Saturday, 30 May 2009

Of the Virtues of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary

The treatise in its entirety can be viewed by clicking the title above, or by clicking a particular section title:

SECTION I. Of the Humility of Mary.

SECTION II. Of Mary’s Charity towards God.

SECTION III. Of Mary’s Charity towards her Neighbour.

SECTION IV. Of Mary’s Faith.

SECTION V. Of Mary’s Hope.

SECTION VI. Of Mary’s Chastity.

SECTION VII. Of Mary’s Poverty.

SECTION VIII. Of Mary’s Obedience.

SECTION IX. Of Mary’s Patience.

SECTION X. Of Mary’s Prayer.

Saint Augustine says,1 that to obtain with more certainty, and in greater abundance the favour of the Saints, we must imitate them; for when they see us practise their virtues, they are more excited to pray for us. The Queen of Saints and our principal Advocate, Mary, has no sooner delivered a soul from Lucifer’s grasp, and united it to God, than she desires that it should begin to imitate her, otherwise she cannot enrich it with the graces she would wish, seeing it so opposed to her in conduct. Therefore Mary calls those blessed who with diligence imitate her life: . . . Read complete introduction“Now, therefore, children, hear me; blessed are they that keep my ways.”2 Whosoever loves, resembles the person loved, or endeavours to become like that person; according to the well-known proverb, ‘Love either finds or makes its like.’3 Hence Saint Sophronius exhorts us to endeavour to imitate Mary, if we love her, because this is the greatest act of homage which we can offer her: ‘My beloved children,’ the Saint says, ‘serve Mary, whom you love; for you then truly love her, if you endeavour to imitate her whom you love.’4 Richard of Saint Lawrence says, ‘that those are and can call themselves true children of Mary, who strive to imitate her life.’5 ‘Let the child, then,’ concludes Saint Bernard, ‘endeavour to imitate his Mother, if he desires her favour; for Mary, seeing herself treated as a Mother, will treat him as her child.’6 Although there is little recorded in the Gospels of Mary’s virtues in detail, yet when we learn from them that she was full of grace, this alone gives us to understand that she possessed all virtues in an heroic degree. ‘So much so,’ says Saint Thomas, ‘that whereas other Saints excelled, each in some particular virtue, the one in chastity, another in humility, another in mercy; the Blessed Virgin excelled in all, and is given as a model of all.’7 Saint Ambrose also says, ‘Mary was such, that her life alone was a model for all.’8 And then he concludes in the following words: ‘Let the virginity and life of Mary be to you as a faithful image, in which the form of virtue is resplendent. Thence learn how to live, what to correct, what to avoid, and what to retain.’9 Humility being the foundation of all virtues, as the holy fathers teach, let us in the first place consider how great was the humility of the Mother of God.

SECTION I. Of the Humility of Mary.

‘Humility,’ says Saint Bernard, ‘is the foundation and guardian of virtues;’10 and with reason, for without it no other virtue can exist in a soul. Should she possess all virtues, all will depart when humility is gone. But, on the other hand, as Saint Francis of Sales wrote to Saint Jane de Chantal, ‘God so loves humility, that wherever He sees it, He is immediately drawn thither.’ This beautiful and so necessary virtue was unknown in the world; but the Son of God Himself came on earth to teach it by His own example, and willed that in that virtue in particular we should endeavour to imitate Him: “Learn of Me, because I am meek and humble of heart.”11 Mary, being the first and most perfect disciple of Jesus Christ in the practice of all virtues, was the first also in that of humility, and by it merited to be exalted above all creatures. It was revealed to Saint Matilda that the first virtue in which the Blessed Mother particularly exercised herself, from her very childhood, was that of humility.12

The first effect of humility of heart is a lowly opinion of ourselves: ‘Mary had always so humble an opinion of herself, that, as it was revealed to the same Saint Matilda, although she saw herself enriched with greater graces than all other creatures, she never preferred herself to any one.’13 The Abbot Rupert, explaining the passage of the sacred Canticles, “Thou hast wounded my heart, my sister, my spouse, . . . with one hair of thy neck,”14 says, that the humble opinion which Mary had of herself was precisely that hair of the Spouse’s neck with which she wounded the heart of God.15 Not indeed that Mary considered herself a sinner: for humility is truth, as Saint Teresa remarks; and Mary knew that she had never offended God: neither was it that she did not acknowledge that she had received greater graces from God than all other creatures; for an humble heart always acknowledges the special favours of the Lord, to humble herself the more: but the Divine Mother, by the greater light wherewith she knew the infinite greatness and goodness of God, also knew her own nothingness, and therefore, more than all others, humbled herself, saying with the sacred Spouse: “Do not consider that I am brown, because the sun hath altered my colour.”16 That is, as Saint Bernard explains it, ‘When I approach Him, I find myself black.’17 Yes, says Saint Bernardine, for ‘the Blessed Virgin had always the majesty of God, and her own nothingness, present to her mind.’18 As a beggar, when clothed with a rich garment, which has been bestowed upon her, does not pride herself on it in the presence of the giver, but is rather humbled, being reminded thereby of her own poverty; so also the more Mary saw herself enriched, the more did she humble herself, remembering that all was God’s gift; whence she herself told Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, that ‘she might rest assured that she looked upon herself as most vile, and unworthy of God’s grace.’19 Therefore Saint Bernardine says, that ‘after the Son of God, no creature in the world was so exalted as Mary, because no creature in the world ever humbled itself so much as she did.’20

Moreover, it is an act of humility to conceal heavenly gifts. Mary wished to conceal from Saint Joseph the great favour whereby she had become the Mother of God, although it seemed necessary to make it known to him, if only to remove from the mind of her poor spouse any suspicions as to her virtue, which he might have entertained on seeing her pregnant: or at least the perplexity in which it indeed threw him: for Saint Joseph, on the one hand unwilling to doubt Mary’s chastity, and on the other ignorant of the mystery, “was minded to put her away privately.”21 This he would have done, had not the angel revealed to him that his Spouse was pregnant by the operation of the Holy Ghost. Again, a soul which is truly humble refuses her own praise; and should praises be bestowed on her, she refers them all to God. Behold, Mary is disturbed at hearing herself praised by Saint Gabriel; and when Saint Elizabeth said, “Blessed art thou among women .. . and whence is this to me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me? . . . blessed art thou that hast believed, &c.”22 Mary referred all to God, and answered in that humble Canticle, “My soul dost magnify the Lord,” as if she had said: ‘Thou dost praise me, Elizabeth; but I praise the Lord, to whom alone honour is due: thou wonderest that I should come to thee, and I wonder at the Divine goodness, in which alone my spirit exults: “and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.” Thou praisest me because I have believed; I praise my God, because He hath been pleased to exalt my nothingness: “because He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid.” ’23 Hence Mary said to Saint Bridget: ‘I humbled myself so much, and thereby merited such great grace, because I thought, and knew, that of myself I possessed nothing. For this same reason I did not desire to be praised; I only desired that praises should be given to the Creator and Giver of all.’24 Wherefore an ancient author, speaking of the humility of Mary, says: ‘O truly blessed humility, which hath given God to men, opened heaven, and delivered souls from hell!’25

It is also a part of humility to serve others. Mary did not refuse to go and serve Elizabeth for three months. Hence Saint Bernard says, ‘Elizabeth wondered that Mary should have come to visit her; but that which is still more admirable is, that she came not to be ministered to, but to minister.’26 Those who are humble are retiring, and choose the last places; and therefore Mary, remarks Saint Bernard, when her Son was preaching in a house, as it is related by Saint Matthew,27 wishing 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.’28 For the same reason also when she was with the Apostles awaiting the coming of the Holy Ghost, she took the lowest place, as Saint Luke relates, “All these were persevering with one mind in prayer, with the women and Mary the Mother of Jesus.”29 Not that Saint 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 Saint Bernard says, ‘Justly has the last become the first, who being the first of all became the last.’30 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 Saint Bridget, ‘What is more humbling than to be called a fool, to be in want of all things, and to believe oneself 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.’31

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, ‘O 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 Saint 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, her name is Mary.’32 Hereby God was pleased to make known to us that the humility of His blessed Mother was such that she was humility itself.

There can be no doubt, as Saint Gregory of Nyassa remarks,33 that of all virtues there is perhaps none the practice of which is more difficult to our nature, corrupted as it is by sin, than that of humility. But there is no escape; we can never be true children of Mary if we are not humble. ‘If,’ says Saint Bernard, ‘thou canst not imitate the virginity of this humble Virgin, imitate her humility.’34 She detests the proud, and only invites the humble to come to her: “Whosoever is a little one, let him come to me.”35 ‘Mary,’ says Richard of Saint Lawrence, ‘protects us under the mantle of humility.’36 The Mother of God herself explained what her mantle was to Saint Bridget, saying, ‘Come, my daughter, and hide thyself under my mantle; this mantle is my humility.’37 She then added, that the consideration of her humility was a good mantle with which we could warm ourselves: but that as a mantle only renders this service to those who wear it, not in thought but in deed, ‘so also would her humility be of no avail except to those who endeavoured to imitate it.’ She then concluded in these words, ‘Therefore, my daughter, clothe thyself with this humility.’38 ‘O, how dear are humble souls to Mary!’ says Saint Bernard; ‘this blessed Virgin recognises and loves those who love her, and is near to all who call upon her; and especially to those whom she sees like unto herself in chastity and humility.’39 Hence the Saint exhorts all who love Mary to be humble: ‘Emulate this virtue of Mary, if thou lovest her.’40 Marinus, or Martin d’Alberto, of the Society of Jesus, used to sweep the house, and collect the filth, through love for this Blessed Virgin. The Divine Mother one day appeared to him, as Father Nieremberg relates in his life, and thanking him, as it were, said, ‘O, how pleasing to me is this humble action, done for my love!’ Then, O my Queen, I can never be really thy child unless I am humble; but dost thou not see that my sins, after having rendered me ungrateful to my Lord, have also made me proud? O my Mother, do thou supply a remedy. By the merit of thy humility obtain that I may be truly humble, and thus become thy child. Amen.

SECTION II. Of Mary’s Charity towards God.

Saint Anselm says, that ‘wherever there is the greatest purity, there is also the greatest charity.’41 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,’42 as Saint Bernardine writes. Therefore Saint Francis of Sales with reason called her ‘the Queen of love.’ God has indeed given men the precept to love Him with their whole hearts, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart;”43 but, as Saint Thomas declares, ‘this commandment will be fully and perfectly fulfilled by men in heaven alone, and not on earth, where it is only fulfilled imperfectly.’44 On this subject, blessed Albert the Great remarks, that, in a certain sense, it would have been unbecoming had God given a precept which 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.’45 Richard of Saint 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.’46 ‘Divine love,’ says Saint 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.’47 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.”48 ‘Ah! well might even the Seraphim,’ says Richard, ‘have descended from heaven to learn, in the heart of Mary, how to love God.’49

God, who is love,50 came on earth to enkindle in the hearts of all the flame of His Divine love; 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 Saint 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.’51 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 flames;52 fire burning within through love, as Saint Anselm explains it;53 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 a woman spoken of by Hippocrates, who was thus called because she carried fire in her hand. Yes, for Saint Ildephonsus said, that ‘the Holy Ghost heated, inflamed, and melted Mary with love, as fire does iron; so that the flame of this Holy Spirit was seen, and nothing was felt but the fire of the love of God.’54 Saint Thomas of Villanova says,55 that the bush seen by Moses,56 which burnt without being consumed, was a real symbol of Mary’s heart. Therefore with reason, says Saint Bernard, was she seen by Saint John clothed with the sun: “and there appeared a great wonder in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun;”57 ‘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.’58

Hence Saint Bernardine of Sienna asserts that the most holy Virgin was never tempted by hell; for, he says: ‘As flies are driven away by a great fire, so were the evil spirits driven away by her ardent love; so much so, that they did not even dare approach her.’59 Richard of Saint Victor also says, that ‘the Blessed Virgin was terrible to the princes of darkness, so that they did not presume to tempt or approach her; for the fire of her charity deterred them.’60 Mary herself revealed to Saint Bridget, that in this world she never had any thought, desire, or joy, but in and for God: ‘I thought,’ she said, ‘of nothing but God, nothing pleased me but God;’61 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.’62 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 it; for, by a special privilege, she always actually loved God.63 As a royal eagle, she always kept her eyes fixed on the Divine Sun of Justice: ‘so that,’ as Saint 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.’64 Therefore Saint Germanus says, that the altar of propitiation, on which the fire was never extinguished day or night, was a type of Mary.65

Neither was sleep an obstacle to Mary’s love for God; since, as Saint Augustine asserts, ‘the dreams, when sleeping, of our first parents, in their state of innocence, were as happy as their lives when waking;’66 and if such a privilege were granted them, it certainly cannot be denied that it was also granted to the Divine Mother, as Suarez, the Abbot Rupert, and Saint Bernardine fully admit. Saint Ambrose is also of this opinion; for speaking of Mary, he says, ‘while her body rested, her soul watched,’67 verifying in herself the words of the wise man: “Her lamp shall not be put out in the night.”68 Yes, for while her blessed body took its necessary repose in gentle sleep, ‘her soul,’ says Saint 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.’69 Therefore could she well say with the Spouse in the Canticles, “I sleep, and my heart watcheth.”70 ‘As happy in sleep as awaking;’71 as Suarez says. In fine, Saint 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.’72 The Saint moreover adds, ‘that she never did anything which 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;’73 so much so, indeed, that, 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.”74 Hence Saint Thomas of Villanova affirms, that by her ardent charity the Blessed Virgin became so beautiful, and so enamoured her God, that, captivated as it were by her love, He descended into her womb and became man.75 Wherefore Saint Bernardine exclaims, ‘Behold the power of the Virgin Mother: she wounded and took captive the heart of God.’76

But since Mary loves God so much, there can be nothing which she so much requires of her clients as 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.’77 She also said to Saint 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.”78 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.79 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.’80 For this reason Saint Catherine of Sienna called Mary ‘the bearer of fire,’81 the bearer of the flame 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 Saint Francis of Sales addressed 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.”82 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 and pray for us. Amen.

SECTION III. Of Mary’s Charity towards her Neighbour.

Love towards God and love towards our neighbour are commanded by the same precept: “And this commandment we have from God, that he who loveth God love also his brother.”83 Saint Thomas84 says that the reason for this is, that he who loves God loves all that God loves. Saint Catherine of Genoa one day said, ‘Lord, Thou willest that I should love my neighbour, and I can love none but Thee.’ God answered her in these words: ‘All who love Me love what I love.’85 But as there never was, and never will be, any one who loved God as much as Mary loved Him, so there never was, and never will be, any one who loved her neighbour as much as she did. Father Cornelius a Lapide, on these words of the Canticles, “King Solomon hath made him a litter of the wood of Libanus . . . the midst he covered with charity for the daughters of Jerusalem,”86 says, that ‘this litter was Mary’s womb, in which the Incarnate Word dwelt, filling it with charity for the daughters of Jerusalem; for Christ, who is love itself, inspired the Blessed Virgin with charity in its highest degree, that she might succour all who had recourse to her.’87 So great was Mary’s charity when on earth, that she succoured the needy without even being asked; as was the case at the marriage-feast of Cana, when she told her Son that family’s distress: “They have no wine,”88 and asked Him to work a miracle. O, with what speed did she fly when there was question of relieving her neighbour! When she went to the house of Elizabeth to fulfil an office of charity, “she went into the hill-country with haste.”89 She could not, however, more fully display the greatness of her charity than she did in the offering which she made of her Son to death for our salvation. On this subject Saint Bonaventure says, ‘Mary so loved the world as to give her only-begotten Son.’ Hence Saint Anselm exclaims, ‘O blessed amongst women, thy purity surpasses that of the angels, and thy compassion that of the Saints!’90 ‘Nor has this love of Mary for us,’ says Saint Bonaventure, ‘diminished now that she is in heaven, but it has increased; for now she better sees the miseries of men.’ And therefore the Saint goes on to say: ‘Great was the mercy of Mary towards the wretched when she was still in exile on earth; but far greater is it now that she reigns in heaven.’91 Saint Agnes assured Saint Bridget that ‘there was no one who prayed without receiving graces through the charity of the Blessed Virgin.’92 Unfortunate, indeed, should we be, did not Mary intercede for us! Jesus Himself, addressing the same Saint, said, ‘Were it not for the prayers of My Mother, there would be no hope of mercy.’93

Blessed is he, says the Divine Mother, who listens to my instructions, pays attention to my charity, and, in imitation of me, exercises it himself towards others: “Blessed is the man that heareth me, and that watcheth daily at my gates, and waiteth at the posts of my doors.”94 Saint Gregory Nazianzen assures us that ‘there is nothing by which we can with greater certainty gain the affection of Mary than by charity towards our neighbour.’95 Therefore, as God exhorts us, saying, “Be ye merciful, as your Father also is merciful,”96 so also does Mary seem to say to all her children, ‘Be ye merciful, as your Mother also is merciful.’ It is certain that our charity towards our neighbour will be the measure of that which God and Mary will show us: “Give, and it shall be given to you. For with the same measure that you shall mete withal, it shall be measured to you again.”97 Saint Methodius used to say, ‘Give to the poor, and receive paradise.’98 For the apostle writes, that charity towards our neighbour renders us happy both in this world and in the next: “But piety is profitable to all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”99 Saint John Chrysostom, on the words of Proverbs, “He that hath mercy on the poor lendeth to the Lord,”100 makes a remark to the same effect, saying, ‘He who assists the needy makes God his debtor.’101 O Mother of Mercy, thou art full of charity for all; forget not my miseries; thou seest them full well. Recommend me to God, who denies thee nothing. Obtain me the grace to imitate thee in holy charity, as well towards God as towards my neighbour. Amen.

SECTION IV. Of Mary’s Faith.

As the Blessed Virgin is the mother of holy love and hope, so also is she the mother of faith: “I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope.”102 And with reason is she so, says Saint Irenæus; for ‘the evil done by Eve’s incredulity was remedied by Mary’s faith.’103 This is confirmed by Tertullian, who says that because Eve, contrary to the assurance she had received from God, believed the serpent, she brought death into the world; but our Queen, because she believed the angel when he said that she, remaining a virgin, would become the mother of God, brought salvation into the world.104 For Saint Augustine says, that ‘when Mary consented to the incarnation of the Eternal Word, by means of her faith she opened heaven to men.’105 Richard, on the words of Saint Paul, “for the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the believing wife,”106 also says, that ‘Mary is the believing woman by whose faith the unbelieving Adam and all his posterity are saved.’107 Hence, on account of her faith, Elizabeth called the holy Virgin blessed: “Blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished in thee that were spoken by the Lord.”108 And Saint Augustine adds, that ‘Mary was rather blessed by receiving the faith of Christ than by conceiving the flesh of Christ.’109

Father Suarez says,110 that the most holy Virgin had more faith than all men and angels. She saw her Son in the crib of Bethlehem, and believed Him the Creator of the world. She saw Him fly from Herod, and yet believed Him the King of kings. She saw Him born, and believed Him eternal. She saw Him poor and in need of food, and believed Him the Lord of the universe. She saw Him lying on straw, and believed Him omnipotent. She observed that He did not speak, and she believed Him infinite wisdom. She heard Him weep, and believed Him the joy of Paradise. In fine, she saw Him in death, despised and crucified, and, although faith wavered in others, Mary remained firm in the belief that He was God. On these words of the Gospel, “there stood by the cross of Jesus His Mother,”111 Saint Antoninus says, ‘Mary stood, supported by her faith, which she retained firm in the divinity of Christ.’112 And for this reason it is, the Saint adds, that in the office of Tenebræ only one candle is left lighted. Saint Leo, on this subject, applies to our Blessed Lady the words of Proverbs, “Her lamp shall not be put out in the night.”113 And on the words of Isaias, “I have trodden the wine-press alone,”114 Saint Thomas remarks that the prophet says a man, on account of the Blessed Virgin, in whom faith never failed. Hence blessed Albert the Great assures us that ‘Mary then exercised perfect faith; for even when the disciples were doubting she did not doubt.’115 Therefore Mary merited by her great faith to become ‘the light of all the faithful,’116 as Saint Methodius calls her; and the ‘Queen of the true faith,’117 as she is called by Saint Cyril of Alexandria. The holy Church herself attributes to the merits of Mary’s faith the destruction of all heresies: ‘Rejoice, O Virgin Mary, for thou alone hast destroyed all heresies throughout the world.’118 Saint Thomas of Villanova, explaining the words of the Holy Ghost, “Thou hast wounded my heart, my sister, my spouse . . . with one of thy eyes,”119 says that ‘these eyes denoted Mary’s faith, by which she greatly pleased the Son of God.’120

Here Saint Ildephonsus exhorts us to imitate Mary’s faith.121 But how can we do so? Faith, at the same time that it is a gift, is also a virtue. It is a gift of God, inasmuch as it is a light infused by Him into our souls; and a virtue, inasmuch as the soul has to exercise itself in the practice of it. Hence faith is not only to be the rule of our belief, but also that of our actions; therefore Saint Gregory says, ‘He truly believes who puts what he believes in practice;’122 and Saint Augustine, ‘Thou sayest, I believe; do what thou sayest, and it is faith.’123 This is to have a lively faith, to live according to our belief: “My just man liveth by faith.”124 Thus did the Blessed Virgin live very differently from those who do not live in accordance with what they believe, and whose faith is dead, as Saint James declares, “Faith without works is dead.”125 Diogenes sought for a man on earth; but God, amongst the many faithful, seems to seek for a Christian, for few there are who have good works; the greater part have only the name of Christian. To such as these should be applied the words once addressed by Alexander to a cowardly soldier who was also named Alexander: ‘Either change thy name or change thy conduct.’ But as Father Avila used to say, ‘It would be better to shut up these poor creatures as madmen, believing, as they do, that an eternity of happiness is prepared for those who lead good lives, and an eternity of misery for those who lead bad ones, and who yet live as if they believed nothing.’ Saint Augustine therefore exhorts us to see things with the eyes of Christians, that is to say, with eyes which look at all in the light of faith;126 for, as Saint Teresa often said, all sins come from a want of faith. Let us therefore entreat the most holy Virgin, by the merit of her faith, to obtain us a lively faith: ‘O Lady, increase our faith.’

SECTION V. Of Mary’s Hope.

Hope takes its rise in faith; for God enlightens us by faith to know His goodness and the promises He has made, that by this knowledge we may rise by hope to the desire of possessing Him. Mary, then, having had the virtue of faith in its highest degree, had also hope in the same degree of excellence; and this made her say with David, “But it is good for me to adhere to my God, to put my hope in the Lord God.”127 Mary was indeed that faithful spouse of the Holy Ghost, of whom it was said, “Who is this that cometh up from the desert, flowing with delights, leaning on her beloved?”128 For she was always perfectly detached from earthly affections, looking upon the world as a desert, and therefore, in no way relying either on creatures or on her own merits, but relying only on Divine grace, in which was all her confidence, she always advanced in the love of God. Thus Ailgrino said of her: ‘She ascended from the desert, that is, from the world, which she so fully renounced, and so truly considered as a desert, that she turned all her affection from it. She leant upon her Beloved, for she trusted not in her own merits, but in His graces who bestows graces.’129

The most holy Virgin gave a clear indication of the greatness of her confidence in God, in the first place, when she saw the anxiety of her holy spouse Saint Joseph. Unable to account for her wonderful pregnancy, he was troubled at the thought of leaving her: “but Joseph . . . minded to put her away privately.”130 It appeared then necessary, as we have elsewhere remarked, that she should discover the hidden mystery to Saint Joseph; but no, she would not herself manifest the grace she had received; she thought it better to abandon herself to Divine Providence, in the full confidence that God Himself would defend her innocence and reputation. This is precisely what Cornelius a Lapide says, in his commentary on the words of the Gospel quoted above: ‘The Blessed Virgin was unwilling to reveal this secret to Joseph, lest she might seem to boast of her gifts; she therefore resigned herself to the care of God, in the fullest confidence that He would guard her innocence and reputation.’131 She again showed her confidence in God when she knew that the time for the birth of our Lord approached, and was yet driven even from the lodgings of the poor in Bethlehem, and obliged to bring forth in a stable: “and she laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for Him in the inn.”132 She did not then let drop a single word of complaint, but, abandoning herself to God, she trusted that He would there assist her. The Divine Mother also showed how great was her confidence in Divine Providence when she received notice from Saint Joseph that they must fly into Egypt. On that very night she undertook so long a journey to a strange and unknown country without provisions, without money, accompanied only by her Infant Jesus and her poor spouse, “who arose and took the Child and His Mother by night, and retired into Egypt.”133 But much more did she show her confidence when she asked her Son for wine at the marriage-feast of Cana; for when she had said, “They have no wine,” Jesus answered her, “Woman, what is it to thee and to me My hour is not yet come.”134 After this answer, which seemed an evident refusal, her confidence in the Divine goodness was such that she desired the servants to do whatever her Son told them; for the favour was certain to be granted: “whatsoever He shall say to you, do ye.”135 It indeed was so: Jesus Christ ordered the vessels to be filled with water, and changed it into wine.

Let us, then, learn from Mary to have that confidence in God which we ought always to have, but principally in the great affair of our eternal salvation--an affair in which it is true that we must cooperate; yet it is from God alone that we must hope for the grace necessary to obtain it. We must distrust our own strength, and say with the Apostle, “I can do all things in Him who strengtheneth me.”136

Ah, my most holy Lady, the Ecclesiasticus tells me that thou art “the Mother of holy hope;”137 and the holy Church, that thou art our hope.138 For what other hope, then, need I seek? Thou, after Jesus, art all my hope. Thus did Saint Bernard call thee; thus will I also call thee: ‘Thou art the whole ground of my hope;’139 and, with Saint Bonaventure, I will repeat again and again, ‘O, salvation of all who call upon thee, save me!’140

SECTION VI. Of Mary’s Chastity.

Since the fall of Adam, the senses being rebellious to reason, chastity is of all virtues the one which is the most difficult to practise. Saint Augustine says: ‘Of all the combats in which we are engaged, the most severe are those of chastity; its battles are of daily occurrence, but victory is rare.’141 May God be ever praised, however, who in Mary has given us a great example of this virtue. ‘With reason,’ says Richard of Saint Lawrence, ‘is Mary called the Virgin of virgins; for she, without the counsel or example of others, was the first who offered her virginity to God.’142 Thus did she bring all virgins who imitate her to God, as David had already foretold: “After her shall virgins be brought . . . into the temple of the King.”143 Without counsel and without example. Yes; for Saint Bernard says: ‘O Virgin, who taught thee to please God by virginity, and to lead an angel’s life on earth?’144 ‘Ah,’ replies Saint Sophronius, ‘God chose this most pure virgin for His Mother, that she might be an example of chastity to all.’145 Therefore does Saint Ambrose call Mary ‘the standard-bearer of virginity.’146

By reason of her purity the Blessed Virgin was also declared by the Holy Ghost to be beautiful as the turtle-dove: “Thy cheeks are beautiful as the turtle-dove’s.”147 ‘Mary,’ says Aponius, was a most pure turtle-dove.’148 For the same reason she was also called a lily: “As the lily among the thorns, so is my love among the daughters.”149 On this passage Denis the Carthusian remarks, that ‘Mary was compared to a lily amongst thorns, because all other virgins were thorns, either to themselves or to others; but that the Blessed Virgin was so neither to herself nor to others;’150 for she inspired all who looked at her with chaste thoughts. This is confirmed by Saint Thomas,151 who says, that the beauty of the Blessed Virgin was an incentive to chastity in all who beheld her. Saint Jerome declared that it was his opinion that Saint Joseph remained a virgin by living with Mary; for, writing against the heretic Helvidius, who denied Mary’s virginity, he says, ‘Thou sayest that Mary did not remain a virgin. I say, that not only she remained a virgin, but even that Joseph preserved his virginity through Mary.’152 An author says, that so much did the Blessed Virgin love this virtue, that, to preserve it, she would have been willing to have renounced even the dignity of Mother of God. This we may conclude from her answer to the archangel, “How shall this be done, because I know not man?”153 and from the words she afterwards added “Be it done to me according to thy word,”154 signifying that she gave her consent on the condition that, as the angel had assured her, she should become a Mother only by the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost.

Saint Ambrose says, that ‘whoever has preserved chastity is an angel, and that he who has lost it is a devil.’155 Our Lord assures us that those who are chaste become angels, “They shall be as the angels of God in heaven.”156 But the impure become as devils, hateful in the sight of God. Saint Remigius used to say that the greater part of adults are lost by this vice. Seldom, as we have already said with St. Augustine, is a victory gained over this vice. But why It is because the means by which it may be gained are seldom made use of. These means are three, according to Bellarmine and the masters of a spiritual life: fasting, the avoidance of dangerous occasions, and prayer. By fasting, is to be understood especially mortification of the eyes and of the appetite. Although our Blessed Lady was full of Divine grace, yet she was so mortified in her eyes, that, according to Saint Epiphanius and Saint John Damascen, she always kept them cast down, and never fixed them on any one; and they say that from her very childhood her modesty was such, that it filled every one who saw her with astonishment. Hence Saint Luke remarks, that, in going to visit Saint Elizabeth, “she went with haste,” that she might be less seen in public. Philibert relates, that, as to her food, it was revealed to a hermit named Felix, that when a baby she only took milk once a day. Saint Gregory of Tours affirms, that throughout her life she fasted;157 and Saint Bonaventure adds, ‘that Mary would never have found so much grace, had she not been most moderate in her food; for grace and gluttony cannot subsist together.’158 In fine, Mary was mortified in all, so that of her it was said, “my hands dropped with myrrh.”159

The second means is to fly the occasions of sin: “He that is aware of the snares shall be secure.”160 Hence Saint Philip Neri says, that, ‘in the war of the senses, cowards conquer:’ that is to say, those who fly from dangerous occasions. Mary fled as much as possible from the sight of men; and therefore Saint Luke remarks, that in going to visit Saint Elizabeth, “she went with haste into the hill country.” An author observes, that the Blessed Virgin left Saint Elizabeth before Saint John was born, as we learn from the same Gospel, where it is said, that “Mary abode with her about three months, and she returned to her own house. Now Elizabeth’s full time of being delivered was come, and she brought forth a son.” And why did she not wait for this event? It was that she might avoid the conversations and visits which would accompany it.

The third means is prayer. “And as I knew,” said the wise man, “that I could not otherwise be continent except God gave it . . . I went to the Lord and besought Him.”161 The Blessed Virgin revealed to Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, that she acquired no virtue without effort and continual prayer.162 Saint John Damascen says, that Mary ‘is pure, and a lover of purity.’163 Hence she cannot endure those who are unchaste. But whoever has recourse to her will certainly be delivered from this vice, if he only pronounces her name with confidence. The venerable John d’Avila164 used to say, ‘that many have conquered impure temptations by only having devotion to her immaculate conception.’ O Mary, O most pure Dove, how many are now in hell on account of this vice! Sovereign Lady, obtain us the grace always to have recourse to thee in our temptations, and always to invoke thee, saying, ‘Mary, Mary, help us.’ Amen.

SECTION VII. Of Mary’s Poverty.

Our most loving Redeemer, that we might learn from Him to despise the things of the world, was pleased to be poor on earth: “Being rich,” says Saint Paul, “He became poor for your sake, that through His poverty you might be rich.”165 Therefore doth Jesus Christ exhort each one who desires to be His disciple, “If thou wilt be perfect, go sell what thou hast, and give to the poor . . . and come, follow Me.”166 Behold Mary, His most perfect disciple, who indeed imitated His example. Father Canisius167 proves that Mary could have lived in comfort on the property she inherited from her parents, but she preferred to remain poor, and reserving only a small portion for herself, distributed the rest in alms to the temple and the poor. Many authors168 are of opinion that Mary even made a vow of poverty; and we know that she herself said to Saint Bridget, ‘from the beginning I vowed in my own heart that I would never possess anything on earth.’169 The gifts received from the holy Magi cannot certainly have been of small value; but we are assured by Saint Bernard170 that she distributed them to the poor through the hands of Saint Joseph. That the divine Mother immediately disposed of these gifts is also evident from the fact, that at her purification in the temple she did not offer a lamb, which was the offering prescribed in Leviticus for those who could afford it, “for a son she shall bring a lamb;”171 but she offered two turtle-doves, or two pigeons, which was the oblation prescribed for the poor: “And to offer a sacrifice, according as it is written in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtle-doves, or two young pigeons.”172 Mary herself said to Saint Bridget, ‘All that I could get I gave to the poor, and only reserved a little food and clothing for myself.’173

Out of love for poverty she did not disdain to marry Saint Joseph, who was only a poor carpenter, and afterwards to maintain herself by the work of her hands, by spinning or sewing, as we are assured by Saint Bonaventure.174 The angel, speaking of Mary, told Saint Bridget that ‘worldly riches were of no more value in her eyes than dirt.’175 In a word, she always lived poor, and she died poor; for at her death we do not know that she left anything but two poor gowns, to two women who had served her during her life, as it is recorded by Metaphrastes176 and Nicephorus.177

Saint Philip Neri used to say that ‘he who loves the things of the world will never become a Saint.’ We may add what Saint Teresa said on the same subject, that ‘it justly follows that he who runs after perishable things should also himself be lost.’ But, on the other hand, she adds, that the virtue of poverty is a treasure which comprises in itself all other treasures. She says the ‘virtue of poverty;’ for, as Saint Bernard remarks, this virtue does not consist only in being poor, but in loving poverty.178 Therefore did Jesus Christ say, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”179 They are blessed because they desire nothing but God, and in God they find every good; in poverty they find their paradise on earth, as Saint Francis did when he exclaimed, ‘My God and my all.’180 Let us, then, as Saint Augustine exhorts us, ‘love that one good in which all good things are found,’181 and address our Lord in the words of Saint Ignatius, ‘Give me only Thy love, with Thy grace, and I am rich enough.’182 ‘When we have to suffer from poverty, let us console ourselves,’ says Saint Bonaventure, ‘with the thought that Jesus and His Mother were also poor like ourselves.’183

All, my most holy Mother, thou hadst indeed reason to say that in God was thy joy: “and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour;”184 for in this world thou didst desire and love no other good but God. “Draw me after thee,”185 O Lady; detach me from the world, that I may love Him alone, who alone deserves to be loved. Amen.

SECTION VIII. Of Mary’s Obedience.

When the angel Gabriel announced to Mary God’s great designs upon her, she, through love for obedience, would only call herself a handmaid: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord.”186 ‘Yes,’ says Saint Thomas of Villanova, ‘for this faithful handmaid never, in either thought or word or deed, contradicted the Most High; but, entirely despoiled of her own will, she lived always and in all things obedient to that of God.’187 She herself declared that God was pleased with her obedience, when she said, “He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid;”188 for in prompt obedience it is that the humility of a servant, properly speaking, consists. Saint Irenæus says that by her obedience the Divine Mother repaired the evil done by Eve’s disobedience: ‘As Eve, by her disobedience, caused her own death and that of the whole human race, so did the Virgin Mary, by her obedience, become the cause of her own salvation and of that of all mankind.’189 Mary’s obedience was much more perfect than that of all other Saints; since all men, on account of original sin, are prone to evil, and find it difficult to do good; but not so the Blessed Virgin. Saint Bernardino writes, that, ‘because Mary was free from original sin, she found no obstacle in obeying God; she was like a wheel, which was easily turned by every inspiration of the Holy Ghost.’190 ‘Hence,’ continues the same Saint, ‘her only object in this world was to keep her eyes constantly fixed on God, to discover His will, and, when she had found out what He required, to perform it.’191 Of her was said, “My soul melted when He spoke;”192 that is, as Richard explains it, ‘My soul was as metal, liquefied by the fire of love, ready to be moulded into any form, according to the Divine will.’193

Mary well proved how ready she was to obey in all things, in the first place, when, to please God, she obeyed even the Roman emperor, and undertook the long journey of at least seventy miles to Bethlehem, in the winter, when she was pregnant, and in such poverty that she had to give birth to her Son in a stable. She showed equal obedience in undertaking, on the very same night on which she had notice of it from Saint Joseph, the longer and more difficult journey into Egypt. Here Silveira asks why the command to fly into Egypt was given rather to Saint Joseph than to the Blessed Virgin, who was to suffer the most from it; and he answers, that it was ‘that Mary might not be deprived of an occasion in which to perform an act of obedience, for which she was always most ready.’194 But above all she showed her heroic obedience when, to obey the Divine will, she offered her Son to death; and this with such constancy, as Saint Ildephonsus says, that had executioners been wanting, she would have been ready herself to have crucified Him.195 Hence Venerable Bede, explaining our Lord’s answer to the woman spoken of in the Gospel, who exclaimed, “Blessed is the womb that bore Thee” . . . “Yea, rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it,”196 says that Mary was indeed blessed in becoming the Mother of God, but that she was much more so in always loving and obeying the Divine will.197

For this reason, all who love obedience are highly pleasing to the Blessed Virgin. She once appeared to a Franciscan friar, named Accorso, in his cell; whilst she was still present, obedience called him to hear the confession of a sick person. He went, and on his return found that Mary had waited for him, and highly commended his obedience. On the other hand, she greatly blamed another religious, who remained to finish some private devotions after the refectory-bell had rung.198 Our Lord, once speaking to Saint Bridget on the security which is found in obeying a spiritual director, said, ‘Obedience brings all Saints to glory;’199 for, as Saint Philip Neri200 used to say, God demands no account of things done by obedience, having Himself said, “He that heareth you, heareth Me: and he that despiseth you, despiseth Me.”201 The Mother of God herself revealed to Saint Bridget that through the merit of her obedience she had obtained so great power that no sinner, however great were his crimes, who had recourse to her with a purpose of amendment, failed to obtain pardon.202 Our own sweet Queen, then, and Mother, intercede with Jesus for us; by the merit of thine obedience obtain that we may be faithful in obeying His will and the commands of our spiritual fathers. Amen.

SECTION IX. Of Mary’s Patience.

This world being a place of merit, it is rightly called a valley of tears; for we are all placed in it to suffer, that we may, by patience, gain our own souls unto life eternal, as our Lord Himself says, “In your patience you shall possess your souls.”203 God gave us the Blessed Virgin Mary as a model of all virtues, but more especially as an example of patience. Saint Francis of Sales, amongst other things, remarks, that it was precisely for this reason that at the marriage-feast of Cana Jesus Christ gave the Blessed Virgin an answer, by which He seemed to value her prayers but little: “Woman, what is that to thee and to me?”204 And He did this that He might give us the example of the patience of His most holy Mother. But what need have we to seek for instances of this virtue? Mary’s whole life was a continual exercise of her patience; for, as the angel revealed to Saint Bridget, ‘as a rose grows up amongst thorns, so did this Blessed Virgin grow up amongst tribulations.’205 Compassion alone for the Redeemer’s sufferings sufficed to make her a martyr of patience. Hence Saint Bonaventure says, that ‘a crucified Mother conceived a crucified Son.’206 In speaking of her dolours, we have already considered how much she suffered, both in her journey to, and during her residence in, Egypt, as also during the time she lived with her Son in the house at Nazareth. What Mary endured when present at the death of Jesus on Calvary is alone sufficient to show us how constant and sublime was her patience: “There stood by the cross of Jesus His Mother.” Then it was that precisely by the merit of her patience, as blessed Albert the Great says, she brought us forth to the life of grace.207

If we, then, wish to be the children of Mary, we must endeavour to imitate her in her patience: ‘For what,’ says Saint Cyprian, ‘can enrich us with greater merit in this life, and greater glory in the next, than the patient endurance of sufferings?’208 God said, by the prophet Osee, “I will hedge up thy way with thorns.”209 To this Saint Gregory adds, that ‘the way of the elect is hedged with thorns.’210 As a hedge of thorns protects a vineyard, so does God protect His servants from the danger of attaching themselves to the earth, by encompassing them with tribulations. Therefore Saint Cyprian concludes, that it is patience which delivers us from sin and from hell.211 It is also patience which makes saints: “Patience hath a perfect work,”212 bearing in peace, not only the crosses which come immediately from God, such as sickness, poverty, &c., but also those which come from men--persecutions, injuries, and the rest. Saint John saw all the Saints bearing palm branches--the emblem of martyrdom--in their hands: “After this I saw a great multitude, and palms were in their hands;”213 thereby denoting that all adults who are saved must be martyrs, either by shedding their blood for Christ or by patience. ‘Rejoice, then,’ exclaims Saint Gregory; ‘we can be martyrs without the executioner’s sword, if we only preserve patience.’214 ‘Provided only,’ as Saint Bernard says, ‘we endure the afflictions of this life with patience and joy,’215 O what fruit will not every pain borne for God’s sake produce for us in heaven! Hence the Apostle encourages us, saying, “That which is at present momentary and light of our tribulation worketh for us above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory.”216 Saint Teresa’s instructions on this subject are beautiful. She used to say, ‘Those who embrace the cross do not feel it;’ and elsewhere, ‘that if we resolve to suffer, the pain ceases.’ When our crosses weigh heavily upon us, let us have recourse to Mary, who is called by the Church ‘the Comfortress of the afflicted;’ and by Saint John Damascen, ‘the Remedy for all sorrows of the heart.’217 Ah, my most sweet Lady, thou who wast innocent didst suffer with so much patience; and shall I, who deserve hell, refuse to suffer? My Mother, I now ask thee this favour--not, indeed, to be delivered from crosses, but to bear them with patience. For the love of Jesus, I entreat thee to obtain at least this grace for me from God; from thee do I hope for it with confidence.

SECTION X. Of Mary’s Prayer.

There never was a soul on earth who practised in so perfect a manner as the Blessed Virgin the great lesson taught by our Saviour, “that we ought always to pray, and not to faint.”218 From no one, says Saint Bonaventure, can we better take example, and learn how necessary is perseverance in prayer, than from Mary: ‘Mary gave an example which we must follow and not faint;’219 for blessed Albert the Great asserts, ‘that, after Jesus Christ, the Divine Mother was the most perfect in prayer of all who ever have been, or ever will be.’220 In the first place, because her prayer was continual and persevering. In the very first moment, in which she had the perfect use of reason, which was, as we have said in the discourse on her nativity, in the first moment of her existence, she began to pray. That she might be able to devote herself still more to prayer, when only three years of age she shut herself up in the retirement of the temple; where, amongst other hours set aside for this exercise, as she herself told Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, ‘she always rose at midnight, and went before the altar of the temple to offer her supplications.’221 For the same purpose, and that she might constantly meditate on the sufferings of Jesus, Odilo says, ‘she very frequently visited the places of our Lord’s Nativity, Passion, and Sepulchre.’222 Moreover, she prayed with the greatest recollection of spirit, free from every distraction and inordinate affection, nor did any exterior occupation ever obscure the light of her unceasing contemplation, as we are assured by Denis the Carthusian.223

Through love for prayer, the Blessed Virgin was so enamoured of solitude, that, as she told Saint Bridget, when she lived in the temple she avoided even intercourse with her parents.224 On the words of the prophet Isaias, “Behold a Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and His name shall be called Emanuel,”225 Saint Jerome remarks, that the word virgin, in Hebrew, properly signifies a retired virgin; so that even the prophet foretold the affection which Mary would have for solitude. Richard of Saint Lawrence says that the angel addressed her in these words, “The Lord is with thee,” on account of her great love for retirement.226 For this reason Saint Vincent Ferrer asserts, that the Divine Mother ‘only left her house to go to the temple, and then her demeanour was all composed, and she kept her eyes modestly cast down.’227 For the same reason, when she went to visit St. Elizabeth, “she went with haste.”228 From this, Saint Ambrose says, ‘that virgins should learn to avoid the world.’ Saint Bernard affirms that, on account of Mary’s love for prayer and solitude, ‘she was always careful to avoid the society and converse of men.’229 She was therefore called a turtle-dove by the Holy Ghost: “Thy cheeks are beautiful as the turtle-dove’s.”230 ‘The turtle-dove,’ says Vergello, ‘is a solitary bird, and denotes unitive affection in the soul.’231 Hence it was that the Blessed Virgin always lived solitary in this world as in a desert, and that of her it was said, “Who is she that goeth up by the desert, as a pillar of smoke?”232 On these words the Abbot Rupert says, ‘Thus didst thou, indeed, loving solitude, ascend by the desert.’233

Philo assures us, that ‘God only speaks to souls in solitude.’234 God Himself declares the same thing by the prophet Osee “I will lead her into the wilderness: and I will speak to her heart.”235 ‘O happy solitude!’ exclaims Saint Jerome, ‘in which God speaks familiarly and converses with His own.’236 ‘Yes,’ says Saint Bernard; ‘for solitude, and the silence which is there enjoyed, force the soul to leave the earth in thought, and meditate on the things of heaven.’237 Most holy Virgin, do thou obtain us affection for prayer and retirement, that, detaching ourselves from the love of creatures, we may aspire only after God and heaven, where we hope one day to see thee, to praise thee, and to love thee, together with Jesus, thy Son, for ever and ever. Amen.

“Come over to me, all ye that desire me, and be filled with my fruits.”238 Mary’s fruits are her virtues. ‘Thou hast had none like thee, nor shalt thou have an equal. Thou alone of women hast above all pleased Christ.’239

1S. 225, ed. B. app.

2Nunc ergo, filii, audite me: beati qui custodiunt vias meas. -- Prov. viii. 32.

3Amor aut pares invenit aut facit.

4Dilectissimæ, amate quam colitis, et colite quam amatis: quia tunc eam vere colitis et amatis, si imitari velitis de tote corde quam laudatis. -- Serm. de Assump. int. op. S. Hieron.

5Filii ejus (Mariæ), id est imitatores, maxime in tribus, ccastitate, largitate, humilitate . . . mansuetudine, misericordia, et hujusmodi. -- De Laud. Virg. lib. ii, c. 5.

6In Salve Reg. s. 1.

7Ipsa enim omnium virtutum opera exercuit; alii autem sancti specialia quædam: quia alius fuit humilis, alius castus, alius misericors, et ideo dantur in exemplum specialium virtutum; sed beata Virgo in exemplum omnium virtutum. -- Opusc. viii.

8Talis fuit Maria, ut ejus unius vita omnium sit disciplina. -- De Virginibus, lib. ii. c. 2.

9Sit igitur vobis tamquam in imagine descripta, virginitas, vita Mariæ, de qua velut speculo refulgeat species castitatis et forma virtutis. Hinc sumatis licet exempla vivendi . . . quid corrigere, quid effugere, quid tenere debeatis ostendunt. -- Ib.

10Humilitas est fundamentum oustosque virtutum. -- In Nat. D. s. 1.

11Et discite a me, quia mitis sum et humilis corde. -- Matt. xi. 29.

12Prima virtus, in qua Virgo nata, et infans se singulariter exercuit, fuit humilitas – Spir. Grat. l. i. c. 52.

13Ita modeste de se sentiebat, ut cum tot gratias haberet, nulli se prætulit. -- Ib. c. 5.

14Vulnerasti cor meum, soror mea, sponsa . . . in uno crine colli tui. -- Cant. iv. 9.

15In uno crine colli tui, id est, in nimia humilitate cordis tui. . . . Quid uno crine gracilius, et quid humilitate subtilius? . . . Iste est crinis colli, humilis cogitatus mulieris. -- Lib. iii. in Cant. cap. 4.

16Nolite me considerare quod fusca sim, quia decoloravit me sol. -- Cant. i. 5.

17Appropinquans illi ex eo me nigram invenio. -- In Cant. § 28.

18Virgo continue habebat actualem relationem ad Divinam majestatem et ad suam nihilitatem. -- Serm. de Concep. B.M.V. art. iii. cap. 2.

19Pro firmo scias, quod me reputabam vilissimam, et gratia Dei indignam. -- S. Bonav. de Vita C. cap. iii.

20Sicut nulla post Filium Dei creatura tantum ascendit in gratiæ dignitatem, sic nec tantum descendit in abyssum humilitatis profundæ. -- Serm. de Concep. B.M.V. art. i. cap. 3.

21Voluit occulte dimittere eam. -- Matt. i. 19.

22Benedicta tu inter mulieres . . . Et unde hoc mihi, ut veniat Mater Domini mei ad me? . . . Et beata qua credidisti, &c. -- Luc. i. 42-44.

23Magnificat anima mea Dominum, et exsultavit spiritus meus in Deo salutari meo; quia respexit humilitatem ancillæ suæ. -- Ib. 46, 47.

24Ut quid enim ego me tantum humiliabam, aut unde promerui tantam gratiam, nisi quia cogitavi, et scivi, me nihil a me esse vel habere? Ideo et nolui laudem meam, sed solius Datoris et Creatoris. -- Rev. lib. ii. c. 23.

25O vere beata humilitas, quæ Deum hominibus peperit, vitam mortalibus edidit, cœlos innovavit, mundum purificavit, paradisum aperuit, et hominum animas ab inferis liberavit. -- Serm. de Assump. int. Op. S. Augustini.

26Venisse Mariam mirabatur Elisabeth . . . sed jam magis miretur, quad instar utique Filii, et ipsa non ministrari venerit, sed ministrare. -- Serm. de Aqœd.

27Matt. xii.

28Foris stabat . . . nec materna auctoritate aut sermonem interrupit, aut in habitationem irruit in qua Filius loquebatur. -- Serm. Sign. Magn.

29Hi omnes erant perseverantes unanimiter in oratione cum mulieribus et Maria matre Jesu. -- Act. i. 14.

30Merito facta est novissima prima, quæ cum prima esset omnium, sese novissimam faciebat. -- In Sign. Magn.

31Quid enim contemptibilius est quam vocari fatua, et non irasci, vel verba reddere? Quid despectius quam omnia relinquere, et omnibus indigere? Quid dolorosius apud mundiales quam injuriam suam dissimulare, et omnibus se credere et tenere indigniorem et humiliorem? Talis, O filia, erat humilitas mea, hoc gaudium meum, hæc voluntas tota, quæ nulli nisi Filio meo placere cogitabam. -- Rev. lib. ii. cap. 23.

32Rev. lib. i. cap. 29.

33De Beatit. Hom. 1.

34Si non potes virginitatem humilis, imitare humilitatem Virginis.-- Hom. i. sup. Missus.

35Si quis est parvulus, veniat ad me. -- Prov. ix. 4.

36Maria protegit nos . . . sub pallio humilitatis. -- De Laud. Virg. lib. ii. sap. 1.

37Ergo tu, filia mea, veni, et absconde te sub mantello meo . . . Hic mantellus humilitas mea, est. -- Rev. lib. ii. cap. 23.

38Nec humilitas mea proficit eam cogitantibus, nisi et pro modulo suo unusquisque studuerit eam imitari. Ergo, filia mea, indue te hac humilitate. -- Ib.

39Agnoscit certe, et diligit diligentes se, et prope est in veritate invocantibus se: præsertim his quos videt sibi conformes factos in castitate et humilitate. -- In Salv. Reg.

40Æmulamini hanc virtutem, si Mariam diligitis. -- Serm. in Sign. Magn.

41Ubi major puritas, ibi major caritas. +

42Superat . . . omnium creaturarum amores . . . in Filium suum. -- Serm. Glor. Nom. M. art. i. cap. 2.

43Diliges Dorninum Deum tuum ex toto corde tuo. -- Matt. xxii. 37.

442. 2. q. xxiv. art. 8.

45Aut aliquis implet hoc præceptum, aut nullus; si aliquis, ergo Beatissima Virgo. -- Sup. Missus. q. 135.

46Emanuelis nostri puerpera, in omni fuit virtutum consummatione perfecto. Quis illud primum et maximum mandatum sic unquam implevit? Quis sic unquam implere poterit? Diliges Dominum Deum tuum ex tote corde tuo, et ex tota anima tua . . . Divinus amor in ea adeo convaluit, adeo eam ipsam in omni bono solidavit, ut de cætero, spiritualis qualiscunque defectus, in eam incidere omnino non posset. -- Lib. ii. de Emanuele, cap. 29, 30.

47Amor Christi, Mariæ animam non modo confixit, sed etiam pertransivit, ut nullam in pectore virginali particulam vacuam amore relinqueret, sed toto corde, tota anima, tota virtute diligeret, et esset gratia plena. -- Serm. xxix. in Cant.

48Dilectus meus mihi, et ego illi. -- Cant. ii. 16.

49Seraphim de cœlo descendere poterant, ut amorem discerent in corde Virginis. +

50Deus caritas est. -- 1 John, iv. 8.

51Mariam totam incanduerat divinus amor, ita ut in ea nihil esset mundanum, quod violaret affectus, sed ardor continuus, et ebrietas perfusi amoris -- Serm. de Assump. int. op. S. Hieron.

52Lampades ejus, lampades ignis atque flammarum. -- Cant. viii. 6.

53Ap. Corn. á Lap.

54Beatam Mariana . . . velut ignis ferrum, Spiritus Sanctus totam decoxit, incanduit, et ignivit: ita ut in ea Spiritus Santi flamma videatur, nec sentiatur nisi tantum ignis amoris Dei. -- Orat. i. de Assump. B.M.V.

55In Nat. D. Conc. 2.

56Exod. iii. 2.

57Et signum magnum apparuit in cœlo: mulier amicta sole. -- Apoc. xii. 1.

58Jure ergo Maria sole perhibetur amicta, quæ profundissimam divinæ sapientiæ ultra quam credi valeat, penetravit abyssum; ut quantum sine personali unione creaturæ conditio patitur, luci illi inaccessibili videatur immersa. -- In Sign. Magn.

59Sicut magnus ignis effugat muscas, sic a sua ardentissima mente et inflammatissima caritate dæmones effugabantur et pellebantur, in tantum quod solum in modico non erant ausi respicere mentem ejus, nec de magno spatio illi appropinquare. -- Serm. de Concep. B.M.V. art. iii. cap. 2.

60Virgo . . . principibus tenebrarum terribilis fuit, ut ad eam accedere, eamque tentare non præsumpserint. Deterrebat enim eos flamma caritatis. -- In Cant. cap. xxvi.

61Nihil nisi Deum cogitabam, nihil volebam nisi ipsum. -- Rev. lib. i. cap. 10.

62Actus perfectæ caritatis, quos B. Virgo habuit in hac vita innumerabiles fuerunt, ita ut eorum multitudo possit fortasse cum numero sanctortum omnium conferri, quia fere totam vitam in perpetua contemplatione transegit, in qua ferventissime Deum amabat, et hunc amoris actum frequentissime repetebat. -- De lncarnat. p. ii. q. 37, art. 4, disp. 18, § iv.

63Tamen ipsa gloriosissima Virgo de privilegio singulari continue et semper Deum amabat actualiter. -- Marial. p. 2, Serm. v. p. 7.

64Adeo ut nec actio contemplationem minueret, et contemplatio non de æreret actionem. -- Serm. I. in Nat. B.M.V.

65In Annunt.

66Tam felicia erant somnia dormentium, quam vita vigilantium. -- In Jul. lib. v. cap. 2.

67Cum quiesceret corpus, vigilaret animus. -- De Virg. lib. ii. cap. 2.

68Non extinguetur in nocte lucerna ejus. -- Prov. xxxi. 18.

69Anima sua libere ac meritorio actu tunc tendebat in Deum. Unde tempore erat perfectior contemplatrix, quam unquam fuerit aliquis alius dum vigilavit. -- Serm. de Concep. B.M.V. art. i. cap. 2.

70Ego dormio, et cor meum vigilat. -- Cant. v. 2.

71Tam felix dormiendo, quam vigilando. -- De Inc. p. 2. d. 18. § 2.

72Mens illius in ardore dilectionis continue tenebatur. -- Serm. de Concep. B.M.V. art. iii. cap. 2.

73Tertius Virginis splendor fuit caritas, scilicet quantum ad voluntatem, in quam tanta plenitudine divinus amor infusus est, quod nihil elicere vellet, nisi quod Dei sapientia præmonstrabat. Proinde hac sapientia illustrata, tantum Deum diligebat, quantum a se diligendum illum intelligebat. -- Ib. art. 1. cap. 3.

74Credimus etiam, sine præjudicio melioris sententiæ, Beatam Virginem in conceptione Filii Dei, caritatem Filii talem et tantam accepisse, quails et quanta percipi poterat a pura creatura in statu viæ. -- Sup. Missus Resp. ad q. xlvi.

75Hæc Virgo beata nobis Deum protulit et hominem: hæc sua eum pulchritudine et decore a cœlis allexit: amore illius captus est, humanitatis nostræ nexibus irretitus. -- Conc. viii. in Nat. Dom.

76O incogitabilis virtus Virginis matris . . . . una puella, nescio quibus blanditiis, nescio quibus violentiis decepit, et ut ita dicam, vulneravit et rapuit divinum cor. -- Serm. de Nat. B.M.V. cap. iv.

77Boll. 4 Jan. Vit. c. 7.

78Adjuro vos, filiæ Jerusalem, si inveneritis dilectum meuro, ut nuntietis ei quia amore langueo. -- Cant. v. 8.

79Ut vulnerata vulneret. -- Umbra Virg. exc. 28.

80Quia tota ardens fuit, omnes se amantes, eamque tangentes incendit, et sibi assimilat.

81Portatrix ignis. – Or. in Annunt.

82John, ii. 3.

83Et hoc mandatum habemus a Deo ut oui diligit Deum, diligat et fratrem suum. -- 1 John, iv. 21.

842. 2æ q. 25. a. 1.

85Boll. 15 Sept. Vit. c. 4.

86Ferculum fecit sibi rex Salomon de lignis Libani. – Cant. iii. 9.

87Beatæ Virginis . . . sinus fuit ferculum augustissimum, ferens et bajulans Verbum incarnatum, ideoque media caritate constratum propter filias Jerusalem; quia Christus, qui est ipsa charitas, maximam gratiam et charitatem B. Virgini aspiravit, ut ipsa filiabus Jerusalem, id est, animabus devotis, ad illam in quavis diffilcultate rccurrentibus, opera ferret. -- In Cant. cep. iii.

88John, ii. 3.

89Luc. i. 39.

90O tu benedicta super mulieres, quæ angelos vincis puritate, sanctos superare pietate. -- Invoc. B. V. et Filii.

91Magna erga miseros fuit misericordia Mariæ, adhuc exulantis in mundo, sed multo major erga miseros est misericordia ejus, jam regnantis in cœlo. -- Spec. B.M.V. lect. x.

92Ex dulcedine Maria, nullus est, qui non per eam, si petitur, sentiat pietatem. -- Rev. lib. iii. c. 30.

93Nisi preces matris mex intervenirent, non esset spes misericordiæ – Ib. vi. c. 26.

94Beatus homo qui audit me, et qui vigilat ad fores meas quotidie, et observat ad postes ostii mei. -- Prov. viii. 34.

95Nulla res est, quæ Virginis benevolentiam conciliat ac misericordia. +

96Estote ergo misericordes, sicut et Pater vester misericors est. -- Luc. vi. 36.

97Eadem quippe mensura qua mensi fueritis, remetietur vobis. -- Ib. 38

98Da pauperi, et accipe paradisum. +

99Pietas autem ad omnia utilis est, promissionem habens vitæ, quæ nunc est et futures. -- 1 Tim. iv. 8.

100Fœneratur Domino qui miseretur pauperis. -- Prov. xix. 17.

101Si Deo fœneramur, is ergo nobis debitor est. -- De Pœnit. hom. 5.

102Ego mater pulchræ dilectionis, et timoris, et agnitionis, et sanctæ spei. -- Eccles. xxiv. 24.

103Quod alligavit virgo Eva per incredulitatem, hoc Virgo Maria solvit per fidem. -- Adv. Hœrs. lib. iii. cap. 33.

104Crediderat Heva serpenti, Maria Gabrieli: quod illa credendo deliquit, hæc credendo delevit.—De Carne Chr.

105Fides Mariæ cœlum aperuis, cum angelo nuntianti consensit. -- Spinelli, M. Deip. c. 21. n. 7.

106Sanctificatus est enim vir infidelis per mulierem fidelem. -- 1 Cor. vii. 14.

107Hæc est mulier fidelis, per cujus fidem salvatus est Adam vir infidelis, et tota posteritas. -- De L. B. M. l. 6.

108Et beata, que credidisti, quoniam perficientur ea, quæ dicta sent tibi a Domino. -- Luc. i. 45.

109Beatior Maria percipiendo fidem Christi, quam concipiendo carnem Christi. -- De S. Virginitate, cap. iii.

110De Inc. p. 2. d. 19. s. 1.

111Stabant autem juxta, crucem Jesu mater ejus, &c. -- Joan. xix. 25.

112Stabat Maria fide elevata, quam de Christi divinitate fixam retinuit.

113Non extinguetur in nocte lucerna ejus. -- Prov. xxxi. 18.

114Torcular calcavi solus, et de gentibus non est vir mecum. -- Is. lxiii. 3.

115Fidem habuit in excellentissimo gradu, quæ, etiam discipulis dubitantibus non dubitavit. -- In Luc. i.

116Fidelium fax. -- De Sim. et Anna.

117Sceptrum orthodoxæ fidei. -- Hom. 4. int. div.

118Gaude, Maria Virgo, cunctas hæreses sola interemisti in universo mundo.

119Vulnerasti cor meum, soror mea, spousa . . . in uno oculorum tuorum. -- Cant. v. 9.

120Oculus fidem, capillus humilitatem designat quibus potentis Dei filio Virgo maxime complacuit. -- De Nat. Dom. Conc. viii.

121Imitamini signaculum fidei vegtræ beatam Mariam. -- De Assump. B. M. Serm. 1.

122Ille vere credit, qui exercet operando quod credit. -- In Evang. hom. 26.

123Dicis, credo: fac quod dicis, et fides est. -- Serm. xlix. ed. B.

124Justus autem meus ex fide vivit. -- Heb. x. 38.

125Fides sine operibus mortua est. -- Jac. ii. 26.

126Christianos oculos habete. -- In Ps. lvi.

127Mihi autem adhærere Deo bonum est: ponere in Domino Deo spem meam. -- Ps. lxxii. 28.

128Quæ est ista, quæ ascendit de deserto, deliciis affluens, innixa super dilectum suum? -- Cant. viii. 5.

129Ascendit de deserto, scilicet de mundo, quem sic deseruit, et tamquam desertum reputavit, quod ab ipso omnem suum avertit affectum. Affluere autem dicitur gratiarum deliciis et virtutum, et innixa super dilectum. Nam ne perderet delicias affluentes, non suis meritis, sed ipsius innitebatur gratiæ, qui gratiam tribuit, et meritum præmium superaddit. -- Ap. Corn. a Lap. in loc. cit.

130Joseph autem . . . voluit occulte dimittere eam. -- Matt. i. 19.

131B. Virgo autem ex modestia noluit ultro secretum hoc divinuni Josepho pandere, ne sua dona tanta et tam divina jactare videretur, sed Deo Deique providentiæ et curæ, cujus totum hoc opus erat, idipsum resignavit, certissime confidens Deum suam innocentiam et famam tutatunun. -- Comment. in loc. cit.

132Et reclinavit eum in præsepio quia non erat eis locum in diversorio. -- Luc. ii. 7.

133Qui consurgens, accepit puerum et matrem ejus nocte, et secessit in Ægyptum. -- Matt. ii. 14.

134Vinum non habent. . . . Quid mihi et tibi est, mulier? nondum venit hora mea. -- Joan. ii. 3, 4.

135Quodcumque dixerit vobis, facite. -- Joan. ii. 5.

136Omnia possum in eo qui me confortat. -- Philipp. iv. 13.

137Ego mater . . . sancta spei. -- Eccl. xxiv. 24.

138Spes nostra salve.

139Tota ratio spei meæ. -- Serm. de Aquœd.

140O salus te invocantium, salva me.

141Inter omnia enim Christianorum certamina, sofa duriora prælia castitatis; ubi quotidiana est pugna, et rara victoria. -- Int. Op. S. August. Serm. 293, cap. ii. ed. B. App.

142Merito dicitur Virgo virginum, quæ primo consecravit et vovit virginitatem absque omni præcepto, consilio, et exemplo. -- De Laud. V. lib. i. cap. 5.

143Adducentur regi virgines post eam . . . in templum regis. -- Ps. xliv. 15, 10.

144O Virgo prudens, O Virgo devota, quis to docuit Deo placere virginitatem . . . et in terris angelicam ducere vitam? – Hom. iii. sup. Missus.

145Christus matrem virginem ideo elegit, ut ipsa omnibus esset exemplum castitatis. -- Serm. de Assump. int. Op. S. Hieron.

146Egregia Maria, qua signum sacra virginitatis extulit. -- De Inst. Virg. cap. v.

147Pulchræ cunt genæ tuæ sicut turturis. -- Cant. i. 9.

148Justa ratione turturi, castissimæ avi, virginitas comparator: quæ in B. Maria obtinet principatum. -- In Cant. lib. iv.

149Sicut lilium inter spinas, sic amica mea inter filias. -- Cant. ii. 2.

150Quamvis enim fuerint multæ virgines sanctæ . . . tamen respectu hujus unicæ Virginis . . . quasi spinæ fuisse videntur, in quantum aliquid culpæ habebant, et quamvis in se fuerint mundæ, non tamen fuit in eis fomes prorsus extinctus, fuerunt et aliis spinaep, qui ex earum intuitu mucrone concupiscentiæ pungebantur . . . Porro hæc unica Dei delectabilissima Virgo, totius Superbeatissimæ Trinitatis media, et amica, ac socia, ab omni culpa fuit prorsus immunis: fuit in ea fomes plene extinctus, et tam intensissima carititate erat repleta, quod intuentium corda sic penetravit sua inestimabili castitate virginea, quod a nullo potuit concupisci, imo potius extinxit ad horam illorum libidinem. -- Exp. in Cant. cap. ii. art. 8.

151Pulchritudo Beatæ Virginis intuentes ad castitatem excitabat. -- Spinelli, M. Deip. c. 14. n. 6.

152Tu dicis Mariam Virginem non permansisse; ego mihi plus vindico, etiam ipsum Joseph virginem fuisse per Mariam. -- Adv. Helvid. de Virginitate Mariæ.

153Quomodo fiet istud, quoniam virum non cognosco? -- Luc. i. 34.

154Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum. -- Ib. 38.

155Castitas angelos fecit. Qui eam servavit, angelus est; qui perdidit, diabolus. -- De Virginibus, lib. i, cap. 9.

156Erunt sicut angeli Dei in cœlo. -- Matt. xxii. 34.

157Nullo tempore Maria non jejunavit. -- Novarin, Umbra Virg. exc. 38.

158Nunquam Maria tantam gratiam invenisset, nisi gratia Mariam in cibo et potu temperatissimam invenisset; non enim se compatiuntur gratia et gula. -- Spec. B.V.M. lect. iv.

159Manus meæ stillaverunt myrrham. -- Cant. v. 5.

160Qui autem cavet laqueos, securus erit. -- Prov. xi. 15.

161Et ut scivi quoniam aliter non possem esse continens, nisi Deus det . . . adii Dominum, et deprecatus sum illum. -- Sap. viii. 21.

162S. Bonav. Med. Vit. Chr. c. 3.

163Pura est et puritatem amans. -- De Dorm. B.M. § 2.

164Audi fil. c. 14.

165Propter vos egenus factus est, cum esset dives, ut illius inopia vos divites essetis. -- 2 Cor. viii. 9.

166Si vis perfectus esse, vade, vende quæ habes, et da pauperibus . . . et veni, sequere me. -- Matt. xix. 21.

167De V.M. l. 1. c. 4. l. 4. c. 7.

168Ap. Parav. p. 2, cap. 2. +

169Vovi in corde meo . . . nihil unquam possidere in mundo. -- Rev. lib. i. cap. 10.

170Aurum sibi oblatis a Magis non modicum, prout decebat eorum regiam majestatem, non sibi reservavit, sed pauperibus per Joseph distribuit. +

171Pro filio . . . deferet agnum anniculum. -- Lev. xii. 6.

172Et ut darent hostiam secundum quod dictum est in lege Domini, par turturum, aut duos pullos columbarum. -- Luc. ii. 24.

173Omnia quæ habere potui, dedi indigentibus. Nihilque, nisi victum tenuem et vestitum reservavi. -- Rev. lib. cap. 10.

174Med. Vit. Chr. c. 12.

175Mundanæ divitiæ, velut fœtidissimum lutum, sibi vilescebant. -- Serm. Ang. cap. xiii.

176Hom. de Vita B.M.

177Hist. l. 2. c. 21.

178Non paupertas virtus reputatur, sed paupertatis amor. -- Epistola c.

179Beati pauperes spiritu, quoniam ipsorum est regnum cœlorum. -- Matt v. 3.

180Deus meus, et omnia.

181Ama unum bonum, in quo sunt omnia bona. -- Man. c. 34.

182Amorem tui solum cum gratia tua mini dones, et dives sum satis.

183Pauper multum consolari potest de paupertate Mariæ et de paupere Christo. -- Spec. B.M.V. § iv.

184Et exsultavit spiritus meus in Deo salutari meo. -- Luc. i. 47.

185Trahe me . . . post te. -- Cant. i. 3.

186Ecce ancilla Domini. -- Luc. i. 38.

187Vere ancilla, quæ neque dicto, neque facto, neque cogitatu unquam contradixit Altissimo; . . . nihil sibi libertatis reservans, sed per omnia subdita Deo. -- In Annunt. B.M.V. conc. i.

188Respexit humilitatem ancillae suæ. -- Luc. i. 48.

189Sicut Heva inobediens, et sibi et universo generi human causa facta est mortis; sic et Maria Virgo obediens, et sibi et universo generi humano, facta est causa salutis. -- Adv. Hœr. l. iii. c. 33.

190In Virgine beata nullum fuit omnino retardativum; proinde rota voluoilis fuit, secundum omnem Spiritus Sancti nutum. -- Serm. in Assump. B.M.V. art. i. cap. 1.

191Virgo semper habuit continuum aspectum ad Dei beneplacitum promptumque consensum. -- Pro Fest. V.M. s. 4. a. 3. c. 2.

192Anima mea liquefacta est, ut locutus est. -- Cant. v. 6.

193Anima mea liquefacta est per incendium charitatis, parata instar metalli liquefacti decurrere in omnes modulos divinæ voluntatis. -- De Laud. B.M. l. 4.

194Ne Virgini subtraheretur occasio exercendi actum obedientiæ, ad quam ipse erat promptissima. -- Lib. ii. cap. 7, q. 2.

195Parata enim stetit, si deesset manus percussoris. -- Serm. ii. de Assump. B.M.V.

196Beatus venter qui to portavit . . . Quin immo beati, qui audiunt verbum Dei, et custodiunt illud. -- Luc. xi. 27, 28.

197Et inde quidem beata, quia Verbi incarnandi ministra est facta temporalis: sed inde multo beatior, quia ejusdem semper amandi custos manebat æterna. -- Cap. xlix. in Luc.

198Novarin. Umbra Virg. exc. 79.

199Obedientia omnes introducit ad gloriam. -- Rev. lib. vi. cap. 2.

200Bacci. l. 1. c. 20.

201Qui vos audit, me audit: et qui vos spernit, me spernit. -- Luc. x. 16.

202Pro obedientia mea tantam potestatem obtinui, quod nullus tam immundus peccator est, si ad me cum emendationis proposito convertitur et cum corde contrito, non habebit veniam. -- Rev. lib. i. cap. 42.

203In patientia vestra possidebitis animas vestras. -- Luc. xxi. 19.

204Quid mihi et tibi est, mulier? -- Joan. ii. 4.

205Sicut rosa crescere solet inter spinas, ita hæc venerabilis Virgo in hoc mundo crevit inter tribulationes. Et quemadmodum quanto rosa in crescendo se plus dilatat, tanto fortior et auctior spina efficitur, ita et hæc electissima rosa Maria quanto plus ætate crescebat, tanto fortiorum tribulationum spinis scutius pungebatur. -- Serm. Ang. cap. xvi.

206Crucifixa crucifixum concepit. -- Pro Fest. V.M. s. viii. a. 3. c. 2.

207Maria facta est mater nostra, quos genuit Filio compatiendo. +

208Quid utilius ad vitam, vel majus ad gloriam, quam patientia? -- De Bono Pat.

209Sepiam viam tuam spinis. -- Osee ii. 6.

210Electorum viæ spinis sepiuntur. -- Mor. l. 34, c. 1.

211Patientia nos servat. -- De Bono Pat.

212Patientia autem opus perfectum habet. -- Jac. i. 4.

213Post hæc vidi turbam magnam . . . et palmæ in manibus eorum. -- Apoc. vii. 9.

214Nos sine ferro martyres esse possumus, si patientiam custodiamus. -- In Evang. hom. 35.

215Patienter et libenter. -- De Div. s. 16.

216Momentaneum et leve tribulationis nostræ . . . æternum gloriæ pondus operatur in nobis. -- 2 Cor. iv. 17.

217Omnium dolorum cordis medicamentum. -- De Dorm. B.M. s. 2.

218Oportet semper orare, et non deficere. -- Luc. xviii. 1.

219Maria indefesse perseverando in oratione exemplum dedit, quam oportet sequi et non deficere. -- Spec. B.M.V. lect. iv.

220Virtus orationis in B. Virgine excellentissima fuit. -- Sup. Miss. 80. +

221Surgebam semper in noctis medio, et pergebam ante altare templi . . . Et sic stando ante altare septem petitiones Domino faciebam. -- Ap. S. Bonav. de Vita Christ. cap. iii.

222Loca Dominicæ Nativitatis, Passionis, Sepulturæ, frequenter invisere cupiebat. -- De Assump.

223Nulla unquam inordinata affectio, distractio, fragilitas, virtuosissimam mentem ejus Virginis a contemplationis lumine revocavit, neque occupatio ulla exterior. -- De Laud. V. lib. ii. art. 8.

224Rev. l. 1. c. 10.

225Ecce virgo concipiet, et pariet filium, et vocabitur nomen ejus Emanuel. -- Is. vii. 14.

226Dominus tecum, merito solitudinis quam summe diligebat. -- De Laud. V. lib. i. cap. 6.

227Nunquam exibat e domo, nisi quando ibat ad templum, et tunc ibat tota composita, semper habebat oculos suos ad terram. -- Serm. ii. in Vig. Nat. Christi.

228Abiit cum festinatione. -- Luc. i. 39.

229In proposito erat hominum fugere frequentias, vitare colloquia. -- De Laud. V.M. hom. 3.

230Pulchræ sunt genæ tuæ sicut turturis. -- Cant. i. 9.

231Turtur est solivaga, et signat mentis virtutem unitivam. -- Ap. S. Bonav. Dist. vii. +

232Quæ est ista, quæ ascendit per desertum, sicut virgula fumi? -- Cant. iii. 6.

233Talis ascendisti per desertum, id est, animam habens valde solitariam. – Lib. iii. in Cant. cap. iii.

234Dei Sermo amat deserta. +

235Ducam eam in solitudinem, et loquar ad cor ejus. -- Osee ii. 14.

236O solitudo, in qua Deus cum suis familiariter loquitar et conversatur. +

237Silentium, et a strepitu quies cogit cœlestia meditare. -- Epist. 78.

238Transite ad me, omnes qui concupiscitis me, et a generationibus meis implemini. -- Eccl. xxiv. 26.

239Nec primam similem visa es, nec habere sequentem. Sola sine exemplo placuisti femina Christo. -- Sedulius, Op. pasch. l. 2.

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