When the Blessed Virgin Mary hurried through the hills of Judea to visit her cousin Elizabeth she had just entertained a visit from the Angel Gabriel. Fresh in her mind were his words: "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women" (Luke 1:28). She had given her consent, her "Fiat", and was overshadowed by the Holy Ghost, conceiving the Son of God in her womb. Upon hearing her words of greeting Elizabeth was "filled with the Holy Spirit, and cried out with a loud voice, saying, 'Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb! And how have I deserved that the mother of my Lord should come to me?'" (Luke 1:42,43).
By her Fiat Mary consented to being the Mother of the Savior, and to all that was implied in being such. Her future role in the Church was immediately foreshadowed by what transpired as she arrived at the home of her cousin. Her words of greeting mediated, like a sacrament, the grace of the Holy Spirit from her Divine Son to Elizabeth, and the child John the Baptist in her womb: "For the moment that your greeting sounded in my ears the infant in my womb leapt for joy" (Luke 1:44). This was the sanctification of the child John through the presence of the Holy One, Jesus Christ and the grace of the Holy Ghost. Some thirty years later John would baptize in the Jordan waters Him by Whom he had been sanctified.
Many see the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary as limited to her human function of childbearing, failing to grasp the spiritual dimension of her motherhood. They blasphemously assert that she and St. Joseph had other children, citing Scripture passages that speak of the brothers and sisters of Jesus, which actually means other close relatives like cousins. We could ask, if Mary and Joseph had other children, where were they when the Child Jesus accompanied His parents to Jerusalem at the age of twelve? And especially where were they when Jesus entrusted His Mother to the disciple John moments before His death on the Cross. It would have been the right and the duty of His brothers and sisters to take care of their Mother.
Mary, of course, was the Ever-Virgin Mother of God's only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and Spouse of the Holy Spirit. No man, especially her chaste and holy spouse, St. Joseph, would have the temerity to touch the holy, immaculate and Ever-Virgin Mary. She herself told us, "I do not know man" (Luke 1:34). But not being the natural mother of other children allowed Mary to become "mother of all the living" (Genesis 3:20). We are children of Eve in the order of nature; we are children of Mary in the order of grace.
We see that Mary acted as an intermediary between her Divine Son and St. Elizabeth, or, as we say more familiarly, a Mediatrix. This was only the beginning of her role in the Church as the Spouse of the Holy Ghost and "Theotokos," the God-Bearer, a living Tabernacle bringing God to us. St. Elizabeth was the first to call Mary "Mother of my Lord," (Luke 1:43). St. Ephraim the Syrian comments: "It is essential for us to confess that the holy Ever-Virgin Mary is actually Theotokos (Birth-giver of God), so as not to fall into blasphemy. For those who deny that the Holy Virgin is actually Theotokos are no longer believers, but disciples of the Pharisees and Sadducees" (To John the Monk).
Blessed Peter Julian Eymard explains: "Mankind was unworthy to receive the Word directly from God, so Mary was our Mediatrix in the Incarnation, and she continues to exercise that function. No one comes to the knowledge of Jesus Christ and embraces His holy law except through her; no one obtains the saving gift of faith except by her prayers. Her mission, to which she is ever faithful, is to give us Jesus. He must be received from her hands, and in vain do we seek Him elsewhere."
St. Louis de Montfort agrees: "To Mary, His faithful spouse, God the Holy Ghost has communicated His unspeakable gifts; and He has chosen her to be the dispensatrix of all He possesses, in such sort that she distributes to whom she wills, as much as she wills, as she wills and when she wills, all His gifts and graces. The Holy Ghost gives no heavenly gift to men which does not pass through her virginal hands."
And St. Alphonsus: "God, who gave us Jesus Christ, wills that all graces that have been, that are, and will be dispensed to men to the end of the world through the merits of Jesus Christ, should be dispensed by the hands and through the intercession of Mary" (The Glories of Mary).
"All the saints," says St. John Vianney, "have a great devotion to Our Lady: no grace comes from Heaven without passing through her hands. We cannot go into a house without speaking to the doorkeeper. Well, the Holy Virgin is the doorkeeper of Heaven."
By contemplating the beauty of our Holy Mother, our glorious Queen, we learn to aspire to noble things, heroic things, heavenly things, things the world cannot understand because it is immersed in the carnal pleasures of this world that are offensive to God. We must resolve to live without sin, "For perverse counsels separate a man from God, and his power, put to the proof, rebukes the foolhardy; because into a soul that plots evil wisdom enters not, nor dwells she in a body under debt of sin" (Wisdom 1:3,4).
See her in your mind's eye, in your spirit, our Immaculate Mother, filled with the Holy Spirit, reaching out to you with heavenly gifts and graces. They are yours for the asking. Don't be afraid to go to her, to contemplate her spiritual beauty - she comes as she came to Elizabeth, "full of grace," bringing Jesus with her. She is accompanied by the Holy Ghost, with Whose Divine presence we are filled, like St. Elizabeth, and we leap for joy in our spirits, like St. John the Baptist in his mother's womb.
With St. Bonaventure we invoke the Holy Mother of God: "The foundations of life in the soul of the just: are to persevere in charity unto the end. Thy grace raises up the poor man in adversity: and the invocation of thy name inspires him with confidence. Paradise is filled with thy tender mercies: and by the fear of thee the infernal enemy is confounded. He who hopes in thee, will find treasures of peace: and he who invokes thee not in this life, will not attain to the kingdom of God. Grant, O Lady, that we may live in the grace of the Holy Ghost: and lead our souls to a holy end. Amen." (Psalter of the B.V.M., Psalm 86).