The Ardent Charity of Our Blessed Mother
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan
Our Blessed Mother was outstanding in the practice of all the virtues. Concerning charity, Our Lady achieved, with the grace of God, new heights that had never been reached before and will never be attained by any other human person.
From the moment of Her Immaculate Conception, Mary of Nazareth had the supernatural virtue of charity, which is the last and the greatest of the three theological virtues mentioned by Saint Paul (see 1 Corinthians 13:13). Writing in The Catholic Encyclopedia (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910), J. F. Sollier defined charity as "a divinely infused habit, inclining the human will to cherish God for His own sake above all things, and man for the sake of God."
The intense love Mary possessed--and still does in Heaven--for Almighty God is indescribable. The ardent charity she had for Her Divine Son, Who is truly God, is also impossible to note adequately. But a certain precision is possible.
In La Madonna (Mesi di Maggio) [Padua: Gregoriana, 1966], Passionist Father Giacomo Pesce observed: "Jesus was for Her, at the same time, Her Son and Her God; the divine love and the maternal love were not two loves in Her, but one love; that love had as its object the same Person, Who was God and man, Her Creator and Her Offspring." (page 286)
Our Lady loved Christ above all considerations. She gave Herself completely to Him. Mary not even once said "no" to anything He required. Rather, She, rooted in supernatural charity, did as Our Lord directed Her with great joy and confidence in Him.
This amazing love for Our Blessed Lord was also manifested in Her sincere charity towards Her neighbor. Mary spent Herself in loving, cheerful and extended service of all those whom She met.
The charity deep within Mary's pure soul is attractive to us. It inspires us to imitate Her in the practice of charity. By pondering carefully the charity of Our Blessed Mother, we can become more convinced in the splendor of that unspeakable love Mary had for God and others as well as in the divine call we have received to be charitable after the pattern provided to us by the Most Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
What was the source of Mary's charity? The Holy Spirit. What is the source of our charity? The same Holy Spirit.
If we are serious about being charitable, then we must avail ourselves often of the strength of the Holy Spirit coming to us through the Seven Sacraments. These Sacraments give to us the grace that they signify. The two Sacraments we receive most regularly, Penance and the Most Holy Eucharist, are storehouses of God's power. To have recourse to Confession and Holy Communion helps to ensure that we will enjoy charity in our souls, thereby allowing us to imitate Our Blessed Lady in Her remarkable charity.
When so much of the world is devoid of true charity and instead settles for a mean counterfeit that is far from genuine love, we must do our part to put charity where it does not exist. Saint Paul declared: "For the love of Christ impels us, once we have come to the conviction that one died for all; therefore, all have died." (2 Corinthians 5:14) Once we are constituted in charity, "we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us." (2 Corinthians 5:20)
Our Blessed Mother: a tower of ardent charity inviting us to love as She does.
Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, tireless disciple of the Mother of God, pray for us.
(Published on page seven of the April 2007 issue of "Missio Immaculatae International." Used with permission.)
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Mary the Mother of God; Theological Virtue of Charity
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