The Dowry of Mary Immaculate.
Mary received on the day of her Immaculate Conception a magnificent endowment, proportioned to the sublime duties and incomparable dignity of Mother of God. She received then that treasure of graces which was to make of her the coredemptrix of the human race, which was to associate her to the work of our salvation.
I doubt not that the grace of her Immaculate Conception transcends all her other graces, even that of her divine maternity. Though less in dignity, it is more important before God and for Mary; it is, moreover, the foundation and the source of all the dignities, of all the privileges afterward accorded her as its consequence.
It would have been of small account to be the Mother of God and, at the same time, a sinner. What constitutes greatness before God, is not the dignity that He confers, but the sanctity and purity with which it is borne. Throw a royal mantle around a mendicant, and he still remains a beggar. The Immaculate Conception having made the purity and sanctity of Mary, becomes the greatest of her graces. From the first instant of her creation, Mary was more pleasing to God than all other creatures. One act of love from that frail creature still hidden in the maternal womb, was more meritorious, gave more glory to God, than the united love of all the saints and angels. Interest is in proportion to capital. Mary possessed an incommensurable fund of grace, which produced a hundred-fold.
The Immaculate Conception is the starting point of all Mary’s virtues. It is her supreme virtue in this sense, that she always labored to render fruitful the fund of graces that she then received. We suppose on principal that she was never unfaithful to the slightest inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and that to the fullest extent she turned to profit all the graces granted her. No saint ever arrives at that degree. The saints always remain below their graces. The angel saluted Mary: "Full of grace." "The Lord is with thee." With thee always and in all things. There is in thee no void that grace has not filled. Ah! Mary was faithful to all her obligations, faith ful to all the desires of the Lord! Never did she omit the least good to be done. She received all the rays of God s sanctity. She absorbed them, allowing not one to be lost.
This fidelity to her graces, made Mary constantly advance in all virtues. She watched over them, as if she feared to lose them. What a lesson for us! What ever our graces, let us guard them carefully. Mary, the impeccable one, not by nature, but in consequence of her union with God Mary whom temptation never approached, watched over herself and labored incessantly at the work of her sanctification. She was always advancing in holiness. She retired to the Temple at the age of three, in order to shun the scandals of the world. She trembled before an angel, a pure spirit that spoke only of God. Mary never thought that she had done enough. Her later life was a true martyrdom without consolation. She embroidered the robe of her Immaculate Conception, she enriched and ornamented it with the most beautiful flowers of virtue. But it was always that first grace, that of her Immaculate Conception, which she developed and embellished by her virtues and sacrifices.
The Immaculate Conception is, also, the measure of her power and glory. We can gain nothing from God but by purity, by holiness. God does great things only by pure souls. He listens only to the prayer of the innocent or the contrite. Mary’s purity was never tarnished by the least stain. What, then, must be her influence! They say that a mother is all-powerful over the heart of her son. But if she herself is dishonored, what becomes of her influence? But to a pure mother, what can be refused? Solomon thus addressed his mother after she had done penance : "I can refuse you nothing." What, then, can Mary’s Son refuse her? All graces pass through her hands. She is their channel. Jesus has clothed her with His almighty power in the order of salvation.
And what of Mary’s glory? Her purity won for her the privilege of becoming the Mother of the King, and today she is seated on a throne at the right of her Son. Apart from adoration, she receives all honor and all homage. She is so beautiful, so glorious that she alone of herself might constitute a paradise!
Thus all Mary s graces and virtues, all her power and glory, sprang from her Immaculate Conception. They are, as it were, its magnificent consequence. Baptism purifies us, renders us stainless, immaculate. As soon as the infant receives it, it becomes the temple of God, a paradise. With what vigilance ought we to guard baptismal purity! If we have lost it, we can regain it by penance. We must be pure. I do not speak merely of the purity of the senses. We must observe great purity in our will, in our intentions, in all our actions. To possess purity of life in this all consists. Without purity we can never please the Eucharistic God, for He is all purity. Only pure hearts see Him, only pure hearts pierce the veils that hide Him. He manifests Himself only to the pure heart, for purity is love, the delicacy of friendship which fears to displease. The aim of our God in coming into our soul is, to purify us more and more. In purifying us, He sanctifies us, He unites us more intimately to Himself, and when we are sufficiently pure, He will take us to Himself in Heaven and crown us.
Practice: To ask through Mary in all our Communions the purity of a perfect life.
Aspiration: We sing thy praises, Mary, thou glorious City of the Eucharistic God!