Feast of the Nativity of Our Lady - September 8th
#11
How Beautiful and Glorious is Mary at Her Very Birth

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"Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon,
bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?
"--Cant. vi. 9


Sweet morn! thou parent of the sun,
And daughter of the same!
What joy and gladness, through thy birth,
This day to mortals came!

Chorus: Dear Mother, pray for us that He
Who came through thee of yore,
May come to dwell within our hearts,
And never quit us more.


Thrones and dominions gird thee round,
The armies of the sky,
Pure streams of glory from thee flow,
All bathed in Deity!

Chorus: Dear Mother, pray for us that He
Who came through thee of yore,
May come to dwell within our hearts,
And never quit us more.


Clothed in the sun, I see thee stand,
The moon beneath thy feet;
The stars above thy sacred head
A radiant coronet.

Chorus: Dear Mother, pray for us that He
Who came through thee of yore,
May come to dwell within our hearts,
And never quit us more.


Terrific as the bannered line
Of battle's dread array,
Before thee tremble hell and death,
and Own thy potent sway.

Chorus: Dear Mother, pray for us that He
Who came through thee of yore,
May come to dwell within our hearts,
And never quit us more.


While crushed beneath thy dauntless foot,
The serpent writhes in vain:
Smote by a deadly stroke and bound
in an eternal chain.

Chorus: Dear Mother, pray for us that He
Who came through thee of yore,
May come to dwell within our hearts,
And never quit us more.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
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#12
MARY'S DIGNITIES IN HER BIRTH
by Rev. Francis Gabrini, S.J., 1872

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FIRST POINT: MARY CONFIRMED IN GRACE

In the course of her life the most holy Virgin never committed any sin, not even the slightest; and this her spotless career, was in her the result of a special privilege she had received from God. That she committed no sin is an article of our holy faith; and from her sinlessness to the end, theologians conclude she was confirmed in grace: "Thence it follows," says Suarez, "that it must be admitted that, on occasion of her first sanctification, she was confirmed in good."

Accordingly, Mary was never bereft of divine grace, and never could have been bereft of it; but her inability to sin was not absolute and intrinsic as was her divine Son's. His resulted from the hypostatic union; her's from the fulness of her graces and the special assistance given her by the Holy Ghost. Yes, so great is the perfection in which this privilege was given her beyond all others, that St. Antoninus maintains that she alone of all the children of Adam was without sin: "the real truth of the case is, that she alone, of all the pilgrims, was unable to commit sin."

Already in her mother's womb she was as a charming meadow which, continually irrigated by pure and living waters, never could be parched up; already in the womb she was as an auspicious little cloud which, always clothed with the sun, never could grow dark; already she was as gleaming iron which, placed between two glowing coals, can never lose its heat. Her understanding was ceaselessly illumined by the rays of the divine sun; her heart constantly inflamed with the purest and most sublime love; her soul at all times overflowing with the living waters of grace. She thought on nothing but on God ; she yearned after nothing but after God; she loved nothing but God: this was the business of her life nay, was her very life itself. "This," says St. Thomas of Villanova, "this was the whole life of the Virgin; this the briefest summary of her pilgrimage."

Oh, with what great complacency the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, looked upon this child of heaven who was destined to act so important a part in the accomplishment of the divine mysteries! With what burning love must she have acknowledged the gift and exclaimed: even from my mother's womb the Lord made me feel the impression of His grace, and He remembered my name: "from the bowels of my mother He hath been mindful of my name." Mary never committed any, never even the slightest, sin; and indeed she was unable to commit it.

How many sins, not merely slight but grievous, hast thou committed! How many canst thou not commit at every instant of thy life? Oh, how different is our lot from hers! Yet, do not imagine that on this account, she takes our falls and dangers less to heart. No, the greater our necessities, the greater her sympathy for us. The saying: "He who has suffered not knows nothing of sympathy," is by no means applicable to Mary and never can tongue express the solicitude wherewith she endeavors to obtain pardon for poor sinners and to secure to them the grace of final perseverance. Like wise, perceivest thou not she has won for herself the admirable title of "refuge of sinners?"

If thou wilt obtain such excellent graces, flee to her; say to her thou art resolved never more to commit any sin; promise her that thou wilt employ all means in order that thou mayst persevere in good ; then pray to her with confidence to obtain for thee holy perseverance to the end, which is the gift of all gifts. Mary will cheerfully grant thee thy request; and then thou shalt not have expressions adequate to declare to her thy gratitude.


SECOND POINT: MARY, BORN WITH RICH ENDOWMENTS


If the Holy Spirit communicates His gifts to each one, since each one is a temple of God: "because of His Spirit dwelling in you," Rom. viii. 11 v., by how much more and in how much greater fulness must He have communicated them to that heavenly infant who was destined at a future period to bear the Divinity corporally within her? At the creation of the seas God wished all the waters of the rivers to be gathered together: "Let the waters be gathered together into one place." Gen. i. 9 v. ; and at Mary's creation He willed that in her should be concentrated all gifts, treasures, and graces, and whatever of brilliant and precious boons had been conferred on all other creatures.

The privileged and sainted creatures are the rivers which receive the heavenly waters in superabundance: Mary is the sea which comprises in herself all these rivers. O! what inestimable jewels did the Lord present her with, as though he had intended to adorn her for her nuptials! The apostle Paul says God distributes His graces: "Now there are diversities of graces." He does not give all to all persons, but one grace to this one and another to that one: "To one indeed by the Spirit is given the word of wisdom ; and to another, the word of knowledge according to the same spirit; to another, faith in the same Spirit; to another, the working of miracles; to another, prophecy; to another the discerning of spirits ; to another, divers kinds of tongues; to another, interpretation of speeches." 1 Cor. xii. 8 v.

But for the servants, not for the Mother was this rule laid down; for her there was no other rule than that of God's own Omnipotence: "God's Omnipotence is the measure of Mary's privileges." (Suarez.) God bestowed on her all gifts; He enriched her and filled her with treasures to an extent as great as was demanded by the most sublime dignity to which she was chosen. "On Mary He conferred the fulness of all goodness," exclaims St. Bernard in transports of admiration; and not content with this, the holy doctor adds, that all wonders are centred in her: "Everything in her is a miracle." Oh, how lovely must this heavenly child have appeared in the eyes of God and of angels! What must the angels have said when they beheld her like unto the rising dawn, having her being in so much resplendence and adorned with so many precious jewels? Doubtless will they have recognized her as the Mother of her Savior, and honored her and rendered her with emulation all sorts of homage.

Unite thy acts of honor and praise to those of the angels! Admire, and marvel at, the heavenly infant; and then reflect that on thee also God has conferred His gifts! He caused thee to be born in the bosom of the true faith! By holy baptism He made thee a living temple of the Holy Ghost! He made thee a child of His by adoption; He intended that thou shouldst be an heir to his heavenly kingdom; He overloaded thee with graces and treasures. How hast thou esteemed those boons? Hast thoft made less account of them than of thy natural and human gifts talents, wealth, riches, high position forgetting that these latter also came into thy possession through the generosity and goodness of the Lord? And in consequence of thy forgetfulness, hast thou not neglected to render Him the due tribute of thanksgiving for these His great favors unto thee?

Acknowledge thy twofold delusion; be grateful to thy benefactor for all the gifts thou hast received from Him; but constantly bear in mind that spiritual favors are more precious than worldly and natural favors, by as much as Heaven transcends earth in intrinsic worth.


THIRD POINT: MARY, BORN RICH IN MERITS


Her privilege of confirmation in grace, and the fulness of her gifts, by no means operated as an impediment to her acquisition of merits. "

Mary," says St. Augustine, "could accumulate merits for herself; but to commit sin, she was not able." Already at the very first moment of her existence, endowed with the perfect use of reason, and enabled by supernatural assistance to love God, she instantly and with the completest perfection recurred to her Creator and Benefactor, by Loving Him with her whole soul, by adoring Him, and by thanking Him for the so great predilection and the so many privileges of which she had been the chosen recipient at His bountiful hands. Never was there, except Mary, a pure creature who, from the first moment of conception, loved God and humbled herself before Him with the most sincere submission; never was there creature who had consecrated herself to him so perfectly as Mary, by directing to Him all her thoughts, desires, and affections.

To say all in a word, there was never a creature who, from the first second of her existence, and for every second of her existence, could affirm of herself what St. Paul declared of himself when the shadow of his years had already grown long: "His grace in me hath not been void." 1 Cor. xv. 10 v. How is it possible to form an idea of the merits she acquired by her very first act whereby she cleaved to God with such profound knowledge of Him, and with such perfect surrender of her will to Him? What merits upon merits did she acquire during the nine months that she lay in her mother's womb? Suarez assures us that she merited without intermission, from the first minute she began to merit, her advancement in that career, and that she was never arrested nor interrupted in her course. "She merited in a fort "--Suarez.

Now, in order to find out the merit of the second act of her life, multiply by two the merit of her first act; in order to know the merit of her third act, multiply by three that of her second act ; multiply by four that of her third, and so on to the moment of her birth, and this process will enable thee to conceive how multitudinous were her virtues on her entrance into the world. Offer the holy child thy felicitations on those her merits, and say to her that she outstripped all the daughters of Jerusalem: "thou hast surpassed them all." And, indeed, so great is the distance between her and them that in consideration thereof we must exclaim: "her like was never seen, neither among her contemporaries nor among those who came after her."

Admire such great riches at so infantine an age; and weigh well the fact that she acquired them by the right and holy use of the graces and gifts she had received from God. What use hast thou made of those He has conferred on thee? Hast thou employed, according to the will of the donor, the means so numerous placed at thy disposal for thy own sanctification and the succor of thy neighbor? Strict the account which God will require of thee in this matter; and indeed the greater has been His generosity to thee, the greater will be His strictness in exacting that account. The servant mentioned in the Gospel, was condemned to be punished, merely because he did no business with the talent he had received. Arrest the evil whilst time yet remains to thee; lay aside thy supineness, and let thy aspirations henceforward have a nobler goal. A jeweller who discovers he has misused his means in purchasing spurious for genuine stock, is ever after more on his guard, and leaves no stone unturned to repair the loss.

Act thou in like manner: "gather to thyself treasures in heaven; "this is the inspiration which the divine Master gives to all; and to facilitate thy following it, cast thyself down by Mary's cradle and say to her: "wondrous child! thou who, on entering into this valley of tears, wast enriched with so many treasures that thou wast made the admiration of angels and the joy of men, turn those thy sweet eyes to me a sinner; for light, strength, and consolation accompany their glance whithersoever it be directed. I have lost the grace of my God; I have abused His gifts; not merits for heaven, but demerits have I laid up for myself--ah, exemplify in me the goodness of thy heart! Have me from this day in thy holy keeping, so that I may never again lose the grace of God; guide me, that I may henceforward make a more holy use of His gifts; grant me new strength that I may spend myself in repairing the losses I have already suffered. Act thus, O Mary! out of love for that God who caused thee to be so great and so holy when thou wast born." Amen.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
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