Saturday, February 04, 2006

Saturday - Day of Our Lady

Mary's charity towards Her neighbour" chapter from the book "The Glories of Mary" by St Alphonsus de Liquori

Love toward 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". Saint Thomas 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'. 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 Lepide, on these words of Canticles, "King Solomon hath made him a litter of the wood of Libanus...the midst he covered with charity for the daughters of Jerusalem", 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.' 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 told her Son that family's distress;"They have no wine," 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 the hill-country with haste". 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 daeth for our salvation. On this subject Saint Bonaventure says, ''Mary so loved the world as to give her beloved only-begotten Son". Hence Saint Anselm exclaims,'O blessed amongst woman, the purity surpasses that of the angels, and thy compassion that of the Saints!' 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 the exile on earth; but far greater is it now that she reigns in heaven.' Saint Agnes assured Saint Bridget that 'there was no one who prayed without receiving graces through the charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.' 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.'
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.' 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.' Therefore, as God exhorts us, saying, "Be you merciful, as your Father also is merciful." It is certain that our charity towards our neighbour will be 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." Saint Methodius used to say, 'Give to the poor, and receive paradise.' For the apostle writes, that charity towards our neighbour renders us happy 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." Saint John Chrysostom, on the words of Proverbs," that hath mercy on the poor lendeth to the Lord." makes a remark to the same effect, saying, 'He who assists the needy makes God his debtor.' O Mary 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.