BEAUTIFUL THE MEMORIES OF MARY

How beautiful must be the memory of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary! 
How fair! How filled with incomparable and sublime riches! 
How glorious the halls of her mind, how ordered in their loveliness; 
how faithfully pictured in the mirrors of their corridors all her life
on earth,
her walks with God, the tender communings with him,
the varied scenes of all her graces, her actions and her virtues.

Here, where courtyards open, great fountains of golden grace
shoot up,
and shatter rainbows in all the prism-split hues of colored sprays
that the sundered-yet-resplendent-sun has made of them.
There, by the walks of its cloister-ways, once again some
of the humblest violets of her simple modest virtues bloom.
But over there on the cobbled paths, caught in the flash-flood,
or sweeping her down great and jagged canyons of anguish,
torrents of purple sorrows pour, floods of titanic grief
only the Mother of a Suffering God-Man could know and survive;
and still wonder in awe at them in her remembering.
And the flood waters pile up, frothing in certain places,
tossing, flailing her, as where Herod's hoofs thunder through
Bethlehem;
or where the soldier's hammer pounds at her heart
as they nail him to Calvary.

How rich, how varied the halls of the memory of Mary!
With what colossal canvases come from the hand of God,
with what stretched tapestries of time meeting eternity hung!
See that majestic river of her thoughts, white and ordered,
flowing through the jungles of our universal sin;
see it, from that first and primeval privilege pouring,
Mother of his Son, all beautiful in an immaculate conception;
see its ever-virginal crystal waters pure, simply because
God made her so, no memory of any spot, flotsam or jetsam
ever afloat
on that peerless stream, no least soiling of it, no mud to stir,
no fault of odor - only sweet! - in her sacred memory remains.

See her mind as one tremendous volume, all of whose leaves
are as perfect, and as unprinted by man, or by earth's
least smudging touch, as the world's first pristine snow
before a creature stirred, fresh before the eyes of God;
yet covered with the golden letters of a golden story
not even the cherubim and seraphim understand fully or know.
Look upon those leaves, that shining script of God, all God's,
and only God's, the flawless beautiful writing of the All-Holy One!
Read in her memory the mirroring record of the one and only time
He wrote in mere mortal man, fully, according to his plan:
Because all his will was hers, and all her will was his,
perfectly, unreservedly; look for the most beautiful tale ever
told that God in dust - though exalted so - chose to unfold,
but in dust that was gold, the life of his Mother, Mary.

No error anywhere, no erasure, no blemish on any page -
All because he knew she would say to him, artless, childlike:
Yes, Omnipotent God, write out my life, every moment as You wish.
And with complacent joy God wrote God-well and said:
Behold my most cherished handiwork, my delight, my signature,
this perfect - all I claim my very own, God-given glorious beginning,
heavenly journey through earth, full blossoming of fullness of grace
into my eternity - behold the life of my mother!

How beautiful must be the memories of the Mother of God!
Thoughts spotless, deeds blessed by the divine, all those precious
things dreamed of by him to be her memories,
sorrows purple, glories gold ..... how beautiful the mind
of the Mother of God, how beautiful all her memories.

Albert Joseph Hebert, S.M.
Mary, Our Blessed Lady
New York: Exposition Press, 1970.
photo:Léon Bazille Perrault (1832-1908) Mother with Child (Detail)

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