4. It is to practice charity.
‘To give ourselves thus to the Blessed Virgin is to practice charity to our neighbor in the highest possible degree, for it is to give Mary all that we hold most dear so that she may dispose of it as she will in favor of the living and the dead.’
This is a very clear summary and a perfect explanation of charity in Mary. It is a formal succinct statement of our neighbor’s identity and of the best way of helping him, namely, to use all our resources, spiritual and supernatural, material and moral, to help our unfortunate and suffering brethren.
As to the quibbling question of the doctor of the law who doubtless desires to ‘tempt’ the Master: ‘What must I do to obtain eternal life?’ Jesus had proclaimed and drawn up the great fundamental precept of the Christian religion, of the Gospel law: ‘Thou shall love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and with thy whole soul, and with all thy strength and will all thy mind.’ And immediately the Savior had added: ‘And thy neighbor as thyself.’
The lawyer went on: ‘And who is my neighbor?’
It was then that the Master related the touching parable of the Good Samaritan and the man who fell among robbers on the way from Jerusalem to Jericho. The wounded man was the neighbor; the Samaritan was the charitable man. And Jesus concluded by saying: ‘Go and do thou in like manner.’
And this challenge the Master address to us all.
All humanity is our neighbor; the poor, the orphan, the old, the weak, the sick; our neighbor is anyone whom physical or moral misfortune had laid low…whom sin has wounded, whom the devil has despoiled of divine grace.
(To be continued.)