impossible to conceive a more exalted office.
The authority of eminent theologians leads us to the consideration of mysteries still moresublime.Let us remember first that in the case of married persons, besides relationship properly so called,which depends on
or community of blood, there is another relationship called
, which makes each of the two persons a member of the family of the other.As Mother of Christ,
Mary is united to Him by the closest consanguinity
.But, on the other hand, between the Word and His own human nature there exists a still closer andmore perfect union,
than that of any marriage. Instead of simply resulting in themoral union of two persons. this union appropriates to the Person of the Word the nature to whichHe is united.
This nature is taken from Mary
; it contains the blood of Mary. Can we not see thewonderful consequence? In exchange for the nature which He takes from her, the Wordcommunicates toHis Mother an affinity with His Person, makes her a relation of His Person—that is, of God Himself.And in this affinity St. Thomas recognizes the reason of the high honour which we pay to Mary underthe name of
5. But the Maternity of Mary is not the result only, or even principally, of the action of Mary herself.
It comes also in the first place from the Divine influence of her Son
, which, descending upon her,makes her His Mother by uniting to His Divinity the human nature offered by the Blessed Virgin. Theperson of the Word is for Mary that of a bridegroom who dwells within her, and gives Himself as aSon to His bride. Mary is doubly united to Jesus Christ, first as Mother, then as Spouse. And theunion of her created person with the uncreated Person of the Word is the most perfect image of thehypostatic union itself, joining the human nature to the Word who takes it upon Himself.6. What sublime
the Divine Maternity confers upon the Blessed Virgin! He whom HisDivinity frees from all subjection really accepts all the duties which are imposed upon men by law ornatural relationship.
He submits to the directions and commands of His Mother
during Hischildhood and His youth, and during the whole of His earthly life He accepts the filial duty ofreverence and love.
II.THE DIVINE MATERNITY AS AFFECTING MARY.
Our admiration of the Blessed Virgin Mother will be greatly increased when we realize that thisincomparable dignity of Mother of God is not a mere adventitious quality bestowed as an accidentaladornment upon a person whose destiny may be more or less sublime; but that it has determinedwhat we shall call
the physical, moral, and supernatural construction of Mary
; that it enters intoMary’s very constitution ; that it is a characteristic of her person.In order that we may grasp this idea more fully, let us consider for a moment the manner in whichother careers are decided upon. God places at the disposal of mankind a visible world, and a supplyof strength, of talents, of natural inclinations and graces. Free, but under the guidance of Providence,men increase and multiply over the earth. From the alliances they form are born other men, endowedwith different qualities of heart and soul, to whom this or that kind of education is given, in orderthat they may acquire the capacity for the employment or condition to which they are called. God,while leaving men to exercise their free will, takes care that these capacities are sufficient for thewants of the Church and of civil society; and prayers and good works may merit for a particularsociety or a particular epoch examples of devotion more numerous, more enlightened, and moresincere.Thus it is that
are freely chosen by men, and yet at the same time providentially given byGod. All are not apostles, nor all prophets, nor all doctors, but
“all these things,”
says St. Paul,
“one andthe same Spirit worketh, dividing to every one according as He will.”
(1 Cor. 12,2).
The more sublime the vocation, the more direct and exclusive is the action of God
, and the lessthe vocation depends upon an arbitrary choice. Our Lord called His twelve Apostles, and said tothem
“You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you.”
(St. John 15,16). Yet it is correct to say that in thecase of the majority of men this or that function has not been assigned to them by any Divine decreeoperating independently of their own free choice. Our Lord chooses His Apostles among those whomHe finds possessed of the requisite dispositions; but the fitness to be chosen was not confined to those