St. Alphonsus Liguori: The Glories of Mary
The Glories of Mary
by St. Alphonsus Liguori

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    Protest of the author
    Petition of the author to Jesus and Mary
    To the reader
    Prayer to the blessed Virgin to obtain a good death


        SECTION 1. Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy! of the great confidence we should have in Mary, because    she is the Queen of Mercy
        SECTION 2. How much greater should be our confidence in Mary, because she is our mother
        SECTION 3. How great is the love of our mother for us
        SECTION 4. Mary is also mother of penitent sinners

CHAPTER II: VITA, DULCEDO. Our life, our sweetness

        SECTION 1. Our life, our sweetness! Mary is our life, because she obtains for us the pardon of our sins
        SECTION 2. Mary is again our life, because she obtains for us perseverance
        SECTION 3. Mary renders death sweet to her servants


        SECTION 1. Hail, our hope! Mary is the hope of all
        SECTION 2. Mary, the hope of sinners

CHAPTER IV: AD TE CLAMAMUS EXULES FILII HEVAE. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve

        SECTION 1. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve! How ready is Mary to succor those who call upon her
        SECTION 2. How powerful is Mary to protect those who invoke her in temptations of the devil

CHAPTER V: AD TE SUSPIRAMUS GEMENTES ET FLENTES lN HAC LACRYMARUM VALLE. To thee do we send up our sighs, groaning and weeping In this valley of tears

        SECTION 1. The need we have of the intercession of Mary for our salvation
        SECTION 2. The same subject continued


        SECTION 1. Mary is an advocate powerful to save all
        SECTION 2. Mary is a merciful advocate, who does not refuse to defend the cause of the most miserable sinners
        SECTION 3. Mary is the peace-maker between sinners and God


        SECTION 1. Mary is all eyes, to pity and relieve our miseries


    And after this our exile, show us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus
        SECTION 1. Mary rescues her servants from hell
        SECTION 2. Mary assists her servants in purgatory
        SECTION 3. Mary conducts her servants to paradise

CHAPTER IX How great is the clemency and mercy of Mary

CHAPTER X How sweet is the name of Mary in life and in death!

Some Devout Prayers Of Various Saints to the Holy Mother


Which treats of her principal Festivals; of her dolors in general, and of each of her seven dolors in  particular; of her virtues; and lastly, of devotion to be practised in her honor.

Discourses on the seven principal feasts of Mary and her Dolors.
            DISCOURSE I. On the Immaculate Conception of Mary
            DISCOURSE II. On the birth of Mary
            DISCOURSE III. On the presentation of Mary
            DISCOURSE IV. On the Annunciation of Mary
            DISCOURSE V. On the visitation of Mary
            DISCOURSE VI. On the purification of Mary
            DISCOURSE VII. On the Assumption of Mary
            DISCOURSE VIII. Another discourse on the Assumption of Mary
            DISCOURSE IX. On the Dolors of Mary

Reflections on each of the Seven Dolors of Mary in particular

            ON THE FIRST DOLOR. Of St. Simeon’s prophecy.
            ON THE SECOND DOLOR. Of the flight of Jesus into Egypt
            ON THE THIRD DOLOR. Of the loss of Jesus in the temple
            ON THE FOURTH DOLOR. Of the meeting of Mary with Jesus when He went to death
            ON THE FIFTH DOLOR. Of the death of Jesus
            ON THE SIXTH DOLOR. The piercing of the side of Jesus and His descent from the cross.
            ON THE SEVENTH DOLOR. The burial of the body of Jesus

Of the virtues of Mary
            SECTION 1. Of the humility of Mary
            SECTION 2. Of the charity of Mary towards God.
            SECTION 3. Of the charity of Mary for her neighbors
            SECTION 4. Of the faith of Mary
            SECTION 5. Of the hope of Mary
            SECTION 6. Of the chastity of Mary
            SECTION 7. Of the poverty of Mary
            SECTION 8. Of the obedience of Mary
            SECTION 9. Of the patience of Mary
            SECTION 10. Of the prayer of Mary

Various practices of devotion to the Divine Mother
            DEVOTION I. Of the “Hail Mary”
            DEVOTION II. Of Novenas
            DEVOTION III. Of the Rosary and Office
            DEVOTION IV. Of Fasting
            DEVOTION V. Of visiting the images of Mary
            DEVOTION VI. Of the Scapular
            DEVOTION VII. Of entering into the Confraternities of Mary
            DEVOTION VIII. Of Alms in honor of Mary
            DEVOTION IX. Of frequent recourse to Mary
            DEVOTION X. Tenth and last devotion

Various additional examples appertaining to the most Holy Mary.
            Examples 1-10

            FIRST DAY
            SECOND DAY
            THIRD DAY
            FOURTH DAY
            FIFTH DAY
            SIXTH DAY
            SEVENTH DAY
            EIGHTH DAY
            NINTH DAY

Meditations for various feasts of Mary

            Meditation for the day of the Purification of Mary and the Presentation of Jesus.
            Meditation for the 25th of March the Annunciation to Mary.
            Meditation for the 2nd of July on the Feast of the Visitation of Mary
            Meditation for the 15th of August on the Feast of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven.
            Meditation for the 8th of September on the Feast of the Nativity of Mary
            Meditation for the 21st of November on the Feast of the Presentation of Mary.
            Meditation for the 8th of December on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Prayers to the divine Mother for every day of the week

            Sunday -Prayer to the most holy Mary to obtain the pardon of sins.
            Monday -Prayer to the most holy Mary to obtain holy perseverance
            Tuesday -Prayer to Mary most holy to obtain a good death.
            Wednesday -Prayer to Mary most holy to obtain deliverance from hell.
            Thursday -Prayer to the most holy Mary to obtain paradise.
            Friday -Prayer to the most holy Mary to obtain love towards her and Jesus Christ
            Saturday -Prayer to the most holy Mary to obtain her patronage.

Little Rosary of the Seven Dolors of Mary

Little Rosary of the Immaculate Mary

Dedication of oneself to Mary

Dedication of a family to Mary

Various prayers to Mary
            Prayer of St. Ephrem to Mary (abbreviated)
            Prayer of St. Thomas of Aquinas
            Prayer of St. Blosius to the Blessed Virgin
            Another Prayer

Ejaculations to the most holy Mary

Acclamations in praise of Mary
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Protests of the Author

IN obedience to the decrees of Urban VIII., of holy memory, I protest that I do not intend to attribute any other than purely human authority to all the miracles, revelations, graces, and incidents contained in this book; neither to the titles holy or blessed applied to the servants of God not yet canonized; except in cases where these have been confirmed by the holy Roman Catholic Church, and by the holy Apostolic See, of whom I profess myself an obedient son; and therefore to their judgment I submit myself and whatever I have written in this book.


Petition of the author to Jesus and Mary

My most loving Redeemer and Lord Jesus Christ, I thy poor servant, knowing how pleasing to thee are those who seek to glorify thy most holy mother, whom thou lovest so much,and dost so much desire to see loved and honored by all men, I propose to publish this book of mine which treats of her glories. I know not to whom I could commend it but to thee, who hast so much at heart the glory of this mother. To thee, then, I present and dedicate it. Receive this little offering of my love for thee and thy beloved mother. Take it under thy protection, and pour into the hearts of those who read it the light of confidence in this immaculate Virgin, and the warmth of a burning love for her, in whom thou hast placed the hope and refuge of all the redeemed. And for the reward of this, my poor effort, give me, I pray thee, that love for Mary with which I have desired to inflame, by this my little work, the hearts of all those who read it.

To thee also I appeal, oh my sweetest Lady and mother Mary. Thou knowest that in thee, next to Jesus, I have placed all hope of my eternal salvation, since all the good I have received, my conversion, my vocation to leave the world, and whatever other graces have been given me by God, I acknowledge them all as coming through thee. Thou knowest that to see thee loved by all as thou dost deserve, and to offer thee some token of gratitude, I have always sought to proclaim thee everywhere, in public and in private, and to inspire all men with a sweet and salutary devotion to thee. I hope to continue to do so for the remainder of my life, even to my last breath. But I see by my advanced age and declining health that the end of my pilgrimage and my entrance into eternity are drawing near ; therefore, I hope to give to the world, before my death, this little book of mine which may continue to proclaim thee for me, and also may excite others to publish thy glories and the great mercy which thou dost exercise towards thy devoted servants. I hope, my most beloved queen, that this my poor offering, although it falls so far short of thy merit, may be pleasing to thy grateful heart, since it is wholly a gift of love. Extend, then, that most kind hand of thine with which thou hast delivered me from the world and from hell, and accept it and protect it as belonging to thee. But I ask this reward for my little offering, that henceforth I may love thee more, and that all into whose hands this work shall fall, may be inflamed with thy love, so that immediately their desire may increase to love thee, and see others love thee also; and that they may engage with all ardor in proclaiming and promoting, as far as possible, thy praise, and confidence in thy most holy intercession. Thus I hope, thus may it be.


To the reader

IN order that this little work of mine may not be exposed to censure from very fastidious critics, I have thought it best to place in a clearer light some of the proposition which it contains, and which may seem too bold, or perhaps obscure. I here enumerate some of them, and if others, my dear reader, should it come under your eye, I pray you to consider them as meant and spoken by me according to the sense of true and sound theology, and of the holy Roman Catholic Church, whose obedient son I profess myself. In the introduction, referring to chap. 5th of the book, I have said that God has ordained that all graces should come to us through the hands of Mary. Now this is a very consoling truth for souls tenderly attached to the most holy Mary, and for poor sinners who desire to be converted. Nor should this appear to any one inconsistent with sound theology, since its author, St. Augustine, puts it forth as a general statement, that Mary has shared, by means of her charity, in the spiritual birth of all the members of the Church.

A well-known author, whom no one will suspect of exaggeration or of fanciful and overheated devotion, adds, that as Jesus Christ really formed his Church on Calvary, it is plain that the holy Virgin really co-operated with him, in a peculiar and excellent manner, in its formation. And for the same reason it may be said, that if she brought forth Jesus Christ, the head of the Church, without pain, she did not bring forth the body of this head without pain. Hence she commenced on Calvary to be, in a particular manner, mother of the whole Church. To say all in a few words, Almighty God, in order to glorify the mother of the Redeemer, has ordained that her great charity should intercede for all those for whom her divine Son offered and paid the superabundant ransom of his precious blood, in which alone is our salvation,, life and resurrection. It is on the basis of this docrine and whatever belongs to it that I have under taken to establish my propositions, which the saints in their affecting colloquies with Mary, and in their fervent discourses concening her, have not hesitated to assert: when an ancient father, quoted by the celebrated Vincenzo Contensone, has written: The fulness of grace was in Christ as the head from which it flows, but in Mary as the neck through which it is transmitted.* This is plainly taught by the angelic Doctor, St. Thomas, who confirms all the foregoing in these words: The blessed Virgin is called full of grace in three ways The third, in reference to its overflowing upon all men. For great is it in each saint if he hath enough of grace for the salvation of many; but this would be the greatest, if he had enough for the salvation of all men; and it is so with Christ and the blessed Virgin, for in every danger we may obtain salvation through the glorious Virgin. Hence, cant. 4, v. 4 a thousand bucklers that is, remedies against dangers hang upon her “Mille clypei pendent ex ea.” Hence in every virtuous work we can have her aid, and, therefore, she herself says, In me is all hope of life and of virtue: “In me omnis spes vitae et virtutis” † Eccli. xxiv. 25.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre

MY dear reader and brother in Mary, since the devotion which has urged me to write, and now moves you to read this book, renders us both happy children of this good mother, if you ever should hear any one say that I could have spared this labor, there being so many learned and celebrated books that treat of this subject, answer him, I pray you, in the words of Francone the abbot, which we find in the Library of the Fathers, that the praise of Mary is a fountain so full that the more it extends, the fuller it becomes, and the fuller it becomes the more it extends;* which signifies, that the blessed Virgin is so great and sublime, that the more we praise her, the more there is to praise. So that St. Augustine says: All the tongues of men, even if all their members were changed to tongues, would not be sufficient to praise her as she deserves. †

I know that there are innumerable books, both great and small, which treat of the glories of Mary; but as these are rare or voluminous, and not according to my plan, I have endeavor ed to collect in a small space, from all the authors at my command, the most select and pithy sentences of the Fathers and theologians, in order to give devout persons an opportunity, with little effort or expense, to inflame their ardor by reading of the love of Mary, and especially, to present materials to priests which may enable them to excite by their sermons devotion to the divine mother.

Worldly lovers are accustomed to mention frequently and to praise the persons beloved, that these may be praised and applauded also by others; then how poor must we suppose the love of those to be who boast of being lovers of Mary, but who seldom remember to speak of her, and inspire the love of her also in others! Not so the true lovers of our most lovely Lady: they would praise her everywhere, and see her loved by all the world; and therefore in public and in private, wherever it is in their power, they endeavor to kindle in the hearts of all, those bless ed flames of love with which theirs are burning for their beloved queen.

But that every one may be persuaded of how great benefit it is to himself and the people to promote devotion to Mary, let us hear what the Fathers say of it. St. Bonaventure declares that those who are devoted to publishing the glories of Mary, are secure of paradise ; and Richard of St. Laurence confirms this by saying, that to honor the queen of angels is to acquire life ever lasting; since our most grateful Lady, adds the same author, pledges herself to honor in the other life him who promises to honor her in this; f and is there any one ignorant of the promise made by Mary herself to those who engage in promoting the knowledge and love of her upon the earth? “They that explain me shall have life everlasting,” as the holy Church applies it on the festival of her Immaculate Conception. Exult, exult! oh my soul ! said St. Bonaventure, who was so assiduous in proclaiming the praises of Mary, and rejoice in her, because many good things are prepared for those who praise her; and since all the Holy Scriptures, he added, speak in praise of Mary, let us endeavor always with heart and tongue to celebrate this our divine mother, that we may be conducted by her to the kingdom of the blessed.

We are told in the revelations of St. Bridget, that the blessed Emingo, Bishop, being accustomed to begin his sermons with the praises of Mary, the Virgin herself appeared one day to the saint, and said to her: “Tell that prelate who is accustomed to commence his discourses with my praises, that I will be his mother, and that I will present his soul to God, and that he shall die a good death;”* and he indeed died like a saint, in prayer and in celestial peace. Mary appeared before his death to another religious, a Dominican, who was accustomed to terminate his sermons by speaking of her. She defended him from the assaults of the demons, comforted him, and bore away with her his happy soul, The devout Thomas a Kempis represents Mary as commending to her Son those who publish her praise, and saying, “Oh, my Son, have compassion on the souls of thy lovers, and of those who speak in my praise.

As far as the advantage of the people is concerned, St. Anselm says, that the sacred womb of Mary having been made the way of salvation for sinners, sinners cannot but be converted and saved by discourses in praise of Mary. If the assertion is true and incontrovertible, as I believe it to be, and as I shall prove, in the fifth chapter of this book, that all graces are dispensed by the hand of Mary alone, and that all those who are saved, are saved solely by means of this divine mother; it may be said, as a necessary consequence, that the salvation of all depends upon preaching Mary, and confidence in her intercession. We know that St. Bernard of Sienna sanctified Italy; St. Dominic converted many provinces; St. Louis Bertrand, in all his sermons, never failed to exhort his hearers to practise devotion towards Mary; and many others also have done the same.

I find that Father Paul Segneri, the younger, a celebrated missionary, in every mission preach ed a sermon on devotion to Mary, and this he called his favorite sermon. And we can attest, in all truth, that in our missions, where we have an invariable rule not to omit the sermon on our Lady, no discourse is so profitable to the people, or excites more compunction among them, than that on the mercy of Mary. I say on the mercy of Mary: for St. Bernard says, we may praise her humility, and marvel at her virginity; but being poor sinners, we are more pleased and attracted by hearing of her mercy; for to this we more affectionately cling, this we more often remember and invoke. Therefore in this little book, leaving to other authors the description of the other merits of Mary, I have confined my self especially to treating of her great compassion and her powerful intercession; having collected, as far as possible, with the labor of years, all that the holy Fathers and the most celebrated authors have said of the mercy and power of Mary; and because these attributes of the blessed Virgin are wonderfully set forth in the great prayer of the Salve Regina, approved by the Church and required by her to be recited the greater part of the year by all the clergy, secular and regular, I have undertaken, in the first place, to explain in separate discourses this most devout prayer. Besides this, I believed it would be acceptable to the servants of Mary, if I added discourses on her principal festivals and upon the virtues of our divine mother, placing at the conclusion of them the practices of devotion most in use among her servants, and approved by the Church.

Devout reader, if this little work of mine pleases you, as I hope it will, I pray you to commend me to the Holy Virgin, that I may obtain great confidence in her protection. Ask for me this grace, and I will ask the same for you, who ever you may be, who bestow on me this charity. Oh, blessed is he who clings with love and confidence to those two anchors of salvation, Jesus and Mary ! He certainly will not be lost. Let us both say, oh my reader, with the devout Alphonso Rodriguez: Jesus and Mary, my sweet loves, for you I will suffer, for you I will die; may I be wholly yours, may I be in nothing my own. May we love Jesus and Mary, and become saints, since we can aspire and hope for no greater happiness than this. Farewell, till we meet in heaven at the feet of this sweet mother and her dearly beloved Son, to praise them, to thank them, and love them, in their immediate presence through all eternity. Amen.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Prayer to the Holy Virgin to Obtain a Good Death

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OH Mary, sweet refuge of miserable sinners, at the moment when my soul departs from this world, my sweetest mother, by the grief that thou didst endure when thou wast present at the death of thy Son upon the cross, then assist me with thy mercy. Keep far from me my infernal enemies, and come thyself to take my soul and present it to my eternal Judge. Do not abandon me, oh my queen. Thou, next to Jesus, must be my comfort in that dreadful moment. Entreat thy Son that in his goodness, he will grant me the favor to die clasping thy feet, and to breathe out my soul in his sacred wounds, saying, Jesus and Mary, I give you my heart and my soul
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre

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SECTION 1. Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy! of the great confidence we should have in Mary,
because she is the Queen of Mercy

THE Holy Church justly honors the great Virgin Mary, and would have her honored by all men with the glorious title of queen, because she has been elevated to the dignity of mother of the King of kings. If the Son is king, says St. Athanasius, his mother must necessarily be considered and entitled queen. From the moment that Mary consented, adds St. Bernardine of Sienna, to become the mother of the Eternal Word, she merited the title of queen of the world and all creatures.  If the flesh of Mary, says St. Arnold, abbot, was the flesh of Jesus, how can the mother be separated from the Son in his kingdom? Hence it follows that the regal glory must not only be considered as common to the mother and the Son, but even the same.

If Jesus is the king of the whole world, Mary is also queen of the whole world if therefore, says St. Bernardine of Sienna, all creatures who serve God ought also to serve Mary; for all angels and men, and all things that are in heaven and on earth being subject to the dominion of God, are also subject to the dominion of the glorious Virgin. Hence Guerric, abbot, thus addresses the divine mother: Continue, Mary, continue in security to reign; dispose, according to thy will, of every thing belonging to thy Son, for thou, being mother and spouse of the King of the world, the kingdom and power over all creatures is due to thee as queen.

Mary, then, is queen; but let all learn for their consolation that she is a mild and merciful queen, desiring the good of us poor sinners. Hence the holy Church bids us salute her in this prayer, and name her the Queen of Mercy. The very name of queen signifies, as blessed Albertus Magnus remarks, compassion, and provision for the poor; differing in this from the title of empress, which signifies severity and rigor. The greatness of kings and queens consists in comforting the wretched as Seneca says. So that whereas tyrants, in reigning, have only their own advantage in view, kings should have for their object the good of their subjects.

Therefore at the consecration of kings their heads are anointed with oil, which is the symbol of mercy, to denote that they, in reigning, should above all things cherish thoughts of kindness and beneficence towards their subjects. Kings should then principally occupy them selves with works of mercy, but not to the neglect when it is required. Not so Mary, who, although queen, is not queen of justice, intent upon the punishment of the guilty, but queen of mercy, solely intent upon compassion and pardon for sinners. Accordingly, the Church requires us explicitly to call her queen of mercy. The High Chancellor of Paris, John Gerson, med itating on the words of David, "These two things have I heard, that power belongeth to God, and mercy to thee, O Lord," says, that the kingdom of God consisting of justice and mercy, the Lord has divided it: he has reserved the kingdom of justice for himself, and he has granted the kingdom of mercy to Mary, ordaining that all the mercies which are dispensed then should pass through the hands of Mary, and should be bestowed according to her good pleasure. St. Thomas confirms this in his preface to the Canonical Epistles, saying that the holy Virgin, when she conceived the divine Word in her womb, and brought him forth, obtained the half of the kingdom of God by be coming queen of mercy, Jesus Christ remaining king of justice.

The eternal Father constituted Jesus Christ king of justice, and therefore made him the universal judge of the world; hence the prophet sang: "Give to the king thy judgment, Oh God; and to the king's son thy justice." Here a learned interpreter takes up the subject, and says: Oh Lord, thou hast given to thy Son thy justice, because thou hast given to the mother of the king thy mercy. And St. Bonaventure happily varies the passage above quoted by saying: Give to the king thy judgment, Oh God, and to his mother thy mercy. Ernest, Archbishop of Prague, also says, that the eternal Father has given to the Son the office of judging and punishing, and to the mother the office of compassionating and relieving the wretched. Therefore the Prophet David predicted that God himself, if I may thus express it, would consecrate Mary queen of mercy, anointing her with the oil of gladness, in order that all of us miserable children of Adam might rejoice in the thought of having in heaven that great queen, so full of the unction of mercy and pity for us; as St. Bonaventure says: Oh Mary, so full of the unction of mercy and the oil of pity, that God has anointed thee with the oil of gladness.

And how well does blessed Alberlus Magnus here apply the history of Queen Esther, who was indeed a type of Our Queen Mary! We read in the 4th chap, of the Book of Esther, that in the reign of King Assuerus, there went forth, throughout his kingdom, a decree commanding the death of all the Jews. Then Mardochai who was one of the condemned, committed their cause to Esther, that she might intercede with the king to obtain the revocation of the sentence. At first Esther refused to take upon herself this office, fearing that it would excite the anger of the king more. But Mardochai rebuked her, and bade her remember that she must not think of saving herself alone, as the Lord had placed her upon the throne to obtain salvation for all the Jews: "Think not that thou mayest save thy life only, because thou art in the king house, more than all the Jews." Thus said Mardochai to Queen Esther, and thus might we poor sinners say to our Queen Mary, if she were ever reluctant to intercede with God for our deliverance from the just punishment of our sins. Think not that thou mayest save thy life only, because thou art in the king s house, more than all men. Think not, oh Lady, that God has exalted thee to be queen of the world, only to se cure thy own welfare; but also that thou, being so greatly elevated, mayest the more compassionate and the better relieve us miserable sinners. Assuerus, when he saw Esther before him, affectionately inquired of her what she had come to ask of him: "What is thy petition?" Then the queen answered, "If I have found favor in thy sight, oh king, give me my people for which I request." Assuerus heard her, and immediately ordered the sentence to be revoked. Now, if Assuerus granted to Esther, because he loved her, the salvation of the Jews, will not God graciously listen to Mary, in his boundless love for her, when she prays to him for those poor sinners who recommend themselves to her and says to him: If I have found favor in thy sight, oh King, my King and my God, if I have ever found favor with Thee (and well does the divine mother know herself to be the blessed, the fortunate, the only one of the children of men who found the grace lost by man; she knows herself to be the beloved of her Lord, more beloved than all the saints and angels united), give me my people for which I request: if thou lovest me, she says to him, give me, oh my Lord, these sinners in whose behalf I entreat Thee. Is it possible that God will not graciously hear her? Is there any one who does not know the power of Mary's prayers with God? The law of clemency is on her tongue. Every prayer of hers is as a law established by our Lord, that mercy shall be exercised towards those for whom Mary intercedes. St. Bernard asks, Why does the Church name Mary Queen of Mercy and answers, Because we believe that she opens the depths of the mercy of God, to whom she will, when she will, and as she will; so that not even the vilest sinner is lost, if Mary protects him.

But it may, perhaps, be feared that Mary disdains interposing in behalf of some sinners, be cause she finds them so laden with sins? Perhaps the majesty and sanctity of this great queen should alarm us? No, says St. Gregory, in proportion to her greatness and holiness are her clemency and mercy towards sinners who desire to amend, and who have recourse to her.* Kings and queens inspire terror by the display of their majesty, and their subjects fear to enter their presence; but what fear, says St. Bernard, can the wretched have of going to this queen of mercy since she never shows herself terrible or austere to those who seek her, but all sweetness and kindness? Mary not only gives, but she her self presents to us milk and wool: the milk of mercy to inspire us with confidence, and wool to shield us from the thunderbolts of divine justice!

Suetonius narrates of the Emperor Titus, that he never could refuse a favor to any one who asked it, and that he even sometimes promised more than he could perform; and he answered to one who admonished him of this, that a prince should not dismiss any one from his presence dis satisfied. Titus said this, but, in reality, was perhaps often either guilty of falsehood, or failed in his promises. But our queen cannot lie, and can obtain whatever she wishes for her devoted servants. She has a heart so kind and compassionate, says Blosius, that she cannot send away dissatisfied any one who invokes her aid. But, as St. Bernard says, how couldst thou, oh Mary, refuse succor to the wretched, when thou art queen of mercy? and who are the subjects of mercy, if not the miserable? Thou art the queen of mercy, and I the most miserable of all sinners; if I, then, am the first of thy subjects, then thou shouldst have more care of me than of all others.

Have pity on us, then, oh queen of mercy, and give heed to our salvation; neither say to us, oh most holy Virgin, as St. Gregory of Nicomedia would add, that thou canst not aid us because of the multitude of our sins, when thou hast such power and pity that no number of sins can ever surpass it! Nothing resists thy power, since thy Creator and ours, while he honors thee as his mother, considers thy glory as his own, and exulting in it, as a Son, grants thy petitions as if he were discharging an obligation! By this he means to say, that though Mary is under an infinite obligation to her Son for having elected her to be his mother yet it cannot be denied that the Son also is greatly indebted to his mother for having given him his human nature; whence Jesus, as if to recompense Mary as he ought, while he enjoys this his glory, honors her especially by always graciously listening to her prayers.

How great then should be our confidence in this queen, knowing how powerful she is with God, and at the same time how rich and full of mercy; so much so that there is no one on earth who does not share in the mercies and favors of Mary! This the blessed Virgin herself revealed to St. Bridget: "I am," she said to her, "the queen of heaven and the mother of mercy; I am the joy of the just, and the gate of entrance for sinners to God; neither is there living on earth a sinner who is so accursed that he is deprived of my compassion; for everyone, if he receives noth ing else through my intercession, receives the grace of being less tempted by evil spirits than he otherwise would be; no one, therefore," she added, "who is not entirely accursed" (by which is meant the final and irrevocable malediction pronounced against the damned), "is so entirely cast off by God that he may not return and enjoy his mercy if he invokes my aid. I am called by all the mother of mercy, and truly the mercy of God towards men has made me so merciful towards them." And then she concluded by saying Therefore he shall be miserable, and for ever miserable in another life, who in this, being able, does not have recourse to me, who am so compassionate to all, and so earnestly desire to aid sinners.

Let us then have recourse, let us always have recourse to this most sweet queen, if we would be sure of our salvation; and if the sight of our sins terrifies and disheartens us, 1et us remember that Mary was made queen of mercy for this very end, that she might save by her protection the greatest and most abandoned sinners who have recourse to her. They are to be her crown in heaven, as her divine spouse has said: "Come from Libanus, my spouse, come from Libanus, come; thou shalt be crowned from the dens of the lions, from the mountains of the leopards." And what are these dens of wild beasts and monsters, if not miserable sinners, whose souls become dens of sins, the most deformed monsters? Now, by these same sinners, as Rupert, the abbot, remarks, who are saved by thy means, oh great Queen Mary, thou wilt be crowned in. heaven; for their salvation will be thy crown, a crown indeed worthy and fit for a queen of mercy and let the following example illustrate this.


We read in the life of sister Catherine, an Augustinian nun, that in the place where that servant of God lived, there lived also a woman named Mary, who, in her youth, was a sinner, and obstinately persevered in her evil courses, even to extreme old age. For this she was banished by her fellow-citizens, forced to live in a cave beyond the limits of the place, and died in a state of loathsome corruption, abandoned by all, and without the sacraments; and on this account was buried in a field, like a beast. Now sister Catherine, who was accustomed to recommend very affectionately to God the souls of those who had departed this life, after learning the miserable death of this poor old woman, did not think of praying for her, as she and every one else believed her already among the damned. Four years having past, a soul from purgatory one day appeared to her, and said, "Sister Catherine, how unhappy is my fate! you commend to God the souls of all those who die, and for my soul alone you have had no pity."

"And who are you?" said the servant of God. "I am," answered she, "that poor Mary who died in the cave." "How!? are you saved?" exclaimed sister Catherine. "Yes, I am saved," she said, "by the mercy of the Virgin Mary.

"And how? "When I saw death drawing near, finding myself laden with sins, and abandoned by all, I turned to the mother of God and said to her, Lady, thou art the refuge of the abandoned, behold me at this hour deserted by all; thou art my only hope, thou alone canst help me; have pity on me. The Holy Virgin obtained for me the grace of making an act of contrition; I died and am saved, and my queen has also obtained for me the grace that my pains should be abridged, and that I should, by suffering intensely for a short time, pass through that purification which otherwise would have lasted many years. A few masses only are needed to obtain my release from purgatory. I pray thee cause them to be offered for me, and I promise to pray God and Mary for thee." Sister Catherine immediately caused those masses to be said for her, and that soul, after a few days, appeared to her again, more brilliant than the sun, and said to her, "I thank thee, sister Catherine: behold I am now going to paradise to sing the mercy of God and pray for thee."


Oh Mother of my God and my Lady Mary, as a poor wounded and loathsome wretch pre sents himself to a great queen, I present myself to thee, who art the queen of heaven and earth. From the lofty throne on which thou art seated, do not disdain, I pray thee, to cast thy eye upon me, a poor sinner. God hath made thee so rich in order that thou rnayest succor the needy, and hath made thee queen of mercy that thou mayest help the miserable, look upon me, then, and have pity on me. Look upon me, and do not leave me until thou hast changed me from a sinner into a saint. I see I merit nothing, or rather I merit for my ingratitude to be deprived of all the graces which, by thy means, I have received from the Lord. But thou, who art the mother of mercy, dost not require merits, but miseries, that thou mayest succor those who are in need; and who is more poor and more needy than I?

Oh glorious Virgin, I know that thou, being queen of the universe, art also my queen; and I, in a more especial manner, would dedicate myself to thy service; that thou mayest dispose of me as seemeth best to thee. Therefore I say to thee with St. Bonaventure, Oh, Lady, I submit myself to thy control, that thou mayest rule and govern me entirely. Do not leave me to myself. Rule me, oh my queen, and do not leave me to myself. Command me, employ me as thou wilt, and punish me if I do not obey thee, for very salutary will be the punishments that come from thy hand. I would esteem it a greater thing to be thy servant than Lord of the whole earth. Thine I am, save me! Accept me, oh Mary, for thy own and attend to my salvation, as I am thine own. I no longer will be my own, I give myself to thee. And if hitherto I have so poorly served thee, having lost so many good occasions of honoring thee, for the time to come I will unite myself to thy most loving and most faithful servants. No one from this time henceforth shall surpass me in honoring and loving thee, my most lovely queen. This I promise, and I hope to perform with thy assistance. Amen."
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre

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Not by chance, nor in vain, do the servants of Mary call her mother, and it would seem that they cannot invoke her by any other name, and are never weary of calling her mother; mother, indeed, for she is truly our mother, not according to the flesh, but the spiritual mother of our souls and of our salvation. Sin, when it deprived our souls of divine grace, also deprived them of life. Hence, when they were dead in misery and sin, Jesus our Redeemer came with an excess of mercy and love to restore to us, by his death upon the cross, that lost life, as he has himself declared : "I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly." More, abundantly, because, as the theologians teach us, Jesus Christ by his redemption brought us blessings greater than the injury Adam inflicted upon us by his sin; he reconciled us to God, and thus became the father of our souls, under the new law of grace, as the prophet Isaiah predicted: "The Father of the world to come, the Prince of peace." But if Jesus is the father of our souls, Mary is the mother; for, in giving us Jesus, she gave us the true life; and offering upon Calvary the life of her Son for our salvation, she then brought us forth to the life of divine grace.

At two different times, then as the holy Fathers show us, Mary became our spiritual mother; the first when she was found worthy of conceiving in her virginal womb the Son of God, as the blessed Albertus Magnus says.

St. Bernardine of Sienna more distinctly teaches us that when the most holy Virgin, on the annunciation of the angel, gave her consent to be come mother of the eternal Word, which he awaited before making himself her Son, she by this consent even from that time demanded of God, with lively affection, our salvation; and she was so earnestly engaged in obtaining it, that from that time she has borne us, as it were, in her womb, as a most loving mother.

St. Luke says, speaking of the birth of our Saviour, that Mary "brought forth her first-born son." Therefore, says a certain writer, if the evangelist affirms that Mary brought forth her first-born, is it to be supposed that she afterwards had the children? But the same author adds; If it is of faith that Mary had no other children according to the flesh except Jesus, then she must have other spiritual children, and these we are. Our Lord revealed this to St. Gertrude, who, reading one day the passage of the Gospel just quoted, was troubled, not knowing how to understand it, that Mary being mother of Jesus Christ alone, it could be said that he was her first-born. And God explained it to her, by telling her that Jesus was her first-born according to the flesh, but men were her second-born according to the spirit.

And this explains what is said of Mary in the holy Canticles: "Thy belly is as a heap of wheat, set about with lilies." St. Ambrose explains this and says: Although in the pure womb of Mary there was only one grain of wheat, which was Jesus Christ, yet it is called a heap of grain, because in that one grain were contained all the elect, of whom Mary was to be the mother. Hence, William the Abbot wrote, Mary, in bringing forth Jesus, who is our Saviour and our life, brought forth all of us to life and salvation.

The second time in which Mary brought us forth to grace was, when on Calvary, she offered to the eternal Father with so much sorrow of heart the life of her beloved Son for our salvation. Wherefore, St. Augustine asserts, that, having then co-operated by her love with Christ in the birth of the faithful to the life of grace, she became also by this co-operation the spiritual mother of us all, who are members of our head, Jesus Christ. This is also the meaning of what is said of the blessed Virgin in the sacred Canticles: "They have made me the keeper in the vineyards; my vineyard I have not kept." If Mary, to save our souls, was willing to sacrifice the life of her Son, as William the Abbot remarks. And who was the soul of Mary, but her Jesus, who was her life and all her love? Wherefore St. Simeon announced to her that her soul would one day be pierced by a sword of sorrow; which was the very spear that pierced the side of Jesus, who was the soul of Mary. And then she in her sorrow brought us forth to eternal life; so that we may all call ourselves children of the dolors of Mary. She, our most loving mother, was always and wholly united to the divine will; whence St. Bonaventure remarks, that when she saw the love of the eternal Father for men, who would have his Son die for our salvation, and the love of the Son in wishing: to die for us, she too, with her whole will, offered her Son and consented that he should die that we might be saved, in order to conform herself to that exceeding love of the Father and Son for the human race.

It is true that, in dying for the redemption of the world, Jesus wished to be alone. I have trodden the wine-press alone, "Torcular calcavieolus." But when God saw the great desire of Mary to devote herself also to the salvation of men, he ordained that by the sacrifice and offering of the life of this same Jesus, she might co-operate with him in the work of our salvation, and thus become mother of our souls. And this our Saviour signified, when, before expiring, he saw from the cross his mother and the disciple St. John both standing near him, and first spoke to Mary: Behold thy son, "Ecce filius tuus;" as if he said to her: Behold the man who, by te offering thou hast made of my life for his salva tion, is already born to grace. And then turning to the disciple, he said: Behold thy mother, "Ecce mater tua." By which words, says St. Bernardino of Sienna, Mary was then made mother not only of St. John, but of all men, for the love she bore them. On this account, as Silveira observes, St. John himself, when recording this fact in his Gospel, wrote, "After that he said to the disciple: "Behold thy mother." Let it be remarked that Jesus Christ did not say this to John, but to the disciple, to signify that the Saviour appointed Mary for common mother of all those who, being Christians, bear the name of his disciples.

I am the mother of fair love, "Ego sum mater pulchrae dilectionis," said Mary; because her love, as an author remarks, which renders the souls of men beautiful in the eye of God, prompts her, as a loving mother, to receive us for her children. And as a mother loves her children, and watches over their welfare, so thou, oh our most sweet queen, lovest us, and dost procure our happiness, says St. Bonaventure.

Oh, happy those who live under the protection of a mother so loving and so powerful! The prophet David, although Mary was not yet born, besought of God salvation, by dedicating himself to Mary as her son, and thus prayed; "Save the son of thy handmaid." Whose handmaid?" asks St. Augustine, "she who says: Behold the handmaid of the Lord." And who, says Cardinal Bellarmine, who would dare to snatch these children from the bosom of Mary, where they have taken refuge from their enemies? What fury of hell or of passion can. conquer them, if they place their trust in the protection of this great mother? It is narrated of the whale, that when she sees her young in peril, from the tempest or their pursuers, she opens her mouth and receives them into her bowels. Just so, says Novarino, does this compassionate mother of the faithful, when the tempest of the passions is raging; She then, with maternal affection, protects them as it were in her bowels, and continues to shelter them until she has placed them in the secure haven of paradise. Oh, most loving mother! Oh, most compassionate mother, be ever blessed! and may that God be ever blessed, who has given us thee as a mother, and as a secure refuge in all the dangers of this life. The blessed Virgin herself revealed this to St. Bridget, saying: "As a mother who sees her son exposed to the sword of the enemy, makes every effort to save him, thus do I, and will I ever do for my children, sinful though they be, if they come to me for help." Behold, then, how in every battle with hell we shall always conquer, and certainly conquer, if we have recourse to the mother of God and our mother, always repeating: "We fly to thy protection, oh holy mother of God; we fly to thy protection, oh holy mother of God." Oh, how many victories have the faithful obtained over hell, by having recourse to Mary with this short but powerful prayer! That great servant of God, Sister Mary of the Crucifixion, a Benedictine nun, by this means always conquered the evil spirits.

Be joyful then, all ye children of Mary; remember that she adopts as her children all those who wish her for their mother. Joyful; for what fear have you of being lost when this mother defends and protects you? Thus says St. Bonaventure: Every one who loves this good mother and trusts in her protection, should take cour age and repeat: What do you fear, oh my soul? The cause of thy eternal salvation will not be lost, as the final sentence depends upon Jesus, who is thy brother, and upon Mary who is thy mother. And St. Anselm full of joy at this thought, exclaims, in order to encourage us: Oh, blessed confidence! Oh, secure refuge! The mother of God is my mother also. With what certainty may we hope, since our salvation depends upon the sentence of a good brother and of a kind mother. Hear, then, our mother who calls us, and says to us; "Whosoever is a little one, let him come to me." Little children have always on their lips the word mother, and in all the dangers to which they are exposed, and in all their fears, they cry mother, Ah, most sweet Mary! Ah, most loving mother ! this is exactly what thou dost desire; that we become little children, and always call upon thee in our dangers,and always have recourse to thee, for thou wishest to aid and save us, as thou hast saved all thy children who have had recourse to thee.


In the history of the foundations of the Company of Jesus, in the kingdom of Naples, is related the following story of a noble youth of Scotland, named William Elphinstone. He was a relation of King James. Born a heretic, he followed the false sect to which he belonged; but enlightened by divine grace, which showed him his errors, he went to France, where, with the assistance of a good Jesuit father, who was like himself a Scotchman, and still more by the intercession of the blessed Virgin, he at length saw the truth, abjured heresy, and became a Catholic. He went afterwards to Rome, where a friend of his found him one day very much afflicted, and weeping. He asked him the cause, and he answered, that in the night his mother had appeared to him and said: "My son, it is well for thee that thou hast entered the true Church; I am already lost, because I died in heresy." From that time he became more fervent in his devotion to Mary, chose her for his mother, and by her was inspired to become a religious. He made a vow to do so, but being ill, he went to Naples to restore his health by a change of air. But the Lord ordered it so that he should die in Naples, and die a religious; for, having become dangerously ill soon after his arrival there, he by prayers and tears obtained from the superiors admittance, and when about receiving the viaticum, he made his vows in presence of the blessed sacrament, and was enrolled in the society. After this, in the tenderness of his feelings, he gave thanks to his mother Mary for having rescued him from heresy, and brought him to die in the true Church, and in a religious house in the midst of his brethren. Therefore, he exclaimed: "Oh! how glorious it is to die in the midst of so many angels!" Being exhorted to take a little rest, he answered: "Ah, this is not the time to rest when the end of my life is drawing near." Before dying, he said to the persons present: "Brethren, do you not see the angels of heaven around me?" One of the religious having heard him murmuring something to himself, asked him what he had said. He answered, that his angel-guardian had reyealed to him that he should be in purgatory but a short time, and would soon enter paradise. Then he began again to talk with his sweet mother Mary, and repeating the word, mother, mother, he tranquilly expired, like a child falling asleep in the arms of its mother. Soon after, it was revealed to a devout religious that he had already entered paradise.


Oh, my most holy mother, how is it possible that, having so holy a mother, I should be so wicked? A mother so inflamed with love to God, and that I should so love creatures? A mother so rich in virtue, and that I should be so poor? Oh, my most amiable mother! I no longer deserve, it is true, to be thy son, because by my bad life I have rendered myself unworthy. I am content if thou wilt accept me as thy servant. I am ready to renounce all the kingdoms of the earth, to be admitted among the lowest of thy servants. Yes, I am content, but do not forbid me to call thee my mother. This name wholly consoles me, melts me, and reminds me of my obligation to love thee. This name encourages me to confide in thee. When I am the most terrified at the thought of my sins and of the divine justice, I feel myself comforted by the remembrance that thou art my mother, Permit ms, then, to call thee my mother, my sweetest mother. Thus I call thee, and thus I will ever call thee. Thou, next to God, shalt always be my hope, my refuge, and my love, in this valley of tears. And thus I hope to die, commending my soul, at the last moment, into thy sacred hands, saying: "My mother, my mother Mary, help me, have pity on me." Amen.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre

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If, then, Mary is our mother, let us consider how much she loves us. The love of parents for their children is a necessary love, and for this reason, as St. Thomas observes, children are commanded in the divine law to love their parents; but there is no command, on the other hand, given to parents to love their children, for love towards one s own offspring is a love so deeply planted in the heart by nature herself, that even the wild beasts, as St. Ambrose says, never fail to love their young. It is said that even tigers, hearing the cry of their whelps when they are taken by the hunters, will plunge into the sea to swim after the vessels where they are confined. If, then, says our most loving mother Mary, even tigers cannot forget their young, how can I forget to love you, my children? And, she adds, even if it should happen that a mother could forget her child, it is not possible that I can forget a soul which is my child.

Mary is our mother, not according to the flesh, but by love: "I am the mother of fair love. " Hence she becomes our mother only on account of the love she bears us; and she glories, says a certain author, in being the mother of love; because, having taken us for her children, she is all love towards us. Who can describe the love of Mary for us miserable creatures? Arnold of Carnotensis says that, at the death of Jesus Christ, she ardently desired to die with her Son for our sake. So that, as St. Ambrose adds, when her Son hung dying on the cross, Mary offered herself to his murderers, that she might give her life for us.

But let us consider the reasons of this love, for thus we shall better understand how this good mother loves us. The first reason of the great love that Mary bears to men, is the great love she bears to God. Love to God and man is contained in the same precept, as St. John has written: "This commandment we have from God, that he who loveth God, love also his brother;" so that one increases as the other increases. Hence what have the saints not done for love of the neighbor, because they have loved God so much? They have gone so far as to expose and lose liberty and even life for his salvation. Let us read what St. Francis Xavier did in India, where, for the sake of the souls of those barbarians, he climbed mountains, and exposed himself to in numerable dangers to find those wretched beings, in the caverns where they dwelt like wild beasts, and to lead them to God. St. Francis de Sales, to convert the heretics of the province of Chablais, risked his life by crossing a river every day for a year, on his hands and knees, upon a frozen beam, that he might go to the other side to preach to those stubborn men. St. Paulinus became a slave, to obtain liberty for the son of a poor widow. St. Fidelis, to bring the heretics of a certain place back to God, willingly consented, in preaching to them, to lose his life. The saints, then, because they have loved God so much, have done much for love of the neighbor. But who has loved God more than Mary? She loved God more, in the first moment of her life, than all the saints and angels have loved him in the whole course of theirs; as we shall consider at length, when we speak of the virtues of Mary. She herself revealed to sister Mary of the Crucifixion, that the fire of love with which she burned for God was so great, that it would in a moment inflame heaven and earth; and that, in comparison to it, all the flames of the burning love of the seraphim were as cool breezes. Therefore, as there is none among the blessed spirits who loves God more than Mary; so there is, and can be none, except God, who loves us more than this our most loving mother. If the love of all mothers for their children, of all husbands for their wives, and of all saints and angels for their devoted servants, were united, it would not be so great as the love that Mary bears to one soul alone. Father Nierembergh says that the love which all mothers have borne to their children is a shadow when compared with the love which Mary bears to any one of us. Truly she alone loves us more, he adds, than all the angels and saints united.

Moreover, our mother loves us much, because we have been commended to her as children by her beloved Jesus, when, before expiring, he said to her: "Woman, behold thy son;" signifying by the person of John, all men, as we have before remarked. These were the last words of her Son to her. The last remembrances left by beloved friends at the moment of their death are greatly valued, and the memory of them is never lost. Moreover, we are children extremely dear to Mary, because we cost her so much suffering. Those children are much dearer to a mother whose lives she has preserved; we are those children, for whom, that we may have the life of grace, Mary suffered the pain of sacrificing the dear life of her Jesus; submitting, for our sake, to see him die before her eyes in cruel torments. By this great offering of Mary we were then born to the life of divine grace. So, then, we are children very dear to her, because we were redeemed at such a cost of suffering. Accordingly, as we read of the love which the eternal Father has manifested for men by giving his own Son to death for us, "God so loved the world as to give his only-begotten Son :" as St. Bonaventure remarks, it may be said of Mary also, that she so loved us as to give her only-begotten Son And when did she give him to us? She gave him to us, says Father Nieremberg, when first she consented to his death; she gave him to us, when others deserted him through hatred or through fear, and she alone could have defended, before the judges, the life of her Son. We can easily believe that the words of so wise and tender a mother would have had a great power, at least with Pilate, to induce him to abstain from condemning to death a man whom he knew and declared innocent. But no, Mary would not utter even one word in favor of her Son, to prevent his death, upon which our salvation depended; finally, she gave him to us again at the foot of the cross, in those three hours when she was witnessing his death; because then, at every moment, she was offering up for us his life, with the deepest grief, and the greatest love for us, at the cost of great trouble and suffering, and with such firmness, that if executioners had been wanting, as St. Anselm and St. Antoninus tell us, she herself would have crucified him in obedience to the will of the Father, who had decreed he should die for our salvation. And if Abraham showed a similar fortitude in consenting to sacrifice his son with his own hands, we must believe that Mary would certainly have done the same, with more resolution, as she was holier, and more obedient than Abraham. But to return to our subject. How grateful should we be to Mary, for an act of so much love! for the sacrifice she made of the life of her Son, in the midst of so much anguish, to obtain salvation for us all! The Lord, indeed, re warded Abraham for the sacrifice he was prepared to make to him of his son Isaac; but what can we render to Mary for the life of her Jesus, as she has given us a Son more noble and beloved than the son of Abraham? This love of Mary, says St. Bonaventure, greatly obliges us to love her, seeing that she has loved us more than any other created being loves us, since she has given for us her only Son, whom she loved more than herself.

And from this follows another reason why we are so much beloved by Mary: because she knows that we have been purchased by the death of Jesus Christ. If a mother should see a servant redeemed by a beloved son of hers, by twenty years of imprisonment and suffering, for this reason alone how much would she esteem that servant! Mary well knows that her Son came upon earth solely to save us miserable sinners, as he himself declared: "I have come to save what was lost." And to save us he has consented to lay down his life for us: "Becoming obedient unto death." If Mary, then, had little love for us, she would slightly value the blood of her Son, which was he price of our salvation. It was revealed to St. Elizabeth, the nun, that Mary, from the time she was in the temple, was always praying that God would quickly send his Son to save the world. Now, how much more certainly must we believe that she loves us, after she has seen us so greatly prized by her Son, that he deigned to purchase us at such a cost!

And because all men have been redeemed by Jesus, Mary loves and favors all. She was seen by St. John clothed with the sun: "And there appeared a great wonder in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun." She is said to be clothed with the sun, because, as "There is no one that can hide himself from his heat," so there is no one living on the earth who is deprived of the love of Mary. From the heat of the sun, as it is explained by the venerable Raymond Jordan, who through humility called himself the Idiot, that is, from the love of Mary. And who, says St. Anthony, can comprehend the care which this loving mother has of us all? Therefore, to all she offers and dispenses her mercy. For our mother has desired the salvation of all, and has co-operated with her Son in the salvation of all.

It is certain that she is concerned for the whole human race, as St. Bernard affirms; hence the practice of some devout servants of Mary is very useful, who, as Cornelius à Lapide relates, have the habit of praying our Lord to grant them those graces which the blessed Virgin is seeking for them, using these words: "Oh Lord, give me what the most holy Virgin Mary is asking for me." And this is well, as à Lapide adds, for our mother desires greater things for us than we think of asking for ourselves. The devout Bernardine de Bustis says, that Mary is more desirous to do us good, and bestow favors upon us, than we are to receive them. There fore blessed Albertus Magnus applies to Mary the words of wisdom: " She preventeth them that covet her, so that she first showeth herself unto them." So great is the love, says Richard of St. Laurence, which this good mother bears us, that when she perceives our necessities, she comes to relieve them. She hastens before she is invoked.

If Mary, then, is good to all, even to the ungrateful and negligent, who have but little love for her, and seldom have recourse to her, how much more loving must she not be to those who love her and often invoke her! "She is easily seen by them that love her. " Oh, how easy it is, exclaims the same blessed Albertus, for those who love Mary to find her, and find her full of love and pity! I love them that love me,"she assures us, and declares that she can not but love those who love her. And although our most loving lady loves all men as her children, yet, says St. Bernard, she recognizes and loves especially those who most tenderly love her. Those happy lovers of Mary, as the Idiot asserts, are not only loved, but served by her.

Leonard the Dominican, as we read in the chronicles of his order, who was accustomed to recommend himself two hundred times a day to this mother of mercy, when he was on his death-bed, saw one beautiful as a queen by his side, who said to him: Leonard, do you wish to die and come to my Son and me? " "Who are you? " answered the religious. "I am the mother of mercy," replied the Virgin; "you have many times invoked me, and now I come to take you: let us go to paradise." On that same day Leonard died, and we hope that he followed her to the kingdom of the blessed.

"Ah, most sweet Mary, blessed is he who loves you the venerable brother John Berchmans, of the society of Jesus, used to say: "If I love Mary, I am sure of perseverance, and I shall obtain from God whatsoever I wish." And this devout youth was never satisfied with renewing his intention, and often repeated to himself: "I will love Mary, I will love Mary."

Oh,how much this our good mother exceeds all her children in affection, even if they love her to the extent of their power! "Mary is always more loving than her lovers,"says St. Ignatius, martyr. Let us love her as much as St. Stanislaus Kostka, who loved this his dear mother so tenderly, that when he spoke of her, every one who heard him desired to love her also; lie invented new titles by which he honored her name; he never commenced an action without first turning to her image and asking her blessing; when he recited her office, her rosary, and other prayers, he repeated them with such affectionate earnestness,that he seemed speaking face to face with Mary; when he heard the Salve Regina sung, his soul and even his countenance was all on fire; when asked one day by a father of the society, as they were going together to visit an altar of the blessed Virgin, how much he loved her,"Father," he answered, "what can I say more than she is my mother?" And that father tells us how the holy youth spoke these words with such tender emotion of voice, countenance, and heart, that he appeared not a man,but an angel discoursing the love of Mary.

Let us love her as much as blessed Hermann, who called her his beloved spouse, whilst he also was honored by Mary with the same name. As much as St. Philip Neri, who felt wholly consoled in merely thinking of Mary, and on this account named her his delight. As much as St. Bonaventure, who not only called her his lady and mother, but, to show the tender affection he bore her, went so far as to call her his heart and his soul: Hail, lady, my mother; yea, my heart, my soul. Let us love her as much as her great lover St. Bernard, who loved his sweet mother so much, that he called her "the ravisher of hearts:" whence the saint, in order to express to her the ardent love he bore her, said to her, "Hast thou not stolen my heart? " Let us name her our beloved mistress, as St. Bernardine of Sienna named her, who went every day to visit her before her sacred image, in order to declare his love in the tender colloquies he held with his queen. When he was asked where he went every day, he answered that he went to find his beloved. Let them love her as much as St. Louis of Gonzaga, who burned continually with so great love of Mary, that as soon as he heard the sound of the sweet name of his dear mother, his heart kindled, and a flame perceptible to all, lighted up his countenance. Let us love her like St. Francis Solano, who, distracted by a holy passion for Mary, sometimes went with a musical instrument to sing of love before her altar, saying that, like earthly lovers, he was serenading his beloved queen.

Let us love her as so many of her servants have loved her, who had no way left of manifesting their love to her. Father Jerome of Trexo, of the Society of Jesus, delighted in calling himself the slave of Mary, and as a mark of his servitude went often to visit her in a church: and what did he do there? He watered the church with the tears of that tender love which he felt for Mary; then he wiped them with his lips, kissing that pavement a thousand times, remembering that it was the house of his beloved mistress. Father Diego Martinez, of the same society, who, on account of his devotion to our Lady, on the feasts of Mary, was carried by angels to heaven, that he might see with how much devotion they were celebrated there, said, "Would that I had all the hearts of the angels and the saints to love Mary as they love her. Would that I had the lives of all men, to devote them all to the love of Mary!" Let others love her as Charles the son of St. Bridget loved her, who said that he knew of nothing in the world which gave him so much consolation as the thought of how much Mary was beloved by God; and he added, that he would accept every suffering rather than that Mary should lose, if it were possible for her to lose it, the least portion of her greatness; and if the greatness of Mary were his, he would renounce it in her behalf, because she was more worthy of it. Let us desire to sacrifice our life in testimony of our love to Mary, as Alphonso Rodriguez desired to do. Let us, like Francesco Binanzio, a religious, and Radagunde, wife of King Clotaire, engrave with sharp instruments of iron upon our breast the sweet name of Mary. Let us, with red-hot iron, impress upon our flesh the beloved name, that it may be more distinct and more enduring, as did her devoted servants Battista Archinto and Agostino d Espinosa, both of the Company of Jesus.

If, then, the lovers of Mary imitate, as much as possible, those lovers who endeavor to make known their affection to the person beloved, they can never love her so much as she loves them. I know, oh Lady, said St. Peter Damian, how loving thou art, and that thou lovest us with unconquerable love. The venerable Alphonso Rodriguez, of the Society of Jesus, was once standing before an image of Mary; and there burning with love for the most holy Virgin, broke forth into these words: "My most amiable mother, I know that thou lovest me, but thou dost not love me so much as I love thee." Then Mary, as if wounded in her love, spoke to him from that image and said: "What dost thou say what dost thou say, oh Alphonso? Oh, how much greater is the love I bear thee than the love thou bearest me! Know that the distance from heaven to earth is not so great as from my love to thine."

With how much reason, then, did St. Bonaventure exclaim: Blessed are those whose lot it is to be faithful servants and lovers of this most loving mother! For this most grateful queen is never surpassed in love by her devoted servants. Mary, in this respect, imitating our loving Redeemer Jesus Christ, makes by her favors a twofold return to him who loves her. I will exclaim, then, with the enamored St. Anselm: May my heart languish, may my soul melt with your never-failing love. May my heart always burn and my soul be consumed with love for you, oh Jesus, my beloved Saviour, oh my dear mother Mary. Grant then, oh Jesus and Mary, since without your grace I cannot love you, grant to my soul, not through my merits, but through yours, that I may love you as you deserve. Oh, God! the lover of men, thou hast died for thy enemies, and canst thou deny to him who asks it, the grace of loving thee and thy mother?


It is narrated by Father Auriemma, that a poor shepherdess loved Mary so much that all her delight was to go to a little chapel of our Lady, on a mountain, and there in solitude, while her sheep were feeding, to converse with her beloved mother and pay her devotion to her. When she saw that the figure of Mary, in relief, was unadorned, she began, by the poor labor of her hands, to make a drapery for it. Having gathered one day some flowers in the fields, she wove them into a garland, and then ascending the altar of that little chapel, placed it on the head of the figure, saying: "Oh, my mother, I would that I could place on thy head a crown of gold and gems; but as I am poor, receive from me this poor crown of flowers, and accept it as a token of the love I bear thee." Thus this devout maiden always endeavored to serve and honor her beloved Lady. But let us see how our good mother, on the other hand, rewarded the visits and the affection of her child. She fell ill, and was near her end. It happened that two religious passing that way, weary with travelling, stopped to rest under a tree; one fell asleep and the other watched, but both had the same vision. They saw a company of beautiful virgins, and among them there was one who, in loveliness and majesty, surpassed the rest. One of the brothers addressed her, and said: "Lady, who art thou? and where art thou going?" "I am the mother of God," she replied, "and I am going to the neighboring village, with these holy virgins, to visit a dying shepherdess, who has many times visited me." She spoke thus and disappeared. These two good servants of God proposed to each other to go and visit hei also. They went towards the place where the dying maiden lived, entered a small cottage, and there found her lying upon a little straw. They saluted her, and she said to them: "Brothers, ask of God that he may permit you to see the company that surrounds me." They were quickly on their knees, and saw Mary, with a crown in her hand by the side of the dying girl, consoling her. Then those holy virgins began to sing, and with that sweet music the blessed soul was released from the body. Mary crowned her, and took her soul with her to paradise.


Oh Lady, Ravisher of hearts I would exclaim with St. Boriaventure; who, with the love and favor thou dost bestow upon thy servants, dost ravish their hearts; take my miserable heart also, which desires so earnestly to love thee. Thou, oh my mother, with thy beauty hast enamored a God, and hast drawn him from heaven into thy bosom, and shall I live without loving thee? No. I will say to thee with thy loving child John Berchmans: "I will never rest until I have attained a tender love for my mother Mary." No, I will not rest until I am certain of having obtained a love a constant and tender love for thee, my mother, who hast loved me with so much tenderness even when I was so ungrateful towards thee. And where should I now be if thou, oh Mary, hadst not loved me, and obtained so many favors for me? If then thou hast loved me so much when I did not love thee, how much more may I confide in thy goodness, now that I love thee? I love thee, oh my mother, and would wish for a heart capable of loving thee, for all those unhappy beings who do not love thee. Would that my tongue could praise thee with the power of a thousand tongues, in order to make known thy greatness, thy holiness, thy mercy, and thy love, with which thou lovest those who love thee. If I had riches, I would employ them all for thy honor; if I had subjects, I would make them ail thy lovers; for thee and for thy glory I would give my life, if it were required. I love thee, oh my mother, but at the same time I fear that thou dost not love me, for I have heard that love makes lovers like those they love. If then I find myself so unlike to thee, it is a proof that I do not love thee. Thou so pure, I so unclean; thou so humble, I so proud; thou so holy, I so sinful. But this, oh Mary, is to be thy work; since thou lovest me, make me like unto thyself. Thou hast the power to change the heart; take then mine and change it. Let the world see what thou canst do for those who love thee. Make me holy make me worthy of thy Son. Thus I hope; thus may it be.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre

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MARY assured St. Bridget that she was mother not only of the just and innocent, but also of sinners, provided they wish to amend. When a sinner becomes penitent, and throws himself at her feet, he finds this good mother of mercy more ready to embrace and aid him than any earthly mother could be. This St. Gregory wrote to the princess Matilda: Desire to cease from sin, and I confidently promise you you will find Mary more prompt than an earthly mother in thy behalf." But whoever aspires to be the son of this great mother, must first leave off sinning, and then let him hope to be accepted as her son. Richard, commenting upon the words, "Then rose up her children, " remarks, that first comes the word rose up, surrexerunt, and then children, filii; because he cannot be a son of Mary who does not first rise from the iniquity into which he has fallen. For, says St. Peter Chrysologus, he who does works contrary to those of Mary, by such conduct denies that he wishes to be her son. Mary is humble, and will he be proud? Mary is pure, and will he be impure? Mary is full of love, and will he hate his neighbor? He proves that he is not, and does not wish to be the son of this holy mother, when he so much disgusts her with his life. The sons of Mary, repeats Richard of St. Laurence, are her imitators in chastity, humility, meekness, mercy. And how can he who so much disgusts her with his life, dare to call himself the son of Mary? A certain sinner once said to Mary, "Show thyself a mother;" but the Virgin answered him, "Show thyself a son." Another, one day, invoked this divine mother, calling her mother of mercy. But Mary said to him, "When you sinners wish me to aid you, you call me mother of mercy, and yet by your sins make me the mother of misery and grief." "He is cursed of God that angereth his mother." His mother that is, Mary, remarks Richard. God curses every one who afflicts this his good mother, by his bad life or his wilfulness.

I have said wilfulness, for when a sinner, although he may not have left his sins, makes an effort to quit them, and seeks the aid of Mary, this mother will not fail to assist him, and bring him to the grace of God. This St. Bridget once learned from Jesus Christ himself, who, speaking with his mother, said: "Thou dost aid those who are striving to rise to God, and dost leave no soul without thy consolation." While the sinner, then, is obstinate, Mary cannot love him; but if he finds himself enchained by some passion which makes him a slave of hell, and will commend himself to the Virgin, and implore her with confidence and perseverance to rescue him from his sin, this good mother will not fail to extend her powerful hand, she will loose his chains, and bring him to a state of safety. It is a heresy, condemned by the sacred Council of Trent, to say that all the prayers and works of a person in a state of sin are sins. St. Bernard says that prayer is the mouth of a sinner, although it is without supernatural excellence, since it is not accompanied by charity, yet is useful and efficient in obtaining a release from sin; for, as St. Thomas teaches, the prayer of the sinner is indeed without merit, but it serves to obtain the grace of pardon; for the power of obtaining it is based not upon the worth of him who prays, but upon the divine bounty, and upon the merits and promise of Jesus Christ, who has said, "Every one that asketh receiveth." The same may be said of the prayers offered to the divine mother. If he who prays, says St. Anselm, does not deserve to be heard, the merits of Mary, to whom he commends himself, will cause him to be heard. Hence St. Bernard exhorts every sinner to pray to Mary, and to feel great confidence in praying to her; because if he does not deserve what he demands, yet Mary obtains for him, by her merits, the graces which she asks of God for him. The office of a good mother, says the same saint, is this: if a mother knew that her two sons were deadly enemies, and that one was plotting against the life of the other, what would she do but endeavor in every way to pacify him? Thus, says the saint, Mary is mother of Jesus, and mother of man; when she sees any one by his sin an enemy of Jesus Christ, she can not endure it, and makes every effort to reconcile them. Our most indulgent lady only requires the sinner to commend himself to her, and have the intention to reform. When she sees a sinner coming to implore mercy at her feet, she does not regard the sins with which he is laden, but the intention with which he comes. If he comes with a good intention, though he have committed all the sins in the world, she embraces him, and this most loving mother condescends to heal all the wounds of his soul; for she is not only called by us the mother of mercy, but she really is such, and shows herself such by the love and tenderness with which she succors us. The blessed Virgin herself expressed all this to St. Bridget, when she said to her, However great may be a man s sins, when he turns to me, I am immediately ready to receive him; neither do I consider bow much he has sinned, but with what intention he comes; for I do not disdain to anoint and heal his wounds, because I am called, and truly am, the mother of mercy.

Mary is the mother of sinners who desire to be converted, and as a mother she cannot but compassionate them, and it even seems that she regards the woes of her poor children as her own. When the woman of Chanaan implored Jesus Christ to liberate her daughter from the demon which tormented her, she said: "Have mercy on me, oh Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously troubled by a devil." But as the daughter, not the mother, was tormented by the devil, it would seem that she should have said, "Oh Lord, have mercy on my daughter," not "have mercy upon me;" but no, she said: "Have mercy upon me,"and with reason, for all the miseries of children are felt as their own by their mothers. Exactly thus Mary prays God, says Richard of St. Laurence, when she commends to him a sinner who has recommended himself to her "Have mercy upon me." It is as if she said to him, My Lord, this poor creature, who is in sin, is my child; have pity on him, not so much on him as on me who am his mother. Oh, would to God that all sinners would have recourse to this sweet mother, for all would certainly be pardoned by God. Oh Mary, exclaims St. Bouaventure, in wonder; thou dost embrace, with maternal affection the sinner who is despised by the whole world! neither dost thou leave him until he is reconciled to his Judge." The saint here intends to say that the sinner who remains in sin is hated and rejected by all men; even insensible creatures, fire, air, the earth would punish him, and inflict vengeance upon him in order to repair the honor of their insulted Lord. But if this wretch has recourse to Mary, does she banish him from her presence? No: if he comes asking for help, and intending to amend, she embraces him with the affection of a mother, and does not leave him until she has reconciled him to God by her powerful intercession, and re-established him in his grace.

We read in the 2d book of Kings, that the wise woman of Thecua said to David: "My Lord, I had two sons, and for my misfortune one has killed the other; so that I have already lost a child; justice would now take from me my other and only son; have pity on me a poor mother, and do not let me be deprived of both my children." Then David had compassion on this mother, and liberated the criminal, and restored him to her. It appears that Mary offers the same petition when God is angry with a sinner, who has recourse to her: Oh my God, she says to him, I had two sons, Jesus and man; man has killed my Jesus on the cross; thy justice would now condemn man; my Lord, my Jesus is dead; have mercy upon me, and if I have lost one, do not condemn me to lose the other also. Ah, God assuredly does not condemn those sinners who have recourse to Mary, and for whom she prays; since God himself has given these sinners to Mary for her children. The devout Lanspergius puts these words into the mouth of our Lord: I have commended sinners to Mary as her children. Wherefore she is so watchful in the performance of her office that she permits none to be lost who are committed to her care, especially those who invoke her, and uses all her power to lead them back to me. And who can describe, says Blosius, the goodness, the mercy, the fidelity, and the charity with which this our mother strives to save us, when we invoke her aid? Let us prostrate ourselves, then, says St. Bernard, before this good mother, let us cling to her sacred feet, and leave her not until she gives us her blessing, and accepts us for her children. Who could distrust the goodness of this mother? said St. Bonaventure. Though she should slay me, I will hope in her; and, confident in my trust, I would die near her image, and be saved. And thus should every sinner say who has recourse to this kind mother: Oh my Lady and mother, I deserve for my faults that thou shouldst banish me from thy presence, and shouldst punish me for my sins; but even if thou shouldst cast me off and slay me, I shall never lose confidence in thee and in thy power to save me. In thee I entirely confide, and if it be my fate to die before some image of thine, re commending myself to thy compassion, I should have a certain hope of my salvation, and of going to praise thee in heaven, united to all thy servants who called upon thee for aid in death, and are saved. Let the following example be read, and let the reader judge if any sinner can distrust the mercy and love of this good mother, if he has recourse to her.


It is narrated by Belluacensis that in Ridolio, a city of England, in the year 1430, there lived a young nobleman named Ernest, who gave all his patrimony to the poor, and entered a monastery, where he led so holy a life that he was greatly esteemed by his superiors, particularly for his special devotion to the most holy Virgin. It happened that a pestilence prevailed in that city and the citizens had recourse to that monastery to ask the prayers of the monks. The abbot ordered Ernest to go and pray before the altar of Mary, and not to quit it until she had given him an answer. The youth remained there three days, and received from Mary, in answer, some prayers, which were to be said. They were said, and the plague ceased. It happened afterwards that this youth became less ardent in his devotion to Mary; the devil assailed him with many temptations, especially to impurity, and to a desire to flee from the monastery; and having neglected to recommend himself to Mary, he resolved to take flight by casting himself from the wall of the monastery; but passing before an image of the Virgin which stood in the corridor, the mother of God spoke to him, and said: "My son, why do you leave me?" Ernest was overwhelmed with surprise, and, filled with compunction, fell on the earth, saying: "My Lady, behold, I have no power to resist, why do you not aid me?" and the Madonna replied: "Why have you not invoked me? If you had sought my protection, you would not have been reduced to this; from this day commend yourself to me, and have confidence." Ernest returned to his cell ; but the temptations were renewed, yet he neglected to call upon Mary for assistance. He finally fled from the monastery, and leading a bad life, he went on from one sin to another, till he became an assassin. He rented an inn, where in the night he murdered unfortunate travellers and stripped them of all they had. One night, among others, he killed the cousin of the governor of the place, who, after examination and trial, condemned him to the gallows. But during the examination, a young traveller arrived at the inn, and the host, as usual, laid his plans and entered his chamber to assassinate him: but on approaching the bed, he finds the young man gone and a Christ on the cross, covered with wounds, in his place. Our Lord, looking compassionately at him, said: "Is it not enough that I have died once for thee? Dost thou wish to slay me again? Do it, then; lift thy hand and kill me!" Then the poor Ernest, covered with confusion, began to weep, and exclaimed: "Oh Lord, behold me ready to return to thee, who hast shown me so much mercy." He immediately left the inn to go back to the monastery and do penance; but the officers of justice overtook him on the way, he was carried before the judge, and in his presence confessed all the murders he had committed. He was at once condemned to death, without even being allowed time for confession. He commended himself to Mary. He was hung upon the gallows, but the Virgin prevented his death. She herself released him, and said to him: "Return to the monastery; do penance; and when you shall see in my hand a paper containing the pardon of thy sins, then prepare to die. Ernest returned, and having related all to the abbot, did great penance. After many years, he saw in the hand of Mary the paper containing his pardon; he then prepared for his last end, and died a holy death.


Oh Mary, sovereign queen, and worthy mother of my God, most holy Mary! Finding myself so vile, so laden with sin, I dare not approach thee and call thee mother. But I cannot let my miseries deprive me of the consolation and confidence I feel in calling thee mother. I know that I deserve to be rejected by thee, but I pray thee to consider what thy son Jesus has done and suffered for me; and then cast me from thee if thou canst. I am a poor sinner, who, more than others, have despised the divine Majesty; but the evil is already done. To thee I have recourse: thou canst help me; oh, my mother, help me. Do not say that thou canst not aid me, for I know that thou art omnipotent, and dost obtain whatever thou desireth from thy God. If then thou sayest that thou canst not help me, at least tell me to whom I must have recourse for succor in my deep distress. With St. Anselm, 1 will say to thee, and to thy Son: Have pity on me, oh thou, my Redeemer, and pardon me, thou my mother, and recommend me to pardon; or teach me to whom I may have recourse, who is more compassionate than you, and in whom I may have more confidence. No, neither in heaven nor on earth can I find one who has more compassion for the miserable, or who can aid me more than you. Thou, oh Jesus, art my father, and thou, oh Mary, art my mother. You love those who are the most wretched, and you seek to save them. I am worthy of hell, and of all beings the most miserable; you need not to seek me, neither do I ask you to seek me; I present my self to you with a sure hope that I shall not be abandoned by you. Behold me at your feet; my Jesus, pardon me; my Mary, help me.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
CHAPTER II - VITA, DULCEDO. Our life, our sweetness.

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In order to understand rightly the reason why the holy Church calls Mary our life, we must consider that as the soul gives life to the body, so divine grace gives life to the soul; for a soul without grace, though nominally alive, in truth is dead, as we find in the Apocalypse: "Thou hast the name of being alive, and thou art dead." As Mary, then, obtains for sinners, by her intercession, the gift of grace, she restores them to life. The holy Church applies to her the following words of Proverbs: "They that in the morning early watch for me, shall find me." They shall find me, or, according to the Septuagint, "they shall find grace." Hence, to have recourse to Mary is to find the grace of God; for, as immediately follows: "He who finds me shall find life, and shall receive from God eternal salvation." Listen, as St. Bonaventure exclaims here upon these words, listen, all ye who desire the kingdom of God; honor the Virgin Mary, and ye shall have life and eternal salvation.

St. Bernardine of Sienna says, that God did not destroy man after his fall,because of the peculiar love that he bore his future child Mary. And the saint adds, that he doubts not all the mercy and pardon which sinners receive under the Old Law, was granted them by God solely for the sake of this blessed Virgin.

Therefore St. Bernard exhorts us, if we have been so unfortunate as to lose divine grace, to strive to recover it, but to strive through Mary; for if we have lost it, she has found it: and hence she is called by this saint, "The finder of grace." This the angel Gabriel expressed for our consolation, when he said to the Virgin, "Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace!"But if Mary had never been without grace, how could the angel say to her that she had found it? A thing is said to be found when it has been lost. The Virgin was always with God and with grace; she was even full of grace, as the Archangel himself announced when he saluted her, "Hail! full of grace, the Lord is with thee." If, then, Mary did not find grace for herself, for whom did she find it? Cardinal Hugo answers,when commenting upon the above passage, that she found it for sinners who had lost it. Let sinners, then, says the devout writer, who have lost grace, flee to Mary; with her they will certainly find it; and let them say: Oh Lady, what is lost must be restored to him who has lost it; this grace which thou hast found is not thine, thou hast never lost it; it is ours, for we have lost it, and to us thou shouldst restore it. In connection with which, Richard of St. Laurence remarks: If then we desire to find the grace of God, let us go to Mary, who has found it, and always finds it. And since she ever has been, and ever will be, dear to God, if we have recourse to her, we certainly shall find it. She says, in the holy Canticles, that God has placed her in the world to be our defence, and therefore she is ordained to be the mediatrix of peace between the sinner and God. "I am become in his presence as one finding peace." By which words St. Bernard gives encouragement to the sinner, and says: Go to this mother of mercy, and show her the wounds which thy sins have inflicted upon thy soul. Then she will certainly pray her Son that he may pardon thee by the milk with which she has nourished him, and the Son who loves her so much will certainly hear her. So, too, the holy Church teaches us to pray the Lord to grant us the powerful intercession of Mary, that we may arise from our sins, in the following prayer: "Grant us, oh merciful God! strength against all our weakness; that we who celebrate the memory of the holy mother of God, may, by the help of her intercession, arise again from our iniquities."

Justly, then, does St. Lawrence Justinian call her the hope of evil-doers, "spes delinquentium," since she alone can obtain their pardon from God. St. Bernard rightly names her the ladder of sinners, "Peccatorum scala;" since she, this compassionate queen, offers her hand to poor fallen mortals, leads them from the precipice of sin, and helps them to ascend to God. St. Augustine rightly calls her the only hope of us sinners, since by her means alone we hope for the re mission of all our sins. And St. John Chrysostom repeats the same thing, namely, that sinners receive pardon only through the intercession of Mary. Whence the saints in the name of all sinners thus salutes her: Hail! mother of God and ours; Heaven where God dwells; Throne from which the Lord dispenses all graces; always pray to Jesus for us, that by thy prayers we may obtain pardon in the day of account, and the glory of the blessed in heaven. Finally, Mary is rightly called aurora: "Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising? Because, as Pope Innocent says, aurora is the end of night, and the beginning of day, well is the Virgin Mary, who is the end of vices and the beginning of virtues, designated as aurora. And the same effect which the birth of Mary produced in the world, devotion to her produces in the soul; she puts an end to the night of sin, and leads the soul into the way of virtue. Hence, St. Germanus says: Oh mother of God, thy protection is immortal! thy intercession is life. And in his sermon on the Zone of the Virgin the saint says that the name of Mary, to him who pronounces it with affection, is either the sign of life, or that soon he will have life.

Mary sang: "For behold, from henceforth all nations shall call me blessed." On this account, says St. Bernard, all nations shall call thee blessed, because all thy servants by thy means shall obtain the life of grace and eternal glory, "In thee sinners find pardon, and the just perseverance, and afterwards life eternal." Do not despair, as the devout Bernardine de Bustis says, oh sinners, although you have committed all possible sin, but confidently have recourse to this Lady, for you will find her hands full of mercies. Then she adds: Mary is more desirous to bestow favors upon you than you are to receive them.

By St. Andrew of Crete, Mary is called "The security of divine pardon. " By this is meant, that when sinners have recourse to Mary that they may be reconciled to God, God assures them of pardon, and gives them the assurance by also giving them the pledge of it. And this pledge is Mary, whom he has given us for our advocate, by whose intercession, in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, God pardons all sinners who place themselves under her protection. It was revealed to St. Bridget by an angel, that the holy prophets were full of joy when they learned that God, by the humility and purity of Mary, would become reconciled to sinners, and receive into his favor those who had provoked his wrath.

No sinner need ever fear that he shall be rejected by Mary, if he has recourse to her mercy. No, for she is mother of mercy; and as such, desires to save the most miserable. Mary is that happy ark in which he who takes refuge will never suffer the shipwreck of eternal ruin; "arca in qua naufragium evadimus." Even the brutes were saved in the time of the deluge in the ark of Noe; so, under the mantle of Mary, even sinners are saved. St. Gertrude one day saw Mary with her mantle extended, beneath which many wild beasts, lions, bears, and tigers had sheltered themselves; and Mary not only did not cast them from her, but received them with pity and caressed them. And by this the saint under stood, that the vilest sinners, when they flee to Mary, are not cast out, but welcomed and saved from eternal death. Let us enter, then, into this ark, and seek refuge under the mantle of Mary; for she certainly will not reject us, and will surely save us.


It is narrated by Father Bevius, of a very sinful person named Helen, that having gone to church, she accidentally heard a sermon on the rosary. As she went out she bought one but carried it hidden, so that it should not be seen. Afterwards, she began to recite it; and although she recited it without devotion, the most holy Virgin infused into her heart such consolation and sweetness in it, that she could not cease repeating it. And by this she was inspired with such a horror of her evil life, that she could find no peace, and was forced, as it were, to go to confession. She confessed with so much contrition, that the confessor was amazed. Having finished her confession, she went immediately before an altar of the blessed Virgin, to thank her advocate; she recited her rosary, and the divine mother spoke to her from her image, and said; "Helen, you have too long offended God and me; hence forth change your life, arid I will bestow upon you many of my favors." The poor sinner in confusion, answered: "Ah, most holy Virgin, it is true that hitherto I have been very sinful, but thou, who art all-powerful, assist me; I give myself to thee, and will pass the remainder of my life in doing penance for my sins." Assisted by Mary, Helen bestowed all her goods upon the poor, and commenced a rigorous penance. She was tormented by dreadful temptations, but she continued to recommend herself to the mother of God; and always, with her aid, came off victorious. She was favored also with many super natural graces, as visions, revelations, and prophecies. At last, before her death, of which she had been warned a few days previously by Mary, the Virgin herself came with her Son to visit her; and in death, the soul of this sinner was seen, in the form of a beautiful dove, ascending to heaven.


Behold, oh mother of my God, Mary, my only hope, behold at thy feet a miserable sinner, who implores thy mercy. Thou art proclaimed and called by the whole Church, and by all the faithful, the refuge of sinners; thou then art my refuge; it is thine to save me. Thou knowest how much thy Son desires our salvation. Thou, too, knowest what Jesus Christ suffered to save me. I offer to thee, oh my mother, the sufferings of Jesus; the cold which he endured in the stable, the steps of his long journey into Egypt, his toils, his sweat, the blood that he shed, the torments which caused his death before thy eyes upon the cross; show thy love for this Son, whilst I, for the love of him, beg thee to aid me. Extend thy hand to a fallen creature, who asks pity of thee. If I were a saint, I would not ask for mercy; but because I am a sinner, I have recourse to thee, who art the mother of mercies. I know that thy compassionate heart finds consolation in succoring the wretched, when thou canst aid them, and dost not find them obstinate in their sins. Console, then, to-day thy own compassionate heart, and console me; for thou hast a chance to save me, a poor wretch condemned to hell; and thou canst aid me, for I will not be obstinate. I place myself in thy hands; tell me what I must do, and obtain for me strength to do it, and I will do all I can to return to a state of grace. I take refuge beneath thy mantle. Jesus Christ wishes me to have recourse to thee, that, for thy glory and his, since thou art his mother, not only his blood, but also thy prayers, may aid me to obtain salvation. He sends me to thee that thou mayest assist me. Oh Mary, I hasten to thee, and in thee I trust. Thou dost pray for so many others, pray, and say also one word for me. Say to God, that thou desirest my salvation, and God certainly will save me. Tell him that I am thine; this is all I ask from thee.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
CHAPTER II - VITA, DULCEDO. Our life, our sweetness

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FINAL perseverance is a divine gift so great, that, as the holy Council of Trent has declared, it is a wholly gratuitous gift and one that can not be merited by us. But, as St. Augustine teaches us, all those obtain perseverance from God who ask it of him; and as Father Suarez says, they infallibly obtain it if they are diligent to the end of life in praying for it; because, as Cardinal Bellarmine writes: This perseverance is daily to be sought, that it may be daily obtained Now, if it is true, which I consider certain, according to the present very general opinion, as I shall presently demonstrate in chap. 5th if it is true that all the graces which are bestowed on us by God pass through the hands of Mary, it must also be true that only through Mary can we hope for and obtain this great gift of perseverance. And we certainly shall obtain it, if, with confidence, we always ask it of Mary. She herself promises this grace to all those who serve her faithfully in this life. "They that work by me shall not sin; they that explain me shall have life everlasting:" which words the holy Church puts into the mouth of Mary on the Feast of her Conception.

In order that we may be preserved in the life of divine grace, spiritual strength is necessary to resist all the enemies of our salvation. Now, this strength can only be obtained by means of Mary: Mine is this strength, says Mary: "Mea est fortitude." God has entrusted this gift to my hand, that I may bestow it on my devoted servants. "By me kings reign:" "Per me reges regnant." By me my servants reign, and rule their senses and their passions, and thus make themselves worthy of reigning eternally in heaven. Oh, what strength have the servants of this great Lady to conquer all the temptations of hell! Mary is that tower spoken, of in the holy Canticles: "Thy neck is as the tower of David, which is built with bulwarks a thousand bucklers hang upon it, all the armor of valiant men." She is like a strong tower of defence for her lovers, who take refuge with her in the day of battle; in her all her devoted servants find shields and weapons of every kind to defend themselves against the powers of hell.

For this reason, the most holy Virgin is called a plane-tree: "As a plane-tree by the water in the streets was I exalted." This passage is explained by Cardinal Hugo, who tells us that the plane-tree has leaves like shields. And by this is explained the defence that Mary affords those who take refuge with her. The blessed Amadeus gives another explanation, and says that she is called a plane-tree, because, as the plane-tree, with its shade, protects the traveller from the heat of the sun and from the rain, so, under the mantle of Mary, men find shelter front the heat of their passions and the fury of temptations.

Unfortunate are those souls who withdraw from this shelter, neglect their devotion to Mary, and tail to recommend themselves to her in trial. If the sun should no more rise upon the world, says St. Bernard, what would the world become but a chaos of darkness and horror? If a soul loses her devotion to Mary, she will immediately be full of darkness, and that darkness of which the Holy Ghost says: "Thou hast appointed darkness, and it is night; in it shall the beasts of the woods go about." When the divine light does not shine in a soul it is night, and it will become a den of all sins and demons. Woe to those, as St. Anselm says, who turn away from the light of this sun; that is, who neglect devotion to Mary. St. Francis Borgia, with reason, feared for the perseverance of those in whom he did not find a special devotion to the blessed Virgin. When once he asked some novices to what saint they had the most devotion, and found that some of them were not especially devoted to Mary, he warned the master to watch more carefully these unfortunate persons; and it happened that they all lost their vocation and quitted religion.

St. Germanus justly called the most holy Virgin the breath of Christians; because, as the body cannot live without breathing, so the soul can not live without having recourse and commending itself to Mary, through whose means the life of divine grace is obtained for us and preserved in us. As respiration is not only the sign, but also the cause of life, so is the name of Mary, when it is spoken by the servants of God, not only proves that they are living, but procures and maintains this life, and obtains for them every aid. The blessed Alan us, when once assailed by a strong temptation, was on the point of being lost because he omitted to recommend himself to Mary; but the blessed Virgin appeared to him, and, to warn him against such neglect in future, gave him a blow on the ear, and said to him: "If thou hadst commended thyself to me, thou wouldst not have been exposed to this peril.

On the other hand: "Blessed is the man," says Mary, that heareth me, and that watcheth daily at my gates, and waiteth at the posts of my doors." Mary will certainly be ready to obtain light and strength for those faithful servants, that they may abandon their vices and walk in the paths of virtue. Hence is she, as Innocent III. beautifully expresses it: The moon by night, the dawn of the morning, and the sun toy day. The moon, to him who is groping in the night of sin, to give him light to see his wretched state of condemnation; the dawn, the fore runner of the sun, to him who is enlightened, that he may come forth from sin and return to divine grace; and the sun, to him who is in grace, that he may not again fall into any precipice.

Theologians apply to Mary these words of Ecclesiasticus: "Her bands are a healthful binding." Wherefore are they called bands, asks St. Lawrence Justinian, unless because she binds her servants, that they may not wander in forbidden fields? St. Bonaventure explains in a similar manner the words of the office of Mary: My abode is in the full assembly of saints." He says that Mary is not only established in the fulness of the saints, but that she also upholds the saints, that they may not fall away; she sustains their virtue that it may not waver, and prevents the demons from doing them harm.

It is said that "all her domestics are clothed with double garments." Cornelius a Lapide thus describes this double garment: It is a double garment, because she clothes her servants with the virtues of her Son, as well as with her own; and, thus clothed, they will preserve holy perseverance. For this reason, St. Philip Neri always admonished his penitents by saying to them: My children, if you desire perseverance, be devout to Mary. The venerable brother John Berchmans, of the Company of Jesus, also said: He who loves Mary, shall have perseverance. The reflection which Rupert the abbot makes upon the prodigal son is very beautiful. If the mother of this prodigal son had been living, he would either never have left his father's house or would have returned much sooner. And by this lie wished to say, that he who is a child of Mary, either never departs from God, or if for his misfortune he departs, by means of Mary he quickly returns.

Oh, if all men loved this most kind and loving Lady, and in temptations always and immediately had recourse to her, who would fall? Who would be lost ? He falls and is lost who does not flee to Mary. St. Lawrence Justinian applies to Mary these words of Ecclesiasticus: "I have walked in the waves of the sea;" and makes her to say: I walked with my servants in the midst of the tempests to which they are exposed, to assist them, and prevent them from falling into the precipice of sin.

Father Bernardine de Bustis relates that a hawk darted upon a bird which had been taught to say Ave Maria; the bird said Ave Maria, and the hawk fell dead. By this our Lord wished to show us, that if an irrational bird was saved from destruction by invoking Mary, how much more surely will he be prevented from falling into the power of evil spirits, who is mindful to invoke Mary in his temptations. Nothing remains to be done, says St. Thomas of Villanova, when the devil comes to tempt us, but, like the chickens when the kite appears, to run quickly under the shelter of the wings of our mother. Let us, then, at the approach of the temptations which assail us, without stopping to parley with them, place ourselves at once under the protection of Mary. And then, the saint goes on to say, our Lady and mother must defend us; for, after God, we have no refuge but thee, who art our only hope, and the only protectress in whom we may confide.

Let us, then, conclude with the words of St. Bernard; Oh man, whoever thou art, thou knowest that in this miserable life thou art rather tossing on the tempestuous waves, among dangers and tempests, than walking upon the earth; if thou wouldst not sink, keep thy eye fixed on this star, namely, Mary. Look at the star, invoke Mary. When in danger of sinning, when tormented by temptations, when doubts disturb thee, remember that Mary can aid thee, and instantly call upon her. May her powerful name never depart from the confidence of thy heart, nor from the invocation of thy lips. If thou wilt follow Mary, thou shalt never wander from the path of safety. Commend thyself always to her, and thou shalt not despair. If she upholds thee, thou shalt not fall. If she protects thee, thou need not fear ruin. If she guides thee, thou shalt be saved without difficulty. In a word, if Mary undertakes to defend thee, thou shalt certainly arrive at the kingdom of the blessed. Thus do, and thou shalt live.


In the celebrated history of St. Mary of Egypt, which we find in the first volume of the Lives of the Fathers, we read that, at twelve years of age she fled from her parents, and went to Alexandria, where she led an infamous life, and became the scandal of the city. After sixteen years spent in sin,she wandered off to Jerusalem; when , on the festival of the Holy Cross, she was led to enter the church, more from curiosity than devotion. On the threshold she was thrust back, as if by some invisible power; she attempted a second time to enter, and again was repelled, and a third and a fourth time the same thing happened. The wretched creature withdrew then into a corner of the portico, and there she was interiorly enlightened, and saw that God had refused her entrance into the church on account of her wicked life. By chance she raised her eyes, and saw a picture of Mary which was painted in the vestibule. She turned to it, weeping, and said: "Oh mother of God, have pity on this poor sinner! I know that, on account of my sins, I do not deserve that thou shouldst regard me; but thou art the refuge of sinners: for the love of Jesus, thy Son, help me. Obtain for me that I may enter the church, for I desire to change my life, and go and do penance wherever thou shalt direct." Then she heard an interior voice, as if the blessed Virgin answered her: "Come, since thou hast invoked me, and wishest to change thy life, enter the church, for the door will no longer be closed against thee." The sinner entered, adored the cross, and wept. She returned to the picture: Oh Lady," she said, "I am ready; where shall I retire to do penance?" "Go," said the Virgin, " beyond the Jordan, and thou wilt find the place of thy repose." She made her confession, received holy communion, passed the river, reached the desert, and understood that there was her place of penance. During the first seventeen years that she lived in the desert, the evil spirits fiercely assailed her, to make her fall again. What did she then do? She recommended herself to Mary, and Mary obtained for her strength to resist for seventeen years, after which the conflict ceased. Finally, after fifty-seven years spent in the desert, in the eighty-seventh of her age, through Divine Providence, she was found by the abbot St. Zosimus. To him she related the story of her whole life, and begged him to return there the following year, and bring her holy communion. The holy abbot returned, and gave her communion. Then she implored him again to do the same thing. He returned the second time, and found her dead, her body surrounded with light, and at her head these words written in the sand: "Bury in this place the body of me, a miserable sinner, and pray God for me." A lion came and dug her grave, the abbot buried her, and, returning to the monastery, he related the wonders of divine mercy towards this happy penitent.


Oh mother of mercy! holy Virgin! behold at thy feet the traitor, who, returning ingratitude for the favors received through thee from God has betrayed thee and God. But, oh my Lady! know that my misery does not destroy, but increases my confidence in thee, because I see that my misery increases thy compassion for me. Show, oh Mary! that thou art the same to me as thou art to all those who invoke thee, full of grace and mercy. It is enough for me that thou regardest me with compassion). If in thy heart thou hast pity for me, thou wilt not cease to protect me; and if thou dost protect me, what should I fear? No, I fear nothing; I fear not my sins, for thou canst remedy their evil consequences; nor the demons, for thou art more powerful than hell; nor thy Son who is justly angry with me, for at one word of thine he will be appeased. I only fear that through negligence I may fail to implore thy protection in my temptations, and that this may cause my ruin. But I promise thee to-day, I will always have recourse to thee. Help me to keep this resolution. Behold the opportunity thou hast of satisfying thy desire to relieve so miserable a creature as I am.

Oh mother of God, I have great confidence in thee. From thee I expect the grace to do just penance for my sins, and from thee I hope the strength never more to fall back into them. If I am sick, thou canst heal me, oh heavenly physician. If my sins have made me weak, thy help can make me strong. Oh Mary, I hope everything from thee, for thou hast all power with God.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre

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