Great Catholic Mystics on the Blessed Virgin Mary

Great Catholic Mystics on the Blessed Virgin Mary October 30, 2019

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Mary and Joseph: Vision of

This beauty, which I saw in our Lady, was exceedingly grand, though I did not trace it in any particular feature, but rather in the whole form of her face. She was clothed in white and her garments shone with excessive lustre that was not dazzling, but soft. I did not see St. Joseph so distinctly, though I saw clearly that he was there, as in the visions of which I spoke before, in which nothing is seen. Our Lady seemed to be very young.  When they had been with me for a while,—I, too, in the greatest delight and joy, greater than I had ever had before, as I think, and with which I wished never to part,—I saw them, so it seemed, ascend up to heaven, attended by a great multitude of angels. (St. Teresa of Ávila, Autobiography, ch. 33)

Mary: Assumption of

One day—it was the Feast of the Assumption of the Queen of the Angels, and our Lady—our Lord was pleased to grant me this grace. In a trance He made me behold her going up to heaven, the joy and solemnity of her reception there, as well as the place where she now is. To describe it is more than I can do; the joy that filled my soul at the sight of such great glory was excessive. The effects of the vision were great; it made me long to endure still greater trials: and I had a vehement desire to serve our Lady, because of her great merits. (St. Teresa of Ávila, Autobiography, ch. 39)

Mary: Imitation of

He, therefore, who desires to commune more and more with himself; and to find himself in his Source, in God, and to be conscious of God in his heart (which is conformed to God and inclines to Him, and cleaves to God, as a ray to the sun) he must copy the likeness and the bright mirror of our Lady, and comport himself as she did, both outwardly and inwardly; . . . (Johannes Tauler, The Inner Way, Sermon 9)

Praise Him, then, my daughters, for making you truly daughters of our Lady, so that you need not blush for my wickedness as you have such a good Mother. Imitate her; think how great she must be and what a blessing it is for you to have her for a patroness, . . . (St. Teresa of Ávila, The Interior Castle, Pt. III, ch. 1)

Mary: Immaculate Conception of

Thus she could even order her outer life in calm and holy conduct, without disturbing her inner life; for her highest powers communed directly with their Source, and were united thereto, so that the lowest were obedient to the highest, as those of Adam had been in Paradise. This grace was hers, because she never inherited original sin; for she had been preserved from this by her Child; so that never for an instant had she been the child of wrath, or an unclean vessel, under the power of the Devil, like the rest of mankind. The Eternal Wisdom prevented and would not allow this chosen Temple to be thus defiled. (Johannes Tauler, The Inner Way, Sermon 7)

Mary: Knowledge of Jesus’ Passion

Do not suppose, when thou seest My Mother hold Me in her arms, that she had that joy unmixed with heavy sorrows. From the time that Simeon spoke to her, My Father made her see in clear light all I had to suffer. (St. Teresa of Ávila, Autobiography, Relation 3)

Mary: Mediatrix

O thou mother of all graces, methinks neither my soul nor any other sinful soul requires permission or a passport to repair to thee. Art thou not the immediate mediatrix of all sinners? The more sinful a soul is, the more reasonable it seems to her that she should have free access to thee; the deeper she is in wickedness, the more reason she has to press forwards to thee. Therefore, my soul, step joyfully forth! If thy great crimes drive thee away, her unfathomable goodness invites thee to draw near. O, therefore, thou only consolation of all sinful hearts, thou only refuge of guilty mortals, to whom so many a wet eye, so many a wounded, miserable heart is raised up, be a gracious mediatrix and channel of reconciliation between me and the Eternal Wisdom. . . . How many a guilty soul, after having bid farewell to God and all the heavenly host, by denying God and despairing of Him, and being lamentably separated from Him, has, by still clinging to thee, been sweetly detained, till at length, through thy intercession, it has again attained to grace. . . . How often hast thou not obtained from Him grace and consolation! . . . Yes, exalted Lady of heaven and earth, arise now and be to us a mediatrix, and an obtainer of grace with thy tender Child, the Eternal Wisdom. (Bl. Henry Suso, A Little Book of Eternal Wisdom, Pt. I, ch. 16)

Mary, Meekness of

This greatness and this nobleness of the beholding of God fulfilled her with reverent dread, and withal she saw herself so little and so low, so simple and so poor, in regard of her Lord God, that this reverent dread fulfilled her with meekness. And thus, by this ground [of meekness] she was fulfilled with grace and with all manner of virtues, and overpasseth all creatures. (Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love, ch. 7)

Mary, Queen of Heaven

Steal a little nearer, and mark how the sweet queen of the celestial kingdom, whom thou lovest with so much ardour, soars aloft in dignity and joy over the whole celestial host, reclining tenderly on her beloved, encircled with rose-flowers and lilies of the valley. See how her ravishing beauty fills with delight and wonder all the heavenly choirs. (Bl. Henry Suso, A Little Book of Eternal Wisdom, Pt. I, ch. 12)

O my Jesus, what a sight that must be—a soul so highly exalted falling into sin, and raised up again by Thee; who, in Thy mercy, stretchest forth Thine hand to save! How such a soul confesses Thy greatness and compassion and its own wretchedness! It really looks on itself as nothingness, and confesses Thy power. It dares not lift up its eyes; it raises them, indeed, but it is to acknowledge how much it oweth unto Thee. It becomes devout to the Queen of Heaven, that she may propitiate Thee; . . . (St. Teresa of Ávila, Autobiography, ch. 19)

Mary: Second Eve

She has brought forth the Sun of Righteousness, she has chased away the curse of Eve, and bruised the head of the wicked serpent. This second Eve, with her Child, has restored all that the first Eve had lost and destroyed; she has, besides, brought much more grace and wealth. This is the noble Star which arose out of Jacob, which was prophesied in a Book of Moses, whose light shall lighten the whole world. (Johannes Tauler, The Inner Way, Sermon 9)

Mary: Sinlessness of

Neither was it necessary for His blessed Mother to be purified, like other women, for she was shielded from all sin, and conceived and bare the Son of God by the operation of the Holy Ghost, remaining ever a virgin and adorned with all purity. Her purity was much greater than that of all Angels; for it is impossible to imagine greater purity apart from God. (Johannes Tauler, The Inner Way, Sermon 7)

Mary: Spiritual Mother and Intercessor

Oh, now behold what will rejoice thy heart and soul, and see how the mother of compassion has turned her compassionate eyes towards thee and all sinners, and how powerfully she appeals to her beloved Son, and intercedes with Him. (Bl. Henry Suso, A Little Book of Eternal Wisdom, Pt. I, ch. 12)

. . . we must call on God unceasingly for His divine grace and help, and also on His dear Mother, to whom we should, at least once every day, give especial honour and service. She will then, on her part, help us faithfully in our need, and especially in our last trial; for she is a mother of mercy and cannot reject any sinner who desires her help. (Johannes Tauler, The Inner Way, Sermon 7)

. . . she became the Daughter of the Father; the Mother of the Son; the Bride of the Holy Ghost; the Queen of Heaven; the Mistress of the world and of all creatures; the Mother of all men who desire her help; the Temple of God, wherein God has rested as a Bridegroom in His chamber in great bliss; for the Virgin’s body was as a garden full of sweet-smelling herbs and of all kinds of virtues and graces. With these virtues she caused the Heaven of the Holy Trinity to flow with honey for us poor sinners. (Johannes Tauler, The Inner Way, Sermon 9)

I remember that, when my mother died, I was about twelve years old—a little less. When I began to understand my loss, I went in my affliction to an image of our Lady, and with many tears implored her to be my mother. I did this in my simplicity, and I believe that it was of service to me; for I have by experience found the royal Virgin help me whenever I recommended myself to her; and at last she has brought me back to herself. (St. Teresa of Ávila, Autobiography, ch. 1)

Mary, Veneration of

. . . our Lady, whose dignity and honour can in nowise be expressed by man in words, for they surpass all knowledge in value. . . . this lovely, noble Virgin, to whom all men should pay great honour. However highly they may be exalted, they should give time and trouble to honour and serve her. (Johannes Tauler, The Inner Way, Sermon 3)

. . . every one should fix an hour every day, at which he should offer unto our Lady special service and praise, and beseech her earnestly to guide us, draw us and help us in coming to her dearly-beloved Child; for her worth transcends all estimation and measure. (Johannes Tauler, The Inner Way, Sermon 17)

Mary, Vision of

. . . I saw the Mother of God descend with a multitude of angels to the stall of the prioress, where the image of our Lady is, and sit there herself. I think I did not see the image then, but only our Lady. She seemed to be like that picture of her which the Countess gave me; but I had no time to ascertain this, because I fell at once into a trance. Multitudes of angels seemed to me to be above the canopies of the stalls, and on the desks in front of them; but I saw no bodily forms, for the vision was intellectual. She remained there during the Salve, and said to me: “Thou hast done well to place me here; I will be present when the sisters sing the praises of my Son, and will offer them to Him.” (St. Teresa of Ávila, Autobiography, Relation 3)

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SOURCES

Blessed Henry Suso (1295-1366)

A Little Book of Eternal Wisdom (“translated and published for the Catholics of England years ago”; London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., 1910)

Johannes Tauler (c. 1300-1361)

The Inner Way (translated by Arthur Wollaston, London: Methuen & Co., 2nd edition, 1909)

Julian[a] of Norwich (c. 1342-c. 1416)

Revelations of Divine Love (translated by Grace Warrack; London: Methuen & Co., 1901)

St. Teresa of Ávila (1515-1582) [Doctor of the Church]

Autobiography (translated by David Lewis; London: Thomas Baker / New York: Benziger Bros., 3rd edition, 1904)

The Interior Castle (translated by the Benedictines of Stanbrook; revised by Fr. Benedict Zimmerman, O.C.D., London: Thomas Baker, 3rd edition, 1921)

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For much more about the Blessed Virgin Mary, see my extensive web page devoted to her.

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