To Jesus Through Mary

Having resolved from all eternity to give us Jesus through Mary, God was not content to make use of her as an instrument. Rather, he wished her to cooperate in this great work by a movement of her will. This is why he sent his angel to her to propose the mystery. The great work of the Incarnation, which held heaven and earth in suspense for so many centuries, could not be achieved until Mary’s consent had been given. It was necessary for mankind that she desire our salvation. She did will it, and it pleased the eternal Father that Mary should contribute to the work of giving the world its Savior.

This truth is well known, but there is a consequence of it that is not sufficiently pondered. Divine Wisdom having once resolved to give us Jesus through the Blessed Virgin, the decree is now unchanging. Her maternal charity having contributed so much to our salvation in the mystery of the Incarnation, the universal source of grace, it will now contribute eternally in all its other operations, which are so many dependent parts of it. To understand this, we must note the three chief operations of the grace of Christ. God calls us, justifies us, and enables us to persevere. Vocation is the first step; justification is the progress we make; perseverance is the journey’s end. In these three stages, the work of Christ is required. Yet we see in the Scriptures that the charity of the Blessed Virgin is joined to them as well.

This article is a meditation from Meditations on Mary.

With respect to vocation, consider what happened to St. John the Baptist while he was in his mother’s womb, and you will see an image of sinners called by grace. John is in darkness: he can neither see nor hear. Jesus comes to him without his knowing it. Jesus approaches; he speaks to his heart; he awakens and draws to himself this sleeping and insensible heart. This is how the Son of God treats the sinners whom he calls, but he shows us in St. John’s case that the Virgin’s charity worked together with him. What made Jesus come to John if not the charity of the Blessed Virgin? If Jesus acted in John’s heart, was it not at the sound of his Mother’s voice? In the case of St. John the Baptist, then, we see Mary as the Mother of those whom Jesus calls.

Let us now consider those whom he justifies: the disciples of the Son of God, at the wedding at Cana in Galilee. They had already been called, but they are not yet justified because they do not believe in their Master. Listen to the Evangelist: “This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him” (John 2:11). Could he have expressed himself in clearer terms about their justification by faith as a consequence of this miracle? Nor could he have better explained the part played by the Blessed Virgin. For who does not know that this great miracle was the effect of her charity and prayers? Was it in vain that the Son of God — who disposes all things so well — wished to perform his first miracle at his mother’s request? Who does not admire her role in this miracle, which was immediately followed by the justification of the apostles? Was this an accident? Does it not rather seem that the Holy Spirit wants us to understand, as St. Augustine noted in his interpretation of this event, that blessed Mary, “being the mother of our head according to the flesh, had to be the mother of his members according to the spirit and cooperate by her charity in their spiritual birth”?

It is not enough that she contributed to their birth; let us also consider how Mary effects the holy perseverance of the children of God. Come then, children of adoption and eternal predestination, children of mercy and grace, faithful companions of the Savior, who persevere with him to the end, run to the Blessed Virgin and range yourselves with the others under the wings of her maternal charity. Christians, here is the Beloved Disciple of our Savior to represent us at Calvary: he is the figure of those who persevere, for he followed Jesus even to the Cross and attached himself so firmly to the mystical wood that he was ready to die with him. He is therefore the figure of those who persevere, and we see Jesus give him to his Mother: “Woman, behold, your son.” Those who understand how full of mysteries are the Scriptures will understand from these three examples that the charity of Mary is a general instrument of the operations of grace.

Let us rejoice in our protector. The night with its terrors has passed; the day approaches, hope comes, and we see a first ray of it shining in the protection of the Blessed Virgin. She was born to bring us aid; it would not be possible to choose a better advocate. Let us pray that she will speak for us to the heart of her Son. Yes, certainly, O Mary, it belongs to you to speak to the heart; you have a faithful correspondent there, that is, filial love, which advances to receive maternal love and which anticipates your desires. Should you fear to be refused when you speak to the Savior? His love intercedes in your favor, for nature itself solicits on your behalf. We readily grant requests when we are already conquered by affection. It is for this reason that Mary always speaks efficaciously, because she speaks to the heart of a Son. Let her then speak boldly on our behalf to the heart of Jesus.

What grace shall she ask for us? What do we desire from her intercession? Do you hesitate? Does not her charity inspire you to desire to be strengthened in charity? It is this that we ask. Without the desire to be charitable, what good does it do for us to call upon the name of Mary? Go on your way with these thoughts in mind: it is Mary who tells you. Do not let the day end without leaving behind some mark of her charity.

image: Regina Cælorum by Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P. / Flickr

Editor’s note: This article is adapted from a chapter in Meditations on Marywhich is available from Sophia Institute Press


Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet (1627–1704) was a theologian and French bishop. With a great knowledge of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, he devoted himself to writing in a way that was approachable to every person. Though lionized by the great English converts such as Waugh, Belloc, and Knox, his writing has only recently been made available in English. His Meditations for Advent is available from Sophia Institute Press.

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