Gratia plena

July 02, 2020

The Blessed Virgin, from the very first moment of her existence, received a fullness of grace; and this was without any prior merit on her part, since before one can merit, one must exist.

This fullness of grace surpassed all of God’s gifts given, at the beginning of their life or existence, to His angels and saints, because hers was a holiness surpassing all of them. One can add up all the graces given to others, and add to them indefinitely, but this will not be comparable to the fullness of grace initially given to Mary to prepare her for the Incarnation, to dispose her to have, with the Holy Trinity, relations of an absolutely unique order. Grace is always given for union with the divine Persons; and Mary's union with God is incomparable to any other union with the Trinity.

Grace - the life of God even in her soul - was given to her, no doubt to unite her ever more closely to God. St Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort wrote: “God the Father made a gathering of all the waters, which he called the sea; he also made a gathering of all his graces, which he called Mary”.

St. Mechtilde described this fullness of grace in detail: “O Father, in your most magnificent omnipotence, you exalted Mary's soul, conferring upon it the most sublime honor and placing it as if on a throne, so that it would be, after you, the most powerful in heaven and on earth. O Son of God, according to the excellence of your unfathomable Wisdom, you have, as a marvelous artist, enriched and filled the Virgin with every science and intelligence so that she could, better than all the saints and by a more perfect knowledge, enjoy the Holy Trinity. You have illuminated her with such clarity that she in turn illuminates the whole sky, as the sun does by the virtue of its rays! O Holy Spirit, you have poured into Mary with fullness the sweetness of your Love; you have made her so peaceful and calm that she was, after God, the sweetest and most blessed”.

This fullness of grace, however, was capable of growth. Mary grew in grace without ceasing, because at every moment, faithfully, without the least refusal, without the least resistance, she put into practice the grace received: and at every moment she thus acquired a new merit, which earned her a new outpouring of grace.

The soul of the holy humanity of Christ possessed, from the first moment of the Incarnation, the most extensive fullness of grace that can be conceived. He never progressed in that grace, and the word of St. Luke, which alludes to it, only signifies what men saw on their side. That is why the Virgin Mary is the model of growth in grace, absolute perfection in this field, from the Immaculate Conception to her Assumption into heaven. And at that moment, the grace of the Virgin Mary exceeded the sum of all the gifts of grace of all the angels and saints in heaven together.

Let us therefore venerate this unique gift of God in the Virgin Mary, with each of our greetings: Gratia plena! And let us implore her to help us to progress in this grace by imitating her.