Spouse of the Holy Spirit
Presence of God – O Mary, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, make me docile to His divine motions.
“The Blessed Virgin Mary,” says St. Augustine, “was the only one who merited to be called the Mother and Spouse” of God. She became the Mother of God because she was the Spouse of the Holy Spirit: “the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee” (Luke 1:35), said the Angel, explaining the mysterious, divine manner in which she would become a mother, the Mother of the Son of God. At that moment, the Holy Spirit, who had already possessed Mary’s soul from the first moment of her Immaculate Conception, came upon her with such exceptional plenitude that He formed within her the sacred Body of Jesus. Justly, therefore, does Mary deserve the name of Spouse of the Holy Spirit: she is His possession, His sanctuary, His temple.
The divine Paraclete may well say to her in the words of the Canticle: “My sister, my spouse, is a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed up” (Song of Songs 4:12). Mary is a garden enclosed because she was never defiled—even for an instant—by the shadow of sin, was never subject to the winds of unruly passions, never taken up with any affection for creatures. “The most glorious Virgin, our Lady,” says St. John of the Cross, “never had the form of any creature imprinted on her soul, and was never moved by any creature, but her actions were always inspired by the Holy Spirit” (Ascent of Mount Carmel III, 2:10). Filled with grace from her conception, Mary is always the faithful Spouse of the Holy Spirit, attentive and docile to all His impulses and inspirations.
If Mary’s sublime privileges are reserved for her alone, we can, nevertheless, imitate her interior dispositions by keeping our heart, in imitation of hers, always attentive and docile to the action of the Holy Spirit.
“O Mary, you are holy in body and mind. You can say in a special way: ‘My conversation is in heaven’ (cf. Philippians 3:20). You are the garden enclosed, the sealed fountain, the temple of the Lord, the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit; you are the wise Virgin who not only provided herself with oil but filled her lamp with it. O Mary, how were you able to reach the inaccessible majesty of God, if you did not knock, ask, and seek? Yes, you found what you were looking for, and the Angel said to you, ‘You have found grace before God.’ Yet, how could you, who were already full of grace, find more grace? Oh! you were truly worthy to find grace, because you were not satisfied with the fullness which you had, but asked for a superabundance of grace for the salvation of the world! ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you,’ said the Angel, and this precious balm was poured over you in such abundance that it flowed from you over the whole earth…. If heretofore the Holy Spirit was in you in the fullness of grace, now He comes upon you, as if to call attention to the superabundant plenitude of grace which He pours upon you. If in the past grace was present only in your soul, it now invades your breast also … the divine power makes you fruitful and you conceive of the Holy Spirit” (cf. St. Bernard).
O Mary, faithful Spouse of the Holy Spirit, look upon my wretchedness and my weakness. God has placed in you the fullness of all His gifts so that I may understand that all hope, all grace, all salvation come from you! You see how hard my heart is, how dull my mind; help me, therefore, O faithful Virgin, to overcome the resistance of my pride, my selfishness, and my cowardice, so that my soul may open itself fully to the invasion of grace, abandoning itself with docility to the action of the Holy Spirit, promptly following His impulses, inspirations, and invitations.
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Art: Modified Detail of Jungfrau der Verkündigung, Detail: Maria und Heilige Geist (Taube) [Virgin of the Annunciation Detail: Mary and the Holy Spirit (Dove)], Jan van Eyck, from 1436 to 1432, PD-Worldwide (PD-US author’s life plus 100 years or less),Wikimedia Commons. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.