Spiritual Reading for Low Friday ~ St Alphonsus Liguori

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Spiritual Reading



It is not without a meaning, nor by chance, that Mary’s clients call her Mother; and indeed they seem unable to invoke her under any other name, and never tire of calling her Mother. Mother, yes! for she is truly our Mother; not indeed carnally, out spiritually, that is of our souls and of our salvation.

Sin, by depriving our souls of Divine grace, deprived them also of life. Jesus, our Redeemer, with an excess of mercy and love, came to restore this life by His own death on the Cross, as He Himself declared: I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly-(John x. 10}. He says more abundantly; for, according to theologians, the benefit of Redemption far exceeded the injury done by Adam’s sin. So that by reconciling us with God He made Himself the Father of souls in the law of grace, as it was foretold by the Prophet Isaias: He shall be called the Father of ihe world to come, the Prince of Peace-(Is. ix. 6). But if Jesus is the Father of our souls, Mary is also their Mother; for she, by giving us Jesus, gave us true life; and afterwards, by offering the life of her Son on Mount Calvary for our salvation, she brought us forth to the life of grace.

On two occasions, then, according to the holy Fathers, Mary became our spiritual Mother.

The first, according to Blessed Albert the Great, was when she merited to conceive in her virginal womb the Son of God. St. Bernardine of Sienna says the same thing more distinctly, for he tells us H that when at the Annunciation the most Blessed Virgin gave the consent which was expected by the Eternal Word before becoming her Son, she from that moment asked our salvation of God with intense ardour, and took it to heart in such a way that from that moment, as a most loving Mother, she bore us in her womb.”

In the second Chapter of St. Luke, the Evangelist, speaking of the birth of our Blessed Redeemer, says that Mary brought forth her first-born son-(Luke i. 7). Then, remarks an author, “since the Evangelist asserts that on this occasion the most Holy Virgin brought forth her first-born, must we suppose that she had afterwards other children?” But then he replies to his own question, saying, ” that as it is of Faith that Mary had no other children according to the flesh than Jesus, she must have had other spiritual children, and we are those children.” This was reveaied by our Lord to St. Gertrude, who was one day reading the above text, and was perplexed and could not understand how Mary, being the Mother of Jesus only, could be said to have brought forth her first-born. God explained it to her, saying that Jesus was Mary’s first-born according to th-e flesh, but that all mankind were her second-born according to the spirit.

From what has been said we can understand that passage of the sacred Canticles: Thy belly is like a heap of wheat, set about with lilies-(Cant. vii. 2). This is explained by St. Ambrose, who says: “Although in the most pure womb of Mary there was but one grain of corn, which was Jesus Christ, yet it is called a heap of wheat, because all the elect were virtually contained in it”; and as Mary was also to be their Mother, in bringing forth Jesus, He was called, and truly was, the First¬born of many brethren. And the Abbot William writes in the same sense, saying: “that Mary, in bringing forth Jesus, our Saviour and our Life, brought forth many unto salvation; and by giving birth to Life itself, she gave life to many.”

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