Mary received on the day of her Immaculate Conception a magnificent endowment, proportioned to the sublime duties and incomparable dignity of Mother of God. She received then that treasure of graces which was to make of her the co-redemptrix of the human race, which was to associate her to the work of our salvation.
What constitutes greatness before God, is not the dignity that He confers, but the sanctity and purity with which it is borne. Throw a royal mantle around a mendicant, and he still remains a beggar. The Immaculate Conception having made the purity and sanctity of Mary, becomes the greatest of her graces. From the first instant of her creation, Mary was more pleasing to God than all other creatures. . . . Interest is in proportion to capital. Mary possessed an incommensurable fund of grace, which produced a hundred-fold.
The Immaculate Conception is the starting point of all Mary’s virtues. It is her supreme virtue in this sense, that she always labored to render fruitful the fund of graces that she then received.
This fidelity to her graces, made Mary constantly advance in all virtues. She watched over them, as if she feared to lose them. What a lesson for us! What ever our graces, let us guard them carefully. Mary, the impeccable one, not by nature, but in consequence of her union with God Mary whom temptation never approached, watched over herself and labored incessantly at the work of her sanctification. She was always advancing in holiness. She retired to the Temple at the age of three, in order to shun the scandals of the world. She trembled before an angel, a pure spirit that spoke only of God. Mary never thought that she had done enough. Her later life was a true martyrdom without consolation. She embroidered the robe of her Immaculate Conception, she enriched and ornamented it with the most beautiful flowers of virtue. But it was always that first grace, that of her Immaculate Conception, which she developed and embellished by her virtues and sacrifices.
We can gain nothing from God but by purity, by holiness. God does great things only by pure souls. He listens only to the prayer of the innocent or the contrite. Mary’s purity was never tarnished by the least stain. What, then, must be her influence! They say that a mother is all-powerful over the heart of her son. . . . Solomon thus addressed his mother after she had done penance: “I can refuse you nothing.” What, then, can Mary’s Son refuse her? All graces pass through her hands. She is their channel. Jesus has clothed her with His almighty power in the order of salvation.
Baptism purifies us, renders us stainless, immaculate. As soon as the infant receives it, it becomes the temple of God, a paradise. With what vigilance ought we to guard baptismal purity! If we have lost it, we can regain it by penance. We must be pure. I do not speak merely of the purity of the senses. We must observe great purity in our will, in our intentions, in all our actions. . . . Without purity we can never please the Eucharistic God, for He is all purity. Only pure hearts see Him, only pure hearts pierce the veils that hide Him. He manifests Himself only to the pure heart, for purity is love, the delicacy of friendship which fears to displease. The aim of our God in coming into our soul is, to purify us more and more. In purifying us, He sanctifies us, He unites us more intimately to Himself, and when we are sufficiently pure, He will take us to Himself in Heaven and crown us.
Text from Father Eymard’s Month of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament (New York: Sentinel Press, 1903).