Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Fifth Day Within the Octave of the Assumption

“It is a great thing for a saint to have as much grace as would suffice for many; but if he had sufficient for all men in the world, that would be fullness of measure: and this is the case with Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin.” So speaks the prince of theologians with regard to her whom Suarez salutes as the “universal cause, intimately united to the Lord her Son.”

A higher authority than that of the School has confirmed this teaching of the Angelic Doctor; in his encyclical Magne Dei Matris, the Sovereign Pontiff Leo XIII has deigned to make his own the words we have just quoted; and he adds: “When therefore we hail Mary as full of grace, we awaken the recollection of her sublime dignity and of the redemption of the human race, wrought by God through her intermediary; moreover we call to mind the divine and eternal relationship, whereby she is associated to Christ in his joys and his sorrows, his humiliations and his triumphs, in ruling and aiding men with a view to their eternal welfare.”

St. Bernardine of Sienna compares our Lady to the fountain mentioned in Genesis, which sprang from the earth and watered its whole surface. And as it is well to know the different expressions of the different schools, we may add, that the illustrious representative of the Seraphic Order recognizes in Mary what he calls “a sort of jurisdiction or authority over every temporal procession of the Holy Ghost,” because, he continues, “she is the Mother of him from whom the Holy Ghost proceeds; and therefore all the gifts, graces, and virtues of this Holy Spirit are administered by her hands, distributed to whom she wills, when she wills, as she wills, and as much as she wills.”

We must not, however, conclude from these words that the Blessed Virgin has a right, properly so called, over the Holy Ghost or his gifts. Nor may we ever consider our Lady to be in any way a principle of the Holy Ghost, any more than she is of the Word himself as God. The Mother of God is great enough not to need any exaggeration of her titles. All that she has, she has, it is true, from her Son by whom she is the first redeemed. But in the historical order of the accomplishment of our salvation, the divine predilection, whereby she was chosen to be Mother of the Savior, made her to be “the source of the source of life,” according to the expression of St. Peter Damian. Moreover, being Bride as perfectly as she was Mother, and united, in the fullness of all her powers of nature and of grace, to all the prayers, to all the sufferings, to the whole oblation of the Son of Man, as his truly universal cooperatrix in the time of his sorrow: what wonder that she should in the days of his glory have a Bride’s full share in the dispensation of the goods acquired in common, though differently, by the new Adam and the new Eve? Even if Jesus were not bound in justice to give it her, who would expect such a Son to act otherwise?

Bossuet, who cannot be suspected of being carried away, and whom we therefore quote by preference, did not consider his necessary controversies with heresy an excuse for not following the doctrine of the saints. “God,” says he, “having once willed to give us Jesus Christ by the holy Virgin, the gifts of God are without repentance, and this order remains unchanged. It is and ever will be true, that having received by her charity the universal principle of grace, we also receive through her mediation its various applications in all the different states whereof the Christian life is made up. Her maternal love having contributed so much to our salvation in the mystery of the Incarnation, which is the universal principle of grace, she will eternally contribute to it in all the other operations which are but dependent on the first.

“Theology recognizes three principal operations of the grace of Jesus Christ: God calls us, justifies us, gives us perseverance. Vocation is the first step; justification is our progress; perseverance ends the voyage, and gives us in our true country glory and rest, which are not to be found on earth. Mary’s charity takes part in these three works. Mary is the Mother of the called, of the justified, and of the persevering; her fruitful charity is an universal instrument of the operations of grace.”

This noble language is an authentic testimony to the tradition of the holy Church of Gaul, which by its Irenæus, its Bernard, its Anselm, and so many others, made France the kingdom of Mary. May the present teachers put to profit what they have inherited from their great predecessors, and continue to sound the inexhaustible depths of mystery in Mary; so that one day they may deserve to hear from her lips, that word of Eternal Wisdom: They that explain me shall have life everlasting.

We borrow from the ancient processional of our English St. Editha the beautiful Responsory Quæ est ista; after which we will give a series of other graceful Responsories written in meter, which are to be found in the Antiphoner of Sens, 1552.


℟. Quæ est ista quæ penetravit cœlos? ad cujus transitum Salvator advenit, et induxiteam in thalamo regni sui, ubi cantantur organa hymnorum: * Quæ ab Angelis ad laudem Regis æterni sine fine resonant semper.

℟. Who is this that hath penetrated the heavens? At whose passage the Savior came to meet her, and introduced her into his Royal Chamber, where music and hymns resound: * Which the Angels sing unceasingly, for ever praising the Eternal King.

℣. O Virgo ineffabiliter veneranda, cui Michael Archangelus, et omnis militia Angelorum deferunt honorem, quam vident exaltatam super cœlos cœlorum. * Quæ ab Angelis.

℣ O Virgin unspeakably venerable, to whom Michael the Archangel and all the angelic hosts pay honor, whom they behold exalted above the heaven of heavens. * Which the Angels.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. * Quæ ab Angelis.

Glory be to the Father, etc. * Which the Angels.

℟. Sanctas primitias offert Genitus Genitori: * Florem virgineum niveo candore decorum.

℟ Holy first fruits does the Son offer to his Father. * The virginal flower lovely in its snowy whiteness.

℣ Non calor hunc coxit, nec frigus noctis adussit. * Florem.

℣ No heat has scorched it, nor night-cold withered it. * The virginal flower.

℣. Regni cœlestis, per fructum virginitatis, * Damna reformantur vetitum contracta per esum.

℣ The sacred hierarchy rejoices that its diminished number is restored. * The loss incurred.

℟ Virginitas cœlum post lapsum prima recepit: * Sed prius in Genito, post in Genitrice beata.

℟ After the fall virginity is the first to recover heaven. * First of all in the son, then in his Blessed Mother.

℣ Cœlicus ordo sacram reveretur viginitatem. * sed prius.

℣ The heavenly ranks revere holy virginity. * First of all.

℟ Porta Sion clausi portam penetrat paradisi: * Prima parens toti quam secum clauseret orbi.

℟ The gate of Sion enters the gate of closed Paradise. * Which our first mother had closed to herself and the whole world.

℣ Intactæ matri reseratur janua cœli. * Prima.

℣ To the spotless Mother the gate of heaven is opened. * Which our first.

℟ Unam quam petiit Virgo benedicta recepit: * Ut facie Domini sine tempore perfrueretur.

℟ The Blessed Virgin received the one thing she requested. * To enjoy the face of the Lord for all eternity.

℣ Divinum munus votum prævenit et auxit. * Ut facie.

℣ The divine bounty both prevented and surpassed her desire. * To enjoy.

℟ Quindenis gradibus dum scandit ad atria vitæ: * Angelicum meruit Virgo transcendere culmen.

℟ While she mounts the fifteen steps to the palace of life. * The Virgin deserved to rise above the Angelic heights.

℣ Post Genitum Genitrix meruit præcellere cunctis. * Angelicum.

℣ Next to her Son the Mother merited to surpass all others. * The Virgin.

℟ Ecclesiæ Sponsum Virgo genuit speciosum: * Qui Deus est et homo persona junctus in una.

℟ The Virgin brought forth the beautiful Spouse of the Church. * Who is both God and Man united in one Person.

℣ Sic secum Matrem cœlesti sede locavit. * Qui Deus.

℣ Thus he placed his Mother with him on his heavenly throne. * Who is.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. * Qui Deus.

Glory be to the Father, &c. * Who is.

The following Hymn was composed by St. Peter Damian:


Aurora velut fulgida,
Ad cœli meat culmina,
Ut sol Maria splendida,
Tamquam luna pulcherrima.

As a brilliant auroa Mary rises to the heights of heaven, glittering as the sun, most beautiful like the moon.

Regina mundi hodie
Thronum conscendit gloriæ,
Illum enixa filium
Qui est ante Luciferum.

Today the Queen of the world ascends to her throne of glory, the Mother of that Son who was begotten before the Day-Star.

Assumpta super Angelos,
Excedit et Archangelos;
Cuncta Sanctorum merita
Transcendit una femina.

She is raised above the Angels and passes beyond the Archangels; this one woman surpasses all the merits of the Saints.

Quem foverat in gremio,
Locarat in præsepio:
Nunc Regem super omnia
Patris videt in gloria.

Him, whom she had cherished in her bosom, she placed in a manger; now she beholds him King over all in the glory of his Father.

Pro nobis, Virgo virginum,
Tuum deposce Filium:
Per quam nostra susceperat
Ut sua nobis præbeat.

O Virgin of virgins, implore for us thy Son: by thee he received of ours, through thee may he give us of his own.

Sit tibi laus, Altissime,
Qui natus es ex Virgine:
Sit honor ineffabili
Patri, sanctoque Flamini.

To thee, O Most High, be praise who wast born of the Virgin: be honor to thy ineffable Father and to the Holy Spirit.




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