CONTRIBUTED TO MARY'S
INCREASE IN GRACE AFTER THE INCARNATION
Article 5 of of The Divine
the Plenitude of Grace
mysteries are those especially which
the Rosary proposes for our consideration.
in humility, poverty and love of
God by giving birth to her Son in a stable. His cradle was but a
But, by contrast, there were the Angels there to sing 'Glory to God in
the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will.' Those words were
sweet to the ears of the shepherds and of St. Joseph, and still more
to the ears of Mary. They were the beginning of a Gloria which
Church does not cease to sing at Mass while this world endures, and the
liturgy of eternity has not yet replaced that of time.
It is said of Mary that she kept
all these words, pondering them in her heart. Though her joy at the
of her Son was intense, she treasured it up in silence. St. Elisabeth
received her confidences. God's greatest actions defy human expression.
What could Mary say to equal what she had experienced?
From Article 5, Chapter II,
The Consequence of Mary's Plenitude of Grace
instant of her conception, Mary's
initial plenitude of grace included the infused virtues and the seven
of the Holy Ghost, which are the different parts or functions of the
organism. Even from before St. Thomas's time, habitual grace was called
'the grace of the virtues and the gifts' because of its connection with
them; for the infused virtues, theological and moral, flow from grace
a degree proportioned to its perfection] as its properties, just as the
faculties flow from the substance of the soul . . . Furthermore, the
virtues and the gifts are linked up with charity which makes their acts
meritorious, and they keep pace with in in their growth as do the five
fingers of the hand with one another. It may well happen that the gifts
of wisdom, understanding and knowledge, which are both speculative and
practical, will manifest themselves in one Saint more in their
and in another more in their speculative roles . . . From these
which are commonly accepted in treatises on the virtues in general and
the gifts, it is usually deduced that mary had the infused theological
and moral virtues and the gifts from the first instant of her
and that they flowed from and were proportionate to her initial
of grace. Mary ---- destined even
then to be
of God and men ---- could not have
than Eve at her creation. Even if she did not receive in her body the
of impassibility and immortality, she must have had in her soul all
pertained spiritually to the state of original justice
and more, even, since her initial fullness of grace surpassed the grace
of all the Saints together. her virtues in their initial state must,
have surpassed the heroic virtues of the greatest Saints. Her
lit up by the gifts of wisdom, understanding and knowledge, was
firm and most penetrating. Her hope was unconquerable, proof against
and despair alike. Her charity was most ardent. In fine, her initial
which surpassed that of God's greatest servants, was born with her, and
did not cease to grow all through life . . . .
teach that . . . Since Mary received
grace and the infused virtues and the gifts in the first instant of her
conception in a degree higher than that of the final grace of the
she must have been sanctified in the way proper to adults, that is, by
disposing her through actual grace for habitual grace, and by using
latter as a principle of merit from the moment she received it; in
words, she offered herself to God as her Son did on His entry into the
world. Mary did not, of course, know then that she would be one day the
Mother of God, but none the less she would accept all that the Lord
and would ask of her . . .
Presentation in the Temple
Mary said her Fiat in
peace and holy joy on the day of the Annunciation. There was sorrow too
in her heart at the thought of the sufferings which Isaias had foretold
would befall her Son. Still more light is thrown for her on the mystery
of the Redemption when the holy old man Simeon speaks of the Child
as the 'Salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all
A light to the revelation of the Gentiles'. Mary remains silent in
and thanksgiving. Simeon continues: 'This Child is set for the fall,
for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be
Jesus, come for the salvation of all, will be the occasion of the fall
of many, He will be a stumbling block (Is. viii, 14) for many of the
who, refusing to recognize Him as the Messiah, will fall into
and thence to eternal ruin (Rom. ix, 32; I Cor. i, 13). Jesus Himself
say later: 'Blessed is he that shall not be scandalized in me' (Matt.
Turning then to Mary herself,
Simeon addressed to her the prophetic words: 'And thy own soul a sword
shall pierce, that out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed.' Mary
have a share in the Savior's trials. His sufferings will be hers. Her
heart will be pierced by a sword of sorrow.
of Man not come thus on earth
we should never have known the full malice of pride's revolt against
The hidden thoughts of hypocrisy and false zeal were revealed when the
Pharisees cried out for the crucifixion of Him who is Holiness.
fulness of grace had two apparently
contradictory effects: the most perfect peace of soul; the will to
Himself as a redemptive victim. Mary's grace produced two similarly
effects: the pure joys of the days of the Annunciation and the
the desire to be united most generously to the sufferings of her Son
our salvation. Thus, presenting Him in the temple, she already offers
for us. Joy and sorrow are wedded in the heart of the Mother of God who
is already the Mother of all who will believe in her Son.
The Flight into Egypt
tells us how, after the Magi had
come to adore, an Angel appeared to Joseph in his sleep saying: 'Arise,
and take the Child and his mother, and fly into Egypt; and be there
I shall tell thee. For it will come to pass that Herod will seek the
to destroy him.' True to the Angel's prophecy, Herod ordered the
of all the children of two years and under, in and around Bethlehem.
Jesus Whom this king fears. He
fears where there is no reason to fear, and despises God's anger which
he should hold in dread. Mary and Joseph are called to share in Jesus'
sufferings. 'Before, they had lived in peace and earned their bread
anxiety by the labor of their hands. But as soon as Jesus is given to
their tranquil calm is broken . . . they must share in His Cross.' 
The Holy Innocents share also in the Cross. Their massacre shows us
they were predestined from all eternity for the glory of Martyrdom.
When Herod has died, an Angel
appears again to Joseph to tell him that the time has come to go to
The Hidden Life of Nazareth
Mary grew continuously in grace
and charity as she carried the Infant in her arms, fed Him, embraced
and was caressed by Him, heard His first words, guided His first steps.
advanced in wisdom and age and grace
with God and men.' Arrived at the age of twelve years, He accompanied
and Joseph to Jerusalem for the Pasch. When the day of departure came,
He remained in the city unknown to His parents. It was only after three
days that they found Him in the midst of the doctors. And He said to
'How is it that you sought me: did you not know that I must be about my
Father's business?' But Mary and Joseph 'understood not the word that
spoke to them.'
accepted in faith what she could
not as yet understand. The depth and the extent of the Mystery of the
will be revealed to her only gradually. She is glad to have found Jesus
again. But in her joy sounds many an overtone of sadnesses yet to come.
some remarkable reflections on
the hidden life, which lasted up to the time of Jesus' public ministry.
'There are some who feel ashamed
for Jesus' sake that He should have endured the wearisomeness of so
a retirement. They experience much the same feelings in regard to Mary,
and try to enliven her period at Nazareth by attributing continual
to her. Rather let us pay heed to the words of the gospel: "Mary kept
these words in her heart." Was not that a task worthy of her? And if
mysteries of His infancy were so rich a subject for her meditation,
of the mysteries that succeeded them? Mary meditated on Jesus . .
. she remained in perpetual contemplation, her heart melting, as it
in love and longing. What then shall we say to those who invented so
pretty fables about Our Lady? What, if not that humble and
contemplation did not seem enough in their eyes?
was enough for thirty years of Mary's
---- and of Jesus' ---- life,
for the other years too. The silence of the Scriptures about Mary is
eloquent than all discourses. Learn, O man, in the midst of your
activity, to be satisfied to think of Jesus, to listen to Him within,
hear again His words . . . Of what are you complaining, human pride,
you say you count for little in this world? Did Jesus count for much
Or Mary? They were the wonder of the world, the sight that ravished God
and angels. And what did they do? What name did they bear? Men
to bear an honored name, to take part in brilliant movements. They do
know Jesus and Mary . . . You say you have nothing to do. The salvation
of souls is in your hands ---- in
Do you not know enemies whom you could help to reconcile, quarrels you
could mend? Are there not souls in misery you could save from blasphemy
and despair? And even if you have nothing of all that, have you not the
work of your own salvation, which is for every soul the true work of
Reflecting on the hidden life
of Nazareth and on Mary's spiritual progress in its silence, and
by way of contrast on what the world terms progress, we are forced to
men never talked more of progress than since they began to neglect its
most important form, spiritual progress. And what has been the result?
That the baser forms of progress, sought for their own sake, have
pleasure, idleness and unemployment in their train, and prepared the
for a moral decline towards materialism, atheism
even barbarism, as the recent world wars prove, for Mary, on the
we fin the ever more perfect realization of the Gospel words: 'Thou
love the Lord thy God, with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul,
with all thy strength, and with all thy mind.' The further she advances
the more she loves God with all her heart, for the more she sees the
to Jesus growing in the course of His ministry up to the consummation
the mystery of the Redemption.
19th Week, 3rd Elevation.
Week, 9th and 10th Elevations.