Who is this happy Virgin, who receives a message from heaven? It is a simple maiden, poor, unknown, retired , hidden in a little corner of the world. Although despised and forgotten by men, she was the treasure of earth; and alone among all creatures, and above all, she was especially regarded, loved and chosen by the Most Holy Trinity, as she herself proclaims: "He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid" (Luke I, 48). To this Virgin the angel Gabriel was sent by God ; it was not to the courts of monarchs, nor to the wise of earth, but to the humble Mary, that the heavenly am bassador Gabriel came to reveal the highest of the mysteries. The word which he brings, is the announcement of that ineffable and eternal Word, of that divine Word, Jesus, the Angel of the great Council, by whom all things were made, and who was to take flesh from her; he comes to obtain her consent to associate her with God in the accomplishment of His greatest masterpiece. O precious moment, which reveals to Mary the first tidings of the salvation of the world! A moment, at the remembrance of which our admiration and gratitude can only repeat the worthy thanksgivings of Jesus to His Father: I give Thee thanks, Father, that Thou hast hidden Thy secrets from the wise of the world ; "and hast revealed them to the little ones" (Mat. XI, 25). Therefore, O holy Mary, all nations shall call thee blessed (Luke I, 48).
II. POINT. "Behold the handmaid of the Lord" (Luke I, 38).
As soon as these words were pronounced, the Holy Ghost formed from the most pure blood of Mary a very per fect body, to which He united a soul, created from nothing, and the Divine Word appropriated to Himself this body and this soul, so that the Divine nature united itself to the human nature, in the person of the Word, and the Son of God became the Son of man, according to the prediction of the angel to Mary: "The Holy that shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of the Most High" (Luke I, 35). Jesus, from this first mo ment, was perfect God and perfect Man, worthy of the adoration and highest veneration of angels and of men. Let all creatures, instructed by the revelation of the Heavenly Father made to St. Peter, render to Him homage, and exclaim: Jesus, Son of Mary, "Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God" (Mat. XVI, 16), "who art come into this world" (John XI, 27); let us all proclaim with the firm faith of the Samaritans, that He is truly the Saviour (John IV, 42), and let us say to Him, in the earnest expression of our heart, like St. Thomas: Thou art "my Lord and my God" (John XX, 28), as adorable and as amiable in Thy abasement as in Thy ineffable greatness.
III. POINT. The union of the divine Word with our flesh is not merely accidental, but substantial; and in an ineffable manner it is the source, the cause, the model of all the unions of grace and glory, which we have and shall have with God, in time and in eternity. It is their source, because they all proceed from it; their cause, because all are merited and given to us by it. "No one cometh to the Father but by Me," says our Lord (John XIV, 6). In fact, Jesus is our Mediator, who reconciles us with His Father (1 Tim. II, 5) ; He is "full of grace and truth", and "we all receive of His fulness" (John I, 16). The Man-God is finally our model, because we are all called to be conformable to Him, as He Himself, says the apostle, is the first image of God (Colos. 1, 15) ; He is our Model, the Model that we must study and imitate, and by whom we can merit to become the adopted children of the heavenly Father, as He is Himself His real and only Son. Jesus, may I behold Thee, may I adore Thee, may I love Thee, as the cause and first source of my salvation, as the Model whom I wish to imitate, and to whom I desire to unite myself inseparably, as the twig is united to its stem, and the ray to the sun.
BY A MONK OF SEPT-FONTS. TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH BY THE RELIGIOUS OF THE VISITATION, OF WILMINGTON, DEL.
REVISED AND EDITED BY REV. FERREOL GIRARDEY, C. SS. R.
"Thy law is my meditation." (Ps. cxviii, 77.)