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What an amazing idea does this give us of the honour and dignity of this ever Blessed Virgin ? If it be thought so great an honour among men, to be a nurse and guardian of a king's son, what inust it be to be the mother, the nurse, and the guardian of the King of kings ? (4.) The immaculate purity of this ever Blessed Virgin is a privilege of an immense value, bestowed only on Mary : “Behold, they that serve him are not steadfast, and in his angels he found wickedness,” Job iv. 18. ; but in Mary he found none. She, ever steadfast in his holy service, was, by the special disposition of Divine Providence, from the very first instant of her conception, evermore preserved in innocence, and perfectly unsullied by the smallest stain of sin. She never ceased to be undefiled temple of God, the chaste and immaculate spouse of the Holy Ghost, and, of consequence, the sacred object of his complacency and love. In her he never found the smallest opposition to his will, but a continual correspondence and improvement of every grace he bestowed upon her. Hence his infinite goodness, whose delight is to communicate, with the utmost profusion, his holy grace to those in whom he finds no obstacle, was continually increasing his sanctifying grace in her soul; insomuch that, (5.) The angel Gabriel, when he appeared to her, declared her to be “full of grace, and that the Lord himself was with her," and that, on this account, she was, in a particular manner, “ blessed among women,” Luke i. 28. What a high idea does all this give us of the immense dignity to which she is now raised in heaven, above all the other saints, corresponding to her immaculate purity, and the innumerable graces, with which her blessed soul was adorned during her mortal state! (6.) On all these accounts, she hersell, by inspiration of the Holy Ghost, prophsied
the great honour and veneration that should be paid her in the Church of God till the end of the world, when she said, “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour, because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me Blessed; for be that is mighty hath done great things to me, and holy is his name,” Luke i. 46.
Q. 30. Has the Blessed Virgin more than ordinary love for our souls, and a great zeal for our salvation ?
A. This cannot be called in question ; for, (1.) The love and zeal for souls in any person is always in proportion to their love for God and for Jesus Christ; because the more ardently they love God, the more ardently must they desire to see him loved and honoured by his creatures; and the more ardently they love Jesus Christ, the more ardent must their zeal be for the salvation of those souls for whom Christ died, and wbich he himself has so much at heart. Consequently, as there never was any creature whose love to God and Jesus Christ was to be compared with the love wbich the blessed Virgin has for them, so none of all the heavenly inhabitants can possibly have such a love for souls and such ardent zeal for their salvation as she bas. (2.) Our perfection in this life consists essentially in the conformity and union of our will with the will of God; and the more we advance in this holy union, the more perfect we are ; but the entire perfection of this union of our will with the will of God, is only to be found in heaven; there the blessed saints have no other will but the will of God, and the greater saints they are, the more perfectly they are transformed into this divine will. Consequently, the Blessed Virgin, being the greatest of
all the saints, is, of all others, the most perfectly united to the will of God, and has the most ardent desire of whatever pleases him. Now, as Almighty God has a most ardent love for our souls, as he “ wills that all men should be saved," 1 Tim. ii. 4.; as “he wills not that any should perish, but that all should return to penance,” 2 Pet. iii. 9.; as "he wills not the death of a sioner, but rather that he should retum, and live,” Ezech. xxx. 11.; who can doubt of the ardent desires that all the saints in heaven have for the salvation of our souls, and especially the Blessed Virgin, whose more exalted union with God makes her more ardently desire what is agreeable to him. (3.) When our blessed Saviour was hanging on the cross for our sins, seeing “his Mother and the disciples standing, whom he loved, he saith to his Mother, Woman, behold thy son: After he saith to his disciple, Behold thy Mother,” John xix. 26. - In these words our blessed Saviour, with his last breath, recommends all his followers, in the person of St. John, as her spiritual children, to his virgin Mother; and recommends her to them to be honoured and respected as their mother: and, indeed, if he is pleased to raise us up to the high dignity of being children of his heavenly Father, and his own brethren, and coheirs of his heavenly kingdom, without doubt his blessed mother must consider us as her spiritual children, and we have a just title to look upon her as our spiritual mother. And if so, who can conceive the ardent love she must have for our souls, and her fervent zeal for our salvation? How much must her zeal for our souls exceed that of the other saints; in as much as the tender affection of a mother for her children exceeds that of one brother for another ? Besides, can she ever forget the last words of Jesus ? can she neglect the charge he gave her from the cross?
Q.31. Are the prayers for the Blessed Virgin for us more powerful with God than those of other saints ?
A. Most certainly they are; for, (1,) The more ardent love we bave for God, the more inflamed desires we have for his glory; and the more concern we take in what regards his honour, the more ready he always is to hear our prayers; will do the will of thein that fear him; and he wilt hear their prayer,” Psal. cxliv. 19. "The eyes of the Lord are upon the just, and his ears unto their prayers,” Psal. xxxiii. 16. And when the angel Gabriel was sent from heaven, in consequence of the prayers of Daniel, to tell him all he wanted to know, he gave this for the reason of his coming, “ because," says be, “ thou art a man of desires, Dan, ix. 23. Now, as none ever feared God with such perfection as Mary did; as she was by far the most just and perfect of all pure creatures; as none has such inflamed desires for the glory of God and the good of souls as she has; without doubt, her prayers for our salvation must be the most powerful of all the saints in the sight of God. (2.) “ Take delight in the Lord," says his sacred word, “and he will give thee the requests of thy heart, Psal. xxxvi. 4. Who ever took delight in the Lord with such perfection as Mary? He alone was the object of her love, her joy, and delight, every moment of her life; always full of bis grace, her only happiness was in him continually. How ready, then, must he now be to give her the requests of her heart. And what are these requests, but her continual and most ardent desires for promoting his glory in the salvation of our souls ? (3.) “ If ye abide in me,” says Jesus Christ, “and my words abide in you, ye shall ask whatever ye will, and it shall be done to you," John xv. 7. Now, whợ
ever abode in Jesus Christ by holy love, without ever being separate from him, no not for an instant, as the Blessed Virgin did? In whom did his sacred words abide with such perfection as they did in her? How powerful then must her holy prayers be in obtaining whatever she asketh ? especially when we consider that she never will, nor can, ask any thing but what is agreeable to his will; and his holy word declares, “This is the confidence which we have towards him, that wbatsoever we ask ac. cording to his will, he heareth us,” 1 John v. 14. (4.) “ If our heart do not reprehend us, we have confidence towards God; and whatsoever we shall ask, we shall receive of him, because we keep bis commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in bis sight,” 1 John iii. 21. Now, the Blessed Virgin was perfectly innocent, no stain of sin ever fell upon her pure soul; consequently her heart never did, yea, never could reprehend her; on the other hand, her continual attention was to do his will, and to do in every thing she did what was pleasing in his sight; how powerful, then, must ber prayers now be to obtain from his ipfinite good. ness whatsoever she asks him. (5.) Even when here upon earth, her power of obtaining what she asked of her blessed Son, was exceeding great; a single hint of what she wished was enough to induce him to work a most stupendous miracle, by changing water into most exquisite wine, to supply the wants of those for whom she prayed, John iv.; even although he observed to her, that what she wanted was not a thing that belonged to him or
“ what is that to you and me?” said he ; and besides that, « his hour is not yet come ?". yet he granted her desire, and began to work miraeles before his hour, in order to please her. It, therefore, her prayers were so powerful here on