THE LOVE OF MARY’S HEART FOR GOD.
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart. In Mary Divine love was so ardent that well might even the Seraphim have descended from Heaven to learn in the heart of Mary how to love God.
St. Anselm says that “wherever there is the greatest purity, there is also the greatest charity.” The more a heart is pure, and empty of itself, the greater is the fullness of its love towards God. The most holy Mary, because she was all humility, and had nothing of self in her, was filled with Divine love, so that “her love towards God surpassed that of all men and Angels,” as St. Bernardine writes. Therefore St. Francis de Sales with reason called her “the Queen of love.”
God has indeed given men the precept to love Him with their whole heart: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart (Matt. xxii. 37); but, as St. Thomas declares, “this commandment will be fully and and perfectly fulfilled by men only in Heaven, and not on earth, where it is only fulfilled imperfectly.” On this subject Blessed Albert the Great remarks, that, in a certain sense, it would have been unbecoming had God given a precept that was never to have been perfectly fulfilled. But this would have been the case had not the Divine Mother perfectly fulfilled it. The Saint says: “Either some one fulfilled this precept, or no one; if any one, it must have been the most Blessed Virgin.” Richard of St. Victor confirms this opinion, saying: “The Mother of our Emmanuel practised virtues in their very highest perfection. Who has ever fulfilled as she did that first commandment, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart? In her Divine love was so ardent that no defect of any kind could have access to her.” “Divine love,” says St. Bernard, “so penetrated and filled the soul of Mary, that no part of her was left untouched; so that she loved with her whole heart, with her whole soul, with her whole strength, and was full of grace.” Therefore Mary could well say: My Beloved has given Himself all to me, and I have given myself all to Him: My Beloved to me, and I to him (Cant. ii. 16). “Ah! well might even the Seraphim,” says Richard, “have descended from Heaven to learn, in the heart of Mary, how to love God.”
O Mary, my Mother, thou desirest nothing else but to see Jesus loved; do thou obtain for me this grace above all others. I do not ask of thee for earthly goods, or honours, or riches. I ask for what thy own heart desires most for me. I wish to love my God.
God, Who is love, came on earth to enkindle in the hearts of all the flame of His Divine charity; but in no heart did He enkindle it so much as in that of His Mother; for her heart was entirely pure from all earthly affections, and fully prepared to burn with this blessed flame. Thus St. Sophronius says that “Divine love so inflamed her that nothing earthly could enter her affections; she was always burning with this heavenly flame, and, so to say, inebriated with it.” Hence the heart of Mary became all fire and flames, as we read of her in the sacred Canticles: The lamps thereof are fire and flame (Cant. viii. 6); fire burning within through love, as St. Anselm explains it; and flames shining without by the example she gave to all in the practice of virtues. When Mary, then, was in this world, and bore Jesus in her arms, she could well be called, “fire carrying fire”; and with far more reason than the woman spoken of by Hippocrates, who was thus called because she carried fire in her hand. Yes, for St. Ildephonsus said that “the Holy Ghost heated, inflamed, and melted Mary with love, as the fire does iron; so that the flame of the Holy Spirit was seen, and nothing was felt but the fire of the love of God.” St. Thomas of Villanova says that the bush seen by Moses, which burnt without being consumed, was a real symbol of Mary’s heart. Therefore with reason, says St. Bernard, was she seen by St. John clothed with the sun: and there appeared a great wonder in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun (Apoc. xii. 1); “for,” continues the Saint, “she was so closely united to God by love, and penetrated so deeply the abyss of Divine wisdom, that, without a personal union with God, it would seem impossible for a creature to have a closer union with Him.”
O most beautiful Mary, O most amiable Mary, thou hast gained the Heart of God! Take also my heart, and make me a saint. I love thee. In thee is my confidence. Most amiable Mother, pray for me.