The Birth of Mary

It is right to celebrate with universal joy the birth of our infant Mary. Her soul was the most beautiful that God had ever created. Saint Peter Damian calls it ‘a work only surpassed by God.’

Divine grace did not come into Mary by drops as in other Saints, but “like rain on the wool,” as it was foretold by David. The soul of Mary was like wool, and absorbed the whole shower of grace, without losing a drop.

The grace of the Blessed Virgin exceeded not only that of each particular Saint, but of all the angels and saints put together. Mary received this grace in the first instant of her Immaculate Conception.

Mary was chosen by God to be the Mother of the Divine Word. Hence Denis the Carthusian says, “that from the very beginning of her life, gifts of a superior order were conferred upon her.”

Now Saint Thomas teaches that ‘God gives everyone grace proportioned to the dignity which He destines him.’ And Saint Paul teaches us the same thing when he says, “Who also has made us fit ministers of the New Testament.”

That is, the apostles received gifts from God, proportioned to the greatness of the office with which they were charged.

Saint Bernardine of Sienna adds, ‘that it is an axiom in theology, that when a person is chosen by God for any state, he receives not only the dispositions necessary for it, but even the gifts which he needs to sustain that state with decorum.’

But as Mary was chosen to be the Mother of God, it was quite becoming that God should adorn her, with an immense grace. This grace was superior to that of all other men and angels. The grace had to correspond with the immense dignity to which God exalted her.

Edited from “On the Birth of Mary, Discourse II” by St. Alphonsus de Liguori

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