Mary is a treasure of all that is most exquisite, beautiful, extraordinary, precious and desirable, in Heaven and on earth, in time and in eternity.
Ihave made previous mention of the beautiful words with which the blessed martyr St. Methodius exalts our amiable Mary: “Salve, amoris Dei Patris thesaure – Hail, treasure of God the Father’s love.” However, they seem to me so sweet and enchanting to those who say them, and so laudatory to the divine Virgin Mary, that I would like to hail her so unceasingly. And to incite the whole world to pay homage in like manner, it would be my wish to go throughout the earth proclaiming and preaching that Mary, daughter of Joachim and Anne, is the treasure of the Eternal Father’s love.
If someone were to ask me what this means, I would reply that there are four ways in which Mary is the treasure of love of this merciful Father.
Infinite image of the divine Goodness
First: Mary is a treasure, according to the common opinion of the holy Doctors, containing all that is most exquisite, beautiful, extraordinary, precious and desirable, in Heaven and on earth, in time and in eternity, in nature, in grace, in glory and in all pure creatures. And this treasure, forever hidden in the love and Heart of the heavenly Father and but little revealed by Him to men in the fullness of time, is still now and will be an eternally guarded secret in this same Heart, much more hidden than manifest. For, since Mother of God is the meaning of Mary – according to the interpretation of St. Ambrose –, such an abundance of riches and marvels are found in this immense treasure of the Divine Maternity, that everything that the human and angelic spirits know of it is little as compared with what remains unknown.
Have we not heard, perchance, St. Augustine exclaim that there is no heart capable of conceiving these marvels, nor tongue of expressing them? And St. Andrew of Crete telling us that, with the exception of God, no one can worthily praise the miracles that He operated in her? Listen to St. Bernardine of Siena, who announces that “just as the divine perfections are incomprehensible to the intellect, the excellence and graces which accompany this Divine Maternity are so eminent that only the Spirit of God, and of the Man-God, and the Mother of God can comprehend them; and that, to prepare her for this lofty dignity, she had to be raised, so to speak, to something akin to equality with God, by a certain infinitude of graces and perfections.”
Does not St. Andrew of Crete explain this in saying, “this admirable Virgin is a declaration, that is, an expression and image of the hidden mysteries of the divine Incomprehensibility”? Does not St. Thomas assert the same, by saying that she is “an infinite image of the divine Goodness,” that is, the one who represents the immense grandeur of the divine Goodness infinitely well and with infinite perfection? Furthermore, is this not what St. Peter Chrysologus seeks to convey, when he says “the grandeur of Mary is in some way the measure of the grandeur of the immensity of God, and that whoever does not know well the former cannot know the latter”? It can safely be said that the Divine Maternity is the just measure of divine omnipotence, for in all truth, God – who could have easily made a world greater than this, a vaster heaven, a brighter sun – could not have made a more worthy or noble mother than the Mother of God.
Thus, we see how our divine Mary is a treasure hidden in the spirit and the Heart of the Eternal Father, for only He knows its value. This is the first way in which the most precious Virgin is the treasure of the everlasting Father’s love.
Mary is a treasure containing every love of the Eternal Father
To clearly understand the second way, note that there are three loves in the adorable Heart of this Divine Father, which, nevertheless, amount to one sole love: the first is the infinite love that He bears His Son Jesus; the second is His incommensurable love for His Holy Spirit; the third is His most ardent love for all of His Angels, Saints and all other creatures.
Now, the most amiable Mary is a treasure that contains all these loves. Firstly, because this holy Father, beholding her as Mother of His Son, and consequently seeing nothing other, so to speak, than her Son, since both are of the same flesh, the same blood, the same nature, the same heart and the same will –, loves her with the same love with which He loves His Son. Have we not heard this same Son, speaking of His members, namely all the faithful, addressing His Father: “[Thou] hast loved them even as Thou hast loved Me” (Jn 17:23)? If this Divine Father so loves the servants of His Son, how much more He loves His Mother!
Secondly, considering Mary as she who, in the condition of Spouse of His Holy Spirit, is consequently, in a sense, one and the same person with Him, the Father bears her the same love He bears His Divine Spirit, Who is His heart and His love.
Thirdly, the Father loves her not only with the same love with which He loves all His Angels, all His Saints and all His creatures, but, for her alone He has more love than all the Angels and Saints combined, as He also has incomparably more love for her than all that He has made. Thus, she contains every love of the adorable Heart of this Divine Father.
In Mary the Father deposited His most precious treasure: His well-beloved Son
What is the third way in which this most amiable Virgin is the treasure of the Eternal Father’s love? She should be considered in the description of her by the Holy Spirit through the voice of the Church and the holy Fathers, who call her “vessel of honour and glory, vessel formed by the hands of Wisdom, chosen vessel of God, vessel of grace and devotion, pure and precious vessel, and vessel of life and salvation, vessel of sanctification, in brief, admirable vessel.”
Now it was within this vessel that the Eternal Father deposited His most precious treasure: His well-beloved Son, the principal object of his love. He placed Him in her virginal womb and in her maternal Heart. This infinitely precious treasure remained hidden for nine months in the sacred womb of Mary, and has always been, and will be eternally enclosed within her maternal Heart. Acknowledge, then, that she is the treasure of the Eternal Father’s love.
“The Father loves you, because you have loved Me”
Do you now wish to know the fourth way in which the sacrosanct Mary is the treasure of love of this most lovable Father? Recall what was said, that this Father of mercies gathered and concentrated in her all the effects of goodness and love which came and will come from His paternal Heart, in other words, He filled her with and bestowed upon her all the gifts, graces, blessings, privileges, perfections, glories and joys that He has distributed to all His Angels and Saints. For this reason, St. Peter Damian calls her “treasure of all God’s graces,” and St. Andrew of Crete names her “the holiest treasure of all holiness.”
Moreover, she possesses all of God’s gifts and graces not for herself alone, but possesses and draws from all the treasures and riches of the Blessed Trinity to distribute them to those who have recourse to her to obtain favours. Thus, Blessed Raymond Jourdain calls her “treasurer of God’s graces;” and St. Bonaventure says she is “a prosperous Mother who has the keys to the treasury of the Blessed Trinity.”
In these four ways our most amiable Virgin is the treasure of the Eternal Father’s love. Well then, do you wish to find the treasure of treasures, which is the infinitely lovable Heart of this Father of love? Recall the words of His Son: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Lk 12:34).
Therefore, seek this paternal Heart in Mary, and in her you will find it, for Mary is His treasure. Love, serve and honour Mary with your whole heart, and you will obtain and entirely possess the Heart of the Eternal Father. He will love you and bless you in every way, and she will say to you, after her Son Jesus: “the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me” (Jn 16:27).
All ought to exalt the grace, glory and power of Mary’s name
“O great, O generous, O most praiseworthy Mary,” exclaims, St. Bernard, “thy holy name cannot leave our lips without inflaming our heart. Those who love thee cannot think of thee without feeling special joy and consolation. To those who exalt thee, thou dost always bring sweet thoughts.”
What a wonderful thing! According to St. Anselm, there are those who have more readily obtained salvation by invoking the name of Mary than that of Jesus. Why? Is Mary greater and more powerful than her Divine Son? No, for He did not receive His grandeur and His power from Mary; rather, she received hers from Jesus. The reason is that the Son of God, being the Lord and sovereign Judge, must treat each in accordance with their merits and the rules of justice, which demand that the prayers of a criminal go unheard; however, when the criminal invokes the Mother’s name his supplication is favourably received even if his sins make him unworthy of grace.
O Mary, declares Abbot Raymond Jourdain, the Blessed Trinity gave thee a name above all names, with the exception of the name of thy Son. At this name every creature in Heaven, on earth and in hell should kneel. And every tongue should proclaim and exalt the grace, glory and power of the holy name of Mary. For, after the name of thy Son, there is none other so powerful in meeting our needs, nor from which we should more surely expect the necessary aid for our salvation. More than the names of all the Saints combined, thy name has the power to comfort the weak, cure the sick, enlighten the blind, soften hardened hearts, encourage the weary and disheartened, fortify combatants and overthrow the tyranny of the devils.
Oh! Would that I could engrave in all hearts these beautiful and holy words of the venerable Thomas à Kempis: “It is the august name of the Queen of Heaven that makes all of hell tremble. This venerable name is the terror of every evil spirit. They fear it and flee from it as from a raging fire; they dare not appear in the places where the light of this beautiful name shines, for it is a sun that expels all infernal darkness. Do you wish to overthrow and disperse the diabolical hosts? Simply pronounce the terrible name of Mary with devotion. It is a terrifying thunderbolt that lays them waste, that instantly casts them into the abyss, destroys their schemes, brings their snares to naught and dispels their wiles. The more this amiable name is affectionately spoken and invoked, the greater the speed with which these cruel enemies of our salvation will be driven far from you.”
The same holy author goes on to say: “This is the reason why the glorious name of Mary should be the object of special veneration by all the faithful. After God, it should be the first and continuous object of your love and devotion. All religious should love it ardently and affectionately. We must urgently recommend it to the laity. We must make it echo in the ears of the afflicted. Finally, we must invoke it in all the dangers with which this hapless life is filled.” ◊
Excerpts from the work
L’enfance admirable de la Très Sainte Mère de Dieu.
Paris: René Guignard, 1676