Dear Friends and Benefactors, 8/21/19
The Immaculate Heart of Mary was prefigured by the burning bush seen by Moses on Mount Horeb. As Saint John Eudes explains, first we should consider that the mountain on whose slopes the bush grew is called in Sacred Scripture “the mountain of God,” (Exodus 3:1). It is also spoken of as “a holy mountain,” for Moses heard a voice saying to him, “The place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” (Exodus 3:5). We shall easily be convinced, therefore, that it represents the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, who is the true mountain of God, a mountain of holiness of whom we can well say with Saint Gregory the Great that she is the mountain foretold by the prophet Isaias as the peak towering above all other heights, “A mountain … on the top of mountains,” (Isaias 2:2) because God has raised her in dignity, in sanctity and power above the chief Seraphim and the greatest saints.
Secondly, we ought not to despise this insignificant bush, a lowly shrub, the least of all plants. On the contrary, we should regard it with respect, since God so honored this bush as to choose it in preference to the tallest cedars of Lebanon for this manifestation of His glory, amid the fire and flames of its miraculous blaze. Would you know the reason of this? Listen to the Holy Ghost, “The Lord is high and looketh on the low: and the high He knoweth afar off.” (Psalm 137:6). Though God is Most High and infinitely above His creatures, nevertheless it delights His Divine Providence to look with a kind and loving eye at that which is small and lowly. While He draws near to the humble, He surveys the great and mighty from afar, as though He disregarded and despised them.
Thus was He attracted by the humility of Mary, His handmaid. “Because He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid.” (Saint Luke 1:48). Saint Bernard speaks as follows of the profound humility of Mary’s Immaculate Heart, “She who in her own mind and heart was the least of all creatures, has rightly been made the first, because, even though she was in fact the first, she considered herself as being the last.” This humility of the Immaculate Heart of Heaven’s Queen is represented by the lowliness of the mysterious bush of Mount Horeb.
Thirdly, we must not be frightened or horrified by the sharp thorns which guard this bush on all sides, both outside and inside. This should, on the contrary, make us love it more, because God loves it for this reason. It is obvious that God loves all His creatures and hates none of the works of His hands, for it is written, “Thou lovest all things that are, and hatest none of the things which Thou hast made.” (Wisdom 11:25). It is also obvious that God cherished a specially tender love for this little bush, that His Heart was there and that He took pleasure in it. He chose it to be His throne, the place where He would manifest His glory to His servant Moses, where He would speak to His prophet, disclose divine secrets, and reveal His providential designs to deliver the chosen people from Egyptian bondage.
God loved the burning bush because the fire that encompassed without consuming it represented the fire of divine love which filled the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a love far greater than that of all the hearts of men and angels. The thorns symbolized the bitter sorrow and unspeakable anguish which pierced the Immaculate Heart of the Mother of God – suffering that she accepted for the love of God and the salvation of mankind.
Moreover, God descended from Heaven into the bush on Mount Horeb and manifested Himself to Moses, “in the flame of fire,” to show His love and charity towards His people, and spoke “from the midst of the bush,” or according to another version “from the heart of the bush,” to declare His intention of delivering the children of Israel from the captivity of Pharao through the instrumentality of Moses. In like manner the Son of God, in the excess of His love, descended from the bosom of the Eternal Father into His Mother’s Immaculate Heart, ablaze as it was with love for God and charity towards men, in order to bring about our Redemption and to associate her with Himself as the instrument of this great work.
God remained in the burning bush only a short time, but He has always been and will forever abide in the Immaculate Heart of our Glorious Mother.
The principal characteristic we should consider about the burning bush, however, is marked by the words of Moses, “I will go and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.” (Exodus 3:3). The sacred text says that Moses saw the bush in the midst of a glowing fire, which nevertheless did not destroy it. “He saw that the bush was on fire and was not burnt.” (Exodus 3:2).
This is truly a great miracle. Yet, it is only a figure of the much greater wonder that took place in the Immaculate Heart of our admirable Mother. Mary’s Immaculate Heart was a galaxy of marvels, and one of the most stupendous was that, while the Mother of Fair Love remained in this world, her Heart became inflamed with love for God to such intensity that this sacred flame would have consumed her corporeal life if she had not been miraculously preserved in the midst of such of such heavenly fervor. It was, therefore, a greater wonder to behold Our Lady living surrounded by heavenly fire, without being annihilated, than to watch the burning bush of Moses in the midst of fire without being consumed.
Therefore, we may conclude that the burning bush of Mount Horeb was indeed a significant representation of the Immaculate Heart of the Mother of God. Let our heart truly burn with that loving fire that enkindled the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the fire that Our Lord Jesus Christ came to spread upon earth.
AVE MARIA !
Father Joseph Possion
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