(Taken from the excellent, ‘Christ the Life of the Soul’ by Bl. Dom Columba Marmion, and ‘The Glories of Mary’ by St. Alphonsus, respectively)
St. Gertrude recounts that, hearing one day in the singing of the Divine Office these words in the Gospel: “First-born Son of the Virgin Mary” referring to Christ, she said to herself: “The title ‘Only Son’ would seem to fit Jesus much better than the title ‘first-born.’” While she was dwelling on this thought, the Virgin Mary appeared to her. “No”, she said to the great nun, “it is not at all ‘Only Son,’ it is ‘first-born Son’ which fits best; for, after Jesus, my very dear Son- or, more exactly, in Him and through Him- I have become mother of all of you in the womb of my charity, and you have become my children, the brethren of Jesus.”
St. Alphonsus: “… And this explains what is said of Mary in the holy Canticles: “Thy belly is as a heap of wheat, set about with lilies.”** St. Ambrose explains this and says: Although in the pure womb of Mary there was only one grain of wheat, which was Jesus Christ, yet it is called a heap of grain, because in that one grain were contained all the elect, of whom Mary was to be the mother. Hence, William the Abbot wrote: Mary, in bringing forth Jesus, who is our Saviour and our life, brought forth all of us to life and salvation.
“My mother Mary, on account of her compassion and charity, was made mother of all in heaven and on earth.”
– Jesus to St. Bridget
** Passages such as these are often incomprehensible to most, including myself. ‘The Glories of Mary’ is a good introduction to some of the references to Mary in Scripture, as understood by the Church Fathers, the Saints etc.
How Great Is Mary’s Love For Her Children?
+ St. John of God, at death, expected a visit from Mary, to whom he was greatly
devoted; but finding she did not come, he was afflicted, and perhaps complained
a little. But at length the holy mother appeared to him, and as if reproaching
him for his want of confidence, said to him these tender words, which should
encourage all the servants of Mary:
“John, it is not in my heart, at this hour, to desert my children.”
+ The venerable Alphonso Rodriguez, of the Society of Jesus, was once standing before an image of Mary; and there burning with love for the most holy Virgin, broke forth into these words: “My most amiable mother, I know that thou lovest me, but thou dost not love me so much as I love thee.” Then Mary, as if wounded in her love, spoke to him from that image and said:
“What dost thou say, what dost thou say, oh Alphonso? Oh, how much greater is the love I bear thee than the love thou bearest me! Know that the distance from heaven to earth is not so great as from my love to thine.”
+ Dear Blessed Mother, please reveal your maternal love to those who do not know your sweetness, your gentleness, your love, and the power of your intercession! +