The Greatness of Mary

In order to comprehend, the greatness to which Mary was elevated, it would be necessary to comprehend the sublime majesty and grandeur of God. It is sufficient, then, only to say, that God made this Virgin his mother, to have it understood that God could not exalt her more than he did exalt her. Rightly did St. Arnold Carnotensis affirm, that God, by making himself the Son of the Virgin, established her in superior rank to all the saints and angels.

Peter of Celles adds: By whatever name you may wish to call her, whether queen of heaven, ruler of the angels, or any other title of honor, you will never succeed in honoring her so much as by calling her only the mother of God. The reason of this is evident, for as the angelic Doctor teaches: The nearer a thing approaches its author, the greater the perfection it receives from him; therefore, Mary being the creature nearest to God, she has partaken more than all others of his grace, perfection, and greatness.

St. Denis the Carthusian asserts, that after the hypostatic union, there is none more intimate than the union of the mother of God with her Son. This, as St. Thomas teaches, is the highest union that a pure creature can have with God. And the blessed Albertus Magnus affirms, that to be mother of God is a dignity next to that of being God; therefore he says, that Mary could not be more united to God than she was, without becoming God.

St. Bonaventure wrote that celebrated sentence, that God could make a greater world, a greater heaven, but could not exalt a creature to greater excellence than by making her his mother. But better than all others has the divine mother herself described the height to which God has elevated her when she said: He that is mighty hath done great things to me. And why has the holy Virgin never made known what were the great favors conferred upon her by God? St. Thomas of Villanova answers, that Mary did not explain them, because they were so great that they could not be explained.

This divine mother is infinitely inferior to God, but immensely superior to all creatures; and if it is impossible to find a Son more noble than Jesus, it is also impossible to find a mother more noble than Mary. This should cause the servants of such a queen not only to rejoice in her greatness, but also to in crease their confidence in her most powerful protection; for, being mother of God, says Father Suarez, she has a certain right to his gifts, to obtain them for those for whom she prays.

Text from St. Alphonsus Liguori, The Glories of Mary (New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1888).

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