BY Father Mateo Crawley-Boevey, SS.CC.
MARY, MOTHER OF FAIR LOVE
QUEEN OF THE HEART OF JESUS.
Ad Jesum per Mariam.
To Jesus through Mary.
THE lesson of this retreat would be in complete and the King of Love Himself would reproach me if I did not speak to you, apostles of His Divine Heart, of Mary the Mother of fair Love. “Ab initio et ante saecula,” “from the beginning and before the world,” (Eccles. xxiv, 14.) she was intimately and inseparably united to the Word in the divine plan of the Redemption. He the Redeemer, she the Immaculate Co-Redemptrix. Let us then respect and adore the design of the Most High by keeping the Hearts of Jesus and Mary perfectly united. To them be honor and glory for ever and ever!
My road to get to the Holy of Holies, to the very heart of Jesus, to the most intimate recesses of that Sanctuary of Justice and of Love, is perfectly mapped out for me. The necessary and direct road is Mary. No one goeth to the Father save through the Son, “neither doth any one know the Father, but the Son and he to whom it shall please the Son to reveal Him.” (Matt. xi, 27.) So, too, we may say that no one goeth to the King unless led to Him by Mary, nor doth any one know the King but he to whom His beauty is revealed by the Queen. Through her the Word came to us from the bosom of the Father. The Word could have chosen a thousand other ways, or no way at all, for neither bridges nor intermediaries are necessary to the purposes of God. It was His explicit will that, just as God was to come to men through Mary, so redeemed humanity should also go to God through her. No Christian worthy of the name will choose any other road than Mary, the one planned out by Him Who called Himself “the Way.”
To be unwilling to pass through the arms of the Immaculate Queen in our search for God and for His Son would be to presume to rectify what He Himself accomplished in the stupendous miracle of the Incarnation. By eliminating Mary we should neither straighten the road, nor shorten the distance between us and God, for, to suppress the Mother of Jesus, the divine intermediary, is not at all the same as abolishing the royal antechamber in the palace of the King. Mary is the sanctuary itself, wherein He dwells. Since the Annunciation, she has occupied such a position between God and His creatures that anyone seeking to avoid her intervention, or to eliminate this “gate of Heaven,” will lengthen the road and be exposed to the grave risk of never reaching the final goal.
In Bethlehem, the shepherds, kings and even Joseph received the adorable Babe from Mary’s hands. She took up her Treasure and, after tenderly embracing Him, lent Him to those who had been so happy as to receive a special summons to the Crib. And when they had caressed and adored the Child, they returned Him to His mother’s loving arms. For many years, Jesus did nothing of importance without asking Mary’s leave, if only to give her another proof of His filial tenderness and love. The words “erat subditus illus, (Luke ii, 51.) He was subject to them,” show us a fathomless abyss in which stand out in bold relief Mary, who like a queen commands, decides, directs, and Jesus Who is obedient to her.
It is the Will of God that the voluntary dependence of Jesus on Mary and Mary’s queenly right of giving Jesus to us should still subsist and be rendered more sublime by the glory of Son and Mother. Though Mary holds so high a place in the Heavenly hierarchy and is unique among all creatures, by virtue of her divine maternity, yet she is but a creature. Mary of Nazareth, our sister, one of our own flesh and blood. Therefore we may call ourselves the kith and kin of that sweet Queen who reigns in Heaven surrounded by angelic hosts.
“Thou, O Queen Immaculate, art the bridge set by God Himself between the Paradise we have lost and the Paradise we hope to gain. May Jesus come to us by thy hands, may thy arms, O Queen and Mother, bear us to the depths of His adorable Heart!”
Jesus is our perfect model of filial love for Mary, for, except His heavenly Father, no one was so dear to Him. The first words lisped by the Divine Babe were surely, “Mother … Mary,” and they came from the depth of the God Man’s heart. He loved her as only God could love the most holy and matchless of creatures. “Tota pulchra es amica mea, et macula non est in te, thou art all fair, O My love, and there is not a spot in thee.” (Cant. iv, 7.) He loved her as only God could love the Virgin Mother from whom He was to take human flesh and blood, that through His Passion and death He might redeem the world. From the moment of the Incarnation, He consecrated Mary as Co-Redemptrix to collaborate with Him. Jesus loved her with the gratitude of God, because by her “fiat” she gave Him what He lacked as God, the power to suffer and to die. Jesus loved her with the gratitude of a Son Who drew His life from her and slept peacefully in her loving arms. His Heart enjoyed the tender caresses and watchful care which Mary lavished on Him, the Son of God and her own Son!
Jesus loved her during those thirty years of closest intimacy, when the Hearts of Son and Mother were united by the continual converse of their souls, by that passion and secret agony which throughout their lives crucified them both. Jesus loved her on Good Friday and gave His Heart to her on the Via Dolorosa to strengthen and comfort her! How He loved her when He fixed His dying eyes upon her and entrusted His Church and all mankind to her in the person of St. John.
Thus you see, dear apostles, that we have learnt the love of Mary in a good school, that of the Heart of Jesus. We cannot be mistaken in loving what He loved and as He loved. By thus imitating Him in the love He bore His mother, we are drawn into a closer intimacy with His most Sacred Heart and we procure Him great joy and glory. Let us therefore love to repeat the “Salve Regina,” with a slight and very beautiful variation: Not only “after,” but “during this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus, O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.”
Mary, Teacher of Apostles.
We have seen that no one can teach us to love Mary as well as Jesus, for no one knew or loved her as He did; we may add that Mary, more than any other, will lead us to the knowledge and love of Jesus. She alone can break the seven seals of that mysterious and divine Book, the Word of God. Neither the prophets nor the saints ever read in it as she did. She is the “Seat of Wisdom” who bore within her the Sun of Uncreated Light.
We are overcome with amazement on reading how little the apostles understood of all Our Lord had taught them. Though they had been eye-witnesses of so many astounding miracles, we find them at the beginning of Passion week, and even after the Resurrection, wanting in trust and little enlightened by what they had seen and felt. Truly “they had eyes and saw not; they had ears and heard not.” (v. Ps. cxv, 5, 6.) Then came the great light of Pentecost which gave them new strength and so enlightened their minds that the veil which shrouded the mystery was rent, the scales fell from their eyes and, awe-struck and happy, they trembled at the great revelation made to them by the Paraclete. Then — and only then — did they fully and entirely grasp that they had, day after day, lived on familiar terms with the Messias, the Son of God.
We can imagine their astonishment, their stupefaction, when they saw and understood what the Holy Spirit was revealing to them about that Jesus Who had been their Friend and Master. They had fled from Him in terror, Judas had betrayed Him and the Jews had put Him cruelly to death. He had lived in their midst, He, the Desired of nations, the Redeemer of Israel foretold by the prophets. He was the Word, the Son of God, born of the blessed Mother whom they had hitherto appreciated so little. For, if they were blind to the lessons taught by the miracles, still less did they understand those to be learned from the silence and modesty of His mother. But, on the day of Pentecost, they turned with profound respect and tender veneration to Mary, who presided over them in silence — though yielding the place of honor to Peter — and who from that hour became the Tabernacle and living Oracle of all the secrets of God.
Before the apostles dispersed, they must often have gathered round their Queen, plying her with questions, begging to be told the secrets which she kept hidden in her heart. Conscious that a great part of that treasure belonged by right to the Infant Church, she, tenderly, modestly and with great wisdom expounded to the astonished apostles what she alone knew.
Thus the apostles and evangelists learned many things which, but for Mary, no one could ever have known, or even guessed, as, for example, the whole mystery of the Annunciation. Some of them are to be found in the Gospels, but others have only been handed down to us as the traditions of the Church. Mary sought to satisfy, as far as possible, the evergrowing eagerness of the apostles to know the tiniest details about Bethlehem, the flight into Egypt and the sojourn there, the thirty years of obscurity, subjection and intimate life of Jesus at Nazareth. If Mary had kept silence those secrets would have been lost to us. No one but the angels were witnesses of what was said and done in that cottage, and perhaps the angels, from the very fact that they were angels, saw and understood less than Mary did.
Enlightened by the Holy Ghost and instructed by Mary, the apostles carried with them — when they dispersed — the flame of charity, quickened and intensified, and many a time the thought of Mary helped them to face a thousand obstacles and dangers and even martyrdom. John, the beloved of the Heart of Jesus and Mary’s special favorite, kept, even more than the other apostles, a fresh and loving memory of the Virgin Mother’s teaching and affection.
Dear apostles, draw near to the Mother with filial love that she may lead you to her Son and open wide the entrance to the Sacred Heart. She will lead you by paths known to her alone, paths along which she led the saints, till she brings you to the full and intimate knowledge of the Word made flesh. Draw near her in your Communions and beseech her to give you her Divine Child, so that, in your turn, you may give Him to souls. How easy it is to give Jesus when we have received Him from Mary’s hands.
Mary, Queen of the Sacred Heart.
Though Jesus belongs entirely to Mary, there is something in Him which belongs more specially to her, it is His Sacred Heart. What St. Francis of Assisi, St. Gertrude or St. Margaret Mary knew of that adorable Heart is but a drop compared with what she knew of that abyss of love and mercy. For, if Our Lord resembled His Blessed Mother in features and in beauty, how much more likeness must there have been between the Heart of Jesus and the Heart of Mary. We call her “Mother of fair love” and “Mother of mercy.” She is the mother of Him Who is the Love of loves. He Himself created His mother in His own image, making her the most loving and gentle of all creatures, so that her Immaculate Heart perfectly reproduces Our Lord’s own charity.
She loved Him as perfectly as any human creature could. She loved Him as a spotless Virgin, as a spouse chosen out of myriads. Mary loved God as a mother, because the Word, Who had clothed Himself in mortal flesh, was in very truth her Son. Resting on her heart, He smiled upon the world, looked out on it with infinite compassion, and from her arms gave it His first blessing. Weeping on the altar of her heart, He offered himself to the Heavenly Father as an infinitely merciful Redeemer. Thus, if Jesus is the God of Mercy, Mary is the altar and throne of Mercy, reproducing the infinite compassion of the Heart of Jesus, teaching and dispensing lavishly the doctrine of Merciful Love. From the heart of Mary you will learn to be kind, compassionate and merciful to others and the Mother of fair love will bless your apostolate and answer your prayers for the good of souls.
I remember, as a boy of twelve, I was very friendly with a pious Catholic family who had a Protestant relation living with them. He was extremely bigoted and at that time was very ill. During the May devotions which were daily held in the house, we made his conversion our principal intention. One evening while we were thus engaged, we heard the sick man’s bell ring violently. Hastening to his bedside, we found him in his agony. We at once began to recite the rosary, begging that he might be converted before he died. After a few moments, the invalid opened his eyes and gasped: “I wish to die a Catholic; I wish to be baptized.”
You can imagine our astonishment and joy! A servant ran to the Church, but all the priests were out on sick calls. It was evident that he had not long to live. So one of us baptized him. At that very moment the dying man smiled and said, “I am happy. Say a prayer to the Blessed Virgin.” He asked for her picture, which he clasped and kissed, shedding many tears. We then slowly recited the “Salve Regina,” and he, struggling for breath, made a loving effort to repeat the whole prayer after us. When at last we got to the words “O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary,” he raised the picture to his lips, gave it one last kiss and yielded up his soul to God.
Through Mary to Jesus
in the Blessed Sacrament.
“Show thyself a mother,” a girl once said to the Blessed Virgin in a moment of anguish and Mary answered with gentle sadness, “First show thyself my daughter.” May we never have to merit a like rebuke from Mary’s mouth. We must thoroughly understand what it means to be the children and disciples of such a mother. It is a praiseworthy homage to place flowers on Mary’s altar, but she would much prefer as a proof of filial love a fervent and loving communion. She knows that the Manna of the Eucharist glorifies the King, her Son, and brings profound and enduring good to souls. The more true love for Mary progresses and intensifies, the brighter will glow the Eucharistic flame. Devotion to Mary and love of the Tabernacle should be one and the same thing.
It must be our aim to convince families of the Sacred Heart that Mary is the Tabernacle of Tabernacles and that we should approach her Immaculate Heart with true devotion, begging her to give us the Blessed Fruit of her womb, Jesus. By so doing, we pay the highest possible homage to the Blessed Virgin and, at the same time, honor and adore her Divine Son in the precious Monstrance of her most pure heart. Thus, to the great joy of Our Lord, of the Blessed Virgin and of the Church, all the feasts of Mary, including the May devotions, will soon bear the Eucharistic stamp. This has already been partly accomplished. Our Lady of Lourdes is instilling this doctrine of true love more and more deeply into the hearts of the multitudes who throng to honor her, and we hope to achieve still more by our Crusade for the Social Reign of the Sacred Heart. Love of Mary is the best preparation for the triumph of Jesus in the Sacred Host.
The devotion to Mary is in perfect accordance with the Gospel and with the whole spirit of the Catholic Church. It is summed up in the following prayer: “Holy Mother, I love thee because thou art the Mother of Jesus and my Mother. I come before thee to protest that I love thee with my whole soul, with all the tenderness of a child for its mother. I implore thee to open the Tabernacle so that Jesus may come to me through thy hands. He is thine, give Him to me, O Mother, and grant that He may be mine in time and in Eternity.”
Though we do not enthrone Our Blessed Lady as Queen of the home — an honor reserved exclusively for the King of Love — yet we are yearning for the day when the Pope, by consecrating the whole world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, will set, as it were, a glorious seal on the sublime gesture of Leo XIII, which was so splendidly renewed by His Holiness Pius XI at the end of the Holy Year (1925). We ardently desire to hasten, as far as in us lies, the coming of the hour of grace and mercy which such official consecration would mean. Petitions to this effect have been presented on several occasions, and the Holy See is studying them with the interest always accorded by Rome to anything that tends to the glory of the Immaculate Queen. The hour will no doubt soon come when the Vicar of Christ, yielding to the promptings of his own heart and to the universal wishes of his children, will confide the victory of the Reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Dear apostles, pray and get prayers for this intention, as well as for the dogmatic definition of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin and of her universal Mediation. Although the Church, because she is very wise and cautious, is slow in defining grave questions such as these, let us hope to see this new glory added to the crown of our sweet Queen, whom we call “our life, our sweetness and our hope,” for every triumph of the Immaculate Queen is a sure augury of a thousand triumphs for the King of Love.
To obtain this favor, let us utilize the signal graces with which the Holy See has enriched the fervent celebration of First Saturdays and further offer Our Lord every Saturday some special prayers and mortifications for the glorification of His holy Mother.
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