This October is a special one, as it is the 100th anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun at Fátima, which remains one of Our Lady’s greatest miracles. Furthermore, the course of the year brings around the great feast of Our Lady of the Rosary on October 7. All in all, a good time to review one of our favorite Marian readings, from Charles de Koninck’s stupendous Ego Sapientia:
33. Nigra sum, sed formosa
Seeing the immensity of the mercy that the Almighty chose to manifest, it was eminently suitable that the universal royalty of Christ and of His mother be manifested in his Passion. “Pilate said to Him: You are then a king? Jesus answered: It is you who say it. I am a king.” (Jo. XVIII, 37). It is the same Christ who says: “I am a worm and not a man, the shame of men and the outcast of the people” (Ps. XXI, 7), and: “I am a king, king of kings, and lord of lords” (Apoc. XIX, 16). It is in the Passion that the nigra sum, sed formosa shows forth in all its profundity and to its fullest extent.
Queen of mercy, the Blessed Virgin is so profoundly rooted in the divine omnipotence that in her issue, in her procession from that power, she participates, so to speak, in the incomprehensibility of that same poser. Sol in aspectu annuncians in exitu, vas admirablile opus excelsi (Eccli. XIII, 2)—Coming out of God she announces the sun in its glory: what an admirable vase is this work of the Most-High. Was she not herself troubled at first before the proximity to God, which Gabriel announced to her? She was troubled by his words (Luke I, 29). If the most powerful blessed angels tremble and humiliate themselves before the power which elevates them so high above the dignity that is appropriate to them by nature, how much more profound will be the astonishment and the humility of the Blessed Virgin called to the sovereign dignity. Totam habet potestatem—She possessed all power. This astonishment, this imperfect knowledge of the cause, will remain for us to the end. Admirabilis ero—I will be astounding (Wis. VIII, 11). In plentitudine sancta admirabitur—She will astound the assembly of saints (Eccli. XXIV, 3).