Spiritual Reading for Low Saturday ~ St Alphonsus Liguori

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Spiritual Reading



The second occasion on which Mary became our spiritual Mother, and brought us forth to the life of grace, was when she offered to the “Eternal Father the life of her beloved Son on Mount Calvary, with so hitter sorrow and suffering. So that St. Augustine declares that “as she then co-operated by her love in the birth of the faithful to the life of grace, she became the spiritual Mother of all who are members of the one Head, Christ Jesus.” This we are given to understand by the following verse of the sacred Canticles, and which refers to the most Blessed Virgin: They have made me keeper in the vineyards; my vineyard I have not kept-(Cant. i. 5), St. William says that “Mary, in order that she might save many souls, exposed her own to death”; meaning that to save us she sacrificed the life of her Son. And who but Jesus was the soul of Mary? He was her life, and all her love. And therefore the Prophet Simeon foretold that a sword of sorrow would one day transpierce her own most blessed soul-(Luke ii. 35). And this was precisely the lance which transpierced the side of Jesus, Who was the soul of Mary. Then it was that this most Blessed Virgin brought us forth by her sorrows to eternal life: and thus we can all call ourselves the children of the sorrows of Mary. Our most loving mother was always, and in all things, united to the will of God. “And therefore,” says St. Bonaventure, “when she saw the love of the Eternal Father towards men to be so great that, in order to save them He willed the death of His very own Son; and, further, seeing the love of the Son in wishing to die for us, in order to conform herself to this excessive love of both the Father and the Son towards the human race, she also with her entire will offered, and consented to, the death of her Son, in order that we might be saved.”

It is true that, according to the Prophecy of Isaias, Jesus in dying for the redemption of the human race, chose to be alone. I have trodden the winepress alone -(Is. lxiii. 3), but, seeing the ardent desire of Mary to aid in the salvation of man, He disposed it so that she, by the sacrifice and offcring of the life of her Jesus, should co-operate in our salvation, and thus become the Mother of our souls. This our Saviour signified, when, before expiring, He looked down from the Cross on His Mother and on the disciple St. John, who stood at its foot, and, first addressing Mary, He said: Behold thy son-(John xix. 26); as it were, saying: Behold, the whole human race, which by the offer thou makest of My liie for the salvation of all, is even now being born to the life of grace. Then, turning to the disciple, Jesus said, Behold thy mother-(John xix. 27}. ” By these words,” says St. Bernardine of Sienna, “Mary, by reason of the love she bore them, became the Mother, not only of St. John, but of all men.” And Silveira remarks that St. John himself, in stating this fact in his Gospel, says: “After that He saith to the disciple Behold thy mother.” Here observe well that Jesus Christ did not address Himself to St. John, but to the disciple, in order to show that He then gave Mary to all who are His disciples, that is to say to all Christians, that she might be their Mother. “John is but the name of one, whereas the word disciple is applicable to all; therefore our Lord makes use of a name common to all, to show that Mary was given as a Mother to all.”

The Church applies to Mary these words of the sacred Canticles: I am the mother of fair love-(Ecclus. xxiv. 24); and a commentator explaining them says that the Blessed Virgin’s love renders our souls beautiful in the sight of God, and also makes her, as a most loving Mother, receive us as her children, ” she being all love towards those whom she has thus adopted.” And what Mother, exclaims St. Bonaventure, loves her children and attends to their welfare as thou lovest us and carest for us, 0 most sweet Queen! “For dost thou not love us and seek our welfare far more without comparison than any earthly mother?”

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