Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen


The perfection of all motherhood is Mary, the Mother of Jesus, because she is the only mother in all the world who was "made to order” by her Divine Son. No creature can create his own mother. He can paint a picture of his own mother, for, in the field of art, the artist preexists his product; he is a symbol of God the Creator preexisting His creatures. All art is an imitation of the Divine Artist Who, from all eternity, possessed in His Divine mind the archetypal ideas according to which He made the world in time. The most famous painting of a mother is probably that by Whistler. Once, when complimented on its beauty, he answered: "You know how it is; one tries to make one’s mother as nice as possible."

Our Divine Lord preexisted His own Mother existentially, as Whistler preexisted his mother artistically. Every bird, every flower, every tree has been made according to an idea existing in the mind of God from all eternity. When He came into the world at Bethlehem, He was unlike anyone ever born; creation was no stranger to Him. He was like a bird that might have made the nest in which he was hatched. He came into the universe as a master into His own house or as an artist into his own studio. The universe was His and the fullness thereof.

In a particular way He created His own Mother. He thought of her before she was born, as the poet thinks of his poem before it is written. He conceived her in His eternal mind before she was conceived in the womb of her mother, St. Ann. In an improper sense, when she was conceived eternally in the pure mind of God, that was her first "Immaculate Conception." In the Mass of that feast, the Church puts into her mouth the words from the Book of Proverbs, saying that from all eternity God had thought of her, even before the mountains were raised and the valleys were leveled.

The Lord made me his when first he went about his work, at the birth of time, before his creation began. Long, long ago, before earth was fashioned, I held my course. Already I lay in the womb, when the depths were not yet in being, when no springs of water had yet broken; when I was born, the mountains had not yet sunk on their firm foundations, and there were no hills; not yet had he made the earth, or the rivers, or the solid framework of the world. I was there when he built the heavens, when he fenced in the waters with a vault inviolable, when he fixed the sky overhead, and leveled the fountain-springs of the deep. I was there when he enclosed the sea within its confines, forbidding the waters to transgress their assigned limits, when he poised the foundations of the world. I was at his side, a master workman, my delight increasing with each day, as I made play before him all the while; made play in this world of dust, with the sons of Adam for my play-fellows. Listen to me, then, you that are my sons, that follow, to your happiness, in the paths I shew you; listen to the teaching that will make you wise, instead of turning away from it. Blessed are they who listen to me, keep vigil, day by day, at my threshold, watching till I open my doors. The man who wins me, wins life, drinks deep of the Lord’s favor; who fails, fails at his own bitter cost; to be my enemy is to be in love with death [Prov. 8: 22-36].

But God not only "thought" about Mary. He actually created her soul and infused it into a body, co-created by her parents. It was through her portals as the Gate of Heaven that He would come into the world. If God labored six days in preparing a paradise for man, He would spend a longer time preparing a paradise for His Divine Son. As no weeds grew in Eden, so no sin would arise in Mary, the paradise of the Incarnation. Most unbecoming it would be for the sinless Lord to come into the world through a woman afflicted with sin. A barn door cannot fittingly serve as an entrance to a castle.

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