This eternal predestination is the first thing to which the Holy Ghost would draw our attention. He does so by the opening words read in the Epistle of the Mass for the day of her Nativity: “Ab aeterno ordinata sum.” (Prov 8:23)
So, it is true to say that this amiable Infant, who is called Mary, daughter of Joachim and Ann, has been predestined and chosen by God from all eternity, that in her and by her, He may perform most marvelous things suitable to His eternal designs.
This predestination is ennobled and elevated by several very singular advantages; the first is, that it owes its origin to the infinite love of the Eternal Father for His Son, Jesus, His immense love for Mary, His well-beloved Daughter, and His inconceivable charity towards us.
The incomprehensible love of the adorable Father for His Son, Jesus, led Him to make choice from all eternity of a Mother who should be worthy of Him, and to prepare her from the first moment of her infancy for this dignity.
From that moment He began to enrich her with all the virtue and holiness which should fittingly adorn her who was to conceive, bring forth, nourish, and rule the Saint of Saints, Sanctity itself.
The ineffable love of the Father for His Daughter, Mary, is second only to His love for His Son, Jesus. Mary herself declared one day to St. Mechtilde, that He had, on many occasions, turned aside the torrent of His indignation from overwhelming the guilty world for the sake of His incomparable Mary, and that, even before she was born into this world. Deus me super omnem creaturam dilexit in tantum ut amore mei multoties pepercerit mundo, etiam antequam nata essem.” Lib. spec, gratiae, part I., cap. 19.
I repeat that the love He had for Mary caused the Eternal Father to predestinate her in His eternal counsels, to be Mother, nurse, and ruler of the Incarnate Word, the Queen of Angels, the Sovereign of heaven and earth, the Empress of the universe. From the first moment of her Infancy, her soul was inundated with torrents of grace, and with a perfection of holiness bordering on the infinite.
The unparalleled charity of the Father of Mercies towards us, led Him to conceive from all eternity the design of bringing into the world this incomparable Virgin, who should give us our Redeemer, and associate herself with Him in the work of our redemption. She must therefore be endowed, from her earliest years, with the perfections requisite for a predestination so excellent.
Behold here, the origin of this same predestination, raising it infinitely above the predestination of all the elect.
Another very considerable advantage is the perfect resemblance of Mary’s predestination to that of Jesus. For, as the man, Jesus, was chosen by God from all eternity to be the beginning of all His designs; Dominus possedit me in initio viarum suarum” (Prov 8:22). that is, the first in excellence among all the marvelous works of His hands, so also the Holy Ghost speaking by the mouth of the Church, pronounces these same words, “Initium viarum Domini,” in praise of this incomparable Daughter who, after the Man-God, is the most admirable masterpiece fashioned in the eternal counsels of the Divine Majesty: “Aeterni consilii opus,” says St. Augustine. Sermo de Annunt.
As Jesus has been uniquely chosen out of thousands (Song 5:10), “electus ex millibus,” that is, elected from among all the children of Adam, to be hypostatically united to the person of the Word Eternal, so has Mary been uniquely chosen among thousands; that is, among all the daughters of Eve, to be associated in the most high and wonderful manner possible with the Incarnate Word. “Electa ut sol, ille, inquam, soils Condltor,” says St. Bernard. “Thy election and predestination, O Divine Virgin, may be compared to that of the sun, that is, the Eternal Sun, Who created the earthly sun.” “Ille enlm electus est ex millibus vlrorum, tu electa es ex millibus femlnarum. He has been chosen from among men; thou from amongst women.” Jesus is the marvel of His Father’s works, Mary is the masterpiece of Jesus’ miracles. “Ille electus ex omnibus quae sunt, tu electa ex omnibus quae per Ipsum sunt.”
In the words of St. Paul, “Jesus has been predestinated to be the Son of God, in the virtue and power of His Father. Predestlnatus est Films Del In virtute.” (Rom 1:4) For, by an admirable effect of Divine Power, His Sacred Humanity has been formed from the most pure blood of the Virgin and united with the Person of the Divine Word at the moment of the Incarnation. Mary having been chosen in the eternal counsels of the Most Holy Trinity, to be the Mother of the Son of God, was created and formed in the womb of her mother by arare marvel of Divine Omnipotence and, from that moment, united by a most holy and perfect union, in quality of most dear Daughter and well-beloved Spouse with Him Who had chosen her to be His most worthy Mother. She was clothed with power from the Most High, to enable her to form and to bear in her heart Him Who later on should be formed and borne in her blessed womb. Jesus has been predestinated to be the Son of God by the operation of the Holy Ghost in the mystery of the Incarnation, “Secundum spiritum sanctificationis”1 (it is again St. Paul who speaks), and Mary has been animated and possessed by the same Spirit from the first instant of her life. She was replenished with grace and sanctified more and more during the course of her Infancy, in order to dispose her to conceive and bear the Eternal Word.
Jesus has rendered visible the glory and majesty of the Divine Sonship to which He was predestinated, “ex resurrectione mortuorum, ” (Rom 1:4) St. Paul again remarks, by the wonderful miracles He operated, especially raising the dead to life, and Himself rising from the tomb, miracles proper to the power exercised by the Son of God. In like manner the excellence of the predestination of the holy child Mary to the divine maternity manifests itself clearly by the great and wonderful things which God operated in her. It is shown in the wonderful plenitude of grace which filled her soul from the first instant of her life, in the universal joy of the world at her birth, in her admirable name of Mary, and in the many other marvels Divine Wisdom performed in and by her, conformably to her greatness as Mother of God.
The end of the predestination of Jesus is that He may become our Savior, our Mediator with the Father, Himself our Father, our Exemplar, our Treasure, our Glory, our Paradise, our Spirit, our Heart, our Life, our All.
The predestination of Mary has given her to us that she may cooperate with her Son in our redemption, and be our Mother, our rule, our life, our consolation, our hope, “vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra.” She has been given us to be our light in darkness, “lux mundi;” our strength in our weakness, our recourse in our miseries, our refuge in all necessities, and our model in all things. She exercises towards us all these offices in the mystery of her holy childhood, wherein the Church invokes and salutes her as Mother of the Son of God and of all the children of God, “salve sancta parens,” and, consequently, bound equally to both. O Admirable Mother of Jesus, thy Son is ours and thou art ours, in all states, in all mysteries, in all thy life from beginning to end. I am not astonished at thy goodness and mercy towards poor sinners, nor at the words Holy Church sings:
“Peccatores non abhorres,
Sine quibus nunquam fores
Tanto digna Filio.”
“Thou dost not abhor sinners without whom thou should not be Mother of a Son Who is God.”
But I am astonished more than I can say at the horrible ingratitude that thou and thy Divine Son receive from the greater part of mankind. In place of thanking and serving thee, do not they heap upon thee all sorts of injuries and outrages? O may I be possessed entirely by Jesus and Mary, as Jesus and Mary are entirely mine! May my whole being, all my life and whatever pertains to me, be consumed in the honor and service of Jesus and Mary. Would that all minds and hearts in heaven and upon earth were mine, that I might employ them in praising and loving the only Son of Mary and the most worthy Mother of Jesus.
To what has already been said to show the perfect resemblance between the predestination of the Man-God and that of the Mother of God, I shall add, that as His predestination is the primary principle and cause of the predestination of all the true children of God, Mary’s predestination is the second cause. “No one is saved except by thee, O most Holy Virgin,” cries out St. Germain, Patriarch of Constantinople. “Nullus est qui salvus fiat, O sanctissima, nisi per te.”De zona B. Virg., cap. 2. “It is with good reason that all creatures cast their eyes toward thee, O Blessed Virgin,” says St. Bernard, “for in thee, by thee and through thee, the hand of the Almighty has repaired His creation.”
All these considerations must convince us that the predestination of our divine Infant is an exact counterpart to that of Jesus.
But I go further; for I dare assert that the union existing between these two predestinations is so close, that the Son and Mother being one in union of mind, and heart and will, their predestination is inseparable. Jesus recognized Himself in the eternal designs of God as Son of Mary, Mary saw herself therein as Mother of Jesus. So that the one included and was encompassed by the other reciprocally. Thus it comes to pass that the Church applies to the Mother of the Savior, the same words that the Holy Ghost uses regarding the eternal election and predestination of her Son: “Ab aeterno ordinata sum.” (Prov 8:23) “Dominus possedit me in initio (vel initium) viarum suarum” (Prov 8:24).
Do you desire, dear reader, that as the predestination of Jesus and Mary is inseparable, yours also may be joined indissolubly to theirs?
Never separate the Son from the Mother, nor the Mother from the Son, in your devotions. As you adore the Son in all the mysteries of His life, honor also the Mother in her marvelous life. As you honor Jesus in the state of His Divine Childhood, fail not to show special devotion to the sacred Childhood of the Mother of Jesus.