May 15th: The union of Humility and Charity in the Blessed Virgin Mary

May 15, 2022 • 4 min

#BibleCommentary #DoctorsOfTheChurch #Doctrine #Humility #Love #WhatTheSaintsSay

From The Month of Mary According to the Spirit of St. Francis De Sales, page 139
By Don Caspar Gilli

Reflect on these two virtues, and you will ask how it is possible that charity can be united with humility, if the nature of one is to soar on high, and that of the other to abase itself? Naturally, indeed, it is impossible; but God, Who is One, and Who loves and desires unity, manifested the greatness of His power by uniting these two dissimilar virtues in the soul of Mary.

In her, charity was so united to humility that one depended on the other, and whilst her charity continues humble, her humility is ever full of charity. Charity raised her soul above all creatures, and humility abased it below them all, and yet the union of these two virtues was continuous.

To what a high degree of humility and charity did not the Most Holy Virgin attain at the moment of the Incarnation! Ponder her words to the Archangel: Ecce ancilla Domini, fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum; Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to Thy word. No sooner did she hear herself proclaimed the Mother of God, the Queen of Angels and of men, than she abased herself beneath all, saying: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord”! This is a great act of humility.

The Most Holy Virgin in that moment had so clear a knowledge of the misery and nothingness of human nature, and of the infinite distance between God and man, that, seeing herself raised above all creatures, she abased herself beneath them all, considering her own nothingness and the infinite greatness of God Who had chosen her for His Mother. True it is, then, that Mary never humbled herself so profoundly as when she pronounced these words: Ecce ancilla Domini: Behold the handmaid of the Lord.

But see how the Most Blessed Virgin united the most perfect charity to her humility when consenting to the proposal the Angel made her in the Name of God: Fiat mihi secundum verbum; “Be it done unto me according to Thy word” were her words; and thus, by charity, she was raised above the Cherubim and Seraphim, and at that very moment the Eternal Son of God took flesh in her virginal womb, and she became His Mother!

Let us learn from the example of Our Lady that humility does not merely consist in diffidence in ourselves, but it must be accompanied by confidence in God. This confidence in God is produced by this diffidence in ourselves and in our own powers. This confidence is also the source of generosity of soul, of which Our Blessed Lady gives an example on this occasion when she says the words: Be it done unto me according to Thy word. It is true, would she say, that I am unworthy of this grace, in regard to what I am only in myself; but as all that is good in me is from God, and as that which you announce to me is His Most Holy Will, I believe that it can and will be done, and, therefore, let it be accomplished in me!

Humility conceals the virtues of a soul, in order the better to preserve them; nevertheless, when charity requires, it allows them to be known for their increase and perfection. Thus it resembles those plants which close their beautiful flowers at night and open them only when the sun is high, so that people speak of those flowers as sleeping during the night. Humility, in the same way, conceals all our virtues, and never allows them to appear, except for the exercise of charity, which, being a celestial, Divine gift, not an acquired virtue, is truly as a sun amidst all the virtues, and should always rule over them. Hence the humility, which is prejudicial to charity, is undoubtedly a false humility.

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