Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising,
Fair as the moon, bright as the sun,
Terrible as an army set in battle array?
(Canticle of Canticles 6.9)
The above words are said by the daughters of Jerusalem who are now converted into faithful friends, admirers and disciples of the Bride, or else by the friends of the Spouse who marvel at seeing this happy soul rise up and advance majestically like the dawn which shines more and more until the perfect day is reached (cf., Prov. 4.18), without ever declining or halting in its course. In the way of the Spirit the one who tires least is he who runs most and stops least; for in relaxing or taking short steps, even under the pretext of taking a brief rest, we in fact see that their spiritual strength is always lessened instead of renewed.
The holy soul not only advances like the dawn, but is also fair as the moon, that is, similar to the Immaculate Conception, the true Moon of the mystical Heaven lighting up our darkness and watching over our nights (cf., our post "Mary in the Sacred Scriptures: Our Hope II") ... The moon does not have its own light, but receives it from the sun; so this soul tries to be like Mary and always receive the divine rays of Her Sun Jesus, so as to become, under His continual influence, another new sun; in this way she seems pure and select like Him. For she shines so much with the clarity she receives, and reflects His divine light so much when enlightening other souls, that she seems to mirror Him and to look like a real sun.
No longer ordinary people in general, but even the friends of the Spouse and the angels themselves praise this singular* and privileged soul, marveling at her delightful beauty, her generosity, valor and magnanimity. They watch her at the very dawn of her spiritual life when she first began to rise up and scatter sweet sparks of light; they watch her as she advances, laden with gifts and riches, and beautiful as the mystical Moon; that is, very simiar to the Mother of divine grace, and receiving from the Divine Sun a most abundant clarity that she communicates to many others; and finally they see her very similar in splendor to the Sun Himself, upon Whom she, like Our Immaculate Mother, becomes modeled.
* Not a soul of singularity, however.
She does good to everyone: she enlightens all with Heavenly wisdom, she seeks to enkindle all in divine love and to some extent, impresses all with her sublime virtues, driving away all who resist such salutary influences. Her greatness and power is such that she seems like a well-ordered army that terrifies its enemies and make them to surrender, triumphing over everything. For the souls in this state of such intimate union with the Word, are not only frightening to demons who flee from her in terror and confusion, but also to men, however furious and inimical they are. This can be seen in the case of so many Saints especially in that of [our dear "Little Therese" who, in a vision Our Lord granted her, by a mere sight of her, made the devils to scamper away terrified and shaking; also,] in that of St. Catherine of Sienna who, by their very presence alone change hearts and make their enemies put down their arms... Here they are truly seen to be working with a divine power, for it is God Himself Who manifests Himself and works through them, while at the same time taking His delight in them.
"Blessed be He," exclaims the Ven. Mariana de San Jose, " Who, being the God of infinte majesty, nonetheless desires to communicate Himself to us in an infinite manner. If this were not so, He would never deign to look at us being His bride and friend, nor would He make her one with Himself, the two becoming one single will; so that, through participation in this union, the creature becomes a 'god', and a mirror in which the true God sees Himself and which, reflecting the rays of His light, seems to be the Light Itself, so that the soul becomes the light of Light and the Lord can call her the light of His eyes... O Lord, what hidden and yet what patent truths! Hidden, to souls who do not prepare themselves, but to those who are prepared and who surender themselves into Your hands, how evident and how full of glory."
But although hidden, they make themselves felt just as the mystical Bride succeeds in making herself felt.
The soul who before was attached to the earth now sees herself lifted out of herself and above all that is worldly, and not only has the true Light of life for herself, but with her edifying conversation, begins to serve as a luminary for many others. So that, as St. Gregory says, as her light shines more and more, she is compared first to the moon, because with her good conduct she begins to point out the straight path (not the confusedly 'unchartered' ecumenical path chosen by the hierarchy of Vatican II "Disorientation," cf., Pope John Paul II in our post, "What is truth?") to those that lie in the darkness (cf., the thick darkness that has engulfed the Neo-'Catholic' [Dis-]Order or the Novus Ordo since Vatican II, cf., the Papal statements in our post "Our Lady and the Diabolical Campaign") or in the shadows of death; and then to the Sun Itself, for she is now able to enlighten with beautiful and brilliant examples not only sinners, but also the just and the very advanced.
"When the soul leaves the night of sin," observes Fr. Gracian, "she always tries to progress; at first she is like the morning, where there is not so much light and much coldness until the sun warms the earth; and she is like this because the souls of beginners are ignorant of many things and often cold in spirit. They enter the active life, which is compared to the moon, because... the soul receives the light of her instructor's teaching and has [growth and decline] of virtue... After having exercised herself in these works of ascetical life, she ascends to the contemplative life that overflows with light like the sun. Finally, from the contemplative life she ascends to the unitive stage where, united to God and to all creatures of Heaven and on earth, like an army lined up in squadrons, she fulfills the desires and mercies of God."
"Who is this, they will ask, who is beautiful as the sun, through the purity of her chastity, who patiently shines at night in the midst of the adversities of this life without losing her splendor because of them? Who is this, select like the sun, firm and stable in her virtuous exercises... which she regulates like a resplendent army.... becomes terrifying to devils...? Who is this soul who always ascends and never halts, abandoning all worldly things so as to have her conversation in Heaven? O how lofty Christian life is... and with what wonder it fills the angels themselves!" (La Puente).
[A mystical exposition prepared by the Rev. Fr. Juan G. Arintero, O.P. (1860-1928) drawn from the Church's long mystical tradition]
A most blessed Feast to all!
Related post: "The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary"