THE BLESSED VIRGIN’S LOVE OF GOD
Our Lady revealed to St. Bridget that in this world she never had a thought, a desire, or a joy but in God and for God. Mary did not so much repeat acts of the love of God like other Saints: her whole life was one continued act of Divine charity.
Our Lady revealed to St. Bridget that in this world she never had a thought, a desire, or a joy, but in and for God: “I thought,” she said, “of nothing but God, nothing pleased me but God”; so that her blessed soul, being in the almost continual contemplation of God whilst on earth, the acts of love which she formed were innumerable, as Father Suarez writes: “The acts of perfect charity formed by the Blessed Virgin in this life were without number; for nearly the whole of her life was spent in contemplation, and in that state she constantly repeated acts of love.” But a remark of Bernardine de Bustis pleases me still more. He says that Mary did not so much repeat acts of love as other Saints do, but that her whole life was one continued act of love; for, by a special privilege, she always actually loved God. As a royal eagle, she always kept her eyes fixed on the Divine Sun of Justice: “so that,” as St. Peter Damian says, “the duties of active life did not prevent her from loving, and love did not prevent her from attending to those duties.” Therefore St. Germanus says that the Altar of Propitiation, on which the fire was never extinguished day or night, was a type of Mary.
Nor was sleep an obstacle to Mary’s love for God; since, as St. Augustine asserts, “the dreams, when sleeping, of our first parents, in their state of innocence, were as happy as their lives when waking”; and if such a privilege was granted them, it certainly cannot be denied that it was also granted to the Divine Mother, as Suarez, the Abbot Rupert, and St. Bernardine fully admit. St. Ambrose is also of this opinion; for speaking of Mary, he says: “while her body rested, her soul watched,” verifying in herself the words of the Wise Man: Her lamp shall not be put out in the night (Prov. xxxi. 18). Yes, for while her blessed body took its necessary repose in gentle sleep, “her soul,” says St. Bernardine, “freely tended towards God; so much so that she was then wrapped in more perfect contemplation than any other person ever was when awake.” Therefore could she well say with the Spouse in the Canticles: I sleep, and my heart watcheth (Cant. v. 2). “As happy in sleep as when awake,” as Suarez says. In fine, St. Bernardine asserts that as long as Mary lived in this world she was continually loving God: “The mind of the Blessed Virgin was always wrapped in the ardour of love.” The Saint, moreover adds that “she never did anything that the Divine Wisdom did not show her to be pleasing to Him; and that she loved God as much as she thought He was to be loved by her.”
Indeed, according to Blessed Albert the Great, we can well say that Mary was filled with so great charity that greater was not possible in any pure creature on earth. Hence St. Thomas of Villanova affirms that by her ardent charity the Blessed Virgin became so beautiful and so enamoured of her God that, captivated as it were by her love, He descended into her womb and became Man. Wherefore St. Bernardine exclaims: “Behold the power of the Virgin Mother: she wounded and took captive the Heart of God.”
As Mary herself loved God so much there can be nothing she requires more of her clients than that they also should love Him to their utmost. This precisely she one day told Blessed Angela of Foligno after Communion, saying: “Angela, be thou blessed by my Son, and endeavour to love Him as much as thou canst.” She also said to St. Bridget: “Daughter, if thou desirest to bind me to thee, love my Son.” Mary desires nothing more than to see her Beloved, Who is God, loved. Novarinus asks why the Blessed Virgin, with the spouse in the Canticles, begged the Angels to make the great love she bore Him known to our Lord, saying: I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved, that you tell him that I languish with love (Cant. v. 8). Did not God know how much she loved Him? Why did she seek to show the wound to her Beloved, since He it was Who had inflicted it?” The same author answers that the Divine Mother thereby wished to make her love known to us, not to God; that as she was herself wounded, so might she also be enabled to wound us with Divine love. And “because Mary was all on fire with the love of God; all who love and approach her are inflamed by her with this same love; for she renders them like unto herself.” For this reason St. Catharine of Sienna called Mary “the bearer of fire,” the bearer of the flames of Divine love. If we also desire to burn with these blessed flames, let us endeavour always to draw nearer to our Mother by our prayers and the affections of our souls.
Ah, Mary, thou Queen of love, of all creatures the most amiable, the most beloved, and the most loving, as St. Francis de Sales called thee, — my own sweet Mother, thou wast always and in all things inflamed with love towards God; deign, then, to bestow at least a spark of it on me. Thou didst pray thy Son for the spouses whose wine had failed: They have no wine (Jo. ii. 3). And wilt thou not pray for us, in whom the love of God, Whom we are under such obligations to love, is wanting? Say also: They have no love, and obtain us this love. This is the only grace for which we ask. O Mother, by the love thou bearest to Jesus, graciously hear us and pray for us. Amen.