But Mary was not only favored by a negative privilege, by being preserved from original sin in its evil and in its consequences. She was besides enriched by positive graces, innumerable and wonderful, which embellish her always and bring her according to the expression of S. Thomas: ‘to the borders of the Divinity.’ Maria sua maternitate fines Divinitatis propinquius attigit.
The Ark of old, built by Moses, was intended to bear within it only the manna of the wilderness and the tables of the law. Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant, was to bear and give to us the Lawgiver of the world of souls, and ‘the living Bread which came down from Heaven.’
God then could not be satisfied with removing from her the slightest suggestion of blemish, with protecting her against the most imperceptible imperfection, with preserving her, in a word, from all that belittles the soul and lessens the glory of its divine beauty. It was also necessary that Mary should be, by the cumulative gifts of God and by her own acts of will, rich, beautiful, holy, beyond compare. And so God poured out upon her treasures of knowledge and grace. Thus her intelligence was enlightened, her will established, until all her soul completely overflowed.
“Hence,’ writes Pius IX, ‘those thought expressed as unanimously as eloquently by the Fathers, that the Most Glorious Virgin, she to whom He that is mighty had done great things, was granted such an abundance of all celestial gifts, such a fullness of grace, such a glory of sanctity, that she became the ineffable miracle of God, or rather the masterpiece of all miracles; that she was worthy to be the Mother of God, that she came as near to God as is permitted to created nature, and that she is therefore above all praise, whether of angels or of men.’ (Bull Ineffabilis)
(To be continued.)