Christ, by Thomas á Kempis: Book 4, Chapter 2
That the Great Goodness and Love of God
Is Exhibited to Man in This Sacrament
of Thy goodness and great mercy, O Lord, I draw near, sick to the
Healer, hungry and thirsty to the Fountain of life, needy to the King
of Heaven, a servant to his Lord, a creature to the Creator, desolate
to my own tender Comforter. "But whence is this to me," that Thou
comest unto me (Luke 1:43)? What am I, that Thou shouldest grant me
Thine own self? how dare a sinner appear before Thee?
And how is it that Thou dost vouchsafe to come unto a sinner? Thou
knowest Thy servant, and art well aware that he hath in him no good
thing, for which Thou shouldest grant him this. I confess therefore
mine own vileness, I acknowledge Thy goodness, I praise Thy tender
mercy, and give Thee thanks for Thy transcendent love.
Devotion To the Blessed Virgin Mary, Nos. 243-254 243.
Loving slaves of
Jesus in Mary should hold in high esteem devotion to Jesus, the Word of
God, in the great mystery of the Incarnation, March 25th, which is the
mystery proper to this devotion, because it was inspired by the Holy
Spirit for the following reasons: a) That we might honour and imitate
the wondrous dependence which God the Son chose to have on Mary, for
the glory of his Father and for the redemption of man. This dependence
is revealed especially in this mystery where Jesus becomes a captive
and slave in the womb of his Blessed Mother, depending on her for
everything. b) That we might thank God for the incomparable graces he
has conferred upon Mary and especially that of choosing her to be his
most worthy Mother. This choice was made in the mystery of the
incarnation. These are the two principal ends of the slavery of Jesus
245. a) Since we live in an age of pride when a great number of haughty
scholars, with proud and critical minds, find fault even with
long-established and sound devotions, it is better to speak of "slavery
of Jesus in Mary" and to call oneself "slave of Jesus" rather than
"slave of Mary". We then avoid giving any pretext for criticism. In
this way, we name this devotion after its ultimate end which is Jesus,
rather than after the way and the means to arrive there, which is Mary.
However, we can very well use either term without any scruple, as I
246. b) Since the principal mystery celebrated and honoured in this
devotion is the mystery of the Incarnation where we find Jesus only in
Mary, having become incarnate in her womb, it is appropriate for us to
say, "slavery of Jesus in Mary", of Jesus dwelling enthroned in Mary,
according to the beautiful prayer, recited by so many great souls, "O
Jesus living in Mary".
249. Those who accept this devotion should have a great love for the
Hail Mary, or, as it is called, the Angelic Salutation. Few Christians,
however enlightened, understand the value, merit, excellence and
necessity of the Hail Mary. Our Blessed Lady herself had to appear on
several occasions to men of great holiness and insight, such as St.
Dominic, St. John Capistran and Blessed Alan de Rupe, to convince them
of the richness of this prayer.
Prayers for the Third Week