ON CONFIDENCE IN THE PATRONAGE OF MARY
“He that shall find me, shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord.”
“O, how great should be our thankfulness to the mercy of God, for having given us for our advocate Mary, who, by her prayers, can obtain for us all the graces we stand in need of” (St. Bonaventure in Salve Regina). Sinners, brethren, if we find ourselves debtors to the divine justice, and condemned to hell by our sins, let us not despair; let us have recourse to this divine mothers; let us put ourselves under her protection, and she will save us. But we must have sincere purpose of amending our lives. If we have such a purpose, and place confidence in Mary, we shall be saved. And why? Because Mary is a powerful advocate, a merciful advocate, an advocate that desires to save all.
In the first place, let us consider that Mary is a powerful advocate, who can obtain from the Judge all graces for her servants. This is a singular privilege, given to her by the Judge himself, who is her Son. “It is a great privilege that Mary is most powerful with her Son” (St. Bonaventure in Spec, lect vi). John Gerson says (tract, vi. Sup. Magn.) that the Blessed virgin asks nothing from God with an absolute will, which she does not obtain; and that, like a queen, she sends the angels to enlighten, to purify, and to perfect her servants. Hence, to inspire confidence in this great advocate, the Church makes us invoke her under the title of Powerful Virgin. Powerful Virgin, pray for us. And why is the patronage of Mary so powerful? Because she is the Mother of God. “The prayer of the divine mother,” says St. Antonine, “partakes of the nature of a command, and therefore it is impossible for her not to be heard” (Part iv. tit. 25. cap. xvii. sec. 4). The prayers of Mary are the prayers of a mother, and are therefore regarded by Jesus Christ in a certain manner as commands; hence it is impossible that her petitions should be rejected. St. Gregory, archbishop of Nicomedia, says that “the Redeemer, as if to discharge the obligation which he owed to his mother for having given to him his human nature, hears all her prayers” (Orat. de Exitu Mar). Hence, St. Theophilus, bishop of Alexandria, has written, “The Son is pleased that his mother should pray to him, because he wishes to grant her whatsoever she asks, in order to repay her for the favor received from her in giving him flesh.” Hence the martyr Methodius exclaimed, “Rejoice, rejoice, O Mary; you have for a debtor your Son. We are all debtors to him; but he is a debtor to thee alone” (Orat. Hyp. Dom).
Hence Cosmas of Jerusalem says, that “the intercession of Mary is omnipotent.” Yes, her prayers are omnipotent, because, as Richard of St. Lawrence says, “it is but just that the mother should partake of the power of the Son. The Son, then, who is omnipotent, has made the mother omnipotent” (Lib iv de Laud Virg.). The son is omnipotent by nature; the mother is omnipotent by grace; that is, she obtains by her prayers whatsoever she asks. This was revealed to St. Bridget (Rev. lib. i. cap iv.), who one day heard Jesus Christ addressing his mother in the following words: “Ask from me what you wish; for your petition cannot be fruitless.” My mother, ask as much as you please; for I shall hear all your prayers. He then subjoins the reason: “Because you refused me nothing on earth, I will refuse nothing to you in heaven. “You refused me nothing when I lived on earth; it is just that I should refuse nothing to you now that you are with me in heaven.
In fine, there is no sinner, however abandoned, whom Mary cannot save by her intercession. “You have,” says St. Gregory of Nicomedia, insuperable strength, lest the multitude of our sins should overcome your clemency. Nothing resists your power; for he Creator regards your glory as his own” (Orat. de Exit. B.V.). O mother of God, nothing can resist your power, since your Creator regards your glory as his own. “Nothing then,” says St. Peter Damian, “is impossible to you, who can raise even those who are in despair to hopes of salvation” (Serm. i. de Nativ. B.V.).
Affections and Prayers
My dear queen and mother, Mary, I will address thee in the words of St. Germanus. “thou art omnipotent in saving sinners; thy prayers are all-powerful with God, because thou art the mother of true life” (Serm iii. in Dom. B.V.). Then, O my mistress, if I have recourse to thee, all my sins cannot make me despair of salvation. Thou obtainest by thy prayers whatever thou wishest. If thou prayest for me, I shall certainly be saved. I will then say to thee with St. Bernard, “Pray for me, who am so miserable, O great mother of God; for thy Son hears thee, and grants whatsoever thou askest. “I am indeed a sinner; but I wish to amend my life, and I glory in being specially devoted to thee. I am, it is true, unworthy of thy protection; but I know that thou hast never abandoned anyone who has placed his trust in thee. Thou art able and willing to save me, and I trust in thee. When I was in the state of perdition, and forgetful of thee, thou didst think of me, and obtained for me the grace to enter into myself. How much more ought I to trust in thy mercy now that I am dedicated to thy service, and that I recommend myself with confidence to thy prayers! O Mary, pray for me, and obtain for me the grace to be a saint. Obtain for me holy perseverance; obtain for me a great love of thy Son, and of thee, O my amiable mother. I love thee, O my queen, and hope to love thee always. Do thou also love me, and obtain for me the grace that I may be transformed from a sinner into a saint.
Editor’s Note: This meditation is from St. Alphonsus Liguori’s “Preparation for Death” (1758).
Art: “Christus Rex” and “Maria Regina”, attributed to Hans Süß von Kulmbach, between 1514 and 1518, PD-US, Wikimedia Commons.