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Conception and Knowledge


If our Lady knew God before she had conceived her Son, how much more intimately she knew him afterwards, when the Holy Spirit had descended on her.

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madonnahumility6Then all the light of the Spirit of Love burnt its radiant fires within her, and all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, beginning with wisdom and understanding, were given to her to spend on her Child.

For every mother the knowledge of God is the essential preparation for motherhood: to know him as a tender but infinitely powerful Father; then to pray for the descent of the Spirit for the divine ray that illumines natural love and bestows all the qualities of the Spirit's indwelling presence, which are the basic necessities in bringing up a child.

Our Lady knew that her child was the Child of God before he was her Child, and because she loved God, knowing his goodness, his Fatherhood and his Motherhood, his tenderness and his power, his pity and his justice, above all his love for his children, she was consoled by this knowledge.  It made it possible to bear the foreboding of suffering that haunted her.  It would have been unbearable to hold that infant Son in her arms, knowing that he must go away to a life of suffering and a cruel death, were it not for her faith in his heavenly Father, were it not for her certainty that the hands of God would always be holding him, and that God's hands, incredible though it seemed, would hold him even more tenderly, even more securely, than hers.



houselander Caryll Houselander. "Conception and Knowledge." from Wood of the Cradle, Wood of the Cross: The Little Way of the Infant Jesus (Sophia Institute Press, 1995).

Reproduced by kind permission of Sophia Press.  This excerpt appeared in the December, 2017 issue of Magnificat.

The Author

house1house2Caryll Houselander (1901-1954) was a British Roman Catholic laywoman; a mystic, writer, artist, visionary and healer. Her first book, This War is the Passion, written during World War II, launched her prolific writing career. She is best known for: A Rocking Horse Catholic, The Reed of God, The Way of the Cross, This War is the Passion, The Risen ChristThe Letters Of Caryll Houselander: Her Spiritual Legacy, and Wood of the Cradle, Wood of the Cross: The Little Way of the Infant Jesus.

Copyright © 1995 Sophia Press
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