Sancta Dei Genitrix

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Her have I loved, and have sought her out from my youth.[1] And I preferred her before kingdoms and thrones and esteemed riches nothing in comparison of her. Neither did I compare unto her any precious stone; for all gold in comparison of her is as a little sand, and silver in respect to her shall be counted as clay. I loved her above health and beauty, and chose to have her instead of light.[2]

Fear not and be not dismayed, for the Lord thy God will be with thee, and will not leave thee, nor forsake thee.[3]

I was in the days of my youth when God was secretly in my tabernacle, when the Almighty was with me,[4] in the holy dwelling place I ministered before Him.[5]

“I POSSESSED my heart with her from the beginning.” Mother of God! What a title for a creature! Do we meditate on it sufficiently, and on all that it implies of the wondrous love and humility of our Creator? That He, the all-powerful God, should have chosen to become a babe, and to have a mother like the rest of mankind, is a mystery that seems to grow in depth the more we ponder on it. And Mary herself would be more astonished and awe-struck by it than any of us. For she, better than any, grasped who He was who had chosen her as mother and made Himself her Son. St Basil of Seleucia, treating of this point, says: “As Mary looked at the divine Infant, thus, methinks, swayed by fears and longings, she discoursed alone to herself: What fitting name, O Child, shall I find for Thee? Shall I call Thee Man? But Thy conception is divine. God? But Thou has taken human flesh. What then am I to do with Thee? Shall I nourish Thee with milk, or shall I only meditate on Thee as God? Shall I tend Thee as mother, or adore Thee as handmaid? Shall I embrace Thee as Son, or pray to Thee as God? Shall I give Thee milk, or offer Thee incense? Whatever is this ineffable and most mighty marvel?...  Thou art present whole to those on earth, yet in no way art Thou absent from those in heaven… Divine is Thy condescension… I praise and extol Thy love for men.” We can imagine her at times when the realisation of the divinity of Him, whom she was handling as her babe, came upon her with stronger force than usual, placing Him on the ground in awe and falling on her knees, bending low in adoration before Him, scarce venturing to touch or minister to Him as her child. Then would He gaze at her wistfully as though to say: “Will you not take Me up again in your arms? I am your own babe and need your loving care. Place me as a seal upon your arms, as a seal upon your heart.” And unable to resist His pleading look, Mary would take Him up and let Him nestle His infant head on her bosom, while her heart would throb with joy and exultation at being so privileged. When kneeling in adoration she would feel the presence of the Holy Spirit who overshadowed her at the moment of the Incarnation, and of the eternal Father, with whom, as the angel assured her, she had found grace; and They would likewise encourage her, telling her the divine Infant belonged to her, that They had trusted Him to her. Is it not wonderful to think that They trust Him to us, too, in Holy Communion? Do we reverence Him as we should, and as Mary His sinless Mother did? In her humility she perhaps thought that only the high priest should handle Him, the Holy of Holies. Was His life in the Blessed Sacrament then revealed to her, and did she see that in the future not only the high priest, but every priest, no matter of what nation, of what degree of virtue, would, to the end of time, have the right to touch and handle Him as they might like? If so, how she must have pondered over the wondrous mystery, and prayed for those so privileged. Mother of God, pray for us, that we may value as we should and reverence as we ought the priceless treasure that is ours in the tabernacle. Let us put Him as a seal on our hearts, that like thine they may burn with love and gratitude, and as a seal on our arms that they may be strengthened to do strong and might deeds of valour in His service.

Holy Mother of God, pray for us.


[1] Wisd. 8:2.

[2] Ibid. 7:8-10.

[3] 1 Paral. 27:20.

[4] Job 29:4-5.

[5] Ecclus 24:14.