(2) ‘This devotion, when faithfully practiced, produces numberless effects in the soul. Of these the principal one is that it so establishes the life of Mary in a soul here below that to some extent, it is no longer the soul that lives, but Mary lives in it, and, as it were, the soul of Mary becomes our soul.’
We must not take these words literally. God alone by sanctifying grace is the principle of our supernatural life and by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost in our soul. Jesus is the life of our souls through the grace of which He is the Author. Mary is the life of our souls through the grace of which she is the Dispenser. She lives in us through her influence, her inspiration, the direction which she gives to our thoughts and our acts.
She is the life of our souls, as the mechanician is the life of the machine which he works, as the great singer is the life of the chorus which he conducts, as the general is the leader of the troop which he commands. In this sense it is that Mary is the life of our souls, through the hold that she has over them and by which she sets them in motion, directs, controls, commands them, at her will.
‘Therefore,’ says the holy writer, ‘when by an indescribable but real grace Mary becomes Queen of our soul, what wonders does she not accomplish therein? But as it is generally in the interior life of a soul that she works great wonders, she works secretly, unknown even to the soul itself, for the knowledge of what was taking place would destroy the beauty of her works.’ The wonders that Mary works in a soul are those of sanctification. Who shall say how Mary, finding a soul well prepared, docile, responsive, forms it in the divine image: how, taking possession of its thoughts and acts, she guides them to God, transforms them, supernaturalizes them, adorns them, causes them to produce the maximum of merit?
Who shall tell the number and the beauty of the souls fashioned by Mary? Since she formed the ideal Archetype Jesus, the perfect Exemplar of all holiness, how many souls has she not cast in the same mold to give them the same form and the unfailing divine likeness? Who shall number these masterpieces?
All her action is interior: Omnis Gloria Filiae Regis ab intus. She works in the inmost heart. When a soul has been formed by Mary we see only outwardly the blossoming forth of virtues and works. But who shall tell hidden perfection? When a tree, after the blossom, has given its harvest of fruit, we do not entirely realize the power of life hidden and gathered in the roots and the trunk.
Here below we see the flowering of the holy souls formed by Mary, we see some of the fruit they bear. But when in Heaven we shall gaze on the harvest of glory of which they will bear the immortal sheaves, we shall know the power of supernatural vitality which Mary has given them.
Let us then not hinder, by our carelessness and self-love, the work of Mary in us.
(To be continued.)