Mary of the morning glories…..

(In tribute to the loveliest Mother of all…a favorite post from the archives.)
Happy Mother’s Day, Sweet Mary!

The above statue of Our Lady has accompanied my husband and me throughout almost our entire life together.

He surprised me with it at our first real home in Greenville, NC, three years after we were wed. He placed it on a pedestal beneath a large maple tree in the backyard. Then he planted a vine of large blue morning glories at the base of the tree. It quickly took root and wound gracefully around the trunk, creating a blanket of blue each morning behind Mary’s statue.

I loved looking out of my kitchen window, sipping my first morning cup of tea and seeing morning glories and Mary. As the day wore on, the warmth of the sun would cause the flowers to fade and by afternoon, their beauty was gone. But each morning, they returned, glorious, with the dawn.

During those happy days, I never imagined how much Mary and the morning glories would soon come to mean to me. Only a year after she took her place beneath the maple tree, I was diagnosed with the cancer which destroyed all of our dreams of having babies…an unexpected tragic end to four years of trying to conceive.

I packed a small statue of Mary to take to the hospital with me, and placed her upon the window sill where I could glance at her comforting presence. But there were no morning glories for me, and I felt that there never would be again.

Eventually, I came home, and I would sit on the backyard swing, near Mary’s tree and pray my rosary..over and over. I prayed to live, and I prayed for some relief from the unbearable pain of losing children I had never even known. And Mary listened, and the morning glories brought beauty into an otherwise barren, thirsting, aching season of my life.

We moved back to our home state in the deep South a year later. My husband could not get morning glories to grow in our sunny yard which had no mature trees. So, he placed Mary’s statue in front of the rose garden he had planted. And she reigned there for twenty years.

She smiled, I know, on the day we brought home our adopted infant son. And as he played in the yard as a little boy, I imagined Mary watching over him. When he was old enough, we sometimes had May crownings with his friends who lived next door. And when he became a teenager, I would run sobbing to the rose garden and unburden my heart to Mary…just as I had years before with the cancer. Only this time I was too distraught to even say my rosary. But I knew she understood.

Now, it is just my husband and I again, and we have moved to yet another home. As you can see, Mary’s garden is now filled with lilies and roses and other assorted flowers which change with the seasons. Right across from her statue, there is a garden bench, a place where one can sit and pray or simply enjoy the sounds of the birds and squirrels playing. Often my husband will relax there with a beer, after cutting the lawn. Sometimes, I pray my Divine Office or a rosary in this shady spot. Glancing at Mary’s statue, I feel a certain peace. She is still with us, and we have survived the many crosses which have fallen upon us since Mary of the morning glories first took her place beneath the maple tree.

Her statue reveals the toll of decades spent in the sun, wind and rain. The surface is no longer a smooth gray color, and her features have been worn down from their original loveliness. She, like my husband and me, reflects the passage of time. Yet we would never dream of replacing our precious statue with a new one. She has watched over us all these years…through all the joys and sorrows life brings. And we want her with us until the last page of our lives has been written.

The blows of life have buffeted and scarred us as well. But they have taught us to depend on God alone and to put all of our faith in Him. Gone from this life forever are those carefree morning glory days of youth …now we dream of the glory of Heaven. There we hope to see, no longer a faded statue, but our Most Beloved Mother in all of her eternal beauty….

Thank you, Mary, for accompanying us with your living presence, throughout our lifetime together. I know you have held us when we were broken with sorrow and that you have rejoiced with us in the good times. What a comfort to know that you will always be with us until that day when at last we behold Your Divine Son Jesus in Glory.

Stay near, dearest Mother, until the morning glories bloom again….forever.  I love you!

Mary bashing…they should know better

I rarely visit Twitter. My followers are in double digits…barely. But, a couple of nights ago, I happened to glance at the feed, and to my shock, Our Lady was the subject of some twitter banter. Sadly, many people were claiming that she had been only an “incubator” for Jesus, that she had not even given Him flesh. Others said to “forget about Mary,” and to “put her aside.”

Well, I joined some other Catholics who were defending our Beloved Mother and tried to help enlighten those who were so cruelly disparaging her. What I found most heartbreaking was that they weren’t even neutral in their opinion, but rather anti-Mary…as though they wished they could just make her go away.

Because of this recent incident, I’m dusting off a past post I wrote about our Blessed Mother, and yes, I’ll be linking to it on Twitter. I doubt it will open any closed minds, but maybe the rosary I’m about to say will!  You just never know….

O Mary, Gate of Heaven, Morning Star, Ark of the Covenant, Theotokos, pray for us!

image
Sandro Botticelli, circa 1480

Mary was on my mind yesterday during adoration, no doubt because I was reading 33 Days to Morning Glory, and also because of the recent events related in my last post.

But it’s more than that. I’ve mentioned before that I listen to Catholic radio a lot, and during the call-in shows, Mary is often a topic of conversation. So many people simply do not grasp her sublime place in God’s Plan for our salvation, or worse yet, they think she was simply a convenient vehicle used by God to bring the Savior into the world. After Jesus was born, these individuals assume that Mary and Joseph led a normal married life and that Mary simply faded into oblivion.

What an insult to God! First to imagine that His Son would be conceived by an ordinary woman who had not been perfectly prepared by Him. Secondly, to ascribe to God such a capricious attitude of using one of His creatures for so exalted a purpose and then to essentially forget about her….to credit nothing to her for the sacrifice of her very own Son.

Scripture and the Church present us with such a very different picture of Mary’s life and Mary’s purpose.

The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you….

What a great Mystery!  Mary is asked, and consents to be the Mother of Jesus.

And…in a glorious silence containing all the Power of Heaven and earth, the Holy Spirit overshadows her and enters into her virginal womb to create the Body and Soul of the God-Man, that Human Nature which would be hypostatically united to the Divine Nature and Person of the Son of God.

The Incarnation is God’s greatest Work, and It took place within Mary, hidden in silence, unheralded save by Gabriel’s few words to the chosen maiden.

How holy Mary was from the first moment of her Immaculate Conception… Full of Grace, as Gabriel addressed her. But what new and unique Graces surely flooded her soul in that wondrous Instant when she became the Mother of God, and truly the Spouse of the Holy Spirit!

Can anyone really dare to think that all of this happened in an off-handed, matter of fact way? That God overshadowed Mary, and then departed, bestowing no splendor of Grace, no bond between Himself and this Woman carrying the very Son of God, now incarnate?

Mary is matchless, and we can never comprehend her holiness and her unique relationship to God.  She is not Divine. God is infinitely above all of His creatures. But Mary has an exalted place which cannot be approached by even the greatest of the Saints.

She is the God-Bearer. And once you say that, what is left to say about her greatness? All that she is and all that she has was bestowed upon her because of the ineffable and most pure intimacy she experienced with the Most Holy Trinity.

Who can plumb the mysteries which passed between God and Mary in that Moment which changed everything? The Son became her Child…uniting her flesh to His Being in an act of humility and Gift for which the angels surely were rendered speechless to praise.

Yes, God defeated Satan through a humble maiden, forever raised to the heights of holiness because of her relationship with God.

If we become holy through Baptism, when The Trinity comes to dwell within us, then what is there to say of Mary’s holiness, her relationship to God, her exaltation?

O Mary, Daughter of the Most High, Mother of the Eternal Word, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, pray for us!

What St. Therese thought about Our Lady……

Assumption

St. Therese had little patience with legendary stories of Our Lady, or grandiose depictions of her life.  The Mary whom Therese knew and loved was the simple maiden of the gospels, who had to live her life with faith and trust in God and with simplicity and love, enduring hardships and trials as she followed the path God marked out for her, even to the foot of the Cross.

Below are some of my favorite observations of Therese about Our Holy Mother.

“It is all very well to speak of her love and prerogatives, but we must not stop there.  We must make her loved.  If a sermon on Our Lady forces us from beginning to end to gasp with amazement, we soon have enough of it, and it will lead neither to love or imitation.  The Blessed Virgin prefers imitation to admiration, as her life was so simple.”

“To ask something of the Blessed Virgin is not the same as to ask something of God.  She knows well what to do with all my little desires and it is for her to decide whether to ask for them or not.”

Therese, taking issue with those who claim that the glory of Mary will eclipse that of all the Saints, as the sun eclipses the moon exclaimed:

How strange that would be, a mother extinguishing the glory of her children!  I believe quite the opposite, that she increases many times the glory of the elect.  We all know that the Blessed Virgin is Queen of Heaven and earth, but she is more Mother than Queen.”

Therese was simply delighted by Mary’s very existence.

“Who could have invented her, if God had not created her just as she is?”

“We are much happier than she is, for she has no Blessed Virgin to love!  How much more is that a joy for us, and how much less it is one for her.”

“I like to hide my suffering from God; but I hide nothing from the Blessed Virgin.  I tell her everything.”

And…the last words she ever wrote on earth, on the back of a picture of Our Lady of Victories:

“Oh, Mary, if I were the Queen of Heaven and you were Therese, I would like to be Therese in order to see you Queen of Heaven.”

Quotations by Therese taken from Heart of Love Eugene McCaffrey, OCD Veritas publications, 1998
(re-post from the archives, September 2011)

Mary takes my hands in hers…..

I often think of August as a “Mary month,” since we celebrate the beautiful feasts of her Assumption and her Queenship this month.  In Our Lady’s honor, I will be re-visiting a few posts dedicated to her, most which were written a couple of years ago.

Of Mary, there is never enough.  St. Bernardourladyofgrace

I have never shared this before, but Mary once granted me an unexpected favor. And although it happened about 15 years ago, it has only been during the past month that I have come to completely understand the message.

In my parish church, the statue of Our Lady of Grace stands in the back of what we affectionately call “Mary’s chapel.” The chapel is to the left of the altar, and is one of the first seating areas to fill up before Mass.

On the day my son was baptized, I tenderly carried him, now graced by God’s Presence, to the feet of the One Gabriel once called Full of Grace. Kneeling before the larger than life marble statue, I presented my infant son to Mary, asking her to take him as her own, to accept my consecration of him to herself. My heart was bursting with joy, and I was so happy to give my son this gift of special protection by the Holy Mother of God.

My little boy’s early years were filled with visits to the Blessed Sacrament, learning to say the rosary, and stories of the Saints. The only thing he wanted for his First Holy Communion was a “real bible” — which my sister, his godmother, joyfully gave him. He would sit up in bed and read from it almost every night in those days, declaring the Sermon on the Mount to be his favorite chapter.

Yes, he was precocious; he was beautiful; he was talented, but he was also strong-willed and rebellious.

The beloved bible ended up in a drawer. And one night when he didn’t come home from a highschool dance, a blue glass rosary cut into the palms of my hands.

He eventually came back to the house, but he never really came home again.

On the evening of his Confirmation, I was at the foot of Mary’s statue once more. “Mother, I re-consecrate my son to you. I don’t know what has gone wrong, but he needs your help. Maybe I didn’t say the words right the first time. Please hear me now, and accept him as your own.”

During the difficult years that followed, I would often attend the 6pm Mass. It was very crowded,which enabled me to secure a standing spot, wedged between the candle stand and Mary’s statue. Often I would place my hand on her foot or the hem of her garment.

I was grateful to be a short distance from those filling the pews. Desperate, I needed to be alone with God.

One night, a lady came and knelt before Mary shortly before Mass ended. We were facing each other, and although she did not notice me, I was captivated by her eyes fixed on Mary’s face, and her lips moving silently in prayer. She was obviously praying intensely about something. I didn’t mean to intrude; it all happened so fast……

Then, as if watching a movie, I saw what I can only describe as a “copy” of Mary’s statue stepping out of the original statue. This copy appeared more transparent than the original, but resembled it in every other way. “Mary” came within reach of the prayerful woman and took her hands and held them in her own most pure hands. The woman seemed not to notice anything. Mary looked directly into the woman’s face, and appeared to be listening most attentively to her prayer, as though she were the only person in the world.

Within seconds, without my knowing how, the image was gone, and the woman got up from the kneeler. I thought of stopping her and telling her what I had seen. But I didn’t, and I have often regretted this.

As for me, I was struck by the obvious love and tenderness Our Lady showed to this woman pleading for her intercession. I wondered how many times Mary had held my hands or embraced me — like the night I clung for dear life to my blue glass rosary.

Yet, throughout many painful years, I have often wondered why it seemed Mary had not rescued my son from so many poor choices. I had given him to her when his soul was spotless and newly sealed with the Sacrament of Baptism. Surely she could have surrounded him with angels, or kept him beneath her own mantle. Had she not understood?

And I had trusted her completely. So total was my trust when I presented my baby boy to her that all that happened in those later years was ever so much more painful, because it was so very unexpected.

My son is now a man, and he no longer wishes to rebel. He is working hard to repair his life. But sometimes, repercussions from the past still catch up with him. This month has brought to light a few things I had not known before.

And this is the rest of the gift. Mary has visited my heart in secret. And she has reminded me of what I saw 15 years ago, and she has said, “As you saw me take my daughter’s hands in prayer, do you not know that I also took your son into my own arms when you offered him to me?”

Why hadn’t I ever thought of it that way — my little son pressed to her Immaculate Heart, his tiny cheek kissed by those purest lips that kiss the Son of God?

She has made me understand that the crosses had to come. But that I should not pray like one who has banished all dreams and asks but little for her son. Rather, she has led me to pray that he will one day do great things for God. And so I do pray this way now — so full of hope, and expectation, knowing that she has always been with him, and with me.

And I remember, when She didn’t understand, and when the way before Her was obscured and unknown, She found joy in Gabriel’s words, “….for nothing is impossible to God.”

And Mary shares those words with me and takes my hands……..

Mary Untier of Knots – Pope Francis’ Favorite Marian Image

A Devotion from Bavaria, linking the pope who was born there to his successor who studied there, both in the loving arms of Our Blessed Mother.

Mary-Untier-of-Knots-1

At the link below, there is a fascinating article about Pope Francis’ devotion to Our Lady, Untier of Knots, which actually has its roots in….Bavaria.  And who do we know from Bavaria?  Our Benedict the beloved!

The article states that Cardinal Bergoglio  gave to Pope Benedict a chalice engraved with this image of Our Lady.

I am especially fascinated, because I had never before heard of this devotion, until it was mentioned on Women of Grace (before the papal election.)  It was described as a very powerful novena.  I told my sister that perhaps we should begin praying it.  We found the prayers on the Internet and both began the novena.

Shortly after Pope Francis was elected, I heard a priest on EWTN mention that he had once met Cardinal Bergoglio, and the cardinal gave him a medal of Our Lady Untier of Knots.  My ears perked up, and I felt encouraged to continue praying this novena.

Then, I came across this article tonight, indicating that this devotion to Our Lady is very special to our new Holy Father.  And so, I feel very blessed to be praying in union with him to Our Blessed Mother under this title.

It does seem so appropriate…considering the “knots” that need to be undone in the Church, and certainly in the lives of most of us.

I wanted to share this beautiful devotion with everyone, and I hope many prayers will be answered for those who choose to pray it.  I love the idea of Our Lady untying the knots of my life!

Meanwhile,because of this devotion, and many other things our new pope has said and done, it does seem that he is indeed a Marian pope, and that can only be a very blessed thing!  May Our Lady keep him always sheltered in her Immaculate Heart.

Note:  Here is a link to the novena prayers:  http://www.theholyrosary.org/maryundoerknots

Mary Untier of Knots – Pope Francis’ Favorite Marian Image ~ Dr. Taylor Marshall | Canterbury Tales.

Our tainted nature’s solitary boast….

immaculate_conception1

THE VIRGIN

Mother! whose virgin bosom was uncrost
With the least shade of thought to sin allied.
Woman! above all women glorified,
Our tainted nature’s solitary boast;
Purer than foam on central ocean tost;
Brighter than eastern skies at daybreak strewn
With fancied roses, than the unblemished moon
Before her wane begins on heaven’s blue coast;
Thy image falls to earth. Yet some, I ween,
Not unforgiven the suppliant knee might bend,
As to a visible Power, in which did blend
All that was mixed and reconciled in thee
Of mother’s love with maiden purity,
Of high with low, celestial with terrene!
By William Wordsworth

Latest update on Mary’s Statue in Baton Rouge…August 6

For those who are interested, below is an article printed in the Baton Rouge newspaper, The Advocate on August 6.  It provides the latest information on the alleged miraculous statue of Our Lady of La Vang.  This statue attracted attention after appearing to bleed from the left temple area on July 6, and then to cry a few days later.  The statue has also been observed to change expressions, and to appear to be smiling beautifully at times. 

Since the owners’ welcome visitors, I am publishing their address here which is:  1000 Broadmoor Circle, Baton Rouge, LA.

Below is the story from the Baton Rouge newspaper.

Virgin Mary statue draws visitors to Broadmoor home

by naomi martin

Advocate staff writer

August 06, 2012

Ever since word started spreading July 5 of the bleeding Virgin Mary statue in the front yard of a house on Broadmoor Circle, the once quiet dead-end street has transformed into a bustling scene lined with yellow police tape and cars from all over the country.“The Wisconsin license plate kind of struck me,” said neighbor Greg Miller, 52. “But there have been California, Florida, a lot of other out-of-state plates. It seemed for a while like it might be the No. 1 tourist attraction in town.”The home is owned by Hoa Nguyen, who is from Vietnam and does not speak English.His nephew, Manh Bui, 40, estimates that more than 10,000 people have visited the statue in the last month.The apparitions first appeared July 5, Bui said, when their statue of Mary appeared to be bleeding from her temple. The next day, he said, she appeared to be weeping.Three days later, Mary and Jesus both appeared to be smiling, he said.

At all hours of the day or night, a congregation can be found sitting in rows of chairs beneath tents in front of the Mary and Jesus statue, which is illuminated by flood lights and surrounded by flowers.

Bui said he stands guard all night.

Some neighbors said they have called the police to complain about the traffic and parking problems. Some said they have come home to see unknown cars parked on their lawns.

Police routinely drive by just to check on the situation, said police spokesman Cpl. L’Jean McKneely.

“There haven’t been any problems,” he said. “We just heard a lot of people were going there.”

The heavy traffic doesn’t show any signs of slowing down soon.

The Nguyens are consulting attorneys to see if they can pour concrete on their front lawn and build men’s and women’s bathrooms on the side of their house, Bui said.

But as the Nguyens consider making the scene permanent, neighbors are growing tired of the heavy traffic on their usually calm — and narrow — dead-end street.

“It’s caused major traffic problems for us,” said neighbor Brodrick Hampton. “We almost had a wreck last week coming into the subdivision. We shouldn’t have to negotiate to come home.”

Hampton said he has stopped walking his dog on his street because he had to dodge too many cars. Now he throws around balls in his backyard so the dog can exercise.

“I’m very big on freedom to worship, but this is causing an issue with us being able to live our lives,” Hampton said. “We just want to go back to our normal lives.”

While the neighbors said the Nguyens and their visitors have all been very respectful and friendly, they say the traffic and parking issues are growing inconvenient.

One week the garbage truck couldn’t get through the street, said a neighbor, Preston Olinde, 56.

He said living down the from the pilgrimage site is “hectic.”

“It’s gotten better since the beginning, but sometimes they block traffic,” he said.

Some neighbors questioned why the statue couldn’t be moved to a church, which would be better suited to handle the traffic.

Bui acknowledged there is “a lot of cars,” and that the homeowners are concerned about the neighbors’ gripes.

But, he said, the homeowners have no intention of closing down the site.

“It’s gonna keep going,” Bui said. “It’s getting stronger and stronger every day. It’s gonna be going on for a long time because people are being healed so they keep coming back and bringing their families.”

Feuding families have said they were able to reconcile after praying to the statue, Bui said.

One Dallas woman who was preparing for surgery told Bui she received a call from her doctor notifying her she was healthy and didn’t need surgery anymore, Bui said.

Donna Couvillion of Baton Rouge said she has visited the statue almost every night over the last month.

“We come here to get our graces and blessings,” she said.

Update…Statue of Mary in Louisiana

[youtube.com/watch?v=qH6EtS1fkPI]

(the video above is somewhat outdated, as it does not show the extension of the tarp/ rain shielding installed by the owners, or the additional lighting and chairs. There are many more bouquets of flowers as well.  Also, there are now gatherings of 50 or more people at times during the evening.)

_____________________________________________

I recently wrote about a statue of Our Lady which has drawn considerable interest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and surrounding areas. I promised to post updates for those who are following the story.

First I would like to put to rest rumors that the statue has “cried blood” or had blood coming from its mouth, nose, etc.  This is not true.  I have summarized below the facts of what has transpired thus far.

The statue of Our Lady of La Vang has graced the front lawn of the owners for about seven years. On Thursday, July 5, one of the owners noticed that blood was seeping from the left side of the statue’s head and dripping down past her eye onto her cheek. Friends and neighbors quickly gathered to pray, and stayed throughout the night. Since that time, the statue does not appear to have continued to bleed, but has wept on two or more occasions. My sister was present during one of these, and observed the flow of water down Mary’s face. (This can be observed in one of the pictures below.)

What have been of great interest are the pictures snapped by visitors with iPhones which have produced some unexpected views of the statue.

There are photos in which what appears to be a tiny fetus can be seen on Mary’s left cheek. In another picture (see below) the tiny arm and hand of a child can be seen near the origin of the flow of blood. This particular statue happens to be located about a half mile from the only abortion clinic in Baton Rouge.

A pair of very interesting photos (below) exhibit the appearance of the statue when bleeding/crying in contrast to its normal appearance. I have personally visited the statue on four different days. The first time was July 8, when the flow of blood was still very visible. There were only a handful of other people present, and I was able to observe the statue up close for several minutes. I recall the sweetness of Mary’s face and that of the Christ Child. But, I do not remember that either of them were truly smiling.

On subsequent visits, I have found the faces of Mary and little Jesus to each possess the most lovely smiles. The eyes of Mary in this statue are particularly arresting, so full of tenderness and sweetness.

People have been visiting almost non-stop throughout the day until late in the evening. The owners, who live in a modest home on a side street, welcome everyone, and have put out chairs and added extra lighting as well as some protection from the frequent rain for those who stay to pray. The rosary is prayed several times daily both in English, and in Vietnamese.

The owners have also given out hundreds of bottles of blessed water, which are placed at the base of the statue. Visitors are free to take a bottle with them. The statue itself is now surrounded with dozens of bouquets of flowers brought by those who come to pray.

People are eager to share their interesting photos, and the owners copy the most significant ones and tape them up near the garage for viewing.

Meanwhile, the front lawn has been trampled by the hundreds of people who have come over the past 11 days. The owners brought in some sand to cover the now muddy grass. They refuse offers of money to help with these and other expenses such as the bottled water and lights etc.

There is always an atmosphere of respect, peace, prayerfulness and sharing on the premises. People quietly exchange iPhone pictures and tell stories about how they came to know of the statue. They browse through the larger photos that are posted near the garage.
Directly in front of the statue, people sit quietly, or pray the rosary.

There has been no public report yet on the results of the blood test taken last week. The pastor of the local parish is out-of-town on vacation this month, and so far, there has been no word from the local bishop. People continue to come…..

O Queen and Beauty of Carmel….

O Queen and Beauty of Carmel,
I rejoice to be
in Your motherly care.
No harm shall come to me
beneath Your watchful eye.

I love Your tender smile,
and the assurance that
my tiny hand is held by Yours
O Mary, Fragrance
of Holiness!

Purity beyond comprehension,
I delight to be
Your child.
O Full of Grace,
draw me close to You.

And let your motherly touch
leave traces
of Your Holiness
lingering upon me
that I may resemble You.

I thank God that
You are my Mother,
For time and eternity
O lovely and incomparable
Virgin of Carmel.

Tuesday adoration….Mary is matchless

Mary was on my mind yesterday during adoration, no doubt because I was reading 33 Days to Morning Glory, and also because of the recent events related in my last post.

But it’s more than that. I’ve mentioned before that I listen to Catholic radio a lot, and during the call-in shows, Mary is often a topic of conversation. So many people simply do not grasp her sublime place in God’s Plan for our salvation, or worse yet, they think she was simply a convenient vehicle used by God to bring the Savior into the world. After Jesus was born, these individuals assume that Mary and Joseph led a normal married life and that Mary simply faded into oblivion.

What an insult to God! First to imagine that His Son would be conceived by an ordinary woman who had not been perfectly prepared by Him. Secondly, to ascribe to God such a capricious attitude of using one of His creatures for so exalted a purpose and then to essentially forget about her….to credit nothing to her for the sacrifice of her very own Son.

Scripture and the Church present us with such a very different picture of Mary’s life and Mary’s purpose.

The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you….

What a great Mystery!  Mary is asked, and consents to be the Mother of Jesus.

And…in a glorious silence containing all the Power of Heaven and earth, the Holy Spirit overshadows her and enters into her virginal womb to create the Body and Soul of the God-Man, that Human Nature which would be hypostatically united to the Divine Nature and Person of the Son of God.

The Incarnation is God’s greatest Work, and It took place within Mary, hidden in silence, unheralded save by Gabriel’s few words to the chosen maiden.

How holy Mary was from the first moment of her Immaculate Conception… Full of Grace, as Gabriel addressed her. But what new and unique Graces surely flooded her soul in that wondrous Instant when she became the Mother of God, and truly the Spouse of the Holy Spirit!

Can anyone really dare to think that all of this happened in an off-handed, matter of fact way? That God overshadowed Mary, and then departed, bestowing no splendor of Grace, no bond between Himself and this Woman carrying the very Son of God, now incarnate?

Mary is matchless, and we can never comprehend her holiness and her unique relationship to God.  She is not Divine. God is infinitely above all of His creatures. But Mary has an exalted place which cannot be approached by even the greatest of the Saints.

She is the God-Bearer. And once you say that, what is left to say about her greatness? All that she is and all that she has was bestowed upon her because of the ineffable and most pure intimacy she experienced with the Most Holy Trinity.

Who can plumb the mysteries which passed between God and Mary in that Moment which changed everything? The Son became her Child…uniting her flesh to His Being in an act of humility and Gift for which the angels surely were rendered speechless to praise.

Yes, God defeated Satan through a humble maiden, forever raised to the heights of holiness because of her relationship with God.

If we become holy through Baptism, when The Trinity comes to indwell us, then what is there to say of Mary’s holiness, her relationship to God, her exaltation?

O Mary, Daughter of the Most High, Mother of the Eternal Word, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, pray for us!