Thought of the day
Monday, December 21, 2015

Monday: Fourth Week of Advent

“Blessed is she who has believed”

Mary is blessed, as her cousin Elizabeth has said to her, not simply because God has looked on her, but because she believed. Her faith is the most beautiful of the fruits of divine goodness. But it required the inexpressible art of the Holy Spirit to take place in her if such greatness of soul was to be united to such humility in the intimacy of her virginal heart. Mary’s humility and greatness of soul, like her virginity and fruitfulness, are like two stars shining on each other. For, in Mary, the depth of her humility does not in the least retract from the generosity of her soul, and vice versa. Even though Mary had so lowly an estimate of herself, she was no less generous in her faith in the promise made her by the angel because of it. She, who looked upon herself entirely as a poor and insignificant servant, in no way doubted herself to be called to this incomprehensible mystery, this tremendous union, this unfathomable secret. And she believed instantly that she was truly about to become the mother of God-made-man.

It is God’s grace that produces this marvel in the hearts of the elect; humility does not make them fearful and timorous any more than their generosity of soul makes them proud. To the contrary, where the saints are concerned, these two virtues reinforce one another. Greatness of soul not only does not open the door to any pride, but it is this above all that allows it to penetrate the mystery of humility even further. Indeed, those who are the most generous in their service of God are also the most penetrated by the fear of the Lord and the most grateful for the gifts they have received. Similarly, when it is a question of humility, no trace of cowardice insinuates into the soul. The less someone is accustomed to presume on his own strength, even in the smallest things, the more he entrusts himself to the power of God, even in the greatest.

Saint Bernard