Lovable or Dear Mother, Card. Newman

October 9, 2013 marked the 4th year of Blessed John Henry Newman’s feast day. This wise and generous priest and teacher had a theological devotion for the Virgin Mary that grew as he became Roman Catholic.

On the eve of the Marian vigil on October 12th the and consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on October 13th we recall some words of Blessed John Henry.

Commenting on the title Mater Amabilis or Lovable Mother he asks: “WHY is she “Amabilis” thus specially? It is because she was without sin. Sin is something odious in its very nature, and grace is something bright, beautiful, attractive.”

He explained the difference between Mary and other holy souls: “She never committed even a venial sin.

“To explain this point we must recollect that there is a vast difference between the state of a soul such as that of the Blessed Virgin, which has never sinned, and a soul, however holy, which has once had upon it Adam’s sin; for, even after baptism and repentance, it suffers necessarily from the spiritual wounds which are the consequence of that sin. Holy men, indeed, never commit mortal sin; nay, sometimes have never committed even one mortal sin in the whole course of their lives. But Mary’s holiness went beyond this. She never committed even a venial sin, and this special privilege is not known to belong to anyone but Mary.

Newman comments that even more than the beauty of her physical features was the beauty of her soul:

“Of course her face was most beautiful; but we {19} should not be able to recollect whether it was beautiful or not; we should not recollect any of her features, because it was her beautiful sinless soul, which looked through her eyes, and spoke through her mouth, and was heard in her voice, and compassed her all about; when she was still, or when she walked, whether she smiled, or was sad, her sinless soul, this it was which would draw all those to her who had any grace in them, any remains of grace, any love of holy things. There was a divine music in all she said and did—in her mien, her air, her deportment, that charmed every true heart that came near her. Her innocence, her humility and modesty, her simplicity, sincerity, and truthfulness, her unselfishness, her unaffected interest in everyone who came to her, her purity—it was these qualities which made her so lovable; and were we to see her now, neither our first thought nor our second thought would be, what she could do for us with her Son (though she can do so much), but our first thought would be, “Oh, how beautiful!” and our second thought would be, “Oh, what ugly hateful creatures are we!””

Now, whatever want of amiableness, sweetness, attractiveness, really exists in holy men arises from the remains of sin in them, or again from the want of a holiness powerful enough to overcome the defects of nature, whether of soul or body; but, as to Mary, her holiness was such, that if we saw her, and heard her, we should not be able to tell to those who asked us anything about her except simply that she was angelic and heavenly.”

This beautiful and Lovable Mother, who is most pleasing to the Blessed Trinity, intercedes before God for the Church and the world. She is the image of what the Church is called to be, and our Mother and refuge. We join Pope Francis in consecrating the world to her Immaculate Heart, asking her to consecrate it to the most Blessed Trinity.

images