lies beneath the surface. It does not occur to him that there was required a grace to elicit the words whereby she signified her consent, and gave effect to the decree of the Incarnation. "Fiat mihi secundum Verbum tuum"—Be it done to me according to Thy word,'—to him seem easy words to say, and said in obedience to the most natural of natural impulses.

Men do not naturally shrink from and refuse honour and glory. These are the objects of their desire, of their covetousness and ambition. For these they scheme, and strive, and struggle, and make sacrifices. Why, then, should Mary hesitate ? There was offered to her, there was placed within her reach, the greatest honour that the Creator did bestow upon any creature, and, as its consequence, the greatest glory that a creature could possibly receive—the peerless privilege and the unparalleled prerogatives that must of neces^sity attach to the office and dignity of Mother of God.

Yes; but there was another aspect of that office. She was to be the Mother of God, but of the suffering God, the rejected God, the despised God, the betrayed God, the denied God,the forsaken God, the reviled and blasphemed God,the scourged God, the crucified God.

All that Isaias and the other prophets had said of Him, and with which she was familiar from her study of the Hebrew Scriptures during the days of her sojourn within the Temple cloister, was pre-sent to her mind at that moment; and her woman's heart, along with her gift of »wisdom, told her that the Mother of God must be a mother of sorrows; that what He endured in His Body she, in virtue of her mother^s sympathy and compassion, must endure also in her soul. She counted the cost,and knew to what her consent committed her. She was not dazzled by the brilliance of the joyful and glorious aspect of the Divine maternity, so as to make her insensible and callous and indifferent to and forget the other. Nay, more; the brilliance of the prospect in the future, when all should have been accomplished, when she should have passed with Him, side by side and hand in hand, through the fathomless sea of suffering, and stood at the last on the farther shore—this was not that which determined her will, and gave her courage and nerve and strength to accept the office, and resolve to undergo the ordeal that it entailed. No; her own words give us the motive, the mainspring of her consent .'Be it done to me according to Thyword.' It was the Divine word, the expression to her of the Divine will; and that will was the rule of her, actions and the law of her life. She wedded her will to the will of her Maker by an act ofsuperhuman charity; and on the instant the Holy Ghost, the hypostatic Will of God, the personal Love of the Father and of the Son, descended and overshadowed her; and the Incarnate Word dwelt within His chosen created home.