Friday, June 22, 2007

The Glories of Mary

Excerpts from
by St. Alphonsus de Liguori

Nihil obstat: Rev. Arthur J. Scanlan, S.T.D.
Censor Librorum
Imprimatur: + His Eminence
Patritius Cardinalis Hayes
Archiepiscopus Neo-Eboracensis
Die 16 Aprilis, 1931

The Necessity of the Intercession of Mary for our Salvation

(Chapter 5)

Jesus Christ says, that no one can find him unless the Eternal Father first draws him by the means of divine grace: No one comes to me unless my Father draws him ("Nemo potest venire ad me, nisi Pater, qui misit me, traxerit eum"—John, vi. 44). Thus also does Jesus address his Mother, says Richard of St. Laurence: "No one comes to me unless my Mother first of all draws him by her prayers" ("Nemo potest venire ad me, nisi Mater mea suis precibus traxerit eum"—De Laud. B. M. 1. 12, p. 2). Jesus was the fruit of Mary, as St. Elizabeth told her: Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb" ("Benedicta tu inter mulieres, et benedictus Fructus ventris tui"—Luke, i. 42). Whoever, therefore, desires the fruit must go to the tree; whoever desires Jesus must go to Mary; and whoever finds Mary will most certainly find Jesus.

Cassian speaks in still stronger terms. He says absolutely, "that the salvation of all depends on their being favored and protected by Mary" ("Tota salus humani generic consistit in multitudine gratiae Mariae et favoris"—Pelbart, Stell. l. 12, p. 1, a. 3). He who is protected by Mary will be saved; he who is not will be lost. St. Bernardine of Sienna thus addresses this Blessed Virgin: "O Lady, since thou art the dispenser of all graces, and since the grace of salvation can only come through thy hands, our salvation depends on thee" ("Tu Dispensatrix omnium gratiarum"—Pro Fest. V. M. s. 13, a. 2, c. 3).

St. Bonaventure says, that "God will not save us without the intercession of Mary" ("Ipse, sine ea, non salvabit te"). And that "as a child cannot live without a nurse to suckle it, so no one can be saved without the protection of Mary" ("Quemadmodum infans, sine nutrice, non potest vivere; ita nec sine Domina nostra, potes habere salutem").

"And she is so called that sinners may understand that as the plane-tree gives shelter to travelers from the heat of the sun, so does Mary invite them to take shelter under her protection from the wrath of God, justly enkindled against them…"before Mary," to quote the saint's own words, "there was no one who could thus dare to restrain the arm of God." But now, if God is angry with a sinner, and Mary takes him under her protection, she withholds the avenging arm of her Son, and saves him. "And so," continues the same saint, "no one can be found more fit for this office than Mary, who seizes the sword of divine justice with her own hands to prevent it from falling upon and punishing the sinner""

"The Blessed Virgin herself revealed to St. Bridget "that there is no sinner in the world, however much he may be at enmity with God, who does not return to him and recover his grace, if he has recourse to her and asks her assistance" ("Nullus ita alienatus est de Deo, qui, si me invocaverit, non revertatur ad Deum"—Rev. l. 6, c. 10). The same St. Bridget one day heard Jesus Christ address his mother, and say that "she would be ready to obtain the grace of God for Lucifer himself, if only he humbled himself so far as to seek her aid" ("Etiam diabolo exhiberes misericordiam, si humiliter peteret"—Rev. extr. c. 50). That proud spirit will never humble himself so far as to implore the protection of Mary; but if such a thing were possible, Mary would be sufficiently compassionate, and her prayers would have sufficient power to obtain both forgiveness and salvation for him from God.

Prayer of St. Bernard

We raise our eyes to thee, O Queen of the world. We must appear before our Judge after so many sins: who will appease him? No one can do it better than thou canst, O holy Lady, who hast loved him so much, and by whom thou art so tenderly beloved. Open, then, O Mother of mercy, thy heart to our sighs and prayers. We fly to thy protection; appease the wrath of thy Son, and restore us to his grace...

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