THE HUMILITY OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN
Those who are humble are retiring, and choose the last place; and therefore it was, as remarks St. Bernard, that Mary, when her Son was preaching in a house, as is related by St. Matthew, and she wished to speak to Him, would not of her own accord enter, but remained outside, and did not avail herself of her maternal authority to interrupt Him. For the same reason also when she was with the Apostles awaiting the coming of the Holy Ghost, she took the lowest place, as St. Luke relates, All these were persevering with one mind in prayer, with the women, and Mary, the mother of Jesus (Acts i. 14). Not that St. Luke was ignorant of the Divine Mother’s merits, on account of which he should have named her in the first place, but because she had taken the last place amongst the Apostles and women; and therefore he described them all, as an author remarks, in the order in which they were. Hence St. Bernard says: “Justly has the last become the first, who being the first of all became the last.”
In fine, those who are humble, love to be contemned; therefore, we do not read that Mary showed herself in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, when her Son was received by the people with so much honour: but on the other hand, at the death of her Son she did not shrink from appearing on Calvary, through fear of the dishonour which would accrue to her when it was known that she was the Mother of Him Who was condemned to die an infamous death as a criminal. Therefore she said to St. Bridget: “What is more humbling than to be called a fool, to be in want of all things, and to believe one’s self the most unworthy of all? Such, O daughter, was my humility; this was my joy; this was all my desire with which I thought how to please my Son alone.”
The Venerable Sister Paula of Foligno was given to understand in an ecstasy how great was the humility of our Blessed Lady; and giving an account of it to her confessor, she was so filled with astonishment at its greatness that she could only exclaim: “Oh, the humility of the Blessed Virgin! O Father, the humility of the Blessed Virgin! How great was the humility of the Blessed Virgin! In the world there is no such thing as humility, not even in its lowest degree, when you see the humility of Mary.” On another occasion our Lord showed St. Bridget two ladies. The one was all pomp and vanity. “She,” He said, “is pride; but the other one whom thou seest with her head bent down, courteous towards all, having God alone in her mind, and considering herself as no one, is Humility, and her name is Mary.” Hereby God was pleased to make known to us that the humility of His Blessed Mother was such that she was humility itself.