Our ancestors, those inimitable builders of churches and cathedrals, had the intuition of this manifestation of the divine thought. They consecrated to Mary a door of the sacred building, they placed her Image beside that of Jesus, Mary became the Mistress of Ceremonies for the kingdom of God, for the Church and for Heaven; or they placed the statue of Mary near the Tabernacle; or they placed the Blessed Sacrament on the altar of the Virgin to mark that Jesus is always found with her, and in her, and that by her means, Jesus continues to give Himself to souls.
But we must speak of Mary as the Treasurer and Dispenser of grace. The saving group of which we have spoken arouses in us two different thoughts, resulting the one from the other and implying each other. Bethlehem and Calvary suggest to us that Mary was associated with Jesus in His Incarnation and His death, when He merited for us.
This is the co-operation of the Blessed Virgin in the acquisition of grace.
The statue of Mary at the Church door, her altar within the building, the placing of the Blessed Sacrament on the altar of the Madonna, show us that Mary is still associated with Jesus when He calls souls to faith by baptism and to the Church by the fulfillment of their duties, when He develops in them the supernatural life by the gifts of grace in prayer and in the sacraments.
This is the co-operation of the Blessed Virgin in the application of the merits of Jesus Christ and the distribution of grace.
Distribution does not necessarily result from acquisition. But is it not meet that the distribution of graces should be confided by God to the same hands which merited them, that is, to the Redeemer and His partner in redemption? The acquisition and the application of merit form in the work of Christ a complete and homogeneous whole, that of the salvation in which everything is found. The co-operation of Mary in both parts of this function is then of necessity and must be universal.
(To be continued.)