My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places on the mountainside, show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.
– Song of Songs, 2:14
She must have stepped upon bushes and stone very softly, like light shrouding fields in the early morning. Rock and grime and trapped water felt her touch and, later on, molded themselves into a little fountain that has provided millions with physical and spiritual healing. She, the Queen of Heaven, had blessed a little grotto in the middle of winter.
“I went every day for a fortnight, and each day I asked her who she was–and this petition always made her smile. After the fortnight I asked her three times consecutively. She always smiled. At last I tried for the fourth time. She stopped smiling. With her arms down, she raised her eyes to heaven and then, folding her hands over her breast she said, ‘I am the Immaculate Conception.’
– Saint Bernadette
We know that “Immaculate Conception” is the title Our Lady chose for herself when she appeared to St. Bernadette all those years ago; but do we truly know what it implies?
How can we come to understand, truly understand, what it means to be immaculate in the sense that Mary is? We rightly associate it with Our Lord and the fact that he “became man” in an immaculate womb. But in the depths of Mary’s heart and the mysteries of her and Gods’ love there is so much to be learned and admired. Mary was not only Mother but perfect Lover, in the spiritual fullness of the word, and Daughter of God. She loved Him in ways no one else has been able to, with a heart devoid of everything but the perfection of all virtues; she was full of grace, and in her, God rejoiced.
Because Mary was born without sin, her knowledge of God as her Creator and Divine Father was still intact, like that of Adam and Eve when they were still walking in Eden with God, speaking with Him of all things. Mary of Nazareth loved God with the fullness of a perfectly sinless heart, one made akin to the heart of her Divine Son by grace. She grew up knowing and loving the Father of her lovely soul, Abba, Who had created her and Who loved her, and in Whom she waited.
In fulfillment of her nature she became the spouse of that Being Who had made her and loved her since the beginning of time. The Holy Spirit descended upon her and consummated the ardent love in her soul by making her the Mother of God and Blessed among all women. With the perfection of all virtues, Mary understood and felt the fullness of God’s love with all of her heart, mind and soul. She became one with her Creator in the perfection of this mystical marriage because her heart loved God in ways none of us has ever experienced.
“Mary, give me your Heart: so beautiful, so pure, so immaculate; your Heart so full of love and humility that I may be able to receive Jesus in the Bread of Life and love Him as you love Him…”
– Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Nine months after Saint Gabriel appeared to Mary to let her know of God’s Divine will, she could finally love Him without the barriers that the heaviness of humanity interposes between the Divine and the thirsty soul. Her Son, flesh of her flesh and blood of her blood, whom she had loved so fully throughout her life, was finally in her arms. Thus Mary became not only the perfect Mother, but also the perfect Adorer for the rest of her life and that of Our Lords. Only she could truly understand the vastness and greatness of God’s love, and marvel that such love could make the Divine mortal, and Strength itself defenseless, for the love of mankind. She saw firsthand the way that He gave himself up entirely for the mankind He loved so ardently, and in Him she saw and felt the God that she loved with all her heart. Who, then, can rival Mary in loving and adoring the fullness of the Trinity in the way God intended, with all holy virtues and with a vast, unblemished understanding of God’s essence?
In His infinite wisdom, God called her ‘darling’, ‘dove’, ‘flawless one’ (Song of Solomon, 5). In her, all beauty resides. From her, Jesus, the God-Man, learned how to hug and how to kiss, how to bind a wound (as He still binds the wounds of His beloved children, both physical and spiritual), and how to give drink to the thirsty. Besides God Himself, is there anyone who could love us as much? The love of all fathers and mothers here on earth can never compare to Mary’s love for those entrusted to her as her children! In her Immaculate state she is able to love us in ways that we cannot truly understand, but that we feel in the depths of our hearts and in the lightness of our souls when we turn our eyes towards her. She is, in all ways, our most loving Mother.
Tags » Inmaculate Conception, Mary Mother of God, Our Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Lourdes
“Even while living in the world, the heart of Mary was so filled with motherly tenderness and compassion for men that no-one ever suffered so much for their own pains, as Mary suffered for the pains of her children.”
– Saint Jerome, early Church Father and Doctor of the Church