Sunday - Second Reading
Mary, we know that you were ever in the mind of God, before his creating brought you to be - the most perfect of all his creatures. He knew you as Noe, before the flood, knew the Ark he was to build, and the way he was to build it. The design of the Ark had been made known to him, and he waited for the time when God would command him to set to work. The design and perfection, Mary, of your glorious body, the Ark of God, was known to God before all time. And he knew the time when he would bring it into being by his creating. As Noe rejoiced at the thought of the Ark he was to build, so God rejoiced, Mary, at the thought of you. Noe's Ark would withstand the storms; you, Mary, the Ark of God, would withstand, in the strength of your holiness, every attack of the hatred and sin of hell.
Noah's Ark was so built that no water could seep in - a ship whose timbers were carefully protected both inside and out. You, Mary, the Ark of God, would be so strong in God's grace, anointed and protected by his Holy Spirit, that no desire would ever enter your heart, either for your own glory or for the possession of earthly things. Such desires, we know, are as displeasing to God as the water which seeps into the keel of a ship, and collecting there becomes state and offensive.
Noe was pleased at the size and capacity of his Ark. God rejoiced, Mary, in that holiness which would be yours, in your love which would embrace all creatures, and in your gentleness which would look with pity on sinners, and hate only what was hateful to him. But most of all, he rejoiced in that ever increasing grace which would fit you to bear in your womb that which heaven and earth could not contain, the Person of God the Son, to hold him and be truly his Mother.
Noe took pride, as every captain of a ship takes pride, in the cleanliness and tidiness and brightness of the Ark. God rejoiced, Mary, in your virginity, for in you there would be no sin, nor slightest stain of sin, to taint your perfection. Noe provided for himself and those with him, all that was needed to survive the days ahead. God chose you, Mary, for his Son, that your body should provide for him a perfect human body. Noe came from the Ark unchanged. But from you, Mary, the Ark of God, the Son of God came forth, clothed with that pure flesh and blood which he had taken from you.
When Noe left the Ark, its purpose was served - it was empty and useless. But when Christ came forth from your womb, you were filled with every gift of the Holy Spirit, growing ever in holiness, not further now from Christ, but nearer to him, and dearer even than before, united to him on earth and in heaven for ever.
Sunday - Third Reading
From the moment of God's promise, through the long years of waiting, Abraham loved the son who was to be his, the child who would be called Isaac. How much more did God love you, Virgin Mary, whom he had foreseen from eternity, and knew before your creating, for he knew also the joy your birth would be to him. Abraham did not know how his love for God would be tested and proved through his promised son.
But God knew with his divine knowledge how through you, Mary, his great love for man would be made known. Abraham knew that Isaac would be born of his union with Sarah, a child conceived unexpectedly in their old age. God knew that his Son would be conceived in you, Virgin Mary, without the intervention of man, and be born of you, true Mother yet ever a Virgin. Abraham knew that his son once conceived would grow without his help to become a person, independent of his father. God knew that the sacred body of his Son, formed in your womb, would in a special way, be for ever most intimately united with the Godhead. This must be so, since the Son is ever in the Father, the Father in the Son, equal yet one.
Abraham knew that he and his son must return to dust in the corruption of death. God would not allow your pure body, Mary, to see corruption, for it was the flesh and blood of your body which had been given to form the body of his Son. Abraham built a house for the son who was to be born to him. But God himself, the Blessed Trinity, is the dwelling in which you, Mary, will abide for ever. In a wonderful way, then, your dwelling, Mary, was in God, who surrounded you with his protecting love. Yet God dwelt ever in you, leading you to the highest holiness by his presence. For his promised son, Abraham prepared wheat, wine and oil, three kinds of essential nourishment.
For you, Virgin Mary, God himself was to be your eternal meal, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Three yet One. And through you he was to give himself to men as the food of life. So we may attribute this food of life in a way, to you, Mary, since it is by you that it has come to us. The three things which Abraham prepared can be thought of as a sign of the action of the Three Persons. Oil cannot burn without a wick. This can suggest to us That the love of God the Father could not be made known on earth without the humanity of the Son, that humanity which he took from you, his Virgin Mother.
Wheat was to be made into flour, and then bread, for our daily use. The Son of God, though he is truly the food of Angels, could not be our food without that flesh and blood which he took from your loving womb. Wine cannot refresh us unless it is in something we can drink from. The Holy Spirit could not be poured out upon us without the humanity of your Son. For the salvation which Christ's Passion and Death accomplished is the fount of all the delights and graces bestowed by God on Angels and on men.
Monday - First Reading
It was love that led God to create. There could be nothing lacking in God, nothing wanting to his goodness or his joy.
It was out of love alone that he willed creation, that there might be beings, apart from himself, who would partake of his infinite goodness and joy. So the Angels came to be, created by God in countless numbers. To them he gave free will, freedom to act, in accordance with their nature, as they willed. As he himself is under no necessity but has created out of love alone, he will that the Angels, whom he designed for eternal happiness with him, should likewise be under no necessity.
He looked for love in response to his love, obedience to his offer of eternal joy.
Yet in the first moment of their creation, there were Angels who chose, freely and deliberately against their Creator, in spite of his infinite love, which called them to love in return. Justly they fell, fixed in their evil will, from an eternal joy into an eternal misery. But not all fell. To those Angels who chose love for love, there was given the contemplation of God in all his glory, power and holiness. From this contemplation, they came to know the eternity of God, that he has no beginning and no end; they learnt what it meant to have him for their Creator; and they saw most clearly how everything they possessed had come to them from his love and his power.
They learnt too that his wisdom had given them a wisdom of their own, bu which he allowed them to foresee the future. And it was a joy and consolation to them to know that God in his mercy and love wished to replace, in his own way, those Angels who had forfeited by pride and envy their place in heaven.
In their contemplation of God, the Angels saw with wonder a throne placed next to that of God himself. They knew that the one for whom this throne had been prepared had not yet been created. Yet already they loved this chosen one, and rejoiced as they waited. Their love for each other was born of their love for God. But between these two loves they saw one who was more lovable than themselves, one whom God loves with great joy more than all his creatures. Virgin Mary, you were the chosen one, destined for that throne near to the throne of God.
It was you whom the Angels loved, after God, from the first moment of their creation, seeing in the contemplation of God, how beautiful he had made themselves, but how much more beautiful he would make you. They saw that in you there would be a love and a joy far greater than their own. They saw too the crown that awaited you, a crown of glory and beauty surpassed only by the majesty of God. They knew how God their Creator was glorified by themselves and they rejoiced. They knew how much more he would be glorified by you, and they rejoiced still more.
Before ever you were created, Mary, God and Angels together rejoiced in you.