Tuesday, May 23, 2006

"MARY'S HUMILITY" fragments from "Divine Intimacy" by Fr Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene OCD

PRESENCE OF GOD - O Mary, humblest of all creatures, make me humble of heart.

1. St. Bernard says: "It is not hard to be humble in a hidden life, but to remain so in the midst of honours is a truly rare and beautiful virtue." The Blessed Virgin was certainly the woman whom God honoured most highly, whom He raised above all other creatures; yet no creature was so humble and lowly as she. A holy rivalry seemed to exist between Mary and God; the higher God elevated her, the lowlier she became in her humility. The Angel called he "ful of grace", and Mary "was troubled" (LK,1, 28.29). According to St. Alphonsus' explanation, "Mary was troubled because she was filled with humility, dislike praise, and desired that God only be praised." The Angel revealed to he the sublime mission which was to be entrusted to her by the Most High, and Mary declared herself "the handmaid of the Lord" (ibid.,38). Her thoughts did not linger over the immense honour that would be hers as the woman chosen from all woman to be the Mother of the Son of God; but she contemplated in wonder the great mystery of a God who willed to become incarnate in the womb of a poor creature. If God wished to descend so far as to give Himself to her as a Son, to what depths should not his little handmaid abase herself? the more she understood the grandeur of the mystery, the immensity of the divine gift, the more she humnbled herself, sumberging herself in her nothingness. Her attitude was the same when Elizabeth greeted her, "Blessed arethou amongs women" (ibid.,42). These words did not astonish her, for she was already the Mother of God; yet she remained steadfast in her profound humility. She attributed everything to God whose mercies she sang, acknowledging the condenscension, with which He had "regarded the humility of His handmaid" (ibid,.., 48). That God had performed great works in her she knew and acknowledged, but instead of boasting aout them, she directed everything to His glory. With reason St. Bernardine exclaims: "As no other creature, after the Son of God, has been raised in dignity and grace equal to Mary, so neither has anyone descended so deep in to the abyss of the humilityu." Behold the effect that graces and divine favours should produced in us: an increase of humility, a greater awarness of our nothingness.
2. "if you cannot equal Mary's abolute purity," says St. Bernard, "at least imitate her humility. The virtue of chastity is admirable, but humility is essential.......We can be saved without virginity, but not without humility. Even Mary's virginity would not have been pleasing to God without humility....

...O Mary, had you not been humble, the Holy Spirit would not have come uopn, and you woul not have become Mother of God. O(St Bernardnien....Grant then O Holy Virgin, that your, which was so pleasing, may obtain pardon for my pride, and a truly humble heart.