If we were to collect all the passages of the holy writer referring to this subject, we should be able to put together a treatise of humility towards Mary. ‘It is more perfect because it is more humble not to approach God of ourselves without taking a mediator. The very foundation of our nature is so corrupted that if we lean on our own works, industry and preparation, in order to reach God and to please Him, it is certain that out justices will be defiled, or be of little weight before God, to engage Him to unite Himself to us and to hear us. He has seen our unworthiness and incapacity. He has had pity upon us, and in order to give us access to His mercies, He has provided us with powerful intercessors with His greatness, insomuch that to neglect these mediators and to draw near to His holiness directly and without any recommendation, is to fail in humility, and to fail in respect towards God, so “high and holy.” If then this consecration is lived, ‘it is a practice of great humility which God loves above all the other virtues. A proud soul takes from God’s glory; a humble soul adds to it. God resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble.’ If we humble ourselves, believing ourselves unworthy to approach Him, He comes down, condescends to come to us, takes His pleasure in us and raises us in spite of ourselves, but in the contrary case, if we approach God boldly without a mediator, He departs from us and we cannot reach Him.’
Zacchaeus had to come down from his tree to receive Our Lord in his house. Similarly let us come down, let us humble ourselves, that we may be healed and received grace and life in us.
‘Dost thou wish to be great,’ says S. Augustine, ‘begin with what is very small. Thou wouldst erect a very high building. Think first of the foundation, humility, and the more thou dreamiest of the height of the building, the deeper wilt thou make the foundation. Therefore, the building is lowered before it is raised, and then raised after it has been lowered.’
‘To this humility this practice of devotion invites us, since it teaches us never to approach Our Lord by ourselves, gentle and merciful though He be, but always to use the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, whether to appear before God or to speak to Him, or to approach Him or to offer Him anything, or to unite and consecrate ourselves to Him.’
(To be continued.)