Mary’s most pure and loving heart was a holocaust of love, inseparably united with the Sacred Heart of our dying Savior.
For our post today, we have a very brief but remarkable essay by Saint Francis de Sales from his Treatise on the Love of God. It contains the lovely allegory of the mythical bird, the Phoenix and is a perennial favorite.
Speaking of the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Francis de Sales tells us,
“Now, of her it is not possible to imagine that she died of any other kind of death than of love, the noblest of deaths, and consequently due to the noblest life that ever was amongst creatures: a death of which the very angels would desire to die, if die they could. If the primitive Christians were said to have but one heart and one soul, by reason of their perfect mutual love; if Saint Paul lived not in himself but Jesus Christ lived in him, by reason of the close union of his heart to his Master’s, whereby his soul was as it were dead in his heart which it animated, to live in the Heart of the Saviour which it loved, – O True God! – how much more really had the sacred virgin and her Son but one soul, one heart and one life, so that this heavenly mother, living, lived not, but her Son lived in her! ‘Twas a mother the most loving and the most beloved that ever could be, yea loving and beloved with a love incomparably more eminent than that of all the orders of angels and men, as the names of mother-only and only-Son, are names passing all other names in matter of love.
“And I say mother-only and only-son, because all the other sons of men divide the acknowledgment of their production between their father and mother; but in this Son, as all His human birth depended on His mother alone, who alone contributed that which was requisite to the virtue of the Holy Ghost for the conception of this heavenly child, so to her alone all the love which sprang from that production was due and rendered: wherefore this Son and this mother were united in a union by so much more excellent, as her name is excellent in love above all other names. . . If then a loving servant (St. Paul) durst say, and did say, that he had no other life than his master’s . . . Ah! how confidently and fervently might this mother exclaim: I have no life but the life of my Son, my life is wholly in His, and His wholly in mine; for it was no longer union but unity of hearts between this mother and this son. And if this mother lived her son’s life, she also died her son’s death. The phoenix, as report goes, grown very aged, gathers together on the top of a mountain a quantity of aromatical wood, upon which, as upon its bed of honour, it goes to end its days: for when the sun, being at its highest, pours out its hottest beams, this sole bird, to contribute an increase of activity to the ardour of the sun, ceases not to beat with its wings upon its bed, till it has made it take fire, and burning with it is consumed, and dies in those odoriferous flames.
“In like manner, Theotimus, the Virgin-Mother, having collected in her spirit all the most beloved mysteries of the life and death of her son by a most lively and continual memory of them, and withal, ever receiving directly the most ardent inspirations which her child, the sun of justice, has cast upon human beings in the highest noon of his charity; and besides, making on her part also, a perpetual movement of contemplation, at length the sacred fire of this divine love consumed her entirely as a holocaust of sweetness, so that she died thereof, the soul being wholly ravished and transported into the arms of the dilection of her son. O, death, amorously life-giving! O, love, vitally death-giving!
“Several sacred lovers were present at the death of the Saviour, amongst whom those having the greatest sorrow, for love was then deeply plunged into sorrow and sorrow into love. All those who were filled with loving passion for their Saviour were in love with His passion and sorrow. But His sweet Mother, who loved Him more than all others, was more than all others pierced through and through with the sword of sorrow. The sorrow of the Son at that time was a piercing sword, which passed through the heart of the Mother, for that Mother’s heart was fastened, joined and united to her Son, with so perfect a union that nothing could wound the one without inflicting the keenest torture upon the other.
“Now this maternal bosom, thus wounded with love, not only did not seek a cure for its wound, but loved that wound more than any cure, and dearly guarded the shafts of sorrow she had received, because of the love which had shot them into her heart, and continually desiring to die of them, since her Son died of them, who, as say all the Holy Scriptures and all Doctors, He died amidst the flames of His charity, a perfect holocaust for all the sins of the world.
St. Francis then describes the beautiful love of which our Dear Lady died:
“As we see the lovely dawning of the day grow, not at intervals and by shocks, but by a dilating and continuous brightening,which is almost insensibly perceptible, so that we truly see it grow in clearness but so evenly that no one perceives any interruption in its growing, thus divine love grew in each moment in the virginal heart of our glorious Lady, but by sweet, peaceable growth. . . in the celestial love of the heart of this Virgin. . . everything favored and seconded the course of heavenly love; its progress and increase were incomparably greater than in all other creatures, yet a progress infinitely sweet, peaceful and tranquil.
SHE DID NOT FAINT! SHE STOOD
“She swooned not away, neither with love nor compassion by the cross of her Son, although she then experienced the most ardent and painful attack of love that can be imagined; for although the attack was extreme, yet at the same time equally strong and gentle, mighty and tranquil, active and peaceful, consisting in a heat that was both sharp and sweet.
“The most Holy Mother, having nothing in her which hindered the operation of the divine love of her Son, was united to Him in an incomparable union, by gentle ecstasies, without trouble or travail, without disturbing the union of the spirit; so that this Virgin’s death was more sweet than can be imagined, her Son sweetly drawing her after the odor of His perfumes, and she most lovingly flowing out after their sacred sweetness even into the bosom of her Son’s goodness. Although this holy soul loved her holy and pure body, yet she forsook it without pain or resistance; for love had given to this Divine Spouse, at the foot of the Cross, the supreme sorrows of death and therefore it was reasonable that at length death should give her the sovereign delights of love. [end quote]
Remember – Our Lady needs us to obey: First Saturdays of Reparation, daily rosary, at least 5 mysteries, wear her brown scapular and live your Total Consecration to her Immaculate Heart, offering daily duties in reparation and for the conversion of poor sinners.
Open your hearts to the Lord and serve Him only: and He will free you from the hands of your enemies. With all your heart return to Him, and take away from your midst any strange gods” (I Kings 7:3)
✝︎ Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
✝︎ Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!
✝︎ St. Joseph, protect us, protect our families, protect our priests.
✝︎ St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin. Give me strength against thine enemies.