We would see Jesus, we would love Jesus: lead us to Him, O Mary - John 12:21)
Jesus is the beginning, the middle, and the end of our beatitude, as well in this life as in the other. Our heart was formed for Him; it is for Him it is unconsciously calling out, when recoiling from creatures in disgust, and weary of the profund void left by created objects, it proceeds anew to cry out for happiness.
O human heart, immense capacity of God! When is it, O man! that, even though laden with goods, with honours, surrounded with the fondest affection, you never say, "It is enough?" Why ever seek after, ever asking for new enjoyments from all that surround you? What is wanting to you? God, Whom the likeness engraved on your soul ever calls for; God, Whose image you reflect; and all, with Him is wanting.
O men! how have you wandered away; you are running hungry, thirsty, in the very midst of abundance. "I ran in thirst." Who will place you again on the right track? How shall you find Him again - that God, your fulness, your only beatitude - living, as you have so long been, in oblivion of, and indifference to, Him? Who shall draw aside the veils that conceal this ravishing Beauty, towards Whom you would rush with irresistible impetuosity, could you but perceive His amiabilities, His perfections? Have recourse to Mary; no one cometh to the Father unless drawn by the Son, and no one comes to the Son unless Mary attracts him. Vainly would you call, seek, try to revivify Him in your heart, if you do not seek Him in Mary, if this Divine Mother comes not to aid your pursuit. Mary is the celestial field in which this precious pearl lies hid; she has a sort of propriety over her Son, Who is entirely her own; and in virtue of this right, so eminent, so sublime, she has a special power of bestowing Jesus on souls. Thus, Saint Francis of Assisium, commenting on these words of Saint Matthew - "They found the Child with Mary His Mother," goes so far as to say - "You seek Jesus in vain, if you seek Him not with Mary and through Mary." "Ah!" said Saint Ildefonsus, in a like sentiment, "I wish to become the servant of Mary, in order to become the servant of Jesus." You, then, whom the Spirit of Love has inspired with desire to reach the Son, separate not from His Mother in the pursuit; entreat her to extend to you a helping hand, to accompany you in your researches. For should she desert you, you are sure to stray - never shall you attain the goal. But if you adhere inseparably to Mary, she will enkindle in your heart a spark of that divine fire which burned in her own; she will penetrate your soul with that salutary bitterness which filled hers during those days she herself was seeking her Divine Child, Who, to try His Mother, and encourage us under abandonment, was pleased to withdraw from her sweet society; and through Mary, with Mary, how could you fail to find Jesus? Cast yourself into the arms of this incomparable Mother, and, touched by the desires she herself has excited in your heart, she will show you, will accustom you to study in her own Heart, Him that is all good - Ostendam tibi omtie bonumj Him, that is the complement of every good - Otnne delict a men tu m in se habentem . She will cause you to know Him, not as our feeble intelligence can conceive, but as she herself knows Him, replete with every charm calculated to win our hearts.
Ah, Jesus! that Treasure which for thirty-three years Mary possessed visibly, which she kept enshrined in heart so long as she dwelt upon earth, all she asks is to make Him known, to communicate Him to souls. This is the aim of all the wonders she effects; it is not solely on her own account she desires the conquest of our hearts: it is to offer them to the Heart of Jesus, to Whom she gave her own Heart with its every affection, its every motion. Some, actuated by a laudable zeal for the divine honour, others by a counterfeit zeal, appear to dread lest we carry veneration to Mary beyond due bounds, and forget the Son for the Mother. But let both parties be reassured: Mary has the art of referring to Jesus the homage rendered to herself; she knows how to turn to Him the hearts of her children; and we have not one example of a really devout client of Mary remaining for a long time indifferent to Jesus. Nor could Jesus feel jealous of the honours paid to His Mother, for He receives them as though they were addressed to Himself. This He expressly testified to His faithful servant Saint Gertrude. One day as the Antiphon, "Thou art all fair" - was being chanted, the Saint addressed it to Mary in the name of her Divine Son. Our most loving Lord received this homage with benign sweetness, and bowing His head in thanksgiving, said to Saint Gertrude - "I will at a fitting time repay with royal magnificence and divine liberality, this honour which you have paid in My Person to My sweetest Mother."
What God has joined let no one separate - Jesus and Mary; let both live and reign in our heart, and it shall experience even amidst the trials and afflictions of life that peace which surpasses all understanding - all consolation; that peace which God alone can infuse into the soul, which the world cannot give; and we shall be able to cry out with Saint Augustine - "Oh! how delightful has the finding of You, O my God, rendered the privation of those trifles I so much dreaded to lose!"
What is life throughout, but the cry of the Christian soul to its God, beseeching Him to succour it, never to leave it alone? Let your first want, your first movement on awaking be, to seek your God, to cast yourself into His arms. Rejecting all other preoccupation, say to Him every morning with renewed fervour - "'Lord, my heart hath sought Thee. Thy face, O Lord, I will still seek; turn not away Thy face from me.' Deign, O Lord, to keep me this day in Your love; this I beg in the name of Mary." On this action well made, depends, generally speaking, the entire day.
O Mary! Jesus my Lord and my God is with you! He is yours, do not refuse me; give Him to my soul, that ardently longs for Him!
In a village at a short distance from Florence, lived a maiden named Dominica, the offspring of poor parents. From her infancy she was devout to our Blessed Lady, fasted daily in her honour; on Saturday she distributed to the poor the nourishment of which she had deprived herself; she gathered in her garden, or in the adjacent fields, all the flowers she could, and presented them to a statue of the Holy Virgin holding the Divine Infant in her arm. Mary in return visited this child with the most distinguished favours.
When Dominica had attained her tenth year, happening one day to be at the window, she saw in the street a female of noble bearing, accompanied by a charming little child; both held out their hands as if imploring an alms. She at once went to get them some bread; but before she could open the door, they were at her side, and she perceived that the child's hands, feet, and side, were wounded.
"Ah," said Dominica, "who has wounded this boy?"
"Love," the mother replied.
Charmed with his beauty and modesty, Dominica asked him if his wounds were painful. His only answer was a smile.
As they were standing near the statue of Jesus and Mary, the mother said to Dominica, "Tell me, child, why do you crown the images with flowers?"
"It is," she replied, "the love I bear to Jesus and Mary."
"And do you love them much?"
"As much as I can."
"How much is that?"
"As much as grace enables me."
"Continue," said the mother, "continue to love them; they will know how to reward you in Paradise." A celestial odour issuing from the wounds of the child, Dominica asked the mother, what ointment she was accustomed to dress them with, and whether it could be bought. "It may be purchased by faith and good works," she replied.
Dominica offered them some bread. "My son's food," resumed the mother, "is love; tell him you love Jesus, and he will be content." At these words the child became quite joyous, and turning to Dominica asked her how much she loved Jesus.
"How much do I love Him?" rejoined she. "I love Him so much, that day and night I never cease thinking of Him; my sole desire is to know how to please Him."
"Well," replied the child, "love Him, and love will teach you how to please Him."
The perfume of his wounds continuing to augment, Dominica cried out, "My God, this perfume makes me die of love! If so delicious the odour a child can exhale, what must the odour of Paradise be!" But on a sudden a bright light surrounded the Mother, and she appeared robed as a Queen, the Child shone as the sun. He took the flowers with which Dominica had adorned His image, and strewed them over the head of the pious girl, who, recognizing in these august personages Jesus and Mary, had flung herself at their feet. Thus ended the vision.
Dominica afterwards took the habit of Saint Dominic, and died in the odour of sanctity, A.D. 1558.
Visit to the Blessed Sacrament
"Whence shall we buy bread that these may eat?" - John 6:5
My God, I shall not address the same question to You as Your Apostle did. When he put it, You had not yet invented that prodigy of love which we enjoy under the law of grace. One Bread alone suffices me, supplies all my wants - the Eucharistic Bread Which is found here at whatever hour I present myself. It is in You I seek, from You I expect, this Bread of truth, of love - Your Divinity, your Humanity - for the sustenance of my soul. It is from Your Wounds, from Your open Heart, from this loving and vivifying Host hidden in the tabernacle, that I seek my food. Come Yourself into my soul, enrich it, fatten it, that out of Your abundance it may be able to give to those dependent on it - to the souls of my parents, friends, servants. These souls are Yours, they are mine; You gave them to me - protect Your property, this property shared in common with me, unworthy though I be. Truly You must look upon my soul as your spouse, since You share with me your most precious treasure - souls. My God, that I may be useful to them, never leave us; let my heart be Yours, my hand be in Yours while I labour here. I want but You, I desire but You for myself, and all I love in You.
O Mary, give me Jesus, give me to Jesus, and I wish for nothing more!
- taken from The Month of May Consecrated to the Glory of the Mother of God, The Queen of Heaven