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This new and improved translation of "The 
Glories of Mary, " having been duly examined, 
is hereby approved of. JOHN 

ArcKUshop of New Yerk 
No York, Jan. 21**, 1862. 

Copyright, 1888, 




THE edition of the "Glories of Mary" now pre 
sented to the Catholic public of America is the 
first complete translation of the work ever ma^e 
into the English language. We trust that it 
will be found to retain the spirit of the learned 
and saintly author, and that it will be welcomed 
by the faithful in this country with the same 
delight which it has universally called forth in 
Catholic Europe. 


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 author 
ity 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. 


Preface to American edition..., ,.,, 3 

Protest of the author.... 4 

Petition of the author to Jesus and Mary 11 

To the reader * 13 

introduction 16 

Prayer to the blessed Virgin to obtain a good death 22 


SECTION 1. Hall, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy! of the great 
confidence we should have in Mary, because she is the Queen 
of Mercy 25 

SECT. 2. How much greater should be our confidence in Mary, 
because she is our mother 39 

BBCT. 8. How great is the love of our mother for us 60 

SECT. 4. Mary is also mother of penitent sinners 68 


SKCT. 1. Our life, our sweetness! Mary is our life, because he 
obtains for us the pardon of our sins 80 

SBCT. 2. Mary is again our life, because she obtains for us per 
severance 89 

BBOT. 3. -Mary renders death sweet to her servants 101 


SECT. 1. Hail, our hope ! Mary is the hope of all 115 

BECT. 2. Mary, the hope of sinners 187 

fiBcr. 1. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve! 

How ready is Mary to succor those who call upon her 142 

SHOT. 2. How powerful is Mary to protect those who invoke her 

in temptations of the devil J66 


BBOT. 1. To thee we send up our sighs, groaning and weeping 
in this valley of tears! The need we have of the intercession 
of Mary for our salvation 168 

BBOT. 2. The same subject continued Uf 



. 1. Ah, then, onr advocate! Mary is an advocate, power 
ful to eave all.. 2M 

SBCT. 2. Mary is a merciful advocate, who does not refuse to de 
fend the cause of the most miserable sinners 218 

BCT. 3. Mary is the peace-maker between sinners and God.... 296 


Turn thy eyes of mercy towards us. Mary Is all eyes, to pity 
and relieve our miseries.... 241 


CECT. 1. And after this our exile, show us the blessed fruit of 
thy womb, Jesus. Mary rescues her servants from hell. . . . 254 

SHOT. 2. Mary assists her servants in purgatory 267 

SBCT. 3. Mary conducts her servants to paradise 276 


Oh clement, oh merciful! How great is the clemency and 
mercy of Mary.. 290 


Oh sweet Virgin Mary! How sweet is the name of Mary in life 
and in death , 305 

MOTHER .*... 




How befitting it was to all three of the Divine Persons that Mary 
should be preserved from original sin 337 



Mary was born a saint, and a great saint, for great was the grace 
with which our Lord enriched her from the beginning, and 
great was the fidelity with which Mary at once corresponded 





Th offering -which Mary made of herself to God was prompt, 
without delay; entire, without reserve 893 



Mary could not humble herself more than she did In the incar 
nation of the Word; on the other hand, God could not exalt 
her more than he has exalted her 410 



Mary Is the treasarer of all the divine graces; therefore he who 
desires graces, should have recourse to Mary; and he who 
has recourse to Mary, should be secure of obtaining the 
graces he wishes 436 



The great sacrifice which Mary this day made to God, In offer 
ing him the life of her Son 457 



How precious was the death of Mary. 1st. By the favors which 
accompanied it. 2d. By the manner in which it took place.. 47ft 



let. How glorious was the triumph of Mary when she ascended 
to heaven! 2d. How exalted was the throne to which she 
was raised in heaven! 496 



Ifary was queen of martyrs, because her martyrdom was longer 
and greater thau that of all the martyrs 515 




Of St. Simeon s prophecy 68T 



Of five flight of Jesus into Egypt Ml 


Of the JOBS of Jesus in the temple,.. , 651 


Of the meeting of Mary with Jesus, when he went to Calvary. .. 560 


Of the death of Jesus 668 


The piercing of the side of Jesus, and his descent from the 
cross 577 


Of the burial of tbft body of Jesus ....,..., 685 


SECTION 1. Of the humility of Mary 694 

2. Of the charity of Mary towards God 603 

8. Of the charity of Mary for her neighbor 611 

4. Of the faith of Mary 615 

6. Of the hope of Mary 620 

6. Of the chastity of Mary 623 

7. Of the poverty of Mary ... 629 

8. Of the obedience of Mary 632 

9. Of the patience of Mary 636 

10. Of the prayer of Mary 639 

Various practices of devotion to the divine mother 643 

Various additional examples appertaining to the most holy Mary. 679 
Kovena of meditations for the nine days preceding the Feast of 

the Purification of Mary 727 

Meditations for various feasts of Mary 749 

Prayers to the divine mother for every day of the week 764 

Little Rosary of the seven dolors of Mary 773 

Little Rosary of the immaculate Mary 778 

Various prayers to Mary 778 




Mf most loving Redeemer and Lord Jesus 
Christ, I thy poor servant, knowing how pleas 
ing to thee are those who seek to glorify thy 
most holy mother, whom thou lovest so much, 
and dost so much desire to pee loved and honor 
ed 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 Vir 
gin, 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 in 
flame, 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 eter 
nal salvation, since all the good I have receiv 
ed, 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 of 
fer 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 ad 
vanced 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 exer 
cise 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 in 
flamed 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. 


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 ob 
scure. I here enumerate some of them, and if 
others, my dear reader, should <jome 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, page 19, referring to chap. 
5th of the book, I have said that God has or 
dained 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 au 
thor, 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 mem 
bers of the Church.* 

* Mater quidem spiritu non capitls nostrl, quod est ipse salvator, 
ex quo magis ilia spiritualiter nata est; quia omnes, qui in eum cre- 
diderint, in qnibue et ipsa est, recte filii eponsi appeliantur ; eed 


A well-known author, whom no one will sus 
pect 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 sho 
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 or 
dained that her great charity should intercede 
for all those for whom her divine Son offered 
and paid the superabundant ransom of his pre 
cious blood, in which alone is our salvation,, life 
and resurrection. It is on the basis of this doc- 
rine and whatever belongs to it that I have under 
taken to establish my propositions, f 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 Con- 
tensone, has written: The fulness of grace was 
in Christ as the head from which it flows, 

plane mater membrorum ejns (quae nos sumusXqufa cooperata ett 
charitate, ut fideles in Ecclesia nascerentur, qui illius capitis membra 
rant. Lib. de Sancta Virginitate, cap. 6. 

* M. Nicole, Instr. theol. and mor. on the Lord s Prayer, tn 
Angelical Salutation, <fcc , Instr. 5, c. 2. 

t Part 1, c. 6, 2, c. ?, 8, 2, c. 9. 


but in Mary as the neck through which it is trans 
mitted.* This is plainly taught by the angelio 
Doctor, St. Thomas, who confirms all the fore 
going in these words: The blessed Virgin is call 
ed 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 dan 
ger we may obtain salvation through the glo 
rious 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: "7n me omnis spes 
vitcB etvirtuth"\ Eccli. xxiv. 25. 

* In Chrieto fnit plenitudo gratiae, eicnt in capite Influence, in 
Maria vero, eicut in collo transfundente. Theolog. mentis et cordig. 
Tom. 2, Lib. 10. Dissert. 6, c. 1. Speculat. 2. in Reflexiones. 

t Dicitur autem Beata Virgo plena gratiae, quantum ad tria . . . 
Tertio quo ad refusionem in omnee homines. Magnum enim est in 
quolibet eancto, quando habet tantum de gratia quod sufficit ad 
ealutem multorum; sed quando haberet tantum, quod sufficeret ad 
ealutem omnium hominumde mnndo, hoc esset maximum; et hoc 
Wt in Christo et in Beacu Virgine. Nam 111 0111111 pcnouro potea 
alutem obtinere ab ipsa Virgine gloriosa. Unde cantic. 4. Mille 
clypei, id est remedia contra pericula, pendent ex ea. Item in omni 
opere virtutis petes earn habere in adjutoriuni: et ideo dicit ipm 




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 Fran- 
cone 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.f 

* Laus Marias fons est indeflciens, qul quanto amplius tenditur, 
tanto amplius impletur; quanto amplius impletur, tanto amplras 

t Etiamsi omnium nostrum membra verterentur in linguas earn 
laudare sufficiret nullus. Ap. B. Dion. Carth. 


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 auth 
ors at my command, the most select and pithy 
sentences of the Fathers and theologians, in or 
der 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 en 
deavor to kindle in the hearts of all, those bless 
ed flames of love with which theirs are burn 
ing 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 glorieg 


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 en 
gage in promoting the knowledge and love of 
her upon the earth? "They that explain me shall 
have life everlasting," J as the holy Church ap 
plies it on the festival of her Immaculate Concep 
tion. Exult, exult! oh my soul ! said St. Bona- 
venture, 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 accus 
tomed 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 

* Honorare Mariam est thesaurizare vitam eternam. De Laud. T. 

tHonorificantes se in hoc saeculo honoriflcabit in f uturo. 

$ Qui elucidant me, vitam eternam habebunt. Eccli. xxiv, 81. 

| Exulta, exulta, anima mea, et Isetare in ilia; quia multa bona eunt 
laudatoribus praeparata. Si enim omnes scripturae loquuntur de ea, 
Deiparam perpetuo corde et lingua celebremus, ut ab ipsa ad gaudia 
eterna perducamur. 


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, f 

The devout Thomas a Kempis represents Mary 
as commending to her Son those who publish her 
praise, and saying, "Oh, my Son, have compas 
sion on the souls of thy lovers, and of those who 
speak in my praise.J 

As far as the advantage of the people is con 
cerned, 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 chap 
ter 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 

* Kevel% cap. 14. t Ap. P. Auriem. 

% Fili miserere animte amatoris tui et laudutoris mei. Senn. 20, ad 

Quomodo fieri potest ut ex memoria landum ejns eaius noa 
proveniat peccatornm, cujus uterus facta est via ad peccatore* 
Mlvandos ! S. Ans. Lib. 8, de Exc. V. cap. i. 


upon preaching Mary, and confidence in her in 
tercession. 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 at 
tracted 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 

* Laudamnshumilitatem,njiramnrvlrginitatem; sedmiseris sapit 
dulciusmisericordia; misericordiam amplectiirrar carius, recordamut 
Diu8, crebrius invocamus. Serin. 4, de Ass. 


Mary; and because these attributes of the bless* 
ed 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 com 
mend 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 char- 
ity. 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 be 
come saints, since we can aspire and hope for no 
greater happiness than this. Farewell, till we 

* Jeeue et Maria, amores mei dulcissimi, pro vobis patiar, pro 
*7obie moriar; aim totus veeter, aim nihil meus. Ap. Auriem Aff. sc. 


meet in heaven at the feet of this sweet mothef 
and her dearly beloved Son, to praise them, to 
thank them, and love them, in their immediate 
presence through all eternity. Amen. 


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. Ketp far from me my infernal 
enemies, and come thyself to take my soul and 
present it to my eternal Judge. Do not aban 
don me, oh my queen. Thou, next to Jesus, must 
be my comfort in that dreadful moment. En 
treat 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, say 
ing, Jesus and Mary, I give you my heart and my 




It treats of the various and abundant graces which the 
mother of God bestows on her devoted wrvants, in 
several discourses of the Salve Regina. 


Hail queen, Mother of mercy. 



THE Holy Church justly honors the great Vir 
gin 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. Athan- 
asius, 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. f If the flesh of Mary, says St. Arnold, 
abbot, was the flesh of Jesus, how can the moth 
er be separated from the Son in his kingdom? 
Hence it follows that the regal glory must not 

* SI ipse Rex est qui natus est de Vlrglne, mater, quse eum genuit, 
Regina et Domina proprie ac vere censetur. Serin, de Deip. 

t lunc autem Virgo in illo consensu meruit primatum orbis, doml- 
num mancil, eceptnun regni super omnes creatures. Tom, 3d, 
cap, 61 


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 :f therefore, 
says St. Bernardine of Sienna, all creatures who 
serve God ought also to serve Mary; for all an 
gels 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 glo 
rious Virgin. | Hence Guerric, abbot, thus ad 
dresses the divine mother: Continue, Mary, con 
tinue 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 pro 
vision for the poor; differing in this from the ti- 

*Neque a dominatione fllii Mater potest esse sejuncta, una eit 
Marias et Christ! caro. 

Filii gloriam cum Matre, non tarn communem judico, qnam earn- 
dem. S. Arnol. de Laud. Virg. 

tRegina constituta, totum jure possidet fllli regnum. Rupert, abb. 

t Tot creaturae serviunt gloriosae Virgini, quot eerviunt Trinitati; 
omnes namque creaturae eive angeli, Bive homines, et omnia qua 
eunt in ccelo et in terra, quia omnia sunt divino imperio subjecta, 
glorioese Virgini sunt subjectse. Tom. 2, cap. 61. 

Perge Maria, perge secura in bonis filii tui; flducialite age tam- 
fOArn regiua, mater regis et sponsa; tibi debetur regnum et potestaa. 


tie of empress, which signifies severity and rig 
or. 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 kind 
ness and beneficence towards their subjects. 

Kings should then principally occupy them 
selves with works of mercy, but not to the neg 
lect of the exercise of justice towards the guilty, 
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,"f 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, ordain 
ing that all the mercies which are dispensed t 

* Hoc reges habent magniflcum, prodesse miseris. 
t Duo hfec audivi, qnia potestas Dei eat, et tibi, Domine, mi* 
ricordia. Peal. kd. 12. 


men should pass through the hands of Mary, 
and should be bestowed according to her good 
pleasure.* St. Thomas confirms this in his pref 
ace 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, f 

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.g And St. Bonaventure 
happily varies the passage above quoted by say 
ing: Give to the king thy judgment, Oh God, 
and to his mother thy mercy. || Ernest, Arch 
bishop 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 

* Regnum Dei consistit in potestate et misericordia; potestateDeo 
remanente, cessit quodammodo misericordise pars matri regnanti. 
Psal. iii. Tr. 4th, S. Magn. 

t Quando filium Dei in utero concepit, et post modum peperit, 
dimidiam pattern regni Dei impetravit, ut ipsa sit regina misericordiae, 
nt Christus est rex justitiae. 

$ Deus judicium tuum regi da; et justitiam tuam filio regis. Peal. 
fexi. 2. 

5 Quia misericordiam tuam dedisti Matri Regis. 
Deus judicium tuum regi da, et misericordiam tuam matri 
I jus. 


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 !J 
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 an 
ger 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 

* Pater omne judicium dedit fllio, et omne officium mieericordia 
dedit matri. 

t Unxit te Deus oleo Isetitise. Psal. xliv. 8. 

$ Maria, plena unctione miser ic cruise et oleo pictatis; proptcte* 
uurit te Deus oleo Ixtitiae. In spec. cap. 7. 


save thy life only, because thou art in the king i 
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 de 
liverance 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 ex 
alted 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 compassion 
ate and the better relieve us miserable sinners. 
Assuerus, when he saw Esther before him, af 
fectionately 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." f Assuerus heard her, and imme 
diately 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 di 

* Ne pates quod animam tuam tan tun ilberes, quia la domo re git 
es pr canctis Jadseis . Esth . iv . 15 . 

t Quae est petitio tua? Si invent gratiam fci oculia tola o rex, doc* 
aiihl populum meum, pro quo obseefo. 


vine 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 be 
loved 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 pow 
er 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 f 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. f 

But it may, perhaps, be feared that Mary dis 
dains interposing in behalf of some sinners, be 
cause she finds them so laden with sins ? Per 
haps the majesty and sanctity of this great queen 
should alarm us? No, says St. Gregory, in pro 
portion to her greatness and holiness are her clem 
ency and mercy towards sinners who desire to 

*Lex clementise in lingua ejus. Prov. xxxi. 26. 

tQuod divinse pietatis abyssum cui vult, quando vult et quomod* 
vult, creditor aperire; ut nemo tana enormis peccator pereat, cui sane* 
ta aanctorum pratrocinii suffragia prsestat. In Salve Regina. 


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 aus 
tere to those who seek her, but all sweetness and 
kindness?f 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 fail 
ed in his promises. But our queen cannot lie, 
and can obtain whatever she wishes for her de 
voted servants. She has a heart so kind and 
compassionate, says Blosius, that she cannot 
send away dissatisfied any one who invokes her 
aid.J 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 

* Maria quanto altior et sanctior, tanto clementior et dulc ior circa 
converses peccatores. Lib. 1, ep. 47. 

t Quid ad Mariam accedere trepidat humana fragilltas? Nihil 
austerum in ea, nihil terribile; tota suavis est, omnibus offerens lao 
et lanam. Super Sign. Magn. 

J Ita benlgna est, ut neminem tristem redire ainat. Lib. 4, c. 12. 


ubjects of inercy, 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 sub 
jects, 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 Nico- 
media would add, that thou canst not aid us be 
cause 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 hon 
ors 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 obliga 
tion.! 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 in 
debted 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 gracious 
ly listening to her prayers. 

How great then should be our confidence in 

* Tu es regina misericordise, etego miserrimus peccator, subdi- 
forum maximus. Regenosergo, o regina misericordiae. In Salv. 

t Habes vires insuperabiles, ne clementiam tuam superet multi- 
tudo peccatorum. Nihil tuae resistet potential ; tuam enim gloriam 
treator exietimat esse propriam, et filius in ea exultans, quasi * 
ohrene debitum, implet pctitiones ttias. Or. de exitu, R. V- 


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 reveal 
ed 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 pro 
nounced 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 tow 
ards them." And then she concluded by say 
ing/ 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 
BO compassionate to all, and so earnestly desire 
to aid sinners."* 

* Ego reginacceli; ego mater misericord!; ego justormn gaudium 
et aditus peccatorum ad Deum. Nullus eat adeo maledictus, qui 
quamdiu vivit careat misericordia mea; quia propter ne levius 
tentatur a dsemonibus, quam alias tentaretur. Nullus est ita abjectus 
A Deo, nisi fnerit omnino maledictus, qui si me invocaverit, non 
revertatur ad Denm, ei babiturus. sit misericordiam. Ego vocor ab 


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, 1st us remem 
ber 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 mon 
sters? 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 ;f and let the following example illustrate 


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 

omnibus mater misericordise, et vere misericordia illius misericordem 
me fecit. Ideo miser erit qui ad misericordem, cum possit, nou 
accedit. Kev. Lib. 1, cap. 6. 

* Veni de Libano, sponsa mea,reni de Libano, veni; coronaberis 
. . . . de cubilibus leonum, de montibus pardorum. Cant. 4. 8. 

t De talium leonem cubiculis tu coronaberis, Eorum ealua 
orona tna erit. Rup. Vid. 1. 3., in Cant. 


named Mary, who, in her youth, was a sinner, 
and obstinately persevered in her evil courses, 
even to extreme old age. For this she waa 
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, aban 
doned by all, and without the sacraments; and 
on this account was buried in a field, like a 
beast. Now sister Catherine, who was accustom 
ed to recommend very affectionately to God the 
souls of those who had departed this life, after 
learning the miserable death o/ 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 ref 
uge 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 
Jboly 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 my 
self 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 suc 
cor 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 noth- 


ing, 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 my 
self 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!\ Ac 
cept 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 

* Domina, me tuae domination! volo committere. utfme plenariftiv 
gas et gubernes. Non mini me relinquas. 
t THUS sum ego, salvum me fac. 


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." 



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 accord 
ing to the flesh, but the spiritual mother of our 
souls and of our salvation. Sin, when it de 
prived 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 

* Yeni, ut vitam. habearit et abuudantiua habeant. Joab. 


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 teach 
es us that when the most holy Virgin, on the an 
nunciation 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.f 

St. Luke says, speaking of the birth of our 
Saviour, that Mary "brought forth her first-born 
son."J Therefore, says a certain writer, if the 
evangelist affirms that Mary brought forth her 
first-born, is it to be supposed that she afterwards 

* Pater futuri sseculi, princeps pacis. Isa. ix. 6. 

t Virgo per hunc consensum in incarnatione fllii omnium salutem 
Tigorosiesime expetiit et procuravit; et omnium galvationi per hune 
consensum se dedicavit, ita ut ex tune omnes in suis visce^ibus 
bajulat, tanquam verissima mater filios suos. Tr. de B. V. wrm. 6. 

i Peperit filium suum primogenitum. Luc. cap. ii. 7. 


had othe* children? But the same author adds; If 
it is of faith that Mary had no other children ac 
cording 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 un 
derstand 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 tell 
ing her that Jesus was her first-born according 
to the flesh, but men were her second-born ac 
cording 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."f St. Ambrose ex 
plains 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. J 
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 salva 

* Si primogenitus, ergo alii filii secuti sunt secundogeniti? Cw> 
nales nullos habet B. Virgo, praeter Christum; ergo spirituals habeal 

t Venter tuus sicut acervus tritici, vallatus liliis. Cant. vii. 2. 

% Unum granum f rumenti fuit in utero Virginia, Christus Dominns; 
et tamen acervus tritici dicitur, quia granum hoc virtute omnes eleo- 
tos continet, ut ipse sit primogenitus in multis fratribus. De Instit. 

i lu illo uno fructu. in uno salvatore omnium Jesu pjurfcno* Maria 


The second time in which Mary brought us 
forth to grace was, when on Calvary, she offer 
ed to the eternal Father with so much sorrow of 
heart the life of her beloved Son for our salva 
tion. 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 spirit 
ual 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."f Mary, to save our souls, was willing to 
sacrifice the life of her Son,J as William the Ab 
bot 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 

peperit ad salutem. Pariendo vitam, multos peperit ad vitam. la 
Cant. iv. 18. 

* Ilia spiritu mater est membrorura salvatoris, quia cooperata eat 
charitate, ut fideles in ecclesia nascerentur. De Virg. cap. 6. 

t Posuit me custodem in vineis; vineam meam non custodivi. Cant. 

$ Ut muitas animas salvas faceret, animam euam morti expoauit, 

{ Et tuam ipsius animam doloris gladius pertransibit. Luc, it. 


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, offer 
ed 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,f "Torcular calcavi 
eolus." 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 tny son, "Ecce filius tuus;"J as 
if he said to her: Behold the man who, by the of 
fering thou hast made of my life for his salva 
tion, is already born to grace. And then turn* 
ing to the disciple, he said: Behold thy mother, 
"Ecce mater tua." By which words, says St. 

* Nullo modo dubitandum est, quia Mariae animus volut etiaxn 
tradere filium suum pro salute generis humani, ut mater per omnia 
conf ormis fieret Patri et Filio. 

t Isa. Ixiii. 3. 

$ Joan. six. 26. 

| IXunde die it discipulo: Ecce mater tua, Joan six. 97. 


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 ac 
count, as Silveira observes, St. John himself, 
when recording this fact in his Gospel, wrote, 
"After that he said to the disciple: "Behold 
thy mother."f Let it be remarked that Jesus 
Christ did not say this to John, but to the dis 
ciple, to signify that the Saviour appointed 
Mary for common mother of all those who, be 
ing Christians, bear the name of his disciples. J 
I am the mother of fair love, "Ego sum 
mater pulchrse 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. Bonaven- 

Oh, happy those who live under the protection 
of a mother so loving and so powerful! The 
prophet David, although Mary was not yet 

* In Joanne intelligimus omnes, quorum B. Virgo per dilectlonem 
facta est mater. Tom 1, Serm. 55. 

t Deinde dicit discipulo; Ecce mater tua. Joan. xix. 27. 

\ Joanne est nomen particulare, discipulus commune, tit denoto- 
tnr quod Maria omnibus detur in matrem. 

Ego sum mater pulchne dilectionis. Eccli. xxiv. 24. 

i Quia tota es amor erga nos, quos in filios recepit. Paciucck. 
de B. V. 

[ Nonne plus sine comparatione nos diligis, ac bona nostra pro- 
uras, quam mater carnalis? 


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,f "she who says: 
Behold the handmaid of the Lord."J And who, 
says Cardinal Bellarmine, who would dare to 
snatch these children from the bosom of Mary, 
where they have taken refuge from their ene 
mies? What fury of hell or of passion can. 
conquer them, if they place their trust in the 
protection of this great mother? It is narrat 
ed 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 com 
passionate 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 un 
til 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. Thebless- 

* Salvnm fac fllium ancillse tuse. PsaL Ixxxv. 16. 

t Cujus ancillse? 

t Quaj dit; Ecce ancilla Domini. In Psal. Ixxxv. 

$ Quam bene nobis erit sub praesidio tantae matris? Quis detra- 
here audebit de sinu ejus ? Quse nos tentatio, aut turbatio superar* 
poterit confidantes in patrocinio matris Dei et noetrse Bell, de sept 

I Fidelium piissima mater, furente tentationum tempestate, mater- 
no affeclu eos, velut intra viscera propria receptos protegit, don 
In teatum portum reponat. V. cap. 14, exc. 81. 


ed 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 cer 
tainly 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."f 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; re 
member 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. Bona- 
venture: 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 

* Ita ego facio, et faciam omnibus peccatoribus misericordiam 

ieam potentibus. Lib. 4, c. 38. 

t Sub tuum presidium confugimus, sancta Dei genetrix. 


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 motherjf Hear, then, our mother 
who calls us, and says to us; "Whosoever is a 
little one, let him come to me."J Little chil 
dren have always on their lips the word moth 
er, and in all the dangers to which they are ex 
posed, and in all their fears, they cry mother, 
Ah, most sweet Mary! Ah, most loving moth 
er ! this is exactly what thou dost desire; 
that we become little children, and always 
call upon thee in our dangers,and always have re 
course to thee, for thou wishest to aid and save 
us, as thou hast saved all thy children who have 
had recourse to thee. 

* Die, anima mea, cum magna flducia: Exultabo et laetabor, quia 
quicquid judicabitur de me pendet ex eententia fratris et matria 

t Oh beata fiducia, oh tntum ref ugium ! Mater Dei eat mater mea. 
Qua certitudine igitur deb emus sperare, quoniam salus de boni 
fratris et piae matris pendet arbitriol In Depr. ad. V. 

$ Si quis est parvulus, veniat ad me. Prov. ix. 4. 


In the history of the foundations of the Com 
pany of Jesus, in the kingdom of Naples, is re 
lated 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 her 
esy." From that time he became more fervent 
in his devotion to Mary, chose her for his moth 
er, and by her was inspired to become a re 
ligious. 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 pres 
ence 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 some 
thing to himself, asked him what he had said. 
He answered, that his angel-guardian had re- 
yealed 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 long- 
er 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 ser 
vant. 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 en 
courages 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 al 
ways 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." 



IP, 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 par 
ents; 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 her- 

* Opusc. 60, 


self, 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 chil 
dren ? 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, f 

Mary is our mother, not according to tHe 
flesh, but by love: "I am the mother of fair 
love. "I 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, 

* Natnra hoc bestiis infundit, ut catulos parvulos ament. Lib. 6, 
Eza. c. 4. 

t Nunquid oblivisci potest mulier infantem euum, ut non miserea- 
tnrfilio uteri sui? Et si ilia oblita fuerit ego tamen non obliviscar 
tiii. lea. xlix.15. 

$ Ego mater pulcbrse dilectionis. Eccl. xxiv. 24. 

Se dilectionis esse matrem gloriatur, quia tota est amor erga nos, 
QUOB in filios recepit. Paciucch. 

I Flagrabat Virgo sestuante charitate incensa, ut pro humanl gen- 
ris salute simul cum prole prof underet vitam. Tract de. Verb. Dom. 


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 con 
tained in the same precept, as St. John has writ 
ten: "This commandment we have from God, that 
he who loveth God, love also his brother ;"f 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 Chab- 
lais, risked his life by crossing a river every day 
for a year, on his hands and knees, upon a fro 
zen beam, that he might go to the other side to 
preach to those stubborn men. St. Paulinus be 
came a slave, to obtain liberty for the son of a 
poor widow. St. Fidelis, to bring the heretics of a 

* Pendebat in cruce fllius, mater persecutoribus se offerebat. De 
Inst. Virg. c. 7. 

t Hoc mandatum habemus a Deo, ut qui diligit Deum, diligat 3fc 
fratrem suuin. 1 Joan. iv. 21. 


iSnrtain 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 con 
sider 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 burn 
ing 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 hus 
bands 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 

Vita, Lib. 2, cap. 5. 


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 be 
fore 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 extreme 
ly 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 sacrific 
ing the dear life of her Jesus; submitting, for our 
sake, to see him die before her eyes in cruel tor 
ments. 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. Ac 
cordingly, as we read of the love which the eter 
nal 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 :"f as St. Bonaven. 
ture remarks, it may be said of Mary also, that 
she so loved us as to give her only-begotten 
8on.J 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 

* Mulier ecce filius tune. 

t "Sic Deus dilexit mundum, ut filium suum unigenitum daret." 
Joan. lii. 16. 
t Sic Maria dilexit nos, ut filium suum unigenitum darat. 


as, 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 ten 
der 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 ut 
ter even one word in favor of her Son, to pre 
vent his death, upon which our salvation depend 
ed; 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 want 
ing, 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 ob 
tain salvation for us all! The Lord, indeed, re 
warded Abraham for the sacrifice he was pre- 


pared 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 belov 
ed 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 

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 rea 
son alone how much would she esteem that ser 
vant! 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."f 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 

* Nulla post earn creatura ita per amorem nostrum exardescet, qu 
fllium suum unicum, quern multo plus se amavit, nobis dedit, et pr 
aobis obtulit. 

t Veni salvum facere, quod perierat. Luc. xix. 10. 

$ Factus *bediens asque ad mortem. Phil. ii. 8. 


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 cloth 
ed with the sun, because, as "There is no one 
that can hide himself from his heat," f 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 Jor 
dan, 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 sal 
vation 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 a Lapide relates, 
have the habit of praying our Lord to grant 

* Et eignum magnum apparuit in ccelo, mulier amicta sole. Apoc. 
xii. 1. 

t Non est qui se abscondet a calore ejus. Psal. xviii. 7. 

J A calore ejus, idest a dilectione Mariae. 

Oh quanta cura est Virgini matri de nobis! Omnibus aperit U 
num misericordiae suse. 

I Constat pro universe genere humano fuisse eolicitam. Ho. 8, 


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 &Lapide 
adds, for our mother desires greater things for 
us than we think of asking for ourselves. f 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.J 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 Rich 
ard of St. Laurence, which this good mother 
bears us, that when she perceives our neces 
sities, she comes to relieve them. She hastens be 
fore she is invoked. || 

If Mary, then, is good to all, even to the un* 
grateful 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. " ^f Ob, 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 

* Domine, da mihi, quod pro me postulat Ss. Virgo Maria. 

t Ipsa enim majora optat, quam nos optare poesumus. 

$ Plus ipsa desiderat facere tibi bonum, et largiri gratiam quam.tu 
accipere concnpiscas.Mar.l, Serm. 5. 

Praeoccupat qui se concupiscunt, ut illis se prior ostendat 
Sap. vi. 14. 

I Prius occurrit, quam invocetur. Ric. in Cant. iv. 5. 

5 Facile invenitur ab his qui diligunt illam. Sap. vi. 18. 


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 chil 
dren, 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.f 

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 
youf 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 ob 
tain from God whatsoever I wish." And this 
devout youth was never satisfied with renewing 
his intention, and of ten repeated to himself : "I 
will love Mary, I will love Mary." 

* Ego diligentes me diligo. Prov. viii. 17. 

t Invcnta Maria Virgine, invenitur omne bonum. Ipa namqu* 
diligit diligentes se, immo sibi servientibus servit. De contempt 
Virgin, in Prolog. 


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. Stanis 
laus 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 hy which he honored hef 
name; he never commenced an action without 
first turning to her image and asking her bless 
ing; when he recited her office, her rosary, and 
other prayers, he repeated them with such affec 
tionate 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 hy a fath 
er 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 

* Semper Maria cum amantibus est amantior. Ep. ad., Ep. 


account named her his delight. As much aa 
St. Bonaveiiture, who not only called her hia 
lady and mother, but, to show the tender affec 
tion 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:" f whence the saint, in order 
to express to her the ardent love he bore her, 
said to her, "Hast thou not stolen my heart? " J 
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 collo 
quies 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 coun 
tenance. 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 

* Ave Domina, mater mea; imo cor meum, auima me*. 

t Raptrix cordium. 

$ Nonne rapuisti cor meum? 


Let us love her as so many of her servants 
have loved her, who had no way left of manifest 
ing their love to her. Father Jerome of Trexo, 
of the Society of Jesus, delighted in calling him 
self the slave of Mary, and as a mark of his ser 
vitude went of ten 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, kiss 
ing that pavement a thousand times, remember 
ing 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 hea 
ven, 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 re 
nounce 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 un 
conquerable 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 dis 
tance from heaven to earth is not so great as 
from my love to thine." 

With how much reason, then, did St. Bona- 
venture exclaim: Blessed are those whose lot it 

* Scio, Domina, quia amantissima es et amas nos amore invi* 
Ctbili. Serm. 1, de Nat. B. V. 


is to be faithful servants and lovers of this mosl 
loving mother!* For this most grateful queen 
is never surpassed in love by her devoted ser- 
vants.f Mary, in this respect, imitating our lov 
ing 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.J 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 


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 

* Beati quorum corda diligunt Mariam! Beati qui ei famulantur! 

t Nunquam in hoc certamine a nobis vincitur. Amorera redhibet, 
et prseterita beneficia semper novis adauget. Paciucch. de B. Virg, 

$ Vestri continue amore langueat cor meum, liquefiat anima mea. 
In Depr. ad V. 

| Date itaque supplicanti animae mese, non propter meritum meum 
Bed propter meritum vestrum, date illi quantum digni estis amorem 
vestrum. Oh amator hominum, tu potuisti reos tuos usque ad mor 
tem amare, et poteris roganti amorem tui et matris tu negare ? Lee 

| Affett Scamb. torn. 2, cap. 7. 


Jady, 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 de 
vout 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 travel 
ling, 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 vir 
gins, 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 
^Uappeared. 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 quick 
ly on their knees, and saw Mary, with a crown 
in her hand by the side of the dying girl, con 
soling 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 I would ex 
claim 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 en 
amored 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 ten 
der love for thee, my mother, who hast loved me 
with so much tenderness even when I was so un- 

* Nnnqnam qulescam, donee habuero tenerum amorem erga matraa 


grateful towards thee. And where should I now 
be if thou, oh Mary, hadst not loved me, and ob 
tained 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 holi 
ness, 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 hum 
ble, 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. 

* Amor ant similes tevnit . ant f acit, Aristot 




MARY assured St. Bridget tbat 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."f But whoever aspires to be the 
son of this great mother, must first leave off sin 
ning, and then let him hope to be accepted as 
her son. Richard, commenting upon the words, 
"Then rose up her children, "J remarks, that first 
comes the word rose up, surrexerunt, and then 
children, jilii; 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 

* Ego sum quasi mater omnium peccatorum volentium se emeu- 
dare. L. 4, Rev. c. 138. 

t Pone finem a voluntate peccandi, et invenies Mariam indubi- 
tanter promitto promptiorem carnali matre in tui dilectione. L. 4, 
Bp. 47. 

% Surrexernnt filii ejus. Prov. xxxi. 28. 

$ Nee dignus eet, qui in mortal! peccato est, vocari Alias 


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 neigh 
bor? 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, mer- 
cy.f 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;"J but the Virgin an 
swered 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 angerethhis mother."|] His mother 
that is, Mary, remarks Richard. *f 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. Brid- 

* Q.ul genetricis non facit opera, negat genus. 
t Filii Marias imitate res ejus, in caetltate, humilitate, mansuefty 
dine, misericordia. 
$ Monstra te esoe matrem. 
$ Monstra te ease filium. Ap. Aur. 

I Maledlctus a Deo qui exaaperat matrem roam. EcclL fit I& 
f Matrem soam, ideat Mariam. 


get 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 im 
plore 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 sa 
cred Council of Trent, to say that all the pray 
ers 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 char 
ity, yet is useful and efficient in obtaining a 
release from sin; for, as St. Thomas teaches,f 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." J The same may be said of 
the prayers offered to the divine mother. If he 
who prays, says St. Anselm, does not deserve to 

* Conanti surge re a d Deum tribal a auxiliam, et nemiuem rebnqail 
vacuum a tua consolatione. 
1 2, 2, qu. 178, a. 2, ad 1. 
JOmnlaqui petit, acclpit. 


be heard, the merits of Mary, to whom he com 
mends 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.f 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 plot 
ting 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 recon 
cile them.J Our most indulgent lady only re- 
quires 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 

* SI merlta Invocantis non mcrentur, nt exandlatur; menta tameu 
matris intercednnt, ut exaudiatnr. 

t Quia indignus erat, cui donaretur, datum est Maria, ut per iliam 
ftcciperes quicquid haberes. Serin. 3, in Yig. Nat. 

$ Oh felix Maria, tu mater rei, tu mater judicls; cam si* mater 
utritiBque, discording inter tuos Ulios uetjuia tuttuiere. In 


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 call 
ed, 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 com 
passionate them, and it even seems that she re 
gards 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."f 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,"Jand with reason, for all the mis 
eries of children are felt as their own by their 

* Quantumcumque homo peccat, statim parata sum recipere rever- 
tentem; nee attendo quantum peccaverit, sed cum quali intentione 
redit; nam non dedignorejua plagas ungere, et sanare, quia vocor et 
vere sum mater rnieericordiae. Rev. 1. c. 23. 

t Miserere mei. Domine Fill J)%vid, ftlxa *?/* male a 
raatur. Matth. XT. 23. 


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 re 
course to this sweet mother, for all would cer 
tainly be pardoned by God. Oh Mary, exclaims 
St. Bouaventure, in wonder; thou dost embrace, 
with maternal affection the sinner who is de 
spised by the whole world! neither dost thou 
leave him until he is reconciled to his Judgelf 
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 in 
sulted 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 rec 
onciled him to God by her powerful interces 
sion, and re-established him in his grace. 

"We read in the 2d book of Kings, J that the 

* Maria clamat pro anima peccatrice; miserere mei. De Land. V 
XL 6. 

t Oh Maria peccatorem tot! mundo deBpectum, materno affectu 
complcterisl nee deseris, quousque miserum judlci veconclliea. la 
pec. e. 5. 


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 re 
stored him to her.* It appears that Mary offers 
the same petition when God is angry with a sin 
ner, 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 sin 
ners who have recourse to Mary, and for whom 
ehe 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, 

* Marise peccatores In filios oommendavl, propterea adeo est sedula, 
ut, officio suo satisfaciens neminem eorum, qui sibi commissi sunt, 
praecipue illam invocantium, perire sinat, sed quantum valet, oinnes 
tolhi reducat, V. 1. 4, Min. Op. 


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. f 
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.J 
And thus should every sinner say who has re 
course 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 ser 
vants 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. 

* Hujus matris bonitas, misericordia, fidelitas, cnaritas erga 
homines tanta est ut nullls verbis explicari possit. 

t Beatis illius pedibus persolvamur ; teneamus earn, nee dimiu 
tamus donee benedixerit nes In Sign. Mag. 

$ Etiamsi occiderit me, sperabo in eum ; et tutus confidens juxta 
jus imaglnem mori desidero, et salvus ero. 



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 monas 
tery, where he led so holy a life that he was great 
ly 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 or 
dered 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 after 
wards 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 hav 
ing 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 over 
whelmed with surprise, and, filled with com 
punction, 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. Pne night, 
among others, he killed the cousin of the gov 
ernor 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? 
Bo 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 pres 
ence confessed all the murders he had com 
mitted. He was at once condemned to death, 


without even being allowed time for confes 
sion. He commended himself to Mary. He 
was hung upon the gallows, but the Virgin pre 
vented his death. She herself released him, and 
said to him: "Return to the monastery; do pen 
ance; and when you shall see in my hand a pa 
per containing the pardon of thy sins, then pre 
pare to die. Ernest returned, and having relat 
ed 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 con 
fidence 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 
fthou eayest that thou canst not help me, at least 


tell me to whom I must have recourse for succoi 
in my deep distress. With St. Anselra, 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 com 
passionate 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. 



Our life, our sweetness. 



Ix 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, 
BO 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 inter 
cession, the gift of grace, she restores them to 
life. The holy Church applies to her the fol 
lowing words of Proverbs: "They that in the 
morning early watch for me, shall find me."f 
They shall find me, or, according to the Septua- 
gint, "they shall find grace. "J Hence, to have 
recourse to Mary is to find the grace of God; for, 
as immediately follows: "He who finds me shall 

* Nomen babes quod vivas, et mortuus es. Apoc. iii. 1. 
t Qui mane vigilant ad me, invenient me. Prov. viii. 17. 
$ Invenient me, invenient gratiam. 


find life, and shall receive from God eternal sal 
vation."* 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.f 

St. Bernardine of Sienna says, that God did 
not destroy man after his fall, because of the pe 
culiar 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. J 

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 

* Qui me invenerit, invcniet vitam, et hauriet ealutem a Domino. 

t Audite, audite qui cupitis regnum Dei; Virginem Mariam honor- 
ate, et invenietis vitam et salutem eternam. 

$ Omnes indulgentias factas in Veteri Testamento non ambig* 
Deum fecisse solum propter hujue benedictae puellse Virginis rever 
ntiam, et amorem. Tom. 4, serm. 61, c. 8. 

5 Quaeramus gratiam, et per Mariam quseramue. Serm. de aquwd. 

I Inventrix gratise. 

1 N timeas Maria, invenisti gratiam. Luc. i. 30. 


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 comment 
ing 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 re- 
Btored 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.f In connection with which, 
Richard of St. Laurence remarks: If then we de 
sire to find the grace of God, let us go to Mary, 
who has found it, and always finds it.J 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 

* Ave gratia plena, Dominus tecum. 

t Currant ergo, currant peccatores ad Virginem qui gratiam amiser- 
ant peccando, et earn invenient apud ipsam. Secum dicaut; Eedde 
nobis rem nostram, quam invenisti. 

$ Cupientes invenire gratiam quaeramua inventricem gratiae, qu, 
quia semper invenit frustrari non poterit. De Laud. V. 1. 2. 

Ego munis et ubera mea sicut turris. Cant. viii. 10. 

*Ex quo facta sum coram eo quasi pacem reperiens. Cant. 
Viii. 10. 


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 
Churchteaches 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 
herthehope of evil-doers, "spes delinquentium," 
since she alone can obtain their pardon from God. 
St. Bernard rightly names her the ladder of sin 
ners, "Peccatorum scala;" since she, this com* 
passionate 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. J And St. John Chrysos- 
tom reoeats the same thing, namely, that sinners 

* Vade ad matrem misericordlae, et ostende illi tuorum plagas pc- 
catorum; et ita ostendet pro te ubera. Exaudiet utiqtie matrem 

t Concede, misericors Deus, fragilitati nostrse presidium; ut qui 
sanctse Dei Genitricis memoriam agimus, intercessions ejus auxilio 
* noBtris iniquitatibus resurgamus. 

$ Tu es epes unica peccatorum, qu, per te speramus reniam om 
nium delictorum. Serm. 18, de Saudis. 


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; al 
ways 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. f 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 pro 
tection is immortal ! thy intercession is life.J 
And in his sermon on the Zone of the Virgin *$ 
the saint says that the name of Mary, to him 

* Per hanc peccatorum veniam consequimur. 

t Ave igitur mater, Ccelum, Thronus, Ecclesise nostrse Decus; as- 
sidue precare Jesum, ut per te misericordiam invenire in die judicii, 
et quse reposita eunt iis qui diligunt Deum bona consequi possimus. 
In Offic. Nat. B. M., die 5. 

Quae est ista, quse progreditur quasi aurora consurgens? Cant. 
Ti. 9. 

Cum aurora sit flnia noctis, et origo diei, vere per auroram desig 
nator Maria Virgo, quse fuit finis vitiorum, et orig;o virtotum. 
2. d ASB. B. V. 

I Serm. 3, in Dorm. B. V. 

t Be Zona Virgin. 


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 bless 
ed, because all thy servants by thy means shall 
obtain the life of grace and eternal glory, f "In 
thee sinners find pardon, and the just per 
severance, and afterwards life eternal." J 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 mer 
cies. Then she adds: Mary is more desirous to 
bestow favors upon you than you are to receive 

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 giv 
ing them the pledge of it. And this pledge is 
Mary, whom he has given us for our advocate, 

* Ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes. Luc. 
i. 48. 

t Ex hoc beatam te dicent omnes generationes, quae omnibus gen- 
rationibus vitam et gloriam genuisti. Serm. 2, in Pentec. 

$ In te peccatores veniaia, justi gratiam inveniunt in eternum. 
Serm. de Nat. B. V. 

| O peccator ne diffidas etiamsi commisisti omnia peccata; sed 
secure ad istam gloriosissiman Dominam recurras. Invenies earn in 
manibus plenam misericordia, et largitate; plus enim ipsa desiderat 
facere tibi bonum, et largiri gratiam, quam tu acciperi concupiscwu 
Serm. 5, de N. M. 

1 Fidejussio divinarum reeoncillationum, qwe dak) pignote fit. 


by whose intercession, in virtue of the merits of 
Jesus Christ, God pardons all sinners who place 
themselves under her protection. It was reveal 
ed to St. Bridget by an angel, that the holy proph 
ets 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 re 
jected 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 ; "area 
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 sin 
ners are saved. St. Gertrude one day saw Mary 
with her mantle extended, beneath which many 
wild beasts, lions, bears, and tigers had shelter 
ed 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. 

* Exultabant autem prsenoecentes, quod ipse Dominus ex tua 
hnmilitate et vitas puritate, O Maria stella praefulgida/placaretur, et 
quod reciperet eos in suam gratiam, qui ipeum ad iraeundiam pro* 
f ocaverunt. Sena. Ang. c. 9. 



It is narrated by Father Bevms,* 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 re 
peating 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 con 
fession. 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 my 
self 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 vic 
torious. She was favored also with many super 
natural graces, as visions, revelations, and proph 
ecies. 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 suffer 
ings 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. Ex 
tend 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 

Scls dulclsdma Dei mater, qnaatam plaemt bsnadleto fllio too 
ttlM BMtm. Qtiill Paris, 


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 compassion 
ate 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 obsti 
nate. 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 salva 
tion, and God certainly will save me. Tell him 
that I am thine; this is all I ask from thee. 




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 dili 
gent to the end of life in praying for it; because, 
as Cardinal Bellarmine writes: This persever 
ance 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 faitlif ully in this life. 
"They that work by me shall not sin; they that 
explain me shall have life everlasting:" f 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. ISTow, 
this strength can only be obtained by means 
of Mary: Mine is this strength, says Mary: 
"Mea est fortitude." God has intrusted this 
gift to my hand, that I may bestow it on my 
devoted servants. "By me kings reign:" "Per 

* Quotidie petenda est, ut quotidie obtineatur. 

t Qui operantur in me, non peccabunt; <jui elucidant me, vitam 
ternam habebunt. Eccli. xxiv. 30, 33. 
, $ Prov. viii. 15. In Feeto S. Maria ad nires. 


me rege regnant."J 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 ser 
vants of this great Lady to conquer all the temp 
tations of hell! Mary is that tower spoken, 
of in the holy Canticles: "Thy neck is as the 
tower of David, which is bailt 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 

For this reason, the most holy Virgin is call 
ed a plane-tree: "As a plane-tree by the water 
in the streets was I exalted." f This passage is 
explained by Cardinal Hugo, who tells us that 
the plane-tree has leaves like shields.J And by 
this is explained the defence that Mary affords 
those who take refuge with her. The blessed 
Amadeus gives another explanation, and saya 
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, 

* Sicut turris David collum tuum, quae edificata est cum propug 
naculis; miJie clypei pendent ex ea, ornnls armatnra fortium. Cant. 
IT. 4. 

t Quasi platanus exaltata sum juxta aquam In plateife flee* 
xriv. 19. 

t PlaUnus habet folia scutis similla. 


under the mantle of Mary, men find shelter front 
the heat of their passions and the fury of temp* 

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?f If a soul 
loses her devotion to Mary, she will immediate 
ly be full of darkness, and that darkness of 
which the Holy Ghost says: "Thou hast appoint 
ed darkness, and it is night; in it shall the beasts 
of the woods go about."J 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 nov 
ices to what saint they had the most devotion, 
and found that some of them were not especial 
ly devoted to Mary, he M T arned the master to 
watch more carefully these unfortunate persons; 

* Virgo ramorum extensione se ubiqua expandit, ut filios Adae ab 
lestu et turbine umbra deeiderabili protegeret. B. Am. Horn. 8. 

t Tolle corpus hoc eolare, ul>i dies? Tolle Mariam, quid, nisi ten- 
brse relinquentur? Serm. de Aquaed. 

$ Posuisti tenebras, et facta est nox; in ipsa pertransibnnt omni 
baatiae sylvse. Psal. ciii. 20. 

| V Y eta qui solem istum aversantur I 


and it happened that they all lost their vocation 
and quitted religion. 

St. Germanus justly called the most holy Vir 
gin the breath of Christians; because, as the body 
cannot live without breathing, so the soul can 
not live without having recourse and commend 
ing 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. r/ 

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."J Mary will certainly be ready to obtain 
light and strength for those faithful servants, 

* Sicut respiratio non solum est signum vitae, Bed etiam causa; eie 
Mariw nomen, qnod in servorum Dei ore versatur, simul argumentum 
eet quod vere vivant, simul etiam hanc vitam efficit et conservat; 
omnemque eis opem impertitur. Orat. de Deip. 

t Beatus homo qui audit me, qui vigilat ad fores meas quotldie, et 
biervat ad postes ostii mei. Prov. viii. 34. In Festo Cone. B. 
V. M. 


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 wretch- 
ed state of condemnation; the dawn, the fore 
runner of the snn, 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 bind 
ing."! Wherefore are they called bands, asks St. 
Lawrence Justinian, unless because she binds her 
servants, that they may not wander in forbid 
den fields?J St. Bonaventure explains in a sim 
ilar 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 sus 
tains their virtue that it may not waver, and pre 
vents the demons from doing them harm.|| 

It is said that "all her domestics are clothed 

* Luna in nocte, aurora in diluculo, sol In die. Serai. 2, de Ass. 

t Vincula illius alligatura salutaris. Eccli. vi. 31. 

$ Quare vinculae? nisi quia servos ligat, ne discurrant per campof 

In plenitudine sanctorum detentio mea. Eccli. xxlv. 16, 

1 Ipsa quoque non solum in plenitudine sanctorum detinetur, Bed 
ctiam in plenitudine sanctos detinet, ne eorum plenitudo minuatuij 
detinet nimirum virtutes, ne fugiant; detinet demonos ne nocea&t 
In spec. 


with double garments." * Cornelius a Lapide 
thus describes this double garment: It is a 
double garment, because she clothes her ser 
vants with the virtues of her Son, as well as 
with her own; f 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 per 
severance, 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 beauti 
ful. 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.J 
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 immedi 
ately 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 ap 
plies to Mary these words of Ecclesiasticus : "I 
have walked in the waves of the sea;" 8 and 

* Omnes domestic! ejus vestiti snnt duplicibus. Prov. xxxi. 21. 

t Duplici veste ipsa ornat sibi devotos, quia tarn Christ! qnamsais 
Virtutibus eos induit. 

t Si prodigus flllus viventem matrem habnisset, vel a paterna donM 
annquam diecessisset, vel forte citius rediisset. 

5 In flaetibus maris ambulavi C. xxiv. 8. 


makes her to say: I walked with my servants in 
the midst of the tempests to which they are ex 
posed, 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 Villa- 
nova, when the devil comes to tempt us, but, like 
the chickens when the kite appears, to run quick 
ly 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 protec 
tion of Mary.f 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. J 

Let us, then, conclude with the words of St. 

* Scilicet cum f amiliaribus meis, ut ipsos eruerem a nauf ragie pee- 

t Sicut pulli, volitantibus desuper milvis, ad gallinae alas occur- 
runt , ita nos sub velamento alarum tuarum abscondimur. Serm. 3, 
de Nat. Virg. 

} Neecimus aliud refu^ium nisi te, tu sola es unica spes nostra. tu 
eolA patrona nostra, ad quern omnes aspicimus. 


Bernard;* Oh man, whoever thou art, thou know- 
cst that in this miserable life thou art rather toss 
ing 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, in 
voke Mary. When in danger of sinning, when 
tormented by temptations, when doubts disturb 
thee, remember that Mary can aid thee, and in 
stantly 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 cer 
tainly 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 

* O quiequis te intelligis in hujus eseculi pro fluvio magis inter pro- 
cellas et tempestates flucluarc, quam per terram ambulare; ne aver- 
tas oculos a fulgore hujus sideris, si non vis obrui procellis; respice 
stellam, voca Mariam. In periculis, in angustiis, in rebus dubii* 
Mariam cogita, Mariam invoca. Non recedat ab ore, non recedat a 
corde. Ipsam eequens, non devias. Ipsam rogans, non desperas. 
Ipsa tenente, non corruis. Ipsa protegente, non metuis. Ipsa dace, 
non fatigarie. Ipaa propitia, pervenis. Sic fac, et vives. Horn. ^ 
upr Missus. 


the Fathers, we read that, at twelve years of age 
she fled from her parents, and went to Alexan 
dria, 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 de 
votion. 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 paint 
ed 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 
ehalt 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 en 
tered, adored the cross, and wept. She returned 
to the picture: f 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 con 
fession, 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 recom 
mended 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. Ha 
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 in 
creases 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 
reature 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 fiom thee I hope the 
strength never more to fall back into them. If 
I am sick, thou canst heal me, oh heavenly phy 
sician. If my sins have made nre weak, thy hlp 
an make me strong. Oh Mary, I hope every 


thing from thee, for tliou hast all power with 
God c 


Dulcedo: Sweetness. 

"HE that is a friend loveth at all times; and a 
brother is proved in distress."* True friends 
and relatives are not known in times of prosper 
ity, but in the season of adversity and misery. 
Worldly friends do not desert their friend when 
he if in prosperity; but if any misfortune over 
takes him, particularly in the hour of death, 
immediately his friends abandon him. Not so 
does Mary desert her devoted servants. In 
their distresses, and especially at the trying 
hour of death, when our sufferings are the great 
est that can be endured on earth, she our good 
Lady and mother cannot abandon her faithful 
servants; and as she is our life in the time of 
our exile, so is she also our sweetness in the hour 
of death, by obtaining for us that it may be 
sweet and blessed. For since that great day in 
which it was the lot and the grief of Mary to be 
present at the death of Jesus, her Son, who 
was the head of the elect, she obtained the grace 
of aiding at death all the elect. Hence the holy 

* Omni temporc diligit qui arnicas e*t, et frater in icgustiia 
Prcv. xvii. 17. 


Church requires us to pray the blessed Virgin, 
that she would especially aid us in the hour of 
our death: "Pray for us sinners, now and at the 
hour of our death."* 

The sufferings of the dying are very great, 
on account of their remorse for sins committed, 
their dread of approaching judgment, and the 
uncertainly of eternal salvation. At that mo 
ment especially, the devil puts forth all his pow 
er to gain the soul that is passing into eternity; 
knowing that the time is short in which he jray 
win her, and that if he loses her, he has lost 
her forever. "The devil is come down unto you, 
having great wrath, knowing that he hath but a 
short time."f And therefore the devil, who has 
always tempted her in life, will not be satisfied 
to tempt her alone in death, but calls compan 
ions to his aid: "Their houses shall be filled 
with serpents. "J When any one is at the point 
of death, his house is filled with demons, who 
unite to accomplish his ruin. 

It is related of St. Andrew Avellino, that at 
the time of his death, ten thousand devils came 
to tempt him; and we read in his life, that at 
the time of his agony lie had so fierce a struggle 
with hell, that it caused all his good religious 
who were present to tremble. They saw the 
face of the saint swell from agitation, so that it 

* Ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. 
t Deecendit Diabolus ad vos, habens iram rnagnam, sciens quod* 
modicum tempus habet. Apoc. xii. 12. 
$ Implbuntur domus eorum dracoriibus, Ia. xiii. 21. 


became black; they saw all his limbs trembling, 
and greatly agitated, rivers of tears flowed from 
his eyes, and his head shook violently; all these 
were signs of the horrible assault he was suffering 
from the powers of hell. All the religious wept 
in compassion, redoubled their prayers, and 
trembled with fear when they saw that a saint 
died thus. Yet they were consoled by seeing 
that the saint often turned his eyes, as if seek 
ing help, towards a devout image of Mary, for 
they remembered that he had often said in life, 
that in the hour of his death, Mary must be his 
refuge. It finally pleased God to terminate 
this struggle by a glorious victory, for the agita 
tion of his body ceased, his countenance gained 
its natural shape and color, and fixing his eyes 
tranquilly on that image, he devoutly bowed his 
head to Mary, who, it is believed, then appeared 
to him, as if to thank her, and quietly breathed 
forth in her arms his blessed soul, with heavenly 
peace depicted on his countenance. At the same 
time a Capuchin nun, in her agony, turned to 
the religious who were with her and said: "Say 
an Ave Maria, for a saint has just died." 

Ah, how these rebels flee before the presence of 
their queen! If, in the hour of death, we have 
Mary on our side, what fear can we have of all 
the powers of hell? David, in dread of the ag 
ony of death, comforted himself with confidence 
in the death of his future Redeemer, and in the 
intercession of the Virgin mother: "For though 
I should walk in the midst of the shadow of 


death, I fear no evils, for thou art with me; thy 
rod and thy staff they have comforted me."* 
Cardinal Hugo understands the staff to signify 
the tree of the Cross, and the rod the intercession 
of Mary, who was the rod foretold by Isaias: 
"And there shall come forth a rod out of the root 
of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of hia 
root."f This divine mother, says St. Peter Da- 
mian, is that powerful rod by which the fury o 
the infernal enemies is conquered. J Hence St. 
Antoninus encourages us, saying: If Mary is for 
us, who is against us? Father Manuel Padial, 
of the Society of Jesus, being at the point of 
death, Mary appeared to him, and said, to com 
fort him: "The hour has at length come when 
the angels, rejoicing, say to thee, Oh happy la 
bors! oh mortifications well recompensed!" At 
which words an army of devils was seen taking 
flight in despair, crying: "Alas! we have no 
power, for she who is without stain defends 
him."J In like manner, the devils assailed Father 
Jasper Hay wood, when he was dying, with great 
temptations against faith; he immediately com 
mended himself to the most holy Virgin, and 
then was heard to exclaim: "I thank thee, oh 
Mary, that thou hast come to my aid."^[ 

* Et si ambtilavero in medio umbrae mortis, virga tua, et baculm 
tuus ipsa me consolata stint. Psal. xxii. 4. 

t Egredietur virga de radice Jesse, et flos de radice ejus ascendet* 
laa. xi. 1. 

% Haec est ilia virga, qua retunduntur impetus adversantlma do*. 
taonnm. Serm. de Ass. B. V 

$ Si Maria pro nobia, quia contra nos. 

I Patrig. Menol. alii. 23 Apr. t Putrig. Men, te.< 


St. Bonaventure says that Mary sends the 
archangel Michael, with all the angels, to the 
defence of her dying servants, to protect them 
from the assaults of evil spirits, and to receive 
the souls of all those who have especially and 
constantly recommended themselves to her.* 

When a man leaves this life, Isaias says that 
hell is in uproar, and sends its most terrible de 
mons to tempt that soul before it leaves the 
body, and then afterwards to accuse it when it 
is presented at the tribunal of Jesus Christ to be 
judged: "Hell below was in an upr.oar to meet 
thee; at thy coming it stirred up the giants for 
thee." f But Richard says, that the demons, 
when that soul is defended by Mary, will not 
even dare to accuse it; knowing that a soul pro 
tected by this great mother is never, and will 
never, be condemned. J St. Jerome wrote to 
the virgin Eustochium, that Mary not only assists 
her dear servants in their death, but also comes 
to meet them in their passage to the other life, 
to encourage them and accompany them to the 
divine tribunal, And this agrees with what 
the blessed Virgin said to St. Bridget, speaking 

* Michael dux et princeps militias coelestis cum omnibus adminis- 
tratoriis spiritibus, tuis, virgo, paret praeceptis, In defendendis, et 
guscipiendis de corpore animabua Fidelium, specialiatertibi, Domina, 
die, ac nocte se commendantium. In Spec. B. V. c. 3. 

t Infernus subter te conturbatus est in occursum adventus tui, su- 
citabit sibi gigantes. Isa* xiv. 9. 

$ Quis apud judicem accusare atideat, cui viderit matrem patroct* 
luntem? Rice. ap. Pep. to. 5, Lez. 244. 

| M orient! bus beata Virgo, non tantuiu euccurnt. Bed etiam oow 


of her servants when they are at the point of 
death: "Then I, their most loving Lady and 
mother, hasten to them in death, that they may 
have consolation and comfort."* St. Vincent of 
Ferrer adds: The blessed Virgin receives the 
souls of the dying. The loving queen receives 
their souls under her protection, and she her* 
self presents them to the judge her Son, and 
thus certainly procures their salvation, f This 
happened to Charles, son of St. Bridget, who, 
dying in the perilous profession of a soldier, 
and far from his mother, the saint feared for his 
salvation; but the blessed Virgin revealed to her 
that Charles was saved for the love he bore her, in 
recompense of which she had assisted him in 
death, and had suggested to him the Christian 
acts necessary to be made at that moment. The 
saint saw at the same time Jesus upon a throne, 
and the devil bringing two accusations against 
the most holy Virgin: the first, that Mary had 
prevented him from tempting Charles at the 
moment of death; the second, that Mary herself 
had presented his soul to its judge, and thus 
had saved without even giving him an opportu 
nity to expose the reasons why he claimed it as his 
own. She then saw him driven from the pres 
ence of the judge, and the soul of Charles taken 
to heaven. 

* Tune ego carisslma eorum domina et mater occurram eis in 
ruorte, ut Ipsl consolationem et refrigerium habeant. Rev. lib. 1, 

t Beata virgo anlmas morientlum suscipit, Sena, de Ass, 


"Her bands are a healthful binding; in the 
latter end thou shalt find rest in her."* Blessed 
art thou, oh brother, if in death thou shalt find 
thyself bound by the sweet chains of love for 
the mother of God! These chains are chains of 
salvation, which will secure to thee eternal sal 
vation, and give thee in death that blessed peace 
which will be the commencement of thy eternal 
peace and rest. Father Binetti, in his book "On 
the Perfections of our Lord," relates that having 
been present at the death of a devoted servant 
of Mary, he heard from him these words before 
he breathed his last: "Oh, my Father, if you 
knew what happiness I find in having served the 
most holy mother of God! I could not describe 
to you the joy I feel at this moment."f Father 
Suarez, because he was all his life very devoted 
to Mary, used to say, that he would willingly ex 
change all his knowledge for the merit of one 
Hail Mary, and died with so much joy, that he 
exclaimed at his last moment, "I never imagined 
it would be so sweet to die, non putabam tarn 
dulce esse mori."J You too, devout reader, will 
doubtless feel the same peace and joy, if at death 
you can remember having loved this good mother, 
who cannot but be faithful to her children, when 
they are faithful to her service, paying her their 
offerings of visits, rosaries, and fastings, and 

* Vincula ejus alllgatura salutaris, In novissimis invenies requiem 
inea. Eccli. vi. 29, 31. 

t C. 81. 

* Opusc. 33, e. 4. 


especially thanking her, praising her, and often 
commending themselves to her powerful pro 

Neither will you be deprived of this consola 
tion on account of your sins, if from henceforth 
you will be careful to live well, and to serve 
this very grateful and gracious Lady. In the 
trials and temptations with which the devil will 
assail you, that he may throw you into despair, 
she will comfort you, and even come herself to 
assist you in death. Martin, brother of St. 
Peter Damian, as the saint himself relates, find 
ing that he had offended God, went one day be 
fore an altar of Mary to dedicate himself to her 
service, putting his girdle around his neck in 
token of his servitude, and thus said: "My 
Lady, mirror of purity, I, a poor sinner, have of 
fended God and thee by violating chastity: I have 
no other remedy than to offer myself as thy 
servant; to thy service I dedicate myself to-day; 
receive this rebel, do not despise me." He then 
laid on the altar a certain sum of money, prom 
ising to pay the same every year as a tribute of 
his devotion to Mary. After some time Martin 
died; but before his death he was heard one 
morning to say: " Arise, arise, pay homage to 
my Lady;" and afterwards: " What a favor is 
this, oh queen of heaven, that thou shouldst con 
descend to visit this thy poor servant. Bless me, 
oh Lady, and permit me not to be lost after thou 
hast honored me with thy presence." At thii 
moment his brother Peter entered. Martin re- 


lated to him the visit of Mary, and how she had 
blessed him, lamenting that the persons present 
had not arisen at her entrance; and shortly after 
quietly passed away to our Lord. Such will 
be your death also, oh my reader, if you are 
faithful to Mary, even if in your past life you 
have offended God. She will give you a sweet 
and happy death. 

And if then you are greatly alarmed and lose 
courage in view of the sins you have committed, 
she will come to comfort you as she came to 
Adolphus, Count of Alsace, who, having quitted 
the world and become a Franciscan, as the chron 
icles relate, was very devoted to the mother of 
God. His last days arrived, and at the remem 
brance of the life he had led in the world, and 
the rigor of divine justice, he began to fear 
death and doubt of his salvation. Then Mary, 
who never sleeps when her faithful servants 
are in trouble, accompanied by many saints, 
appeared to him, and encouraged him with these 
tender words of consolation : "My dear Adolphus, 
thou art mine, thou hast given thyself to me, 
then why dost thou so greatly fear death?"* 
The servant of Mary was consoled by these 
words, every fear disappeared, and he died in 
great peace and contentment. 

Let us, too, although we are sinners, take 
courage and have the confidence that Mary will 
come to assist us in death, and console us by 

* Adolphe mi cariMime, inori cur time*, meus com gitf 


her presence, if we serve and love her during 
the remainder of our life on this earth. Our 
queen, speaking one day to St. Matilda, promis 
ed that she would be present at the death of all 
those devoted children who had faithfully serv 
ed her in life.* Oh my God, what a consolation 
must it be in that last hour of life, when our lot 
for eternity is to be decided, to find close by our 
side the queen of heaven, who sustains and com 
forts us by promising us her protection! Be 
sides the examples already cited of the assistance 
afforded by Mary to her faithful servants, they 
are innumerable others to be found in various 
books. This favor was granted to St. Clare, to 
St. Felix, a Capuchin, to the blessed Clara of 
Montefalco, to St. Theresa, and St. Peter of Al 
cantara. But for our common consolation, I 
will mention the few following examples. Fath 
er Crasset relatesf that St. Mary of Oignies saw 
the blessed Virgin by the pillow of a devout 
widow of Villembroe, who was tormented by a 
burning fever. The most holy Mary was stand 
ing by her side consoling her, and cooling her 
with a fan. St. John of God, at death, expected 
a visit from Mary, to whom he was greatly devot 
ed; but finding she did not come, he was afflict 
ed, and perhaps complained a little. But at 
length the holy mother appeared to him, and as 

* Ego omnibus qul mihi pie deserviunt, volo In morte fidelissime 
tomquam mater piissima adesse eosque consolari ac protefcare. Ap. 
Bios. p. 2, Concl. an. fid. cap. 12. 

f Dir, alia verg. torn. 1, tr. 1, q. 11. 


if reproaching him for his want of confidence, 
said to him these tender words, which should 
encourage all the servants of Mary: " John, it 
is not in my heart, at this hour, to desert my 
children."* As if she had said to him: My 
John, of what were you thinking? that I had 
abandoned you ? Do you not know that I can 
not abandon my devoted children at the hour of 
death ? I did not come before, because it was 
not yet time ; but now I come ready to take 
you, let us go to paradise. And soon after the 
saint expired, and flew to heaven to give thanks 
eternally to his most loving queen.f 


I will now relate another example by way of 
conclusion to the subject of which I have been 
just speaking, and for the sake of showing how 
great is the tenderness of this good mother tow 
ards her children when they are dying. 

The pastor of a certain place went to assist at 
the death-bed of a rich man. He was dying in 
a splendid house, and a multitude of relations, 
friends, and servants, surrounded his bed. But 
among these, the priest saw a number of devils 
in the shape of hounds, who waited to seize upon 
his soul, and who actually did so; for he died 
in sin. At the same time he was sent for by a 
poor woman, who was dying, and desired the 

* Joannes non est meum, in hac hora meos devotos derelinquere. 
t Bolland. 8 Martii. 


"Holy sacraments; not being able to leave the dy 
ing rich man, whose soul was so much in need 
of his assistance, he sent another priest to her, 
who accordingly went, carrying with him the 
holy sacrament. He found in the dwelling of 
that good woman no servants, no retinue, no 
splendid furniture, for she was very poor, and we 
may suppose had only a little straw to lie upon. 
But what does he see? He sees in that apart 
ment a great light, and near the bed of the dying 
person was Mary the mother of God, who was con 
soling her, and with a cloth was wiping the sweat 
from her brow. The priest seeing Mary, had not 
the courage to enter, but she made a motion to 
him to approach. He entered, Mary pointed to 
a seat, that he might sit down and hear the con 
fession of her servant. The poor woman then 
made her confession, received the holy sacra 
ment with much devotion, and at last exptred 
happily in the arms of Mary.* 


Oh my sweetest mother, what will be the death 
of me, a poor sinner? Even now, when thinking 
of that great moment, in which I must die, and 
be presented at the divine tribunal, and remem 
bering how often, by my wicked consent, I my 
self have written my own sentence of condem 
nation, I tremble, am confounded, and fear great 
ly for my eternal salvation. Oh Mary, my hopei 

* Crtoog. Mond. Mat p. 3, d. 38. 


are in the blood of Jesus, and in thy intercession. 
Thou art the Queen of heaven ! the Lady of the 
universe ! it is sufficient to say that thou art the 
mother of God. Thou art great, but thy great 
ness does not separate thee from us ; it even 
inclines thee to have more compassion on our 
miseries. When our earthly friends are raised 
to any dignity, they seclude themselves from 
those whom they have left in a low estate, and 
will not condescend even to look at them. But 
it is not so with thy loving and noble heart. 
Where thou dost behold the greatest misery, 
there thou art most intent on giving relief. 
When invoked, thou dost immediately come to 
our aid, and even anticipate our supplications ; 
thou dost console us in our afflictions, dissipate 
all tempests, put down our enemies; in a word, 
thou dost never omit an opportunity of doing us 
good. Ever blessed be that divine hand which 
has united in thee so much majesty and so much 
tenderness, so much greatness and so much 
love! I always thank our Lord, and congratu 
late myself that I can regard thy happiness and 
mine, thy fate and mine as one. Oh consoler of 
the afflicted, console in his affliction one who re 
commends himself to thee. I am tortured with 
remorse for my many sins; I am uncertain wheth 
er I have repented of them as I ought to have 
done; I see how corrupt and imperfect are all my 
works. The devil is awaiting my death in order 
to accuse me. Divine justice violated must be 
satisfied. Oh my mother, what will become of 


me? If thou dost not aid me, I am lost. Answel 
me, wilt thou aid me? Oh merciful Virgin, con 
sole me; obtain for me strength to amend, and to 
&e faithful to God during what remains to me of 
life. And when I shall find myself in the last 
agony of death, oh Mary! my hope, do not aban 
don me; then more than ever assist me, and save 
me from despair at the sight of my sins, of which 
the devils will accuse me. Oh Lady, pardon my 
boldness; come, then, thyself to console me by 
thy presence. Grant me this favor which thou 
hast bestowed on so many; I also desire it. If 
my boldness is great, greater still is thy goodness, 
which seeks the most miserable to console them. 
In this, thy goodness, I trust. May it be to thy 
eternal glory that thou hast saved from hell a 
miserable wretch, and brought him to thy king 
dom, where I hope to console myself by being 
always at thy feet to thank, bless, and love thee 
throughout eternity. Oh Mary, I wait for thee, 
do not leave me then disconsolate. Come, come. 
Amen, amen. 



Hail, our hope. 



MODERN heretics cannot endure that we should 
salute Mary in this manner by calling her our 
hope. Hail, our hope, spes nostra salve." They 
say that God alone is our hope, and that he 
who places his hope in a creature is accursed of 
God.* Mary, they exclaim, is a creature, and, 
as a creature, how can she be our hope ? Thus 
say the heretics, but notwithstanding this, the 
Church requires all the clergy, and all religious 
daily to raise their voices, and in the name of 
all the faithful, invoke and call Mary by the 
sweet name of our hope, the hope of all: "Hail, 
our hope!" 

In two ways, says the angelic St. Thomas, can 
we place our hope in a person: as the principal 
cause, and as the intermediate cause. Those 

* Maledictus homo qui confidit in homine. Jer. xvii. 6. 


who hope for some favor from the king, hope 
for it from the king as sovereign, and hope for 
it from his minister or favorite as intercessor. If 
the favor is granted, it comes in the first place 
from the king, but it comes through the medi 
um of his favorite; wherefore, he who asks a 
favor justly calls that intercessor his hope. The 
king of heaven, because he is infinite goodness, 
greatly desires to enrich us with his graces; but, 
because confidence is necessary on our part, in 
order to increase our confidence, he has given 
his own mother for our mother and advo 
cate, and has given her all power to aid us; and 
hence he wishes us to place in her all our hopes 
of salvation, and of every blessing. Those who 
place all their hope on creatures, without de 
pendence upon God, as sinners do, who to ob 
tain the friendship and favor of man, are willing 
to displease God, are certainly cursed by God, 
as Isaias says. But those who hope in Mary, as 
mother of God, powerful to obtain for them 
graces and life eternal, are blessed, and please 
the heart of God, who wishes to see that noble 
creature honored, who, more than all men and 
angels, loved and honored him in this world. 

Hence we justly call the Virgin our hope 
hoping, as Cardinal Bellarmine says, to obtain, 
by her intercession what we could not obtain by 
our prayers alone.* We pray to her, says St. 
Anselm, in order that the dignity of the inter* 

* D Beat. S3. lib. ft cap, 8. 


essor may supply our deficiencies.* Therefore, 
the saint adds, to supplicate the Virgin with 
such hope, is not to distrust the mercy of God, 
but to fear our own unworthiness.f 

With reason does the Church, then, apply to 
Mary the words of Ecclesiasticus, with which he 
salutes her: "Mother of holy hope;"J that moth 
er who inspires us not with the vain hope of the 
miserable and transitory advantages of this life, 
but with the holy hope of the immense and eter 
nal good of the blessed life to come. St. Eph- 
rem thus salutes the divine mother: "Hail, hope 
of the soul! hail, secure salvation of Christians! 
hail, helper of sinners! hail, defence of the faith 
ful, and salvation of the world !" St. Basil 
teaches us that, next to God, we have no other 
hope than Mary, and for this reason he calls her: 
After God our only hope, "Post Deum sola spes 
nostra;" and St. Ephrem, reflecting on the order 
of Providence in this life, by which God has or 
dained (as St. Bernard says, and we shall here 
after prove at length) that all those who are saved 
must be saved by means of Mary, says to her: 
Oh Lady, do not cease to receive and shelter us 
under the mantle of thy protection, since, after 

* Ut dignitas interceesoris suppleat Inopiam nostram. De Ezc. 
V. c. 6. 

t Unde Virginem interpellare, non eet de divina misericordia dif- 
fidere, sed de propria indignitate formidare. Loc. cit. 

t Mater sanctse spei. Cap. xxiv. 24. 

Aveanimae spes; ave Christianorum firma sains; ave peccatornm 
djutrbc; ave vallum fidelium; et mundi sains. De Laud. Viig. 


God, we have no hope but thee.* St. Thomas 
of Villanova says the same thing, calling her our 
only refuge, help, and protection.! 

St. Bernard assigns the reason for this by say 
ing: Behold, oh man, the design of God, a design 
arranged for our benefit, that he may be able to 
bestow upon us more abundantly his compassion; 
for, wishing to redeem the human race, he has 
placed the price of our redemption in the hands 
of Mary, that she may dispense it at her pleas- 

God ordered Moses to make a propitiatory of 
the purest gold, telling him that from it he 
would speak to him: "Thou shalt make a propi 
tiatory of the purest gold. Thence will I give 
orders, and will speak to thee." J A certain author 
explains this propitiatory to be Mary, through 
whom the Lord speaks to men, and dispenses to 
them pardon, graces, and f avors. And there 
fore St. Irenseus says that the divine Word, be 
fore incarnating himself in the womb of Mary, 
sent the archangel to obtain her consent, because 
he would have the world indebted to Mary for 

* Nobis non est alia quam a te flducia, O Virgo sincerissima; gub 
alls tuse pietatis protege et custodi BOS. De Laud. Virg. 

* Tu unicum nostrum, refugium subsidium, et asylum. Con 3, 
de Gone. Virg. 

t Intuere, homo, consilium Dei, consilium pietatis; redempturua 
humanum genus, universum prsettum contulit in Maria. Serin, de 

$ Facies et propitiatorium de auro mundissimo Inde prseci" 

piam et loquar ad te. Exod. c. xxv. \. 17, 22. 

Te uni versus mundus continet commune propitiatorium. Inde 
pientissimus Dominus loquitur ad cor; inde responsa dat benignita- 
tie et veniee; inde munera largitur; inde uobis omne bonum emanat. 


the mystery of the incarnation.* Also the Idiot 
remarks, that every blessing, every help, every 
grace that men have received or will receive 
from God, to the end of the world, has come to 
them, and will come to them, through the inter 
cession and by means of Mary.f Rightly, then 
did the devout Blosius exclaim : Oh Mary, who 
art so amiable, and so grateful to him who loves 
thee, who will be so stupid and unhappy as not 
to love thee! In doubt and perplexity thou dost 
enlighten the minds of those who have recourse 
to thee in their troubles. Thou art the comfort 
of those who trust in thee, in time of dan 
ger. Thou dost help those who invoke thee. 
Thou art, continues Blosius, next to thy divine 
Son, the secure salvation of thy servants. Hail 
then, oh hope of the despairing. Hail helper of 
the destitute ! Oh Mary, thou art omnipotent, 
since thy Son would honor thee by immediately 
doing all that thou desirest.| 

St. Germanus, recognizing Mary to be the 
source of every blessing, and the deliverance 
from every evil, thus invokes her: Oh my Lady^ 
thou alone art m^ help, given me by God ; thou 

* Quid est quod sineMarisa consensu non perficitur incarnationis 
mysterium? quia nempe vult illara Deus omnium bonornm esse 
principium. Lib. 3, contr. Valent. c. 33. 

t Per ipsam habet mundus, et habiturns est omne bonum. In 
Pref. Contempl. B. M. 

$ O Maria quis te non amet? Tu in dubiis es lumen, in mceroribus 
solatium, in periculis rcfugium. Tu post unigenitum tuum certa 
fidelium sains. Ave desperantium spes, ave destitutorum adjutrir. 
Cujua honori tantum tribuit Filius, ut quod vis mox flat. Cimeliarcb, 
Bmbol. 1, ad Mar. 


art the gu^le of my pilgrimage, the support of 
my weaKiiess, my riches in poverty, my deliver 
er from bondage, the hope of my salvation: 
graciously listen, I pray thee to my supplications, 
take compassion on my sighs, thou my queen, 
my refuge, my life, my help, my hope, my 

Justly, then, does St. Antoninus apply toMary 
that passage of wisdom: "Xow all good things 
came to me together with her." f Since Mary 
is the mother of God and the dispenser of all 
good, the world may truly say, and especially 
those in the world who are devoted to this 
queen, that, together with devotion to Mary, 
they have obtained every good thing.J 
Wherefore the Abbot of Celles said positively: 
He who has found Mary finds every good thing. 
He finds all graces and all virtues; since she by 
her powerful intercession obtains for him in 
abundance all that he needs to make him rich 
in divine grace. She gives us to know that she 
has with her all the riches of God, that is, the 
divine mercies, that she may dispense them for 

* Oh Domina mea, sola mihi ex Deo solatium, itineris mei directio, 
debilitatis meae poteiitiu, mendicitatis nieae divitiae, vulnerum me- 
erum medicina, dolorum meornm revelatio, vinculorum meorum 
solatio. salutis mese spes; exaudi orationes meas, miserere suspi. 
riorum meornm, Domina mea, refugium, vita,auxilium, spes et robur 
meum. In Encom. Deip. 

t Venerunt autem mihi omnia bona pariter cum ilia. Cap. vii. 
v. 11. 

% Omnium bonorum mater est; et venerunt mihi omnia bona cum 
ilia, gcilicet virgine, potest dicere mundus. S. Anton. Part. I tit. 
17, c. 20. 

| Invanta Maria, invenitur omne bonum. 


the benefit of those who love her. "With me are 
riches and glory, that I may enrich them that 
love me."* Hence St. Bonaventure says: "We 
should all keep our eyes fixed on the hands of 
Mary, that through her we may receive the 
blessings we desire, f 

Oh! how many of the proud have found hu 
mility through devotion to Mary ; how many of 
the violent, meekness ; how many blind, the 
light ; how many despairing, confidence ; how 
many lost, salvation ! And precisely this she 
herself predicted when she pronounced in the 
house of Elizabeth that sublime canticle : "Be 
hold, from henceforth all generations shall call 
me blessed. "J Which words St. Bernard re 
peats, and says : All nations will call thee bless 
ed, for to all nations thou hast given life and 
glory ; in thee sinners find pardon, and the just 
find perseverance in divine grace. Whence 
the devout Lanspergius represents the Lord thus 
speaking to the world : Venerate my mother 
with especial veneration. Oh men, he says, poor 
children of Adam, who live in the midst of so 
many enemies and so much misery, strive to 

* Mecum sunt divitiae et opes superbte . . . . nt ditem dllignte 
me. Prov. viii. 18-21. 

t Oculi omnium nostrum ad manus Marise semper debent resplcri, 
ut per manus ejus aliquid boni accipiamus. In Spec. 

$ Ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes. Luc. 

Ex hoc beatam te dicent omnes generationes,quse omnfbn* gn- 
erationibus vitam et gloriam genuisti. In te peccatores veniam, jua* 
fratiam inveniunt in teternum. Serai. 3, in Peotec. 


honor with particular affection my mother anfl 
yours. I have given her to the world as an ex> 
ample of purity, a refuge and asylum -for the 
afflicted.* That is, I have given Mary to the 
world for your example, that from her you may 
learn to live as you ought ; and for your refuge, 
that you may have recourse to her, In your 
tribulations. This my child, says God, I have 
created such that no one can fear her, or be unwill 
ing to have recourse to her, for I have created 
her with so benign and compassionate a nature, 
that she will not despise any who seek her pro 
tection, and she will deny no favor to any 
who ask it. She spreads the mantle of her com 
passion over all, and never permits any one to 
go from her feet unconsoled. May the great 
goodness of our God, then, be ever blessed, who 
has given us this great mother and advocate, so 
loving and tender. 

Oh ! how tender are the sentiments of confi 
dence which filled the heart of the most 
loving St. Bonaventure for his dear Redeemer 
Jesus, and for our loving intercessor Mary ! 
Let the Lord chastise me as much as seemeth to 
him good, I know that he will not refuse him 
self to those who love him and who seek him 
with an upright heart. I will embrace him with 

* Matrem meam veneratione prcecipua venerare; ego enim mundo 
dedi in puritalis exemplum, in prsesidium tutissimum, ut sit tribula- 
tis asylum, quam nemo formidet; nemo ad earn accedere trepidet. 
Propterea namque adeo feci earn mitem, adeo misericordem ut nem- 
inem aspernat, null! se neget; omnibus pietatis sinum apertum 
tnat, nernmem a se redire trietem siuaL Lib. 4. Min. Op. 


my love, and I will not let him go till he has 
blessed me, and he will not depart without me. 
If I can do nothing else, at least I will hide my 
self in his wounds ; there I will remain, and out 
of himself he shall not be able to find me.* 
Finally, he adds, if my Redeemer, for my sins, 
drives me from his feet, I will cast myself at the 
feet of his mother Mary, and, prostrate there, I 
will not depart until she has obtained my pardon; 
for this mother of mercy has never failed to take 
pity on misery and console the wretched who 
seek her aid ; and therefore, if not from obliga 
tion, at least from compassion, she will not fail 
to induce her Son to pardon me.f 

Look upon us, then, we will conclude with 
the words of Euthymius, look upon us, then, 
with thine eyes of compassion, oh our most mer 
ciful mother, for we are thy servants, and in thee 
we have placed all our hope.f 


It is related in the Fourth Part of the Treas 
ure of the Rosary, miracle eighty-fifth,that a gen 
tleman who was most devoted to the divine 

* Quantumcumque me Deus praesciverat, scio quod seipsum negare 
non potest. Eum amplexabor, et si mihi non benedixerit, earn non 
demitiam; et sine me recedere non valebit. In cavernis vulnerum 
snorum me abscondam, ibique extra ee me invenire non poterit. 

t Ad matris BUSS pedes provulutus stabo, et mihi veniam impetret; 
ipsa enim non misereri ignorat; et miseris non satisfacere nunquam 
scivit. Ideoque ex compassione mihi ad indulgentiam Filium in- 
clinabit. P. 3, Stim. Div. Am. c. 13. 

$ Respice, O mater misericordiosiesima, respico servos tuos, in te 
nim omnem epem nostram collocavimus. Orat de Deip. 


mother, had set apart in his palace an oratory 
where, before a beautiful statue of Mary, he was 
accustomed often to remain praying, not only 
by day, but also by night, interrupting his rest 
to go and honor his beloved Lady; but his 
wife, for he was married, though she was a 
very devout person, observing that her husband 
in the deepest silence of the night left his bed, 
and going from his apartment did not return 
for a long time, became jealous, and was suspici 
ous of evil; wherefore, one day, to free herself 
from this thorn which tormented her, she vent 
ured to ask him if he ever loved any other wonr 
an but herself. Smiling, he answered her: "I as 
sure you that I love the most amiable lady in 
the world; to her I have given my whole heart 
and rather would I die than cease to love her; if 
you knew her, you would say that I ought to 
love her more than I do." He meant the most 
holy Virgin whom he loved so tenderly. But 
his wife, conceiving a greater suspicion than be 
fore, in order to ascertain the truth better, inter 
rogated him anew, and asked him if he arose from 
his bed and left the room every night to meet 
that lady. The gentleman, who did not perceive 
the great trouble of his wife, answered "Yes." 
The wife was completely deceived, and, blinded 
by passion, one night when her husband accord 
ing to his custom, had left the chamber, seized 
a.knife in despair, cut her throat, and very soon 
died. Her husband having finished his devo- 
tioni, returned to his apartment, but. on going 


to bed, found it wet. He called his wife; she 
did not answer: he tried to arouse her; she was 
immovable. At length he took a light, found 
the bed full of blood, and his wife dead, with 
her throat cut. Then he perceived that she had 
destroyed herself through jealousy. What does 
he do? He locks the door of his apartment, re 
turns to the chapel, prostrates himself before 
the most blessed Virgin, and shedding a tor 
rent of tears, said to her: "Oh my mother, be 
hold my affliction: if thou dost not console me, 
to whom shall I go ? Remember I am so unfor 
tunate as to see my wife dead and lost because 
I have come hither to pay thee honor, oh my moth 
er, who dost help us in all our troubles, help me 
now." How surely does every one obtain what 
he wishes if he supplicates with confidence this 
mother of mercy! No sooner did he offer this 
prayer than he heard a servant-maid calling him: 
"My lord, come to your apartment, for your lady 
calls you." The gentleman could hardly believe 
these words for joy. Return, he said to the 
servant, and see if she really calls me. She re 
turned, entreating him to go quickly, for her 
mistress was waiting for him. He went, open- 
ed the door, and found his wife living; she threw 
herself at his feet in tears and begged him to 
pardon her, saying : "Oh, my husband, the 
mother of God, through thy prayer, has deliv 
ered me from hell." Weeping for joy, they 
went to their oratory to thank the blessed Vir 
gin. The next day the husband made a feast 


for all their relations, to whom the wife herself 
related the facts, at the same time showing the 
marks of the wound, and all were more deeply 
inflamed with the love of the divine mother. 


Oh mother of holy love, oh our life, our ref 
uge, and our hope, thou knowest that thy Son 
Jesus Christ, not content with making himself 
our perpetual intercessor with the eternal Fath 
er, would have thee also engaged in obtaining 
for us, by thy prayers, the divine mercy. He 
has ordained that thy prayers should aid in our 
salvation,and has given such power to them that 
they obtain whatever they ask; I, a miserable 
sinner, turn to thee then, oh hope of the wretch 
ed. I hope, oh Lady, through the merits of 
Jesus Christ and thy intercession to secure my 
salvation. In these I trust; and so entirely do I 
trust in thee, that if my eternal salvation were 
in my own hands, I would wish to place it in 
thine ; for in thy mercy and protection I would 
trust far more than in my own works. My 
mother and my hope, do not abandon me, as I 
deserve. Behold my misery, pity me, help me, 
save me. I confess that I have often, by my 
sins, shut out the light and aid which thou hast 
obtained for me from the Lord. 

But thy compassion for the wretched and 
thy power with God are far greater than the 
number and malignity of my sins* It is known 


in heaven and on earth that he who is protect 
ed by thee will certainly not perish. Let all 
forget me, but do not thou forget me, oh moth 
er of the omnipotent God. Say unto God that 
I am thy servant, tell him that I am defended 
by thee, and I shall be saved. Oh Mary, I trust 
in thee: in this hope I live, and in this hope I 
wish to die, repeating always: "Jesus is my 
only hope, and after Jesus, Mary."* 



AFTER God had created the earth he created 
two lights, the greater and the less : the sun to 
give light by day, and the moon to give light by 
night.f The sun, says Cardinal Hugo, was the 
type of Jesus Christ, in whose light the just re 
joice who live in the daylight of divine grace ; 
but the moon was the type of Mary, by whom 
sinners are enlightened, who are living in the 
night of sin.J Mary, then, being the moon, so 
propitious to miserable sinners, if any unhappy 
person, says Innocent III. finds that he has fall 
en into this night of sin, what must he do ? 
Since he has lost the light of the sun, by loosing 
divine grace, let him turn to the moon, let him 

* Unica spes mea Jesus, et post Jesum Virgo Maria. 

i Fecitque Dens duo luminaria magna; luminare majus ut praeeaaol 
diei, luminare minus ut prseesset nocti. Gen. i. 16. 

$ Luminare majus Christ us, qnl preeest justi*; lumlnaro oteMfc, 
&8t Maria, qu prteest peccatoribu& 


pray to Mary, and she will give him light to 
know the misery of his condition, and strength 
to come forth from it.* St. Methodius says 
that by the prayers of Mary innumerable sinners 
are continually converted.! 

One of the titles by which the holy Church 
ttaches us to invoke the divine mother, and 
ifcich most encourages poor sinners, is the title 
of "Refuge of Sinners," with which we invoke 
her in the Litanies. There were anciently, in 
Judea, cities of refuge ; and criminals, who 
sought protection in them, were free from the 
penalty of their offences. Now, there are 
not so many cities of refuge, but instead of 
these there is one only, Mary ; of whom it was 
epoken : Glorious things are said of thee, oh city 
of God Gloriosa dieta sunt de te civitas Dei.J 
But with this difference, that not all criminals 
could find refuge in those ancient cities, nor for 
all sorts of crime ; but under the mantle of 
Mary all offenders may find protection, what 
ever crimes they have committed. It is suffi 
cient for any one to have recourse to her for 
protection. "I am the city of refuge for all 
those who flee to me," as St. John of Damascus 
says, speaking in her name. 

It is enough that we have recourse to her. 

* Qui jacet in nocte culpse, respiciat lunam, deprecetur Mariano* 
germ. 2, de Ass. B. V. 

t Marias virtute et precibus pene inimmerae peccatorunt conver- 
eiones fiunt. 

* Psal. Ixxxvi. 3. 

Ego civitas refugii omnium ad me confugientium. Or. 2. d 


He who has been so happy as to enter this city 
need not speak in order to secure his safety. 
"Assemble yourselves and let us enter into the 
fenced city, and let us be silent there."* This 
fenced city, as the blessed Albertus Magnus ex 
plains it, is the holy Virgin, whose defence is 
grace and glory. "Let us be silent there," ac 
cording to the gloss: "since we may not dare t:> 
supplicate the Lord for pardon, it is enough that 
we enter into the city and are silent, for then 
Mary will speak and will pray for us. "f Whence 
a devout writer exhorts all sinners to seek 
shelter under the mantle of Mary, saying : Fly, 
oh Adam, oh Eve, and ye their children, who 
have offended God ; fly and take refuge in the 
bosom of this good mother. Do you not know 
that she is the only city of refuge, and the only 
hope of sinners ?| As St. Augustine has called 
her, The only hope of sinners : "ITnica spes 
peccatorum. " 

Hence St. Ephrem says: Thou art the only 
advocate of sinners, and of those who are depriv 
ed of every help; and he thus salutes her: Hail! 
refuge and retreat of sinners, to whom alone 
they can flee with confidence.! And this is 

* Convenite celeriter et ingrediamur civitatem munitam, et Bile- 
amus ibi. Jerem. viii. 14. 

t Et eileamus ibi. Qtiia non audemus deprecari Dominum quern 
offendimus, ipsa, deprecetur et roget. 

J Fugite O Adam, O Eva, fugite eorum liberi intra sinum matris 
Mariae. Ipea est civitas refugii, spes Ulrica peccatorum. B. Fernan 
dez, in c. iv. Gen. 

Serm. 18, de Sanct. 

1 1 Ave peccatorum refugium et hospitium: adquam nimirum ca- 
tagere peasant peccatores. De. Land. Virg. 


what David intended to express, says a certain 
author, when he said:" He hath protected me in 
the secret place of his tabernacle."* And what 
is this tabernacle, if not Mary? As St. German- 
us calls her, a tabernacle made by God, in which 
none but God has entered, in order to complete 
the great mysteries of human redemption.! On 
this subject the great Father St. Basil says: The 
Lord has given us Mary as a public hospital where 
all the infirm are poor, and destitute of every 
other help, may assemble: "Aperuit nobis Deua 
publicum valetudinarium." Now, in hospitals 
established expressly for the reception of the 
poor, I would ask, who have the first claim to be 
received, if not the poorest and most infirm? 

Wherefore, let him who finds himself not mis 
erable, because most destitute of merit, and 
most afflicted by the maladies of the soul, name 
ly, sins, say to Mary: Oh Lady, thou art the refuge 
to the infirm; do not reject me, for, because I am 
the poorest and most infirm of all, I have the 
greater claim upon thee to receive me. Let us 
say with St. Thomas of Villanova: Oh Mary, we 
poor sinners know no refuge but thee. Thou art 
our only hope; to thee we intrust our salvation. 
Thou art the only advocate with Jesus Christ; to 
to thee we all have recourse.! 

* Protexit me in abscondito tabernaculi sui. Psal. xxvt. 5. 

t Tabernaculum a Deo fabricatum, in quo solus Deus ingressut 
eat sacris mysteriis operaturus in te pro salute omnium hominum. 

$ Nescimus aliud refugium nisi te. Tu sola es nnica spes nostra 
to. qua confidimus. Tu sola patrona nostra, ad quam omns aspici 
Bras. Serra. 3. de Nat B. Y-. 


In the Revelations of St. Bridget, Mary is 
called the star going before the sun : **6idug 
vadens ante solem."* By which we are to un 
derstand, that when devotion to the divine 
mother first dawns in a sinful soul, it is a certain 
sign that God will soon come to enrich her with 
his grace. The glorious St. Bonaventure, in 
order to revive in the hearts of sinners confi 
dence in the protection of Mary, represents to 
us the sea in a tempest, in which sinners who 
have fallen from the bark of divine grace, toss 
ed about by remorse of conscience, and by 
the fear of divine justice, without light and with 
out a guide, have almost lost the breath of hope, 
and are nearly sinking in despair ; at this criti 
cal moment the saint, pointing to Mary, who is 
commonly called "The star of the sea," raises 
his voice and exclaims : Oh poor, lost sinners, do 
not despair, lift your eyes to that beautiful star, 
take courage and trust, for she will guide you 
out of the tempest, and bring you to the port of 
safety, f 

St. Bernard has said the same thing : If you 
would not be overwhelmed in the tempest, turn 
to this star, and call Mary to thy aid.J The 
devout Blosius also says that she is the only ref 
uge for those who have offended God : the 

* Rev. entr. c. 60. 

t Respirate ad illam perditi peccatores, et perducet vos ad portaafc 
In Psal. viii. 

$ Si non vi obrui procellie, resplce stellam, roca Ifariam. Hon. 
8. up. Miss. 


asylum of all those who are tempted and afflict, 
ed.* This mother of mercy is all kindness and 
all sweetness, not only with the just, but also 
with sinners and those who are in despair; so 
that when she beholds them turning towards 
her, and sees that they are with sincerity seek 
ing her help, she at once welcomes them, aids 
them, and obtains their pardon from her Son,f 
She neglects none, however unworthy they may 
be, and refuses to none her protection; she con 
soles all; and no sooner do they call upon her, 
than she hastens to their help.J With her gen 
tleness she often wins their devotion, and raises 
those pinners who are most averse to God, and 
who are the most deeply plunged in the lethargy 
of their vices that she may dispose them to re 
ceive divine grace, and at last render them 
selves worthy of eternal glory. God has creat 
ed this his beloved daughter with a disposition 
so kind and compassionate, that no one can hesi 
tate to have recourse to her intercession. | The 
devout writer concludes with saying: It is not 
possible that any one can be lost, who with ex- 

* Ipsa peccantium singulare refugium; ipsa omnium quos tentatio 
urget, aut calamitas, aut persecutio, tutissimum asylum. 

t Tota mitisest et suavis,non solum justis, verumetiam pcccator^ 
bus, et deeperatis. Quo?, ut ad se ex corde clamare conspexerit, 
etatim adjuvat, suscipit et Judici reconciliat. 

\ Nullum aspernens, nulli se negat; omnes consolatur, et tenuiter 
hivocata, prsesto adest. 

Sua bonitate esepe eos, qui Deo minus afficiuntur ad sui cultum 
blande allicit; potenterqne excitat, ut per hnjusmodi studium pr 
J>arentur ad gratiam, et tandem apti reddantur regno ccelorum. 

I Talia a Deo facta eat, at nemo ad earn accedes trepidet. 


actness and humility practises devotion to this 
divine mother.* 

She is called a plane-tree: As a plane-tree was 
I exalted: Quasi platauus exaltata sum."f Sin- 
ners may understand by this, that as the plane- 
tree gives a shelter to travellers, where they may 
take refuge from the heat of the sun, thus Mary, 
when she sees the anger of divine justice kin 
dled against them, invites them to resort to the 
shelter of her protection. St. Bonaventure re 
marks that Isaias, in his day lamented, aud said, 
" Behold, thou art angry and we have sin 
ned there is none that riseth up and tak- 

eth holdof thee;"J because Mary was not yet 
bora into the woiid. But now, if God is offen 
ded with any sinner, and Mary undertakes to 
protect him, she restrains the Sou from punish 
ing him, and saves him.J Also, continues St. 
Bonaventure, no one can be found more fit than 
Mary to place her hand upon the sword of divine 
justice, that it may not descend upon the head 
of the sinner.!" Richard of St. Laurence ex 
presses the same thought, when he says: God 
lamented, before the birth of Mary, that there 
was no one to restrain him from punishing 

* Fieri non potest, ut pereat, qui Marias sedulus et humUis cultor 
extiterit. In can. Vit. Spir. cap. 18. 
t Eccli. xxiv. 19. 

t Ecce tu iratus es, et peccavimus .... non est qui consurgat. l 
teneat te. Isa. Ixiv. 5, 7. 

Ante Mariam non fuit qui sic Deum detinere auderet 
I Detinet Filium ne peccatoribus percntiat. 
\ Nemo tarn idoneus, qui gladio Dommi^manus objiciatt 


the sinner; but Mary being born, she appeases 

St. Basil encourages sinners with the same 
thought, and says: Oh sinner, be not timid, but 
in all thy necessities flee to Mary, invoke her 
aid, and thou wilt always find her ready to assist 
thee, for it is the divine will that she should aid 
all men in all their necessities.! This mother 
of mercy has such a desire to save the most 
abandoned sinners, that she even goes to seek 
them ; and if they have recourse to her, she 
will surely find a method of rendering them 
dear to God. 

Isaac baing desirous to eat the flesh of some 
venison, promised to give his benediction in ex 
change for it to Esau; but Rebecca wishing 
that her other son Jacob should receive this ben 
ediction, ordered him to bring her two kids, for 
she would prepare the food that Isaac loved. 
**Go thy way to the flock, bring me two kids."J 
St. Antoninus says that Rebecca was the type 
of Mary, who says to the angels, Bring me sin 
ners (who are typified by the kids), that I may 
prepare them in such a manner (by obtaining 
for them sorrow and good resolutions) as to ren 
der them dear and acceptable to my Lord. 
The Abbot Francone, pursuing the same thought, 

* Querebatur Dominus ante Marlam: Non est qul consurgat, et 
teneat me. Ezech. xxii. Donee Inventa est Maria, quse tenuit cum, 
ionec emolliret. De Laud. Virg. 

t Ne diffidas, peccator, sed in cunctis Mariam sequere et Invoca, 
Qu&m volutt Deus in cunctis eubvenire. De Annunc. B. Virg. 

$ Pcrgene ad gregem, after mlhi duos tuedos. Gen. xxrii 2. 

| Part 4, tit. 15, c. 3. 


fays, that Mary so well understands Low to pre 
pare these kids, that they not only equal, but 
sometimes even surpass the flavor of venison.* 

The blessed Virgin herself revealed to St. 
Bridget, that no sinner in the world is so great 
an enemy to God, that if he has recourse to her 
and invokes her aid, does not return to God and 
is not restored to his favor, f And the same 
St. Bridget heard one day Jesus Christ saying 
to his mother, that she could obtain the di 
vine favor even for Lucifer, if he would humble 
himself so far as to ask her help.J That proud 
spirit would never stoop to implore the protec 
tion of Mary, but if such a thing could happen, 
Mary would take pity upon him, and the power 
of her prayers would obtain from God his par 
don and salvation. But what cannot happen to 
the devil may well happen to sinners who seek 
the help of this mother of mercy. 

Noe s ark also prefigured Mary; because as in 
that all the animal creation found refuge, so un 
der the mantle of Mary all sinners find protec 
tion, who have made themselves like the brutes 
by their vices and sensuality. With this differ 
ence, however, says a certain author: The brutes 
entered into the ark and remained brutes 

* Vere sapiens mulier, quse novit sic htedos condire, ut gratiam 
cervorum cosequent, aut etiam superent. Tom. 3, de Grat. 

t Nullus ita abjectus a Deo, qui si me invocaverit, non raveriatur 

$ Etiam diabolo misericordiam ezbiberes si humilitei 
Ber. !,l,c. 6. 


etiH;thewolf remained a wolf, the tiger a ti 
ger* Bnt nnder the mantle of Mary the wolf 
becomes a lamb, the tiger a dove. St Gertrude 
once saw Mary with her mantle outspread, and 
nnder it wild beasts of various kinds, leopards, 
lions, and bears; and the Virgin not only did 
not drive them from her but with her 
hand kindlv received them and caressed 
The saint understood that these wild beasts were 
misfriMa sinners who when they take refuge 
with Mary are received by her with sweetness 
and love, f 

Jusdy, then, did St. Bernard say to the Vir 
gin: Ok Lady, thou dost abhor no sinner, how- 
erer abandoned mud vile he may be, when he 

- - - 

udeseendio extend thy kind hand to 
draw UK from the depths of despair.J Oh 
t-.r _".,-, : - : : :.: -.- I . .- : G . . i ::. ^ 
amiable Mary, who made thee so merciful and 
kind towards ihe most misoable sinners. Ob, 
wretched are those who do not love thee, and 
who, having it in their power to seek help of 
ftoc, do not trust in thee! He who does not 
implore the aid of Mary is lost: but who km 
erer been lost that had recourse to her? 

It is related in Sdiptnie that Boon permitted 

r. ii -* 


the woman named Ruth to glean the ears that 
the reapers dropped and left behind them: 
" Colligebat si>icas post terga metentium." * 
St. Bonaventnre adds, that as Ruth found fa 
vor in the eyes of Booz. so Mary has found fa 
vor in the eyes of the Lord, and is permitted to 
glean after the reapers, f The reapers are the apo 1 - 
tolic laborers, missionaries, preachers, and con 
fessors, who toil through the day to gather and 
win souls to God. But there are some rebellion* 
and obdurate souls who are left behind even by 
these reapers, and it is granted to Mary alone by 
her powerful intercession to save these abandon 
ed ears. But unhappy are those who do not yield 
themselves to this sweet Lady! for they will be 
entirely lost and accursed! Blessed, on the 
other hand, are those who have recourse to this 
good mother! There is no sinner in the world, 
says the devout Blosius, so lost and sunk in sin, 
that Mary would abhor him and reject him. 
Ah, if such would seek her aid, this good moth 
er could and wouM reconcile them to her Son, 
and obtain for tuem pardon. J 

"With reason, then, oh my sweetest queen, 
does St. John of Damascus salute thee and call 


tBnth in ocnfis ltM,WMli inocnHs 

5.:-=. t* 


thee: "The hope of the despairing."* Justly does 
St. Laurence Justinian name thee : "The hope 
of evil-doers."f St. Augustine : "The only ref 
uge of sinners."J St. Ephrem : "The secure 
haven for the shipwrecked. " The same saint 
calls thee even by another appellation : "The pro 
tectress of the condemned."! Finally, St. Ber 
nard, with reason, exhorts the desperate not to 
despair ; whence, full of joy and tenderness tow 
ards this his most dear mother, he asks her 
lovingly : Oh Lady, who would not trust in thee, 
if thou dost thus relieve even the despairing? 
I do not doubt in the least, he adds, that if we 
always applied to thee we should obtain what 
we wish. In thee, then, let the despairing 
hope. If St. Antoninus relates that a sinner 
finding himself in disgrace before God, imagin 
ed himself standing before the tribunal of Jesus 
Christ : the devil was accusing him and Mary 
defending him. The enemy presented against 
this poor criminal the catalogue of his offences, 
which, placed in the balance of divine justice 
far outweighed his good works ; but what then 
did his great advocate do ? She extended her 
kind hand and placed it in the other scale; it de 
scended in favor of her suppliant, and thus it 

* Salve Bpes desperatorum. 

t Spcs delinquentium. P. P. cap. 5. 

$ Unica spes peccatorum. 

Naufragorum portus tutissimus. 

I Protectrix damnatorum. 

T Quis non sperabit in te, quse etiam adjuvas desperate* t Nott 
dubito, quod ei ad te venerimus; habebimua quod volemua. In tt 
tigo iptret qui desperat. Sup. Salv. Beg. 


was given him to understand, that she would ob 
tain his pardon if he would change his life; and, 
indeed, after that vision he was converted and 
changed his life. 


The blessed John Erolto, who, through hu 
mility, called himself the disciple, relates,* that 
there was once a married man who lived in dis 
grace in the sight of God. His wife, a virtuous 
woman, not being able to induce him to 
abandon his vicious courses, entreated him that 
at least, while he was in so miserable a condi 
tion, he would offer this devotion to the mother 
of God, namely, to say a "Hail Mary" every 
time he passed before her altar. He according 
ly began to practise this devotion. One night, 
when he was about to commit a sin, he saw a 
light, and, on closer observation, perceived that 
it was a lamp burning before a holy image of 
the blessed Virgin, who held the infant Jesus in 
her arms. He said a "Hail Mary," as usual ; 
but what did he see ? He saw the infant cover 
ed with wounds, and fresh blood flowing from 
them. Both terrified and moved in his feelings, 
he remembered that he himself too had wound 
ed his Redeemer by his sins, and began to weep, 
but he observed that the child turned away 
from him. In deep confusion, he had recourse 
to the most holy Virgin, saying : "Mother of 
mercy, thy Son rejects me ; I can find no adro- 


eate more kind and more powerful than thou, 
\vho art his mother ; my queen, aid me, and pray 
to him in my behalf." The divine mother an 
swered him from that image : "You sinners call 
me mother of mercy, but yet you do not cease 
t.> make me mother of misery, renewing the pas 
sion of my Son, and my dolors." But because 
Mary never sends away disconsolate those who 
cast themselves at her feet, she began to entreat 
her Son that he would pardon that miserable 
sinner. Jesus continued to show himself un 
willing to grant such a pardon, but the holy 
Virgin, placing the infant in the niche, prostrat 
ed herself before him, saying : "My Son, I will 
not leave thy feet until thou hast pardoned this 
sinner." "My Mother," answered Jesus, "I can 
deny thee nothing ; dost thou wish for his 
pardon ? for love of thee I will pardon him. 
Let him come and kiss my wounds." The sin 
ner approached, weeping bitterly, and as he 
kissed the wounds of the infant, they were 
healed. Then Jesus embraced him as a sign of 
pardon. He changed his conduct, led a holy 
life, and was ever full of love to the blessed 
Virgin, who had obtained for him so great a 


I venerate, oh most pure Virgin Mary, thy 
most sacred heart, which was the delight and 
repose of God ; a heart filled with humility, 
purity, and divine love. I, an unhappy sinner, 


come to thee with a heart filled with unclean- 
ness and wounds. Oh mother of mercy, do not 
on this account despise me, but let it excite 
thee to a greater compassion, and come to my 
help. Do not look for virtue or merits in me 
before thou grantest me thy aid ; I am lost, and 
only merit hell. Look at nothing, I pray thee, 
but the confidence I have in thee, and the desire 
I cherish of amending my life. Look at what 
Jesus has done and suffered for me, and then 
abandon me if thou canst. I offer to thee all the 
afflictions of his life, the cold that he suffered 
in the stable, his journey to Egypt, the blood 
that he shed, his poverty, toil, sweat, and sad 
ness, the death he endured in thy presence, for 
love of me ; and, for the love of Jesus, promise 
to save me. Ah, my mother, I will not and I 
cannot fear that thou wilt cast me from thee, 
when I flee to thee and implore thy help. To 
fear this, would be unjust to thy mercy, which 
seeks the miserable to relieve them. Oh Lady, 
do not refuse thy compassion to him to whom 
Jesus has not refused his blood ; but the merits 
of this blood will not be applied to me, if thou 
dost not recommend me to God, From thee I 
hope salvation. I do not ask of thee riches, 
honors, or the other goods of earth ; I only a&k 
of thee the grace of God, love for thy Son, the 
fulfilment of his will, and paradise, where I may 
love him eternally. Is it possible that thou wilt 
not hear me ? No, already thou dost hear me, 
as I hope ; already thou art praying for me, al 


ready thou art procuring me the favors I ask, al 
ready thou art receiving me under thy protection. 
My mother, do not leave me ; continue, con 
tinue to pray for me, until thou seest me safe in 
heaven at thy feet, to bless and thank thee 
through all eternity. Amen. 


To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Ev. 



WE poor children of the unhappy Eve, guilty 
before God of her sin, and condemned to the 
same punishment, go wandering through this 
valley of tears, exiles from our country, weep 
ing and afflicted by innumerable pains of body 
and soul! But blessed is he who in the midst 
of so many miseries turns to the consoler of the 
world, to the refuge of the unhappy, to the 
great mother of God, and devoutly invokes her 
and supplicates her! "Blessed is the man that 
heareth me, and that watcheth daily at my 
gates."* Blessed, says Mary, is he who listens 
to my counsels, and incessantly watches at the 

* Beatns homo, qui audit me, et rigilat ad fora meat qootidia! 
Pro? rb viii 84 


door of my mercy, invoking my help and inter 
cession! The holy Church instructs us her chil 
dren with how great attention and confidence we 
should have continually recourse to this our lov 
ing protectress; ordaining special devotions to 
her, that during the year many festivals should 
be celebrated in her honor; that one day of the 
week should be especially consecrated to her; 
that every day, in the divine office, all ecclesi 
astics and members of religious orders should in 
voke her in behalf of the whole Christian people, 
and that three times a day all the faithful, at 
the sound of the bell, should salute her. This will 
suffice to show how , in all seasons of public 
calamity, the holy Church always directs her 
children to have recourse to the divine mother 
with novenas, prayers, processions, visits to her 
churches and altars. This, Mary herself wishes 
us to do, namely, always to invoke and suppli 
cate her, not to ask our homage and praise, which 
are too poor in comparison with her merit, but 
that our confidence and devotion to her thus in 
creasing, she may aid and console us more. She 
seeks such as approach her devoutly and rever 
ently, says St. Bonaventure; these she cherishes., 
loves, and adopts as her children.* 

The same St. Bonaventure says, that Mary 
was prefigured by Ruth, whose name, being in 
terpreted, signifies seeing , hastening /f for Mary, 

* Ipea tales quserit qui ad earn devote et reverenter accedant; hod 
enim diligit, hos nutrit, hos in filios suscipit. P. 3, Stim. Div. Am* 
e. 16. 

t Video* et feettaana. In Spec. 


seeing our miseries,~hastens to aid us by her com 
passion.* < To which Novarino adds, that Mary 
is so desirous to do us good, that she can bear 
no delay; and not being a miserly keeper of her 
favors, but the mother of mercy, she cannot re 
strain herself from dispensing, as soon as possible 
among her servants, the treasures of her liberal 
ity, t 

Oh, how ready is this good mother to aid him 
who invokes her! "Thy two breasts are like 
two young roes."J Richard of St. Laurence, ex 
plaining this passage, says that the breasts of 
Mary readily, like the roe s, give the milk of 
mercy to those who ask it. The same author 
assures us that the mercy of Mary is bestowed 
on all who ask it, though they offer no prayer 
but a "Hail Mary." Hence, Novarino affirms, 
that the blessed Virgin not only hastens, but 
flies to aid those who have recourse to her. She, 
says this author, in exercising mercy, can 
not but resemble God; for, as the Lord hastens 
to succor those who ask help from him, 
being very faithful to observe the promise which 
he has made to us Ask, and you shall receive] 
so Mary, when she is invoked, immediately 

* Videns enim noetrara miseriam, eetet f estinans ad impendendam 
suam misericordiam. 

t Nescit nectere naoras benefaciendi cupida, nee gratiarum avara 
cuetos est; tardare nescit molimina misericordiae mater benefi- 
centiae suse thesauros in suos effusura. Nov. Umbr. Virg. c. 10, 
Exc. 75. 

J Duo ubera tua sicut duo hinnulli caprese. Cant. iv. 5. 

Compressions levissima angelicas ealutationis larga etillabunt 

8 Petite .et accipietis., 


hastens to help those who call upon her.* And 
by this is explained who was the woman of the 
Apocalypse, with two wings of a great eagle, 
that she might fly into the desert.f Ribeira ex 
plains these two wings to signify the love with 
which Mary always hastens to God.J But the 
blessed Amadeus says, remarking on this pas 
sage, that the wings of an eagle signify the 
velocity with which Mary, surpassing in swift 
ness the seraphs, always comes to the help of 
her children. 

We read in the Gospel of St. Luke, that 
when Mary went to visit St. Elizabeth, and be 
stow blessings on all her family, she was not 
slow, but travelled that whole journey with 
haste. || But we do not read that it was so on 
her return. For the same reason, it is said in 
the sacred Canticles, that the hands of Mary 
are turned. ^F For, as Richard of St. Laurence 
explains it, The art of turning is easier and quick 
er than other arts, so Mary is more ready 
than any other of the saints to aid her suppli 
ants.** She has the greatest desire to console all, 

* Alls utitur Dens; nt suis opitnletur, statim advolat; alas sumit 
et Virgo, in nostri auxilium advolatura. Nov. c. 10, Excurs. 73. 

t Et datse sunt mulieri alae duse aquilae magnse ut volaret in de- 
eertum. Apoc. xii. 14. 

$ Pennas habet aquilse, quia amore Dei volat. 

Motu celerrimo seraphin alas excedens, ubique snis ut mater oc- 
currit. Horn. 8, de Land. Virg. 

I Exurgens Maria abiit in montana cum festinatione. Luc. 
ii. 1-39. 

1 Manns iilius tornatiles. Cant. v. 14. 

** Sicut ars tornandi promptior est aliis artibus, sic Maria ad 
benefaciendum promptior est aliis sanctis. De Laud. Virg. L 5. 


and she scarcely hears herself invoked before 
she graciously receives the petition and comes 
to our aid.* Justly, then, St. Bonaventurc 
calls Mary, The salvation of those who invoke 
her; "O salus te invocantium!" signifying, that 
to be saved it is sufficient to appeal to this di 
vine mother, who, according to Richard of St. 
Laurence, is always ready to aid those who 
pray to her.f For, as St. Bernardine de Bustis 
says; This great Lady is more desirous to con 
fer favors upon us than we are to receive them.J 
Neither should the multitude of our sins di 
minish our confidence that we shall be graciously 
heard by Mary, if we cast ourselves at her feet. 
She is the mother of mercy, and there would be 
no occasion for mercy, if there were no wretch 
edness to be relieved Therefore, as a good 
mother does not hesitate to apply a remedy to 
her child, however loathsome its disease, although 
the cure may be troublesome and disgust 
ing; thus our good mother does not abandon us, 
when we recur to her however great may be the 
filth of our sins, which she comes to cure. This 
sentiment is taken from Richard of St. Lau 
rence. And Mary intended to signify the same 

* Omnee consolatur, et tenuiter invocata presto adest. Blosiua in 
Cant. Vit. Spir. c. 18. 

t Inveniens semper paratam auxiliari. 

$ Plus vult ilia facere tibi bonum, quam tu accipere concupiscai. 
Mar. 1, Serm. 5, de Norn. Mar. 

{ Non enim mater haec dedignaturpeccatoremsicut nee bona mater 
filium Bcabiosum. Quia propter hoc factam ee recolit misericordia 
genitricem. Ubi enim non est mieeria, misericordia non habet locum, 
Oo Laud, Virg. lib. 4. 


when she appeared to St. Gertrude, spreading her 
mantle to receive all who hadreccnrse to her: at 
the Bame time it was given the So nt to under 
stand, that the angels are waiting to defend the 
devout suppliants of Mary from the assaults of 

So great is the love and pity which this good 
mother has for us, that she does not wait for 
our prayers before giving us her aid. "She pre- 
venteth them that covet her, so that she first 
fihoweth herself unto them."f These words of 
wisdom St. Anselm applies to Mary,and says that 
she anticipates those who desire her protection. 
By this we are to understand, that she obtains 
many graces from God for us before we ask them 
from her. Therefore Richard of St. Victor 
says: Mary is called the moon: Pulchra utlunajj 
net only because she hastens as the moon to 
shine on those who seek her light, but because 
ghe so earnestly desires our welfare that in our 
necessities she anticipates our prayers, and in 
her compassion she is more prompt to help us 
than we are to have recourse to her. J For, adds 
the same Richard, the breast of Mary 
is so full of pity that she scarcely knows our 
miseries before she offers us the milk of her 
mercy, neither can this gracious queen perceive 

* Eev. lib. 4, cap. 49. 

f Prieoccupat, qui se concuplscunt, at illis ee prius ostendat. C* 

$ In Cant. c. 23. 

S Velocitate praestat. 

| Velocius occurrit ejus pietas, quam Invocatur, et 
onun anticipat. LOG. cit. 


the necessities of any soul without relieving it.* 
And truly, Mary manifested to us while she 
was on earth, in the nuptials of Cana,f her great 
compassion for our sufferings, which prompts 
her to relieve them before we pray to her. This 
kind mother saw the trouble of that pair who 
were mortified to find that their wine had failed 
at the wedding banquet; and without being re 
quested, moved only by her compassionate 
heart, which cannot look upon the afflictions of 
others without pity, prayed her Son, to console 
them by merely mentioning to him the necessi 
ties of the family: They have no wine: J "Vi- 
num non habent." After which, her Son, to 
comfort that family, and still more to satisfy 
the compassionate heart of his mother, perform 
ed, as she desired, the well-known miracle of 
changing the water contained in vases into wine. 
Kovarino here remarks, tli at if Mary, though un 
asked, is so ready to aid us in our necessities, 
how mucli more so will she be when we invoke 
her and implore her aid! 

If any one doubts that he shall be assisted by 
Mary when he has recourse to her, let him listen 
to the words of Innocent III.: Who has everinvo- 
yoked this sweet Lady, and has not been heard by 

* Adeo replentur uberatua misericordia, ut alterius miserise notiti* 
tacta, lac fundant niisericordiae. Nee possis miserias scire, et non 
ubvenire. In Cant. c. 23. 

t Luc. ii. 

% Joan. ii. 3 

Si tarn prompta ad auxilium currit non quaesita, quid qusesita 
pr9titura eat. C. 10, Ex. 27. 


her?* Who, oh holy Virgin, exclaims the 
blessed Eutychian, has ever sought thy powerful 
protection, which can relieve the most miser* 
able and rescue the most degraded, and has been 
abandoned by thee? No, this has never hap 
pened, and never will happen. f Let him be si 
lent concerning thy mercy, oh blessed Virgin, 
whose necessities have been neglected by thee 
after he has implored thy aid.J 

Sooner will heaven and earth be destroyed, 
says the devout Blosius, than Mary fail to aid 
those who, with a pure intention, recommend 
themselves to her and put their confidence in 
her. And to increase our confidence, St. An- 
selm adds, that when we have recourse to this 
divine mother, we may not only be sure of her 
protection, but that sometimes we shall be soon 
er heard and saved by invoking her holy name 
than that of Jesus our Saviour.] And he gives 
this reason: Because it belongs to Christ, as our 
judge, to punish, but to Mary, as our advocate, 
to pity.T By this he would give us to under 
stand, that we sooner find salvation by recur- 

* Quis Invocavit earn et non est auditus ab ipsa? Serin. 2, de 
Ass. B. V. 

t Quis unquam, O Beata, fideliter omnlpotentem tuam rogavlt 
cpem, et f uit derelictus ? Revera nullus unquam. In vita S. Theoph. 

J Sileat misericordiam tuuin, Virgo beata, qui in necessitatibus te 
tevocatam meminerit defuisse. Serai. 1, de Ass. 

Citius coelum cum terra perierint, quam Maria aliquein serio s 
implorantam sua ope destituat. In Spec. c. la. 

I Velocior nonnunquam est nostra ealus, invocato nomine Mariae, 
quam invocato nomine Jesu. De Exc . V. c. 6. 

1 Quia ad Christum, tanquam judicein, pertinet etiam punire; ad 
Virginem tanquam patronam nonnisi misereri. Loc. cit. 


ring to wie mother than the Son; not because 
Mary is more powerful than her Son to save us, 
for we know that Jesus is our only Saviour, and 
that by his merits alone he has obtained and 
does obtain for us salvation; but because when 
we have recourse to Jesus, considering him also 
as the judge to whom it belongs to punish the 
ungrateful, we may lose the confidence neces 
sary to be heard; but going to Mary, who holds 
no other office than that of exercising compassion 
towards us as mother of mercy, and defending 
us as our advocate our confidence will be more 
secure and greater. We ask many things of 
God and do not obtain them; we ask the;n from 
Mary and obtain them; how is this? Nicephorus 
answers: This does not happen because Mary is 
more powerful than God, but because God has 
seen fit thus to honor his mother.* 

How consoling is the promise that our Lord 
himself made on this subject to St. Bridget. 
We read in her revelations, that one day this 
saint heard Jesus speaking with his mother, and 
that he said to her: "Mother, ask of me what 
ever thou wilt, for I will refuse nothing that 
thou dost ask;f and be assured," he added, "that 
all those who for love of thee seek any favor, 
although they are sinners, if they desire to 
amend. I promise to hear them."! The same 

* Muf/a petuntur a Deo, et non obtinentur; multa petuntur a Maria 
et obtinentur; non quia potentior sed quia Deus earn decrevit sic 
Aonorare. Ap. P. Pep. Grandez, etc. 

t Nulla erit petitio tna in me, quae non audiatur. Lib. 1, 80. 

$ Et per te omnes, qui per te petunt misericordiam, cam volunlato 
it emendandi, gratiam habebunt. Loe. cii. 


thing was revealed to St. Gertrude, who heard 
ur Redeemer himself say to Mary, that he had 
in his omnipotence permitted her to exercise 
mercy towards sinners who invoke her, in what 
ever manner it should please her.* 

Every one invoking this mother of mercy may 
then say, with St. Augustine: "Remember, oh 
most compassionate Lady! that since the begin 
ning of the world there never has been any one 
abandoned by thee. Therefore pardon me if I 
say that I do not wish to be the first sinner who 
has sought thy aid in vain."f 


St. Francis of Sales, as we read in his life, effi 
caciously experienced the power of this prayer. 
At seventeen years of age he was living in Paris, 
engaged in study, and at the same time wholly 
devoted to pious exercises and holy love of God, 
which gave him a perpetual foretaste of heaven 
ly joy. At this time the Lord, to try his faith, 
and attach him more strongly to his love, per 
mitted the devil to represent to him that his 
efforts were in vain, because he was already 
condemned by the divine decree. The darkness 
and dryness in which it pleased God to leave 
him at the time for he was insensible to all con- 

* Ex omnipotentia mea, Mater, tibi concessi propitlationem om 
nium peccatorum, qui devote invocant tuse pietatis auxilium, qnali- 
cnmque modo placeat tibi. Ap. Pep. loc. cit. 

t Memorure piissima Maria, a eseculo non ease auditum, quamquam 
ad tua praesidia conf ugienteni esse derelictum. 


soling thoughts of the divine goodness, caused 
this temptation to have more power over the 
heart of the holy youth; so that through great 
fear and desolation he lost his appetite, sleep, 
color, and cheerfulness, and excited the com 
passion of all those who looked upon him. 

Whilst this horrible conflict lasted, the saint 
could conceive no other thoughts and utter no 
other words but those of sorrow and distrust. 
Shall I, then," he said, as it is related in his 
life, "be deprived of the favor of my God, who 
hitherto has shown himself so gracious 
and so kind to me? Oh love! oh beauty ! 
to which I have consecrated all my affections, 
shall I never more enjoy your consolations? Oh 
Virgin mother of God, the most beautiful of all 
the daughters of Jerusalem, ami then never to 
see thee in paradise? Ah, my Lady! if I am 
never to see thy lovely face, do not permit me 
to be forced to blaspheme and curse thee in hell." 
These were the tender sentiments of that afHict- 
ted heart, still so enamored of God and the Vir 
gin. This temptation lasted for a month, but 
at length the Lord was pleased to deliver him 
from it by means of the consolor of the world, 
most holy Mary, to whom the saint had before 
made a vow of chastity, and upon whom he used 
to say he had placed all his hopes. One evening, 
on returning home, he entered a church, where 
he saw a small tablet suspended from the wall; 
he found written on it the prayer of St. Augus 
tine above mentioned: "Remember, oh mo$ 


merciful Mary! that no one, in any age, was ever 
known to have fled to thee for help and found 
himself abandoned." He prostrated himself be 
fore the altar of the divine mother, and recited 
with deep feeling this prayer; he renewed his 
vow of chastity, promised to recite daily the 
rosary, and then added: "Oh my queen, be my 
advocate with thy Son, whom I dare not ap 
proach. My mother, if in the other world I 
should be so unhappy as not to be able to love 
my Lord, whom I know is so worthy to be lov 
ed, at least obtain for me that I may love him as 
much as I can in this world. This is the grace 
that I ask of thee, and from thee I hope for it." 
Thus he supplicated the Virgin, and then abaiiv 
doned himself to the divine mercy, resigning 
himself entirely to the will of God. But hardly 
had he finished his prayer, when by his most 
sweet mother he was suddenly freed from temp 
tation ; he immediately recovered his interior 
peace, and with it health of body, and from that 
time continued to live a most devout servant of 
Mary, whose praises and mercies he never ceased 
to proclaim in his preaching and his writings to 
the end of his life. 


Oh mother of God! oh queen of angels! oh hope 
of men! listen to him who invokes thee and haa 
recourse to thee. Behold me to-day prostrate 
at thy feet; I, a miserable slave of hell, conse 
crate myself to thee as thy servant forever, of- 


fering myself to serve and honor thee to the uU 
most of my power all the days of my life. I 
know that thy honor is not increased by the ser 
vice of so vile and wretched a slave as I arn^ 
who have so grievously offended thy Son and 
iny Redeemer Jesus. But if thou wilt accept 
one so unworthy as I for thy servant, and chang 
ing him by thy intercession, wilt render him 
worthy, thy own compassion will confer upon 
thee that honor which I, vile as I am, cannot 
render thee. Accept me, then, and do not re* 
ject me, oh my mother! The eternal Word 
came from heaven upon earth to seek the lost 
sheep, and to save them, became thy Son. And 
wilt thou despise a poor sheep, who comes to 
thee to help him find Jesus? The price has al 
ready been paid for my salvation; my Saviour 
has shed his blood, which is enough to save in 
finite worlds. It only remains this blood should 
be applied to me; and to thee it belongs, oh 
.blessed Virgin! to thee it belongs, as St. Ber 
nard says, to bestow the merits of this blood on 
whomsoever it may please thee. To thee it be 
longs, as St. Bonaventure also says, to save 
whom thou wilt.* Oh my queen, help me, 
then! my queen, save me! To you this day I 
commit my soul; and do thou secure its safety. 
Oh, salvation of those who invoke thee I I will 
exclaim with the same saint, save m 

* Qnem ipea vis calvng erlt. 
t O Mine te ia 




NOT only most holy Mary is queen of heaven 
and of the saints, but also of hell and the devils, 
for she has bravely triumphed over them by 
her virtues. From the beginning of the world 
God predicted to the infernal serpent the 
victory and the empire which our queen would 
obtain over him, when he announced to him that 
a woman would come into the world who should 
conquer him. "I will put enmities between thee 
and the woman ; she shall crush thy head."* 
And what woman was this enemy if not Mary, 
who, with her beautiful humility and holy 
life, always conquered him and destroyed his 
forces ? St. Cyprian affirms that the mother of 
our Lord Jesus Christ was promised in that 
woman :f and hence he remarks, that God did 
not use the words I put, but I will put, lest the 
prophecy should seem to appertain to Eve.J 
He said, I will put enmity between thee and 
the woman, to signify that this his vanquisher 
was not the living Eve, but must be another 
woman descending from her, who was to bring 
to our first parents greater blessings, as St. Vin 
cent Ferrer says, than those they had loet by 

* Inimlcitias ponam inter te et muliercm; ipsa conteret cap* 
taom. Gen. iii. 15. 

t Mater Domini Jesn Christ! in ilia muliere womissa est. 
t Non pono, *ed ponam ne ad Evam pertinei " deatur. 


their sin.* Mary, then, is this great and strong 
woman who has conquered the devil, and has 
crushed his head by subduing his pride, as 
the Lord added : "She shall crush thy head."f 
Some of the commentators doubt whether these 
words refer to Mary or to Jesus Christ, because 
in the Septuagint version we read : "He shall 
crush thy head."J But in our Vulgate, which 
is the only version approved by the Council of 
Trent, it is She, and not He. And thus St. Am 
brose, St. Jerome, St. Augustine, St. John 
Chrysostom, and many others have understood 
it. However this may be, it is certain that the 
Son by means of the mother, or the mother by 
means of the Son, has vanquished Lucifer ; so 
that this proud spirit, as St. Bernard tells 
us, has been ignominiously overpowered and 
crushed by this blessed Virgin. Hence as a 
slave conquered in war, he is forced always to 
obey the commands of this queen. St. Bruno 
says, that Eve, by yielding to the serpent, 
brought into the world death and darkness ;but 
that the blessed Virgin, by conquering the devil 
brought us life and light : and she has 
bound him so that he cannot move to do the 
least harm to her servants. [ 

* Parentibus prbnis Virginem ab Ipsis processuram; qa afferret 
majus bonum quam ipsi perdideruut. Serin. 2, de Nat. Virg. 

t Ipsa conteret caput tuum. $ Ipse conteret caput tuum, 

JSub Marias pedibns conculcatus et contritus miseram patltnt 
servitntem. Serm. in Sign. Magn. 

$ Et Eva mors, et c aligo; in Maria, vita conslstit, et lux. DJa a 
diabolo victa cst; hsec diabolnm vlcit et Hgavlt. Ap ; Scala Franc. 
p, 4,c, 10 


Richard of St. Laurence gives a beautiful ex 
planation to these words of Proverbs; "The 
hearts of her husband trusteth in her, and he 
shall have no need of spoils.* Richard says; 
The heart of her husband, that is, Christ, trusts 
in her, and he shall have no need of spoils, for 
she will endow him with the spoils which she 
has taken from the devil. f God has intrusted 
the heart of Jesus, as a Lapide expresses it, to 
the care of Mary, that she may procure for it 
the love of men; and thus he will not be in need 
of spoils, that is, of the conquest of souls, for 
she will enrich him with those souls of which she 
despoils hell, and which she has rescued from 
the demons from her powerful aid. 

It is well known that the palm is the emblem 
of victory, and for this reason our queen has 
been placed on a high throne in the sight of all 
potentates, as a palm, the sign of certain victory, 
which all can promise themselves who have re 
course to her. "I was exalted like a palm-tree in 
Cades."J That is, for a defence as blessed Al- 
bertus Magnus says: Oh, my children, Mary seems 
to say to us with these words, when the enemy as 
sails you, lift your eyes to me, behold me and. 
take courage; for in me, who defends you, you 
will behold, at the same time, your victory. So 

* Confldlt In ea cor virl eul, et spollis non indigebit. Prov. 
xxxl. 11. 

t Confidit In ea cor viri sui, scilicet Christl. Et spoliis non indiga* 
bit; ipsa quasi ditat sponsum cmnm, quibus spoliat diaboluiiu 

$ Quasi palma exallata snm In Cades. Eccll. xxiv. 1- 

8 Scilicet ad def endendum. 


that recourse to Mary is the most certain meant 
of overcoming all the assaults of hell; for she, as 
St. Bernardine of Sienna says, is queen over 
hell, and ruler of the spirits of evil, for she con 
trols and conquers them.* And therefore Mary 
is called terrible against the power of hell, as an 
army set in array. "Terrible as an army set 
in array."f Set in array, because she knows 
how to array her powers, that is, her compas- 
fion and her prayers, to the confusion of the en 
emy and the benefit of her servants, who, in 
their temptations, invoke her powerful aid. 

"As the vine I have brought forth a pleas 
ant odor."J "I, like the vine, as the Holy Spir 
it puts it in her mouth to say, have given fruit 
of sweet odor." "It is said," adds St, Bernard, 
on this passage, " that every venomous reptile 
shuns the flowering vines. " As from vines all 
poisonous serpents flee, thus the demons flee 
from those fortunate souls in whom they per 
ceive the odor of devotion to Mary. On this 
account she also is called a cedar: " I was exalt 
ed like a cedar in Libanus,"] not only because 
as the cedar is free from corruption, so Mary is 
free from sin. but also because, as Cardinal Hugo 

Beata Virgo dominatur In regno infernl. Dicitur Igitur domim 
deemonnm, quasi domans dsemones. Senn. 3, de Glor. Norn, Mar. 

t Tembilis ut castrorum acies ordinata. Cant, vi, 3. 

J Ego quasi vitis fructificavi suavitatem odoris. Eccli. xxiv. 23. 

Aiunt de florescentibus vitibus omne reptile venantium excedeit 
loco. Serm. 60, in Cant. 

| Quasi cedrus exaltata sum in Libano. Eccli. xxir. 17. 


remarks upon this passage, as the cedar with its 
perfume puts serpents to flight, so that Mary 
with her sanctity puts to flight the devils.* 

Victories were gained in Judea by means of 
the ark. Thus Moses conquered his enemies. 
"When the ark was lifted up, Moses said, Arise, 
oh Lord, and let thy enemies be scattered."! 
Thus Jericho was conquered; thus were the 
Philistines conquered; "for the ark of God 
was there."J It is well known that this ark 
was the type of Mary. As the ark contained 
the manna, thus Mary contained Jesus, whom 
the manna also prefigured, and by means of 
this ark, victories were gained over the enemies 
of earth and over hell. Wherefore St. Ber- 
nardine of Sienna says that when Mary, the ark 
of the New Testament, was crowned queen of 
heaven, the power of hell over men was weak 
ened and overthrown.] 

"Oh, how the devils in hell," says St. Bona- 
venture, "tremble at Mary and her great 
name!"H~ The saint compares these enemies to 
those of whom Job makes mention and says: 
"He diggeth through houses in the dark .... 

* Cedrus odore BUO f ugat serpentes, et beata Virgo dtemones. 

t Cum elevaretur area, dicebat Moys^s; Surge Dom in e, et diseipen- 
tur inimici tui. Num. x. 33. 

$ Erat enim ibi area Dei. 1, Reg. xiv. 18. 

Area continens manna, idest Christum, est B. Virgo, qu victo* 
riam contra homines et daemones largitur. Cornel, a Lap. 

1 Quando elevata fuit Virgo gloriosa a celestia regna, dsemonli 
potentia Imminuta est et dissipata. Tom. 3, de B. V. Serm. 11. 

1 quam tremenda tat Maria daamonibus. Spec. Virg. c . S. 


If the morning suddenly appear, it is to them 
the shadow of death."* Thieves enter houses 
in the dark to rob them, but when the dawn 
comes they flee, as if the image of death appeared 
to them. In the same manner, as St. Bonaven- 
ture expresses it, the demons enter into the soul in 
times of darkness, that is, when the soul is ob 
scured by ignorance; they dig through the 
houses of our minds in the darkness of ignor 
ance; but then, he adds, as soon as the 
grace and the mercy of Mary enter the soul, 
this beautiful aurora dissipates the darkness, 
and the infernal enemies flee as at the approach 
of death. f Oh, blessed is he who always, in hia 
conflicts with hell, invokes the beautiful name 
of Mary! 

In confirmation of this it was revealed to St. 
Bridget that God has given Mary such power 
over all evil spirits, that whenever they assail 
any of her servants who implore her aid, at the 
slightest sign from her they flee far away in 
terror, preferring that their pains should be re 
doubled rather than that Mary should domineer 
over them in this manner. J 

* Perfodit in tenebris domos . . . Si subito apparuerit aurora; 
arbitrantur umbrara i^ortis. Job xxiv. 16, 17. 

t Perfodiunt in tenebris ignorantise domos mentium nostrarum. 
Si Bubito supervenerit aurora, idest Mariae gratia, et misericordia, 
gic f uginnt, sicut omnes f ugiunt mortem. In Spec. Virg. 

t Super omnes etiam malignos epiritus ipsam sic potentem 
effecit, quod qiiotiescumque ipsi hominem Virginis auxilium im- 
plorantem impugnaverint, ad ipsius Virginis nutum illico pa- 
vidi procul difiugiunt; volentes potius euas poenas multiplicari, 
quam ejusdem Virginia potentiam super se taliter dominari. Sena, 
Aug. c. 20. 


A Lapide remarks upon the words with which 
the divine spouse praises his beloved bride, when 
he calls her the lily, and says that as the lily is 
among thorns, so is his beloved among the other 
daughters ;* that, as the lily is aremedy against 
serpents and poisons, so the invocation of Mary 
is a special remedy for overcoming all tempta 
tions, particularly those of impurity, as they 
who have tried it have universally experienc- 

St. John of Damascus said, and every one 
may say the same who is so happy as to be de 
voted to this great queen : Oh, mother of God, 
if I trust in thee, I shall surely not be vanquish 
ed ; for, defended by thee, I will pursue my 
enemies, and opposing to them thy protection 
and thy powerful support as a shield, I shall 
surely conquer them.J James the Monk, reput 
ed a doctor among the Greek fathers, discours 
ing of Mary to our Lord, says : Thou, oh my 
Lord, hast given us this mother for a powerful 
defence against all our enemies. 

It is related in the Old Testament that the 
Lord guided his people from Egypt to the 

* Sicot lillum inter spinas, sic arnica mea Inter fllias. Cant. ii. 2. 

t Slcut lilinm valet inter serpentes et venena, sic beatse Virginis 
Snvocatio singulare est remedium in omni tentatione, praesertim li- 
bidinis, ut experientia constat. 

J Insnperabilem spem tuam habens, O Deipara, servabor, Persequar 
Juimicos meos, solara habens ut thoracem protectionem tuam, et 
mnipotens auxilium tuum. In Annunc. Dei Gen. 

| Tu arma omni vi belli potentiora, trophseuinque invictum pnM* 


promised land, by day in a pillar of clouds, 
by night in a pillar of fire.* This pillar, now 
of clouds, now of fire, says Richard of St. 
Laurence, was a type of Mary and her double 
office, which she exercises continually in our be 
half ; as a cloud she protects us from the heat 
of divine justice, and as fire she protects us from 
demons.f Fire, as St. Bonaventure adds, for 
as wax melts at the approach of fire, thus the evil 
spirits lose all power in the presence of those 
souls who often call upon the name of Mary, 
and devoutly invoke her, and more than all, 
strive to imitate her.| 

Oh, how the devils tremble, exclaims St. Ber 
nard, if they only hear the name of Mary utter 
ed ! As men, says Thomas a Kempis, fall to 
the earth through fear, when a thunderbolt 
strikes near them, so fall prostrate the devils 
when but the name of Mary is heard. | How- 
many noble victories have the servants of Mary 
not gained over these enemies by the power of 

* Per diem in columna nubis, et per noctem in columna ignis. 
Exod. xiii. 21. 

t Ecce duo officia, ad quse data est nobis Maria, scilicet, ut no 
protegat a calore soils justitiae. tamquam nnbes, et tamquam ignis; 
nt omnes nos protegat contra diabolum. Lib. 7, de Laud. Virg. 

$ Fluunt sicut cera a facie ignis, ubi inveniunt crebram hujug 
nominis recordationem, devotam invocationem, eolicitam imiU- 
tionem. In Spec. 

$ In nomine Manse omne gennflectitur, et daemones non solum 
pertimescunt, sed, audita hac voce, contrcmiscunt. Senn. sup. 

IBxpavwcunt coell reginam gpiritua malign! et 


her most holy name II Thus St Anthony of 
Padua conquered them, thus the blessed Henry 
Suso, thus many other lovers of Mary. It i& 
related in the accounts of the missions to Japan 
that a great number of demons appeared in the 
form of ferocious animals to a certain Christian 
of that country, to alarm him and threaten him, 
but he spoke to them in these words :"I have 
no ?,rms with which to terrify you ; if the Most 
High permits it, do with me according to your 
pleasure. Meanwhile I use as my defence the 
most sweet names of Jesus and Mary." Hardly 
had he uttered these words, when behold, at the 
sound of those fearful names, the earth opened 
and those proud spirits were swallowed up. St. 
Anselm also asserts that he had seen and heard 
many persons who at the mention of the name 
of Mary were delivered from their dangers.* 

Vary glorious, oh Mary, and wonderful, ex 
claims St. Bonaventure, is thy great name. 
Those who art mindful to utter it at the houg 
of death, have nothing to fear from hell, fot 
the devils at once abandon the soul when they 
hear the Dame of Mary.f And the saint adds, 
that an earthly enemy dee *rt no gre&blf 

tndtto aomtoe *B. Ttetot ac igoe, tamquam tonitm decttte 
it, proaternantni ad aanctse Mari vocabnhun. L. 4, ad Hov. 

* 8De vidimus et andivimns Trfnrftnos Iwmtna ^ snis pericnlis 
Bominii recorder! Marise, et liiico omms pencun malum evasisse, 8. 
An*, de Exc. Virg. c. 6. 

t Gloriostun t admlrabile Oft nomen tamn O Mariaj qai iliadw- 


a great army, as the powers of hell fear the 
name and protection of Mary.* Thou, oh Lady, 
says St. Germanus, by the invocation alone of 
thy most powerful name, dost render thy ser 
vants secure from all the assaults of the enemy.f 
Oh, if Christians were mindful in temptations 
to invoke with confidence the name of Mary, it 
is certain that they would never fall ; for, as 
blessed Alanus remarks, at the thunder of that 
great name, the devil flees and hell trembles.J 
This heavenly queen herself revealed to St. 
Bridget, that even from the most abandoned sin 
ners, who had wandered the farthest from God, 
and were most fully possessed by the devil, the 
enemy departs as soon as he hears her most 
powerful name invoked by them, if they do it 
with a true intention of amending. But the 
Virgin added, that if the soul does not amend, 
and with contrition quit its sins, the demons im 
mediately return to it and hold it in their pos. 

tinent non expavescunt in puncto mortis; nam daemones audientes 
hoc nomen Marise statim relinquunt animam. In Psalt. B. V. 

* Non sic timent hostcs visibiles castrorum multitudinem 
copiosam, sicut aereae potestates Marias vocabulum, et patrocinium. 
Loc. cit. 

t Tu servos tuos contra hostis invasiones, sola tui nominis in- 
Tocatione tutos eervas. Serm. de Zona. Virg. 

J Satan fue;it, infernus contremiscit, cum dico Ave Maria. 

Omnes dcemones audientes hoc nomen, Maria, statim relinquunt 
nimam quasi territi. L. 1, Rev. c. 9. 

| Bt revertuntur ad earn, nisi aliqua emendatio subsequatur. LaU 
1. ROT. c. 9. 



ID Reisberg there lived a Canon regular named 
Arnold, who was very devoted to the blessed Vir 
gin. Being at the point of death, he received 
the sacraments, and calling his religious to him, 
begged them not to leave him at the last mo 
ment. Scarcely had he said this, when he began 
to tremble violently and roll his eyes; cold sweat 
fell from him, and with an agitated voice he ex 
claimed: "Do you not see those demons who 
would seize me and carry me to hell?" Then ho 
cried: My brothers, invoke for me the help of 
Mary; I trust in her that she will give me the 
victory." They immediately began to recite the 
Litany of our Lady, and at the words, Holy Mary, 
pray for him, "Sancta Maria, ora pro eo," the 
dying man cried: "Repeat, repeat the name of 
Mary, for I am even now at the tribunal of 
God." He stopped for a moment, and then ad 
ded: "It is true that I did it, but I have done 
penance for it." Then turning to the Virgin, he 
said: "Oh Mary, I shall be delivered if thou wilt 
help me." The demons soon after made another 
attack, but he defended himself by blessing him 
self with the crucifix, and invoking Mary. Thus 
he passed the whole night, but when morning 
dawned, Arnold, restored to serenity, joyfully 
said: "Mary, my Lady, and my refuge, has ob 
tained for me pardon and salvation." Then be 
holding the Virgin, who summoned him to f ol* 


low her, he said : " I come, oh Lady, I come." He 
made an effort to rise, but not being able to fol 
low her with the body, gently expiring, he fol 
lowed her with his soul, as we hope, to the blets- 
ed kingdom of glory.* 


Behold at thy feet, oh Mary my hope, a poor 
sinner who many times, through his own fault, 
has been the slave of hell. I know that I have 
often been conquered by the devil, because I 
have neglected to recur to thee, oh my refuge. 
If I had always sought thy protection, if I had 
invoked thee, I should never have fallen. I hope, 
oh my Lady, most worthy of love, that by thy 
help I have escaped the powers of hell, and that 
God has pardoned me. But I tremble for the 
future, lest I again fall into their power. I know 
that these enemies of mine have not lost all hope 
of reconquering me, and at this moment they 
are preparing new assaults and temptations. 
Oh, my queen and refuge, aid me. Shelter me 
beneath thy mantle, let me not become again 
their slave. I know that thou wilt succor me 
and give me victory whenever I invoke thee. 
I fear only that in my temptations I may forget 
thee, and neglect to call upon thee. This, then, 
is the grace, oh most holy Virgin, that I seek 
and wish from thee, that I may always remember 

* Father Auriemma, Affetti Scambiev. Tom. i. e, 7. 


thee, and especially when I find myself in conflict 
with the enemy; let me not then fail to invoke 
thee often with the words: "Oh Mary, help me, 
help me, oh Mary." And when at length the 
day of my last conflict with hell, the day of my 
death arrives, oh, my queen , powerfully assist 
me then, and remind me thyself to invoke thee 
more frequently, with the voice or with the 
heart, that expiring with thy most sweet name, 
and that of thy son Jesus on my lips, I may go 
to bless and praise thee, and never leave thy 
feet in paradise through all eternity. Amen. 




To thee do we send up our sighs, groaning and weeping In dhia val 
ley of tears. 



To invoke and pray to the saints, especially 
to the queen of saints, most holy Mary, that 
they may obtain for us, by their intercession, 
the divine favor, is not only a lawful but a use 
ful and holy practice, and this is of faith, being 
established by the Councils, against heretics, 
who condemn it as injurious to Jesus Christ, 
who is our only mediator; but if a Jeremias, af 
ter his death, prays for Jerusalem*; if the elders 
of the Apocalypse present to God the prayers 
of the saints; if a St. Peter promises his disciples 
to remember them after his death; if a St. 
Stephen prays for his persecutors; if a St. Paul 
prays for his companions; if, in a word, the 

* Mach. xv. 14. 


aaints pray for us, why may we not implore the 
saints to intercede for us? St. Paul commends 
himself to the prayers of his disciples: Pray 
for us: "Orate pro n obis."* St. James exhorts 
the Christians to pray for each other: "Pray 
for one another, that ye may be saved." f We 
may then do likewise. 

No one will deny that Jesus Christ is the only 
mediator of justice, and that by his merits he 
has obtained for us reconciliation with God. 
But, on the other hand, it is impious to deny 
that God is pleased to grant favors at the inter 
cession of the saints, and especially of Mary his 
mother, whom Jesus desires so much to see loved 
and honored by us. Every one knows that 
honor paid to a mother redounds to her children. J 
Hence St. Bernard says, let not any one think that 
by greatly praising the mother he will throw 
into the shade the glories of the Son; for the 
more he honors the mother, so much more he 
honors the Son. St. Ildephonsus says, that all 
the honor which is paid to the mother and the 
queen, is rendered to the Son and king. | And 
there is no doubt that on account of the merits 
of Jesus, the great privilege has been granted 
to Mary to be the mediatrix of our salvation; 

*Thess. l,c. v. 25. 

t Orate pro invicem ut salvemini. C. v. 16. 

J Gloria filiorum Patres eorum. Prov. xvii. 6. 

| Non est dubium, quicquid in laudibus matris profermius, ad 
filium pertinere. Horn. 4, Sup. Miss. 

I Refunditur in filium quod impenditur matri, tranafunditur honor 
In regem, qui defertur in famulatum reginse. 


not, indeed, mediatrix of justice, but of - 
and intercession, as she is called by St. Bona- 
venture. * St. Lawrence Justinian also says: 
Can she be otherwise than full of grace, who 
has been made the ladder of paradise, the gate 
of heaven, the most true mediatrix between God 
and man?f 

Wherefore St. Anselm well remarks," that 
when we implore the holy Virgin to obtain 
graces for us, it is not that we distrust 
the divine mercy, but rather that we distrust our 
own unworthiness, and commend ourselves to 
Mary that her merits may compensate for ooi* 
un worthiness. J 

It cannot be doubted, therefore, except by 
those "wbo are deficient in faith, that it is a useful 
and holy thing to have -recourse to the interces 
sion of Mary. But the point that we here pro 
pose to prove is, that the intercession of Mary 
is even necessary for our salvation: necessary, to 
speak properly, not indeed absolutely, but mor 
ally. And we affirm that this necessity arises 
from the will of God itself, who has ordained 
that all the favors which he dispenses should 
pass through the hands of Mary, according to the 
opinion of St. Bernard, which may well be 

* Maria 3de!iss!ma mediatrix noetras satatis. 

t Quomodo non est plena gratia, quae effecta est paradiei scala, 
coeli janua, Dei atque hominum verissium mediatrix f Serm. da 

$ Ut dignltas Intercessorla suppleat inopiam noetram. Unde Vlr- 
pinem interpellare, non est de divina misericordi& diffldera. aed d 
brooria indignitate formidar. DeExc.V. s.2. 


sidered at the present day the common opinion of 
doctors and divines, as the author of "The king 
dom of Mary" has already called it It is embrac 
ed by Vega, Mendoza, Paciucchelli, Segneri,. 
Poire, Crasset, and innumerable other learned r au- 
thors. Even Father Noel Alexander, an author 
usually very reserved in his assertions, declares it 
to be the will of God that we receive all f avore 
through the intercession of Mary.* In confirma 
tion of this, he quotes the celebrated passage of 
St. Bernard: This is the will of him who would 
have us receive all things through Mary.f The 
same opinion is held by Father Contensone who, 
explaining the words of Jesus Christ of the 
cross to John, behold thy mother, "Ecce mater 
tua," says: It is as if he said, no one shall par 
take of my blood except by the intercession of 
my mother. My wounds are fountains of grace, 
but to none can their streams be conveyed ex 
cept by the channel of Mary.; Oh John, my ..dis 
ciple, even as thou lovest my* mother, * so shalt 
thou be loved by me.J 

The statement that ; whatsoever > we Deceive 
from the Lord comes to us by meanC~plFMaryi 
does not find favor with a certain ; mod ernfaa- 

* Qui yult ut omnia bona ab ipso expectemus, potentissima Vir 
ginia matris intercessione impetranda, cum earn, ut par est, invoca- 
xnus. Epist. 76, in calce torn. 4, Moral. 

t Sic est voluntas ejus, qui totum noa babere voluit per Mariam. 

J Quasi diceret, Nullus sanguinis mei particeps erit, nisi intercea, 
ione matris mese. Vulnera gratiarum fontes sunt, sed ad nullos de- 
livabuntur rivi, nisi per Maria canalem. Joannes diacipule, tantum 
ft me amaberis, quantum earn amaverig. Theol. mentis, et oovd. 
torn. *,!. 10, D. 4,c.l. 


thor, who, although he treats with much piety 
and learning of true and false devotion, yet speak 
ing of the devotion towards the divine mother, 
has shown himself very sparing in granting her 
the glory that a St. Germanus, a St. Anselm, a 
St. John of Damascus, a St. Bonaventure, a St. 
Antoninus, a St. Bernardine of Sienna, the vener 
able Abbot of Celles, and so many other doc 
tors, have not hesitated to attribute to her 
who have not scrupled to declare that for the 
above-mentioned reason the intercession of Mary 
is not only useful, but necessary. The above- 
named author says that this proposition, namely, 
that God grants no favor except through Mary, is 
an hyperbole and an exaggeration which has es 
caped from the mouth of some saints in a mo 
ment of fervor, and properly speaking, is to be 
understood only in the sense that through Mary 
we have received Jesus Christ, by whose merits 
we receive all graces. Otherwise, he continues, 
it would be an error to believe that God could 
not grant graces, without the intercession of 
Mary, since the apostle says: "There is one God 
and one Mediator of God and men, the man 
Christ Jesus."* So far the above-named author. 
But witli his leave I will suggest to him what 
he himself in his book teaches me, that the me 
diation of justice by means of merit, and the me 
diation of grace by means of prayer, are very 
different things. Thus it is also one thing to 
ay that God cannot, another to say he will not 

* 1 Tim. ii. 6. 


grant favors without the intercession of Mary. 
We willingly acknowledge that God is the foun 
tain of every good, and absolute Lord of all 
graces and that Mary is only a pure creature who, 
through grace, receives whatever she obtains 
from God. But who can deny it to be reason 
able and proper to assert that God, in order to 
exalt this noble creature, who, more than all 
other creatures, has loved and honored him in 
her life, having chosen her for the mother of his 
Son the Redeemer of the world, has also seen 
fit to dispense through her hands all the graces 
which are to be granted to redeemed souls? We 
acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the only me 
diator of justice, as we have stated above, who 
by his merits obtains for us grace and salvation; 
but we affirm that Mary is the mediatrix ^of 
grace, and although whatever she obtains, she 
obtains through the merits of Jesus Christ, and 
because she prays and asks for it in the name 
of Jesus Christ, yet whatever favors we ask are 
all obtained through her intercession. 

In this there is certainly nothing opposed to 
the sacred doctrines; on the contrary, it is entire 
ly conformed to the sentiments of the Church, 
who, in the public prayers, by her approved, 
teaches us to appeal constantly to his divine 
mother, and invoke her as the Health of the 
weak: "Salus infirmorum." The Refuge of sin 
ners: "Refugium peccatorem." The Help of 
Christians: "Auxiliumchristianorum." Our life 
*nd our hope: "Vita et spes nostra." The same 


holy Church, in the office which she requires to 
be recited on the Festivals of Mary, applying to 
her the words of Wisdom, gives us to under 
stand that in Mary we shall find every hope: 
"In me is all hope of life and virtue."* That in 
Mary we shall find every grace: "In me is all 
grace of the way and of the truth."f In a word, 
that we shall find in Mary life and eternal sal 
vation: "He that shall find me shall find life, and 
shall have salvation from the Lord."J And again: 
"They that work by me shall not sin. They that 
explain me shall have life everlasting." All 
which passages signify the need we have of the 
intercession of Mary. 

This then is the sentiment in which so many 
theologians and holy fathers concur, of whom 
we cannot with justice say, as the author quoted 
atfove has asserted, that to exalt Mary they have 
uttered hyperboles, and that excessive exaggera 
tions have fallen from their lips. To exaggerate 
and utter hyperboles, is to exceed the limits of 
truth, which cannot be said of the saints who 
have spoken, enlightened by the Spirit of God, 
who is the Spirit of truth. And here, if I may 
make a brief digression, let me express a senti 
ment of mine, namely: when an opinion is in any 
way honorable to the most holy Virgin, and has 
some foundation, and is not repugnant to the 

* In me omnis spes vitae et virtutls. 
t In me omnis gratia vitse et veritatis. 

$ Qui me invenerit, inveniet vitam, et hauriet salutem a Domino. 
Qui operantur in me, non peccabunt. Qoi elucidant me, vitam 
wtcrnam habebuut. 


faith and the decrees of the Church, and to the 
truth, the rejection of it, and opposition to it, be 
cause the contrary may also be true, indicates 
little devotion to the mother of God. I would 
not be one of the number of these, nor would I 
gee you, my reader, one of them, but rather of 
the number of those who fully and firmly be 
lieve all that can be believed, without error, con 
cerning the greatness of Mary, as the Abbot Ru 
pert says, who places among the offerings of 
devotion most pleasing to this mother, that of a 
firm belief in her great privileges.* If no one 
else, St. Augustine at least might remove from 
us all fear of exaggeration in the praise of Mary, 
who asserts that all we may say in her praise is 
little in comparison with what she merits on ac 
count of her dignity as mother of God. The holy 
Church also, in the Mass of the blessed Virgin, 
requires these words to be read: "For thou art 
happy, oh sacred Yirgin Mary, and most worthy 
of all praise. "f 

But let us return to our subject, and hear 
what the saints say of the opinion in question. 
St. Bernard says that God had bestowed all 
graces on Mary, that men, through her as 
through a channel, may receive whatever goods 
is in store for them.J; Moreover, the saint here 
makes an important reflection, and says that be- 

* Ejus magnalia flrmiter credere. Laud. Virg. 

t Felix namque es, sacra Virgo Maria, et omni lande digniseima, 

Plenug aquwductus, ut accipiant cteteri de plenitudine. Sena, 


fore the birth of the most holy Virgin there 
ed no such current of grace for all, since this de 
sired channel did not yet exist.* But for this end, 
he adds. Mary has been given to the world, that 
through this channel the divine graces might 
continually flow down upon us.f 

As Holof ernes, in order to gain the city of 
Bethulia, directed the aqueducts to be broken, 
so the devil makes every effort to deprive souls 
of their devotion to the mother of God ; for, if 
this channel of grace were closed, he could ea 
sily succeed in gaining them to himself. The 
same holy father continues, and says : Observe, 
then, oh souls, with what affection and devotion 
the Lord would have us honor this our queen, 
by always seeking and confiding in her protec 
tion ; for in her he has placed the fulness of all 
good, that henceforth we may recognize as com 
ing from Mary whatever of hope, grace, or sal 
vation we receive. J St. Antoninus says the 
same thing : All the mercies ever bestowed upon 
men have all come through Mary. 

For this reason she is called the moon, be- 

* Propterea tempore humano generi fluenta gratise def uerunt, quod 
Tiecdum intercecleret Is de quo loquimur, tarn desiderabilis aquseduo 
tus. Serm. de Aquaed. 

t Descendit per aquasductum vena ilia coelestis stillicidla gratis 
arentibus cordibus nostris infundens. Loc. cit. 

$ Intueamini quanto devotionis affectu a nobis earn voluit honorari, 
qui totius boni plenittidinem posuit in Maria; ut proinde si quid epei 
nobis est, si quid gratise, si quid salutis, ab ea noverimus redundare. 
germ, de Nat. Virg. 

Per earn de ccelis exivit quidquid gratlw venit in mundum. P.\ 
4.ttt.l5 % c.20. 


cause, as St. Bonaventure remarks, as the moon 
is between the sun and the earth, and reflects upon 
the latter what she receives from the former, so 
Mary receives the celestial influences of grace 
from the divine Son, to transfuse them into us 
who are upon the earth.* 

For this reason, too, she is called the gate of 
heaven by the holy Church: "Felix coeli porta;" 
because, St. Bernard again observes, as every 
rescript of grace sent by the king comes through 
the palace gate, so it is given to Mary, that 
through her thou shouldst receive whatever thou 
hast.f St. Bonaventure, moreover, says that 
Mary is called the gate of heaven, because, no 
one can enter heaven if he does not pass through 
Mary, who is the door of it.J 

St. Jerome confirms us in the same sentiment 
(or, as some persons think, another ancient au 
thor of a sermon upon the Assumption which is 
inserted among the works of St. Jerome), when 
he says, that in Jesus Christ was the fulness of 
grace as in the head, whence descend to the 
members, which we are, all the vital spirits, that 
is, the divine aids for attaining eternal salva 
tion: in Mary likewise was fulness as in the neck, 

* Quia eicut luna Inter corpora ccelestia et terrena est media, et 
quod ab illis accipit ad inferiora refundit; sic et Virgo rcgina inter nos 
et Deum est media, et gratiam ipsa nobis refundit. Serin. 74, de Nat. 

t Datum est Marise, ut per illam acciperes quicquid baberes. 
Senn. 3, in Virg. Nat. 

$ Nullns potcst coelum, Intrare, nisi per Maxiam transeat tamauam 


through which those vital spirits pass to the 
members.* This is confirmed by St. Bernardine 
of Sienna, who more clearly unfolded this 
thought, Baying that through Mary are> trans 
mitted to the faithful, who are the mystic 
body of Jesus Christ, all the graces of the spir 
itual life, which descends upon them from Jesus 
their head.f 

St. Bonaventure also attempts to assign the rea 
son for this when he says: Grod being pleased to 
dwell in the womb of this holy Virgin, she has 
acquired thereby, in a certain sense, a kind of 
jurisdiction over all graces; since Jesus came 
from her sacred womb, together with him pro 
ceed from her, as from a celestial ocean, all the 
streams of divine gifts. J St. Bernardine of Si 
enna expresses this in even clearer terms. From 
the time, he asserts, that this mother conceived 
in her womb the Divine Word, she acquired, if 
we may thus express it, a special right to the 
gifts which proceed to us from the Holy Spirit, 
BO that no creature has received any grace from 
God except by the intervention and hand of 

* In Christo fuit plenitude gratiae elcut in capite influente, In 
Maria sicut in collo transfundente. Serai, de Ass. B. V. 

t Per Virginem a capite Christ! vitales gratice in ejus corpus mystic 
cum transfunduntur. Serm. 61, de Nat. Virg. c. 8. 

$ Cum tota natura divina intra Virginia uterum extiterit; non 
timeo dicere quod in omnes gratiarum effluxus quamdam jurisdic- 
tionem habuerit haec Virgo, de cujus utero quasi de quodam dl 
Tinitatia oceano flumina emanabant omnium gratiarum. In Spec, 
cap. 8. 

A tempore quo virgo mater conceplt in utero yerbum Dei, quam* 
dam, mt sic dicam, juricdictionem obtinuit, in omoi tpiritoa 


And thus is explained by a certain author* 
that passage of Jeremias where the prophet, 
speaking of the incarnation of the Word and of 
Mary his mother, says, that "a woman shall com 
pass a man."f The author above named explains 
this to mean that, as no line proceeds from the 
centre of a circle which does not pass through 
its circumference ; thus no grace comes to us 
from Jesus, who is the centre of every good, 
that does not pass through Mary, who encom 
passed him after she had received him in her 

Hence, says St. Bernardine, all gifts, all virtues, 
and all graces, are dispensed by Mary J to whom 
she will, when she will, and in the manner she will. 
Richard likewise says, that God wishes all the 
good he bestows on creatures to pass through the 
hands of Mary. Hence the venerable Abbot 
of Celles exhorts every one to have recourse to 
this treasurer of graces, as he calls her: "The- 
saurariam gratiarum;" for only by her means 
the world and men are to receive all the good 
they may hope for.|| By which it is evident 

processlone temporal!; ita ut nulla creatura aliquam a Deo obtinult 
gratiam, nisi secundum ipsius pite matris dispensationem. Sena. 
1, tract. 1, art. 8. 

* Crasset, Div. della Verg. 

t Pcemina circumdabit virum. Jerem. xxxi. 22. 

t Ideo omnla dona, virtutes, et gratise, quibtts vult, quande Tnlt, 
et quomodo vult, per ipsius manus dispensantur. Serin. 61, ut sup. 

Deus quicquid boni dat creaturis suis, per manus matris Virginia 
Vult transire. 

I Accede ad Virginem, quia per ipsam mundua babiturus est om&a 
De contempl. V. In Prol. 


that the saints and authors above quoted, in 
saying that all graces come to us through Mary, 
have not intended to say this only because we 
have received from Mary, Jesus Christ, who is 
the fountain of every good, as the author named 
above would imply; but they assure us that 
God, after having given us Jesus Christ, has 
decreed that all the graces which have been dis 
pensed, are dispensed, and shall be dispensed to 
men, even to the end of the world, through the 
merits of Jesus, shall be dispensed through the 
hands and by the intercession of Mary. 

Hence Father Suarez concludes it to be the 
universal sentiment of the Church at the present 
day, that the intercession of Mary is not only 
useful, but necessary.* Necessary, as we said 
before, not in the sense of absolute necessity, 
because only the mediation of Jesus Christ is 
absolutely necessary for us, but in the sense of 
moral necessity; for the Church holds the opinion, 
with St. Bernard, that God has chosen to bestow 
no grace upon us but by the hands of Mary.f 
St. Ildephonsus affirmed this before St. Bernard, 
when, addressing the Virgin, he says: Oh Mary, 
God has decreed to commit to thee all the favors 
that he would confer upon men; hence he has 
confided to thee all the treasures and riches of 
grace.! And therefore St. Peter Damian 

* Sentit Ecclesia intercessionem B. Virginia esse sibi utilem, et 
neceseariam. Tom. 2, in 3, par. disp. 23, sect. 3. 

t Nihil Deus habere nos voluit, quod per manus Marise non trans 
it. Serm. 3, in Vigil. Nat. 

$ Ornuia bona qu illis sunmia, majestas decrerit f acere, tola ; 


Bays,* that God would not become man without 
the consent of Mary, that, in the first place, we 
might remain greatly indebted to her; and sec 
ondly, that we might understand the salvation 
of all men to be made dependent upon her good 

St. Bonaventure, contemplating the words of 
Isaias, where the prophet says; From the race of 
Jesse there shall come forth a rod that is, Mary; 
and from that the flower that is, the Word in 
carnate^ utters these beautiful words: Let him 
who would obtain the grace of the Holy Spirit, 
seek the flower in the rod, Jesus in Mary; since 
by the rod we obtain the flower, and by the 
flower we find God.J And he afterwards adds: 
If thou wouldst have this flower, strive, with 
prayers, to incline the stem of the flower in thy 
favor, and thou wilt obtain it. The seraphic 
Doctor, also commenting on the words: They 
found the child with Mary his mother,"|| says: 
Jesus is never found but with and through Mary ;T 

fcus decrevit commendare; commissi quippe sunt thesauri, et or- 
namenta gratiarum. In Cor. Virg. c. 15= 

* De Nat. Virg. ap. Pac. Exc. 1, n. 15= 

t Egredietur virga de radice Jesse, et flos de radice ejus ascendet, 
et requiescet super eum spiritus Domini. Isa. xi. 1, 2. 

\ Quicumque Spiritus Sancti gratiam adipisci desiderat, florem, in 
virga quserat; per virgam enim ad florem, per florem ad spiritum 
perveniruus. In Spec. c. 6. 

Si hunc florem habere desideras, virgam floris precibus flectas. 
Loc. cit 

1 Invenerunt puerum cum Maria matre ejus. Matth. ii. 11. 

5 Kunquam invenitur Christus, nisi cum Maria, nisi per Madam. 
Benn.25. InEpiph. 


and concludes with these words: He seeks Jesus 
In vain who does not look for him with Mary.* 
Hence St. Ildephonsus says: I would be a ser 
vant of the Son, and as he can never be a servant 
of the Son who is not the servant of the mother, 
my ambition is to be a servant of Mary.f 


It is related by BelluacensisJ and Cesarius, 
that a noble youth having lost by his vices the 
wealth left him by his father, became so poor 
that he was obliged to beg. He quitted his na 
tive land, that he might live with less shame in 
a distant country where he was unknown. On 
this journey he met one day an old servant of 
his father, who, seeing him so cast down by the 
poverty he was Buffering, told him to cheer up, 
for he would take him to a prince who was so 
liberal that he would provide him with every 
thing he needed. Now this wretch was an impious 
sorcerer. One day he took the youth with him 
to a wood on the borders of a moor, where he be 
gan to address some invisible person. The youth 
asked to whom he was speaking. "To the 
devil," he answered; and seeing the youth terri 
fied, bade him not to fear. Continuing to speak 

* Frnstra Igitur quarit qnl cum Maria In venire non quierit. 
tUt Rim eervus fllli, servitutem appeto genitricis. Do Vlxf> 
Har. c. 12. 

$ Spec. Hist 1, 7, c. 105. 
Diet. 2, e. 3. 


with the devil, he said: "This youth, oh my mas 
ter, is reduced to extreme necessity, and wishes 
to be restored to his former condition." " If ha 
will obey me," said the enemy, * I will make him 
richer than before; but in the first place, he must 
renounce God." At this the youth shuddered, 
but urged on by that cursed magician, he yield 
ed, and renounced God. " But this is not suffici 
ent," said the demon; "he must also renounce 
Mary; for it is to her that we attribute our great 
est losses. Oh, how many souls she has snatch 
ed from us, and led back to God and saved!" 
"Oh, this I will not do," exclaimed the youth; 
"deny Mary! why she is my only hope. I 
would rather be a beggar all my life." With 
these words he left the place. On his way he 
happened to pass a church dedicated to Mary. 
The unhappy youth entered it, and kneeling 
before her altar, began to weep and implore the 
most holy Virgin that she would obtain the pai- 
don of his sins. Mar^ immediately began to in 
tercede with the Son for that miserable being. 
Jesus at first said: "But that ungrateful youth, 
my mother, has denied me." But seeing that 
his mother still continued to entreat him, he at 
last said: "Oh, my mother, I have never refused 
thee any thing; he shall be pardoned, since thou 
dost ask it." The citizen who had purchased the 
inheritance of that prodigal was secretly present 
at this scene, and beholding the mercy of Mary 
towards that sinner, he gave him his only daugh 
ter in marriage, and made him heir of all his pos- 


sessions. Thus that youth recovered, through 
the intercession of Mary, the favor of God and 
even his temporal possessions. 


Oh my soul! behold the beautiful hope of sal 
vation, and of life eternal, which the Lord has 
granted thee, by giving thee, in his mercy, con 
fidence in the protection of his mother, when 
thou hast by thy sins so often merited his dis 
pleasure and the pains of hell. Give thanks, then, 
to God, and to thy protectress, Mary, who hath 
deigned to shelter thee beneath her mantle, as al 
ready thou certainly knowest, by the many graces 
that thou hast received through her. Yes, I thank 
thee, oh my loving mother! for the good thou 
hast done me, a miserable sinner, deserving of 
hell. From how many dangers hast thou deliver 
ed me, oh my queen! How much light and how 
many mercies hast thou obtained for me, from 
God, by thy intercession! What great advan 
tage, or what great honor hast thou received 
from me, that thou art thus intent on doing me 

Thy goodness alone, then, hath moved thee in 
my behalf. Ah! if I were to give my blood, my 
life for thee, it would be little compared to what 
I owe thee, for thou hast delivered me from eter 
nal death; thou, who hast enabled me to recover, 
as I hope, the divine favor, and from thee final 
ly I acknowledge all my blessings to proceed. 


Oh my Lady! most worthy of love, I a miserable 
creature can make thee no return but always to 
praise and love thee. Ah! do not disdain to ac 
cept the affection of a poor sinner, who is en 
amored of thy goodness. If my heart is not 
worthy to love thee, because it is evil and full 
of earthly affections, do thou change it. Ah! 
unite me to my God, and unite me so that I can 
never be separated from his love. This thou 
desirest of me, that I may love tby God, and 
this I wish from thee. Obtain for me that I 
may love him, and love him always, and I ask 
nothing more. Amen. 



ST. BERNARD says, that as a man and a wom 
an have co-operated for our ruin, so it was fit 
that another man and another woman should co 
operate for our restoration; and these were 
Jesus and his mother Mary. Doubtless, says 
the saint, Jesus Christ alone was all-sufficient 
for our redemption: yet it was more fitting that 
each sex should take part in our redemption, 
when both took part in our corruption. * For 
this reason blessed Albertus Magnus calls Mary 
the co-operatrix with Christ in our redemption: 
"Adjutrix Redemptionis." And she herself re 
vealed to St. Bridget, that as Adam and Eve 

* Congruum magis fuit ut adesset nostraa reparation! sexm 
nterque, quorum corruptioui neuter defuissit. Serai, in Sig Magn* 


sold the world for one apple, so her Son and! 
herself with one heart redeemed the world.* 
God could, indeed, as St. Anselm asserts, create 
the world from nothing; but when it was lost 
by sin, he would not redeem it without the co 
operation of Mary.f 

In three ways, says Father Suarez, the divine 
mother shared in the work of our salvation: first, 
by having merited, that is, with merit of con- 
gruity, the Incarnation of the Word. Second 
ly, by praying much for us while she lived on 
the earth. Thirdly, by willingly sacrificing to 
God the life of her Son for our salvation; and 
therefore the Lord has justly ordained that as 
Mary has, with so much love for man, aided in the 
salvation of all, and thereby so greatly promoted 
the glory of God, all through her intercession 
shall obtain salvation. 

Mary is called the co-operatrix with her Son 
in our justification, because God has committed 
to her keeping all the graces that he has des 
tined for us.J Wherefore St. Bernard affirms, 
that all men, past, present, and to come, should 
regard her as the medium and negotiator of the 
salvation of all ages. 

* Adam et Eva vendidernnt mundum pro nno porno; fiHua meua et 
Bgo redemimus mundum uno corde. Lib. 5, c. 35. 

t Qui potult omnia de nihilo facere, noluit ea violata sine Maria 
reficere. In Alloq. coel. n. 37. 

$ Auxiliatrix nostrae justificationis, quia Deus omnes gratias faci- 
endas Mariae cornrnisit. 

Ad mam sicut ad medium, sicut ad negotium omnium sseculorum 
reepiciant, et qui prsecesserunt, et nos qui sumus. et qui eequentur. 
Senn. 2, in Pentec. 


Jesus Christ has said, that no one could find 
him unless his Eternal Father drew him by his 
divine grace.* Thus, also, according to Rich 
ard, Jesus said of his mother: No one comes to 
me unless my mother draw him with her pray- 

Jesus was the fruit of Mary, as Elizabeth ex 
pressed it: " Blessed art thou among women, and 
blessed is the fruit of thy womb."| Who- 
ever, then, wishes for the fruit, must go to the 
tree; whoever wishes for Jesus must go to Mary; 
and he who finds Mary, certainly also finds Jesus. 
St. Elizabeth, when the most holy Virgin came 
to visit her in her house, not knowing how to 
thank her, in deep humility exclaimed: "How 
have I merited that the mother of my God 
should come to visit me?" But why! we may 
ask: did not Elizabeth already know that not 
Mary only, but Jesus also, had entered her 
dwelling? And why, then, does she call herself 
unworthy to receive the mother, and not rather 
unworthy of receiving a visit from the Son. Ah, 
well did the saint understand that when Mary 
comes she brings Jesus also; and hence it was 
sufficient for her to thank the mother, without 
naming the Son. 

"She is like the merchant s ship, she bringeth 

* Nemo venit ad me, nisi Pater meus traxerft enm. 

t Nemo venit ad me, nisi Mater mea suis precious traxerit enm. 
In Cant. c. 2, v. 3. 

$ Benedicta tu inter mulieres, et benedictus fructus ventris tui. 
Luc. i. 42. 

Et unde hoc mihl, ut veniat mater Domini mei ad me ? Lee. 2. 42, 


her bread from afar."* Mary is that bleswd 
ghip, which brought to us from heaven Jesus 
Christ, the living bread that came from heaven 
to give us life eternal, as he has said: "I am the 
living bread which came down from heaven: if 
any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever."}- 
Hence Richard of St. Laurence says, that all 
those will be lost in the sea of this world who 
are not received into this ship, that is, protect 
ed by Mary.J He also adds, that whenever 
"we find ourselves in danger of destruction from 
the temptations or passions of the present life, 
we ought to flee to Mary, crying quickly, Oh 
Lady, help us; save us, if thou wouldst not see 
us lost. And let it be remarked here, in pass 
ing, that this writer does not hesitate to say to 
Mary: Save us, we perish "Salva nos, perhnus;" 
as the author mentioned several times in the 
previous section does, who denies that we can 
ask the Virgin to save us, because, as he says it 
belongs only to God to save us. But if a 
person condemned to death may ask some fa 
vorite of the king to save him by interceding 
for him with his prince, why cannot we im 
plore the mother of God to save us by obtaining 
for us through her prayers the grace of eter- 

* Facta est quasi navis institoris, de longo portans panem suum. 
Prov. xxxi. 14. 

t Ego sum panis vivus, qui de coelo descend!, siquis manducaverit 
x hoc pane vivet in aeternum. Joan vi. 51 . 

% In mare mundi submergentur omnes illi, quos non suscepit navig 
ista. DeLaud.Virg. 

Ideo quoties videmus insurgentes fluctus hujus maris, clamar* 
dsbwnus ad Mariam; Domina, salva nos, perinuis. Loc. cit. 


nal life? St. John of Damascus did not hesi 
tate to say to the Virgin: Oh pure and immacu 
late queen, save me, deliver me from eternal 
damnation.* St. Bonaventure called Mary the 
salvation of those invoking her.f The Church al 
lows us to invoke her: Health of the weak "Sa- 
lus infirmorum;" and shall we hesitate to ask her 
to save us, when, according to a certain author, 
to no one is the door of salvation open except 
through her?J And before him St. Germanus, 
speaking of Mary, said: No one can be saved 
except through thee. 

But let us see what more the saints say of the 
need we have of the intercession of the divine 
mother. The glorious St. Cajetan said that we 
could ask for graces, but we could never obtain 
them without the intercession of Mary. And 
St. Antoninus confirms this, expressing himself 
thus beautifully: Whoever asks and wishes to 
obtain graces without the intercession of Mary, 
attempts to fly without wings ;|| for, as Pharaoh 
said to Joseph, "The land of Egypt is in thy 
hand;"*! an d as he sent all those to Joseph who 
applied to him for assistance, saying: Go to 
Joseph "Ite ad Joseph;" so God, when we 

* Regina immaculata et pura, salva me, libera ab eterna damna. 
tione. Orat. Pan eg. 

t O salus te invocantium. 

t Nemini nisi per earn patet aditus ad salutem. Pacciucch. de B, 

Nemo qui salvus fiat nisi per te. Serm. de Zona. Virg. 

i Qui petit sine ipsa, sine alia tentat volare. P. 8, tit. 15, . 


T Terra Egypt! in manu tna eat. 


supplicate him for favors, sends us to Mary: 
Go to Mary " Ite ad Mariam;" for he has de 
creed, says St. Bernard, that he will grant no 
favors except through the hands of Mary.* 
Hence Richard of St. Laurence says: Our salva 
tion is in the hands of Mary, and we Christians 
can more justly say to her than the Egyptians to 
Joseph, our salvation is in thy hand.f The 
venerable Idiot says the same thing: Our salva 
tion is in her hands " Salus nostra in manu 
illius est."J Cassian asserts the same thing, but 
in stronger language. He absolutely affirms 
that the salvation of the whole world depends 
upon the favor and protection of Mary. St. Ber- 
nardine of Sienna thus addresses her: Oh Lady, 
since thou art the dispenser of all graces, and 
we must receive the grace of salvation through 
thy hand alone, then our salvation depends on 

Richard says rightly then, that as a stone falls 
so soon as the earth is removed from beneath it, in 
like manner a soul, if the support of Mary is taken 
away, will fall first into sin and then into hell. ^ 
St. Bonaventure adds, that God will not save us 

* Decrevit nihil dare, nisi per Mariam. Serm. de Nat. Virg. 

t Salus nostra in manu Mariae est, ut ei dicere multo melius vale*> 
mns nos Christian!, quam Egyptii dixerunt Joseph salua nostra im 
manu illius est. L. 2, de Laud. Virg. p. 1. 

$ In Pnef. Cant. 6. 

{ Tota salus mnndi consistit in multitudlne favorfs Maria. 

1 Tu dispensatrix omnium gratiarum; salus nostra in manu tua 
est. Serm. 1, de Nat. B. Virg. 

T Sicut lapis, subtracta terra, delabitur in profundum ; ita eub- 
tracto Marise adjutorio, {homo delabitur in peccatum, (t inde in h> 
ferntun. L. 8, de Laud. Virg. c. 11. 


without the intercession of Mary,* and goes on 
to say, that as an infant cannot live without its 
nurse, so no one without the protection of Mary 
can be saved. f Therefore he exhorts us in this 
way: Let thy soul thirst for devotion to Mary; 
preserve it always, never abandon it until you 
arrive in heaven and receive her maternal ben 
ediction. | Who, says St. Germanus, would ever 
know God, if it were not through thee, oh most 
holy Mary? Who would be saved? Who would 
be free from peril? Who would receive any 
favor if it were not through thee, oh mother of 
God? Oh Virgin mother, oh full of grace! 
And in another place he says: If thou didst not 
open the way, no one would be frefi from the 
sting of the flesh and of sin.|] 

As we have access to the eternal Father only 
through Jesus Christ, so, says St. Bernard, waj 
have access to Jesus Christ only through Mary.T 
And St. Bernard gives us the reason why the Lord 
decreed that all men should be saved by the in- 

* Ipse Bine ea non salvabit te. 

t Quemadmodnm inf ans sine nutrice non potest vlvere, ita sine 
domina nostra uon potes habcre salntem. In Cant. B. V. pro Sabb. 

$ Sitiat ergo anima tua ad ipsam; tene, nee dimitte, donee bene- 

$ Nemo est, o eanctissima, qui ad Dei notitiam venit, nisi per te; 
nemo qui salvus flat, nisi per te, Dei parens; nemo liber a periculis 
nisi per te, Virc;o mater. Nemo donum Dei euscepit, nisi per te, 
gratia plena. Serm. de Zona. Virg. 

I Nisi enim tu iter aperieres, nemo spiritualis evaderet. Orat. de 
Dorm. Deip. 

^ Per te accessum habemus ad fllium, o Inventrix gratlas, mater 
saloiis, nt per te nos suscipiat, qui per te datus oat uobia. 


tercession of Mary, namely that through Mary we 
might be received by that Saviour who, through 
Mary, has been given to us; and therefore the 
saint calls her the mother of grace and of our 
salvation. Then, resumes St. Germ anus, what 
would become of us? what hope of salvation 
would remain to us if thou, oh Mary, didst 
abandon us, thou who art the life of Christians?* 
But, the modern author above quoted remarks: 
If all graces pass through Mary, when we 
implore the intercession of the saints, they must 
have recourse to the meditation of Mary to ob 
tain for us these graces. This, however, says 
he, no one believes, or has ever thought of. I 
reply, that there can be no error or difficulty in 
believing this. What difficulty is there in saying 
that God, to honor his mother, having crowned her 
queen of the saints, and having ordained that 
all graces should be dispensed by her hands 
would have the saints also invoke her to obtain 
favors for their clients? As to saying that no 
one has ever thought of it, I find that St. Ber 
nard, St. Anselm, St. Bonaventure, Father Sua- 
rezf also, and others expressly assert it. In vain, 
says St. Bernard, would one pray to the other 
saints for a desired favor, if Mary did not inter 
cede to obtain it for them. { Thus also a cer 
tain author explains, in this connection, that 

* Si nos deserueris, quid erit de nobis, Vita Christianorum? Sena, 
de Zona Virg. 

t Tom. 2, in 3, p. D. 28, sect. 3. 
Fruatra alios sanctos oraret, quern ista non adjuvaret. 


passage of David: "All the rich among the peo 
ple shall entreat thy countenance."* The rich 
of that great people of God are the saints, who, 
when they wish to obtain a favor for one of 
their clients, all recommend themselves to Mary, 
that she may obtain it for them. Justly, then, 
says Father Suarez, we implore the saints to be 
our intercessors with Mary, who is their lady 
and queen. f 

It is precisely this which St. Benedict promised 
to St. Frances of Rome, as we learn from Father 
Marchese.J The above-named saint appeared 
to her one day, and taking her under his protec 
tion, promised to be her advocate with the di 
vine mother. St. Anselm adds, in confirmation 
of this, addressing the blessed Virgin : Oh Lady, 
what the prayers of all these saints can obtain, 
in union with thine, thou canst obtain, by thy 
intercession alone without their aid. But 
wherefore hast thou such power? "quare hoc 
potes?" continues the saint. Because thou alone 
art the mother of our common Saviour, thou art 
the spouse of God, the universal queen of heaven 
and earth.]] If thou dost not speak for us, no 

* Vultum tuum deprecabuntur omnes divites plebis. Psal. xliv. 13. 

t Inter sanctos non solemus uti uno tamquam intercessore ad 
alium, cum omnes sint ejusdem ordinis, ad virginem autem tam 
quam ad Dominam ac Reginam alii sancti adhibentur intercessores. 

J Nel Diario di Maria alii. 21, di Marzo. 

Quid possunt omnes isti tecnm, tu sola potes sine illis omnibus. 
Orat. 45, ad S. Virg. Mar. 

I Quia mater es salvatoris nostri, sponsa Dei, regina coeli et teme. 
Lib. Or. Exc. v. ap. Pac. Exc. 20, in sal. Ang. 2, 7. 


saint will pray for us and aid us.* But if them 
art moved to pray for us, all the saints will en 
gage to intercede for us and help us.f Sosayi 
Father Segneri,J applying to Mary, as the holy 
Church does, these words of Wisdom: "I alone 
have compassed the circuit of heaven." As 
with its motion the first sphere puts in motion 
all the others, so when Mary is moved to pray 
for a soul, she moves all heaven to pray with 
her. St. Bonaventure says even, that when she 
commands, as being their queen, all the saints 
and angels to accompany her and unite their 

So we see, finally., why the holy Church re 
quires us to invoke and salute the divine mother 
with the great riame of our hope: Hail our hope, 
"Spes nostra salve." The impious Luther could 
not endure that the holy Roman Church should 
call Mary, our hope;*f because, as he said, God 
only and Jesus Christ as our mediator are our 
hope; but that God curses those who place their 
hope in any creature, as we find in Jeremias: 
"Cursed be the man that trustethin man."** 

Te tacente, nnllus juvabit, nullus orabit. 

t Te, domina orante, omnes juvabunt et orabunt. 

$ In his book, "Divoto di Maria." 

| Qyrum cceli circuivi sola. Eocli. xxiv. 8. 

I Quanclo virgo sanctissima procedit ad Deum pronobis deprecaiv 
dmn imporat angelis et sanctis, ut earn comitentur, et simul cam Ipsa 
iltiesimum pro nobis exorent. In Spec. V. c. 3. 

5 Ferre nequeo ut Maria dicatur spes et vita mea. In Post Maj. 
Bvang. in Nat. Mar. 

** IfljUMUctus homo qul coiifidlt in hoiaiiiG. ivlL & 


But the Church teaches us everywhere to invoke 
Mary, and call her our hope: "Spesnostra salve." 
Whoever places his hope in a creature, independ 
ently of God, is certainly accursed of God, since 
God is the only fountain and the dispenser of 
every good, and the creature, without God, has 
nothing and can do nothing. But if the Lord 
has ordained, as we have proved, that all graces 
shall pass through Mary, as a channel of mercy, 
we can, and ought even to assert that Mary is 
our hope, by whose intercession we receive divine 
graces, and therefore it is St. Bernard called her 
the whole cause of his hope.* St. John of Da 
mascus expresses the same thing when, address 
ing the blessed Virgin, he says to her: Oh Lady, 
in thee I have placed all my hope, and with firm 
confidence I look to thee for my salvation, f St. 
Thomas says that Mary is all the hope of our 
salvation. J St. Ephrem explains: Oh most holy 
Virgin, receive us under thy protection, if thou 
wilt see us saved, since we have no other hope 
of being saved but through thee. 

We will then conclude in the words of St. 
Bernard: Let us strive, with all the affections of 
our heart, to reverence this divine mother, Mary, 
since this is the will of that Lord who would 

* Fflioll, h&c maxima mea fiducla, hsec tota ratio spei mw. Or. 
Pan. ad B. V. 

t In te epem meam collocavi ex animo et Intentls oculi?, abn to 
pendeo. Ap. Auriem. to. 1, c. 7. 

$ Omnes epes vites. Opusc. 7. 

S Noble non eat alia quaru a te fiducia, o virgo smcerris alma. Mfc 
ftlifl piotatis protege et custodl nos. De Laud. Virgv 


have us receive all good from her hands.* And 
the saint exhorts us, whenever we desire and 
ask any favor, to recommend ourselves to Mary, 
and trust that we shall obtain it through her in 
tercession. f For, says the saint, if you do not 
deserve from God the favor you ask, Mary, who 
asks it in your behalf, merits to obtain it.J 
Hence the same Bernard exhorts us each and all, 
that, whatever we offer to God, whether works 
or prayers, we recommend all to Mary, if we 
wish our Lord to accept them. 


Eutychian, Patriarch of Constantinople, re 
lates the following well-known story of Theo- 
philus. The Patriarch was an eye-witness of 
the fact which we here relate, and which is con 
firmed by St. Peter Damian, St. Bernard, St. 
Bonaventure, St. Antoninus, andothers.|| Theo- 
philus was archdeacon of the Church of Adanas, 
a city of Cilicia; and was so much esteemed, 
that the people wished him to become their 
bishop, but his humility prevented his consent. 

* Totis medullis cordiura hanc Mariam venereinur, quia sic est 
voluntas ejus, qui totum nos habere voluit per Mariam. Sena, do 
Kat B. V. 

t Quaeramus jrratiam, et per Mariam quseramus. Serm. de Aqused, 

J Quia indignus eras, cui donaret, datum est Mariae ntlper illam 
accipercs quidquid haberes. Serm. 3, in Virg. Mativ. 

Quidquid Deo offerre potes, Mariae commendare memento, ri 
aon vis sustinere repulsum. Serm. de Aqnaed. 

4 Cnweet Div. alia. B. V. torn. J, tr. 1, o. NX 


Some malicious persons afterwards accused him, 
and he was deposed from his office. This afflict 
ed him so much, that, blinded by passion, he 
went to a Jewish magician, who induced him 
to apply to Satan for help in his misfortunes. 
The devil answered that if he wished his assist 
ance, he must renounce Jesus, and Mary his moth 
er, and hand over to him the act of renuncia 
tion, written with his own hand. Theophilus 
executed the vile document. On the following 
day the bishop having heard of the wrong done 
him by his calumniators, asked his forgiveness, 
and restored him to his office. But Theophilus 
began then to feel so tortured by remorse of 
conscience on account of the great crime he had 
committed, that he wept continually. What 
does he do? He enters a church, prostrates him 
self in tears before an altar of the blessed Vir 
gin, and exclaims: <k Oh mother of God, I will not 
despair having thee, who art FO merciful, to aid 
me." He persevered forty days in weeping and 
praying thus to the holy Virgin; when behold, 
one night the mother of mercy appeared to him 
and said: "Oh Theophilu?, what have you done? 
you have renounced my friendship and that of 
my Son; and for whom? fur your own and my 
enemy." " Oh Lady," answered Theophilus, "it 
belongs to thee to pardon me, and to obtain my 
pardon from thy Son." Then Mary, seeing his 
confidence, answered, <; Take courage, and I will 
pray for thee." Theophilus, encouraged by 
these words, redoubled his tears, his penance, 


and his prayers, remaining constantly at the 
foot of the altar. And, behold, Mary appeared 
to him again, and with a joyful countenance 
said to him: "Theophilus, rejoice, I have pre 
sented thy tears and thy prayers to God; he 
hath accepted them, and hath already pardoned 
thee; henceforth be grateful and faithful." "Oh 
Lady,"replied Theophilus, "this is not sufficient 
to console me; the enemy still holds that impious 
deed, by which I have renounced thee and thy 
Son; thou canst obtain it for me." After three 
days Theophilus awoke one night, and found 
the paper on his breast. The next day, when 
the bishop with a large assembly were present 
in the church, Theophilus cast himself at his 
feet, related the whole story, weeping bitterly, 
and gave him the infamous writing, which the 
bishop immediately ordered to be burned in 
presence of all the people, who wept for joy, 
praising the goodness of God, and the mercy of 
Mary towards that miserable sinner. Theophi 
lus returned to the church of the Virgin, and 
there, three days afterwards, he died hap 
pily, with thanksgivings to Jesus and his holy 
mother on his lips. 


Oh Queen and Mother of mercy! who dost dis 
pense graces to all those who have recourse to 
thee, so liberally because thou art queen, and 
With so much love because thou art our most 


loying mother; to thee I commend myself to 
day, destitute of merits and virtues as I am, and 
laden with debts to the divine justice. Oh t 
Mary, thou hast the keys of all the divine mer 
cies, do not forget my miseries, and do not leave 
me in my great poverty. Thou who art so 
liberal with all, and who givest more than is 
asked of thee, do so with me, Oh Lady, protect 
me, this is all I ask. If thou dost protect me 
I fear nothing. I do not fear the demons, for 
thou art more powerful than all the spirits of hell; 
nor my sins, for one word of thine in my behalf 
can obtain pardon of them all from God. If I 
have thy favor I do not fear even the anger of God, 
for he is appeased by one prayer of thine. In a 
word, if thou dost protect me I hope all things, 
because all things are possible with thee. Oh 
mother of mercy, I know that thou takest pleas 
ure and pride in giving succor to the most mis 
erable, for thou canst aid them, if not prevented 
by their obstinacy. I am a sinner, but I am 
not obstinate; I wish to change my life. Thou 
canst, then, help me; do help and save me. To 
day I place myself entirely in thy hands. Teach 
me what I must do to please God, and I will do it; 
and I hope to do so with thy aid, oh Mary, Mary, 
my mother, my light, my consolation, my refuge, 
and my hope. Amen, amen, amen. 




Ah, then, our advocate. 



So great is the authority of mothers over 
their children that although they may be mon- 
archs, having absolute dominion over all the 
persons in their kingdom, yet their mothers can 
never become subject to them. It is true that 
Jesus is now in heaven, for he is seated there 
at the right hand of the Father even as man, as 
St. Thomas explains it; by reason of the hypos- 
tatic union with the person of the Word, and 
has supreme dominion over all, and even over 
Mary; yet it will always be true, that at the time 
when our Redeemer lived on this earth, he was 
pleased to humble himself and make himself sub 
ject to Mary, as St. Luke teaches us: And he was 
Bubject to them: "Erat subditus illis."* St. Am 
brose even says, that Jesus Christ having deign 
ed to make Mary his mother, was obliged as her 
son to obey her. And therefore, observes Rich 

* 0. li. T. fiL 


ard of St. Laurence, it is said of the other saints, 
that they are with God; but of Mary alone can 
it be said, that not only was it her lot to be sub 
ject to the will of God, but that God was also 
subject to her will.* And as it is said of the 
other holy virgins, as the same author remarks, 
that they follow the divine lamb wherever he 
goes: "seqmmtur agnum quocumque ierit;"f of 
the Virgin Mary it may be said, that the di 
vine Lamb followed her on this earth, having 
become subject to her.J 

Hence we may say, that though Mary is in 
heaven, and can no longer command her Son, 
yet her prayers will ever be the prayers of a 
mother, and therefore most powerful to obtain 
whatever she asks. Mary, says St. Bonaven- 
ture, has this privilege with her Son, that she is 
most powerful to obtain by her prayers whatso 
ever she will. And wherefore? Precisely for 
the reason which we have before mentioned, 
and which we will now examine more fully, 
namely, because the prayers of Mary are the 
prayers of a mother. And therefore, says St. 
Peter Damian, the Virgin has all power in 
heaven as on earth, being able to raise to the 

* Cum de ceteris sanctis dicatur, eos eese cam Deo, Maria maju 
aliquid sortita est, ut non soluin ipsa subjiceretur voluntati Dei, sed 
etiam Dominus voluntati ipsius. L. 1, de Laud. Virg. c. 5. 

t Ap. 14. 

$ De virgine autem Maria secure dici potest, quod agnus eeque 
oater earn, quocumque ivit; ex illo Lucse: Erat eubditus illia. 
Loc cit. 

Grande privilegium Mariae, quod apud filium sit potentiasimv 
IB Spec. c. 8. 


hope of salvation even the most despairing. 
And then he adds, that when the mother asks 
any favor for us of Jesus Christ (called by the 
saint the altar of mercy where sinners obtain 
pardon from God), the Son has so great regard 
for the prayers of Mary, and so great a desire to 
please her, that when she prays, she seems to 
command rather that request, and to be a mis 
tress rather than a handmaid.f Thus Jesus 
would honor this his dear mother, who has 
honored him so much in her life, by granting 
her immediately whatever she asks and desires. 
St. Germanus beautifully confirms this by say 
ing to the Virgin: Thou art mother of God, 
omnipotent to save sinners, and needest no oth 
er recommendation with God, since thou art the 
mother of true life.J 

St. Bernard ine of Sienna does not hesitate to 
say that all obey the commands of Mary, even 
God himself ; signifying by these words, that 
God listens to her prayers as though they were 
commands. Hence St. Anselm thus addresses 
Mary: The Lord, oh holy Virgin, lias so highly 
exalted thee, that by his favor thou canst obtain 

* Data est tibl omnls potestas in coelo et in terra; et nlhil tibt 
ImposBibile, cui possibile est etiam desperates in spem saluti* re 
levare. Senn. 1, de Nat. B. V. 

t Accedis enim ad illud human reconciliationis altare, non solnm 
rogans, eed imperans; doininu, non an cilia; nam filius nihil negana 
honorat. Loc. cit. 

t Senn. 3, in Dorm. B. V. 

JImperio Virginia omnia famulantur, etiam Dens. Tom. 4 


all possible graces for thy servants, for thy pro 
tection is omnipotent.* Thy help is omnipo 
tent, oh Mary: Omnipotens auxilium tuum, 
O Maria;" as Cosmas of Jerusalem exclaims. 
Yes, Mary is omnipotent, adds Richard of St. 
Laurence, since the queen, by every law, 
must enjoy the same privileges as the king. 
For as the power of the Son and mother are 
the same, the mother by the omnipotent Son is 
made omnipotent.! As St. Antoninus says: God 
has placed the whole Church, not only under 
the patronage, but also under the dominion of 

As the mother, then, must have the same power 
as the Son, justly was Mary made omnipotent by 
Jesus, who is omnipotent; it being, however, al 
ways true, that whereas the Son is omnipotent 
by nature, the mother is so by grace. And her 
omnipotence consists in this, that the Son denies 
nothing that the mother asks; as it was revealed 
to St. Bridget, who heard Jesus one day address 
ing Mary in these words: * Ohmy mother, thou 
knowest bow I love thee; ask from me, then, 
whatever thou dost desire, for there is no demand 
of thine that will not be graciously heard by 
me." And the reason that he added was beauti- 

* Te Deus, o vlrgo, sic exaltavit, ut omnla tibi eecnm powrfbilia 
ease donaria. Lib. de Cone. Virg. 

t Eiadem privilegiis secundum leges gaudet rex et regina. Cum 
antem eadem sit poteetae filii et matris, ab omnipotente filio omnipo- 
tens mater facta est. L. 4, de Laud. Virg. 

$ Ecclesia est, non tantum sub Virginia patrocinio, verum etlana 
rab dominatione ac potestate. P. 4, tit 15, c. 20, 62. 

$ Pete quod vis a me, non euim potest ease inanis petitlo tea. Re?* 


ful: "Mother, when thou wast on earth, there 
was nothing thou didst refuse to do for love of 
me; now that I am in heaven, it is just that I re 
fuse nothing which thou dost ask of me.* 
Mary is, then, called omnipotent in the sense in 
which it can be understood of a creature, who is 
not capable of any divine attribute. She is om 
nipotent, because she obtains by her prayers 
whatever she wishes. 

With reason, then, oh our great advocate! says 
St. Bernard, dost thou only wish, and it is done: 
" Velis tu et omnia fient." And St. Anselm : 
Whatever thou askest, oh Virgin ! cannot but be 
done.f Wish, and it will be done ; dost thou 
wish to raise the most abandoned sinner to an 
exalted sanctity, to thee it is given to do it. The 
blessed Albertus Magnus represents Mary speak 
ing thus: I must be asked to wish, for if I wish it 
must be done.J Hence St. Peter Damian, con 
templating this great power of Mary, and pray 
ing her to have pity on us, says: Oh Mary! oh 
our beloved advocate! since thou hast a heart so 
compassionate, that thou canst not behold the 
miserable without pity, and, at the same time, 
hast so great a power with God to save all those 
whom thou dost defend; deign to intercede in 
behalf of us miserable creatures, who place in 

* Quia tu mihi nihil negasti in terris, ego nihil tibi negabo in coelis. 

t Quicquid tu Virgo velis, nequaquam fieri non poterit. De Exc. 
Virg. c. 12. 

J Roganda sum, ut velim; quia, si volo, necease est fieri. Ap. P. 
Pp Grand, etc. 


tbee all our hopes. If our prayers do not move 
thee, may thy merciful heart at least move thee; 
may thy power at least move thee, since God, 
for this end, has enriched thee with so much 
power, that the richer thou art in the power to 
aid us, so much more compassionate thou may- 
est be in thy desire to aid us.* Of this, St. Ber 
nard assures us, saying, that Mary is abundant 
in mercy as well as in power; as her charity is 
most powerful, so also is it most merciful in our 
behalf, and this is manifested to us continually 
by its effects.f 

Even when she was living on this earth, the 
only thought of Mary, after the glory of God, 
was to relieve the wretched. And we know 
that then she enjoyed already the privilege of 
obtaining whatever she asked. This we know 
from what took place at the nuptials of Cana 
of Galilee, when the wine failed, and the blessed 
Virgin, compassionating the distress and morti 
fication of that family, asked the Son to relieve 
them by a miracle, making known to him this 
want: They have no wine: "Vinum non habent."J 
Jesus answered : "Woman, what is that to thee 
and to me V my hour is not yet come." Ob 
serve, that although the Lord appeared to refuse 

* Moveat te natura; potentia moveat; quia quanto potentior tant* 
misericordior esse debebis. Serrn. 1, de N. B. V. 

t Potentissima, et piissima charitas matris Dei, et affectu com- 
patiendi, et subveniendi abundat effectu; seque locuples in utroque. 
fienn. 4. de Assumt. 

$ Joan. ii. 3. 

Quid mini et tibi, mulier? nondum venlt hora mea. Joan. ii. 4. 


this favor to his mother, by saying: Of what 
importance is it, oh woman, to me and to thee 
that the wine has failed? It does not become 
me now to perform any miracle, as the time 
has not arrived, the time of my preaching, when 
with signs I must confirm my doctrine; yet 
notwithstanding this, Mary, as if the Son had 
already granted her the favor, said to the at 
tendants, Fill the water-pots with water: "Imple 
hydrias aqua."* Come fill the water-pots, and 
you will be consoled; and Jesus Christ, indeed to 
please his mother, changed that water into the 
best wine. But how is this? If the time ap 
pointed for miracles was the time of preaching, 
how could it be anticipated by the miracle of 
the wine, contrary to the divine decree? Noth 
ing, it may be answered, was done contrary to 
the divine decree; for although, generally speak 
ing, the time for signs had not come, yet from 
eternity God had established by another gener 
al decree, that nothing the divine mother could 
ask should be denied her; and therefore Mary, well 
acquainted with her privilege, although her Son 
leemed to have then set aside her petition, said 
notwithstanding, that the water-pots should be 
filled, as though the favor was already granted. 
This, St. John Chrysostom would .express, when 
commenting on the passage of John above men 
tioned "Oh woman, what is that to thee and to 
me?" he says, t hat although Jesus had answer-) 

* Joan. ii. r. 


ed thus, yet, for the honor of his mother, he 
did not fail to comply with her demand.* St. 
Thomas confirms the same, when he observes, that 
by these words "My hour has not yet come" 
Jesus Christ wished to show that he would have 
deferred the miracle, if another had asked him to 
perform it; but because his mother asked it, he 
immediately performed it.J St. Cyril and St. 
Jerome confirm this, according to Barrada. 
And Jansenius of Ghent says, commenting on 
the same passage of St. John: That he might 
honor his mother, he anticipated the time of 
working miracles.J 

In a word, it is certain that no creature can 
obtain for us miserable sinners so many mercies 
as this good advocate, who is honored by God 
with this privilege, not only as his beloved 
handmaid, but also as his true mother. William 
of Paris says this when addressing her. It is 
enough that Mary speaks, and the Son does all 
she wishes. The Lord, speaking to the spouse 
of the Canticles, by whom is understood Mary, 
says: "Thou that dwellest in the gardens the 

* Et licet ita respondent, maternis tamen precibns obtemperavlt. 

t Per ilia verba, nondnm venit hora mea, ostendit ee dilatucum 
fuisse miraculum, si alius rogasset; quia tamen rogabat mater, 
fecit. Apud. Defens. cultus Mariani, auctore R. D. Henr. de Cerf. 
p. 129. 

$ Quo matrem honoraret, praevenit tempus miraculi faciendl. 

Nulla creatura tot et tanta impetrare posset apud fllium tuum 
miser is, qunm tu impetras eisdem; in quo procul dubio non torn* 
qu&tn ancillaEu, sed tamquam matrem verissimam to hooocat. 


friends hearken, make me hear thy voice.* 1 * 
The friends are the saints, who, when they ask 
any favor for their clients, wait until their queen 
prays to God for it and obtains it; for, as was 
said before in Chap. V., no favor is dispensed 
except by the intercession of Mary. And how 
does Mary obtain favors? It is enough that her 
Son hears her voice: Make me to hear thy voices 
" Fac me audire vocem tuam." it is enough 
that she speaks, and her Son immediately hears 
her. William of Paris, explaining in the same 
way the passage above named, introduces the 
Son, who thus addresses Mary: Oh thou who 
dwellest in the celestial gardens, intercede with 
confidence for whomsoever thou wilt, for I can 
not forget that I am thy Son, or think of refus 
ing any thing to my mother. It is enough for 
thee to speak, and thy Son will graciously hear 
and grant thy petition. f The Abbot Godfrey 
says that Mary, although she obtains favors by 
praying, yet prays with a kind of maternal au 
thority; hence we may be sure that she will ob 
tain whatever she desires and asks for us.J 
It is related of Coriolanup, by Valerius Maxi- 

* Quae habitas in hortis, amici auscoltant, fac me andire vecem 
tuam. Cant. viii. 13. 

$ Quse habitas iu hortis ccelestibus, flducialiter pro quibus voInerLi 
Intercede; noil enim possum oblivisci me filium tuuni, ut matri quid- 
piam denegaudum putem. Tantum ut vocem proferat, quia a fllio 
audiri, exaudiri est. 

t Virgo Maria ex eo quod ille homo est, et natus ex ea, quart 
quodam matus imperio, apud ipsum impetrare quod voluerit pit 
flducia BOB dubitatur. Snn. viii* de B. Yiig. 


mus,* that when he held Rome besieged, all the 
prayers of his friends and of the citizens could 
not induce him to withdraw his forces; but 
when his mother Veturia came to entreat him 
he could not resist, and immediately raised the 
siege. But the prayers of Mary are as much 
more powerful with Jesus than the prayers of 
Veturia with her son, as the love and gratitude 
of Jesus to Mary exceeds that of the son of 
Veturia for his mother. Father Justin Mico- 
viensis writes: One sigh of Mary has more power 
than the prayers of all the saints united. f The 
devil himself confessed this same thing to St. 
Dominic, when, constrained by his commands, 
he spoke through the mouth of a possessed 
person, saying, as Father Pacciucchelli narrates^ 
that one sigh of Mary availed more with God 
than the united prayers of all the saints. 

St. Antoninus says, that the prayers of the 
blessed Virgin being the prayers of a mother, 
have a certain kind of authority, hence it is im 
possible that she should not be heard when she 
prays. On this account St. Germanus encour 
ages sinners to recommend themselves to this 
advocate with these words; Thou, oh Mary, 
having the authority of a mother with God, dost 

* Lib. 5, cap. 4. 

t Unum beatte MariaB snsplriura plus posset, quam omnium Sano 
Jorum eimul suflragia. In tit. B. V. verbo. Virg. pot. 
t De B. V. 

Oratio Deiparae habet rationem imperil; nnde impossible ee^ 
Mm noa esaadiri. P. 4. tit. 15, c. 17, 4. 


obtain pardon for the vilest sinners; for the 
Lord, who in all things recognizes thee for his 
true mother, cannot refuse to grant thee what 
ever thou dost ask.* St. Bridget, too, heard 
the saints in heaven say ing to the Virgin: What 
is there that thou canst not do? Whatever thou 
dost desire is done.f To which corresponds 
that celebrated verse: What God by a command, 
thou, oh Virgin, by a prayer canst effect.J Is it 
not, says St. Augustine, worthy of the goodness 
of the Lord thus to guard the honor of his moth 
er? for he asserts that he has come on the earth, 
not to break, but to fulfil the law, which, among 
other things, commands us to honor our parents. 
St. George, Archbishop of Nicomedia, even 
adds, that Jesus Christ grants to his motker all 
her petitions, as if to satisfy the obligation that 
he is under to her for having caused, by her con- 
Bent, that the human nature should be given 
him.J Wherefore, St. Methodius, the martyr ex 
claims: Rejoice, oh Mary, that a Son has fallen 
to thy lot as thy debtor, who gives to all and 

* Tu autem materna In Deum auctoritate pollens, etiatn iis qul 
enormiter peccant, eximiam remissionis gratiam concilias; nonenim 
potes non exaudiri, cum Deus tibi ut verte et intemeratae Matri in 
omnibus morem gerat. Van. Enc. Deip. 

t Domina benedicta, quid est quod noD poteris? Quod enim vis, 
hoc factum est. L. 4, Rev. c. 74. 

$ Quod Deus irnperio, tu prece Virgo poteg. 

Nunquid non pertinet ad benignitatem Domini, matris honorem 
iervare, qui legem non venit solvere; sed adimplere? 

I Fifius quasi exsolvens debitum, implet petitiones tuaa. Or. d 
Ex. Mar. 


receives from none. We are all debtors to 
God for whatever we possess, since every thing 
is his gift; but God has wished to make himself 
a debtor to thee, taking from thee his body 
and becoming man.* So also St. Augustine says: 
Mary having merited to give flesh to the Divine 
"Word, and by that to furnish the price of the 
divine redemption, that we might be delivered 
from eternal death; therefore is she, says the 
same doctor, more powerful than any other to 
help us and obtain for us eternal salvation.f 
Hence St. Theophilus, Bishop of Alexandria, 
who lived in the time of St. Jerome, thus wrote: 
The Son is pleased to be entreated by his moth 
er, because he wishes to grant for her sake all 
that he does grant; aud thus to recompense the 
favor he has received from her when she gave 
him flesh. Hence St. John Damascene addresses 
the Virgin in these words: Thou, then, oh Mary, 
being mother of God, canst save all men by thy 
prayers, which are enforced by a mother s au- 

Let us conclude with the words of St. Bona- 
venture, who, considering the great benefit which 
the Lord has conferred on us in giving us Mary 
for our advocate, thus addresses her: Oh truly 

* Euge euge, quse debitorem habes filium, qui omnibus muluatur. 
Deo enim universi debemus, tibi autein etiam ille debitor est. Orat. 
in Hyp. Dom. 

t Virgo quse meruit pro liberandia proferre pretium, potest plus 
mnibus suffragium liberatis impendere. Orat. 2. de aff. B. V. 
. $ Potes quidem omnes ealvare, ut Dei Altissimi Mater, precibug 
aaatama auctoritate pollentibus. Ex. Men. 1, Jan. Ode. 4. 


immense and admirable goodness of God, whotc 
us miserable, guilty creatures, has grunted thee, 
oh our Lady, for our advocate,that thou inightest, 
by thy powerful intercession, obtain for us what 
ever good thou wilt.* Oh, the great mercy of 
God, continues the saint, who, that we might 
not flee to hide ourselves from the sentence to 
be pronounced upon us, has destined his own 
mother and the treasurer of graces for our ad- 


Father Razzi, of the order of Camaldoli, relates 
that a certain youth having lost his father, was 
sent by his mother to the court of a princ e. { 
The mother, who had a great devotion to Mary, 
when she parted with him made him promise to 
recite every day a "Hail Mary," and add these 
words: "Blessed Virgin, help me in the hour of 
my death" The youth arrived at court, but 
soon began to lead so dissolute a life, that his 
master was obliged to send him away. In de 
spair, without means of support, he went into the 
country and became a highway robber; but even 
then he did not omit to recommend himself to 
our Lady, as his mother had directed him, At 

* Oh certe Dei nostri mira benignitas, qui suis reis te Dominam 
tribuit advocatam, ut auxilio tuo, quod volueris, valeas impetrare. 
In Salv. Keg. 

t O mlrabilis erga nos, misericordia Dei nostri, qui ne fugere- 
mus pro gententia, voluit matrem ac dominam gratise instituero ad* 

J Mirac. di Maria, Mir. 47. 


length he fell into the hands of justice, and was 
condemned to death. Being in prison the evening 
before his execution, and thinking of his dis 
grace, the grief of his mother, and the death 
which awaited him, he fell to weeping bitterly. 
The devil seeing him so oppressed by melancholy, 
appeared to him in the form of a beautiful young 
man, and said to him that he would release him 
from death and prison, if he would follow his 
directions. The convict engaged to do all that 
he required. Then the pretended youth made 
known to him that he was the devil and had come 
to his assistance. In the first place, he ordered 
him to renounce Jesus Christ and the holy sacra 
ments. The youth consented. He then requir 
ed him to renounce the Virgin Mary and her 
protection. "This," exclaimed the young man, 
"I will never do," and turning to Mary, repeat 
ed the accustomed prayer that his mother had 
taught him: Blessed Virgin, help me in the hour 
of my death. At these words the devil disap 
peared. The youth remained in great affliction 
for the wickedness he had committed in denying 
Jesus Christ. He invoked the blessed Virgin, 
and she obtained for him, by her prayers, a great 
sorrow for all his sins, so that he made his con 
fession with much weeping and contrition. On 
his way to the gallows, happening to pass before 
a statue of Mary, he saluted her with his usual 
prayer: Blessed Virgin, help me in the hour of 
vny death, and the statue, in the presence of all, 
inclined its head and saluted him. Deeply mov- 


ed, he begged to be allowed to kiss the feet of 
the image. The executioners refused, but after 
wards consented on account of the clamor of the 
people. The youth stooped to kiss her feet, 
and Mary extended her arm from that 
statue, took him by the hand and held 
him so strongly that no power could 
move him. At this prodigy the multitude 
shouted "Pardon, pardon," and pardon was grant 
ed. Having returned to his country, he led an 
exemplary life, and was always most devoted to 
Mary, who had delivered him from temporal 
and eternal death. 


Oh great mother of God, I will say to thee 
with St. Bernard: Thy Son hears thee and will 
grant thee whatsoever thou dost ask.* Speak 
then, speak, oh Mary our advocate , in behalf of us 
miserable creatures. Remember that thou hast 
received thy great power and dignity even for 
our benefit. A God has chosen to become thy 
debtor, by taking from thee the human nature 
to the end that thou mayest dispense to the mis 
erable the riches of divine mercy. We are thy 
servants, in a special manner consecrated to thy 
service, and among these I hope to be one. We 
glory in living under thy protection. If thou 
doest good to all, even to those who do not know 
thee and do not honor thee, and who even insult 

* Loqnere, Doraina, quia audit filial tuns et qusecumque petieri^ 


tnd blaspheme thee; how much ought we to hope 
from thy kindness, who dost seek for the wretch 
ed that thou mayest relieve them! we who hon 
or, love, and trust in thee! We are great sinners, 
but God has granted thee mercy and power great 
er than all our sins. Thou canst and wilt save 
us; and we will so much the more earnestly de 
sire this, as we are unworthy of it, that we may 
glorify thee the more in heaven, when we shall 
have been received there by thy intercession. 
Oh,mother of mercy, we present to thee our souls 
once pure and washed with the blood of Jesus 
Christ,but since defiled with sin. To thee we 
present them, wilt thou purify them? Obtain for 
us sincere amendment, obtain for us the love of 
God, perseverance, paradise. We ask great 
things of thee, but canst thou not obtain them all 
for us? Are they greater than the love God has 
for thee? Thou hast only to open thy lips in pray 
er to thy Son, and he will grant thee all things. 
Pray, then, pray, oh Mary, for us; and surely 
thou wilt be heard graciously, and we shall be 



THERE are so many reasons why we should 
love this our loving queen, that if all the earth 
should praise Mary, and all sermons treat of 
her alone, and all men should give their Hvea 


for Mary, it would yet be little compared to the 
homage and gratitude we owe her, for the 
very tender love she bears to all men, even 
to the most miserable sinners who preserve tow* 
ards her any feeling of devotion. Raymond 
Jordan declares that Mary cannot but love those 
who love her. Nay she does not disdain even 
to serve those who serve her, using, if they are 
sinners, all the power of her intercession to ob 
tain pardon for them from her blessed Son.* 
And so great, he goes on to say,is her kindness 
and compassion, that no one, however degraded 
he may be, should fear to cast himself at her 
feet, since she rejects no one who has recourse 
to her.f Mary, as our most loving advocate, 
offers herself to God the prayers of her servants, 
especially those which are offered to her; for as 
the Son intercedes for us with the Father, thus 
she intercedes for us with the Son, and never 
ceases to intercede with both for our salvation, 
and to obtain for us the favors that we ask.J 
Rightly, then, does the blessed Denis, the Car 
thusian, call the holy Virgin the peculiar 
refuge of the lost, the hope of the wretch 
ed and the advocate of all sinners who have re 
course to her. 

* Maria diligit diligentes se; Imo sib! servientibus eervit. Ips 
benedicto filio suo irato poteutissime reconciliat servos et araatores 
euos. Pranf. in Cant. 

t Tanta est ejus benignitas, quod nulli formidandum est ad cam 
accedere; tantaque misericordia ut nemo ab ea repel latur. 

$ Ipsa preces servorum, maxime quae sibi exhibentur, repraesentat 
in conspectu divime majestatis; quia ipsa est advocata nostra apud 
filium, sicut films apud Patrem. Imo apud Patrem et Filium pro. 
curat negotia et preces nostras. In diet. Prsef . 

Singulare perditorum refugium, miserorum spem, advocatam 
omnium iniquorum ad ee conf ugientium. 


But if there ever be any sinner who, indeedj 
does not doubt the power, but has no trust in 
the mercy of Mary, fearing that she may not be 
willing to aid him on account of the magnitude 
of his offences, St. Bon a venture encourages him 
by saying; Great and peculiar is the privilege 
which Mary has with her Son, of obtaining by 
her prayers whatever she desires;* but what 
would this great power of Mary avail us, he 
adds, if she should be indifferent to our wel 
fare?! No, let us not doubt, concludes the saint, 
let us be secure, and always thank the Lord and 
his divine mother for it; for, as she is the most 
powerful of all saints with God, so she is the 
most loving advocate, and the most desirous of 
our welfare.! And who, oh mother of sinners! 
joyfully exclaims St. Germanus, who, after thy 
Jesus, has so much care of us, and of our wel 
fare, as thou? Who doth defend us in the 
trials that afflict us, as thou dost defend us? 
Who take upon himself to protect sinners, as 
if combating in their behalf, as thou dost?| 
Wherefore, he adds, thy patronage, oh Mary! 
is more powerful and loving than we are able 
to comprehend. *[ Whilst, as the Idiot says, all 

* Grande privilegium Marise, quod apud filium eit potentissima,, 
In Spec, lect, 6, 7. 

t Sed quid tanta Mariae potentia prodesset nobis; ei ipsa ninu 
curaret do mbis? 

$ Carissimi sciamus indubitanter, et pro hoc gratias agamus ^In- 
cessttnter, quia eicut ipsa apud eum omnibus sanctis est potentior, 
ita pro nobis omnibus est sollicitior. 

Quis post filinm tuum curam gerit generis hmnani, sicut tuf 
Serrn. de Zona. Virg. 

I Quis ita nos defendit in nostris afflictionibus. Quis pugnat pr 

T Propterea paVrotiniom tuum majus st quam appreheudl poaait. 


the other saints can aid their own servants by 
their patronage more than others; the divine 
mother, as she is the queen of all, so is she the 
advocate of all, and cares for the salvation of 

She cares for all, even for sinners, and glories 
especially in being called their advocate; as she 
herself declared to the venerable sister Mary Vil- 
lani, saying: "Next to the title of mother of God, 
I glory most in being named the advocate of sin 
ners." The blessed Amadeus says, that our queen 
is always before the divine Majesty, interceding 
for us with her powerful prayers.f And since 
in heaven she knows perfectly our miseries and 
necessities, she cannot but have pity on us; so, 
with the affection of a mother, moved by com 
passion for us, she kindly and mercifully endeav 
ors to relieve and save us. J It is with good rea 
son, then, that Richard of St. Laurence encour 
ages every one, however degraded he may be, to 
appeal confidently to this sweet advocate, in the 
certain belief that he will always find her ready 
to help him. It is also well said by Godfrey, 

* Cseteri sanctl jurequodam patrocinii prosibi specialiter commls- 
sis plug possunt prodesse, quam pro alienis; beatissima vero Virgo, 
gicut omninra est regina, sic est omnium patrona et advocata, etcura 
illi est de omnibus. De Contempl. B. V. in Prol. 

t Adstat beatissima Virgo vultui conditoris prece potentissima, 
semper interpellans pro nobis. 

$ Videt enim nostra discrimina, nostrique clemene Domina materno 
affectu miseretur. 

f Inveniet semper paratam auxiliarl. 


that Mary is every ready to pray for all.* 
And oh, with how much efficacy and love, St. 
Bernard exclaims, this good advocate of ours 
conducts the cause of our salvation !f St. 
Augustine, contemplating the affection and ear 
nestness with which Mary is continually occupied 
in interceding with the divine Majesty for us, 
that the Lord may pardon our sins, assist us 
with his grace, free us from dangers, and relieve 
us from our miseries, thus addresses the holy 
Virgin :J Oh Lady! it is true that all the saints 
desire our salvation and pray for us; but the 
charity and tenderness which thou dost mani 
fest for us in heaven, by obtaining with thy 
prayers so many mercies from God, obliges us 
to confess, that we have in heaven only one ad 
vocate, that is thyself, and that thou alone 
art the only true lover watchful of our wel 
fare. And who can comprehend the soli 
citude with which Mary is always waiting on 
God in our behalf? St. Germanus says: She is 
never satisfied with defending us: "Non est sa- 
tietas def ensionis ejus." The expression is beauti 
ful. So great is the pity which Mary has for our 
miseries, and so great is the love she bears us, 
that she prays always, and prays again and is 
never satisfied with praying for us, and defend- 

* Ipsa pro universe mundo paratissima est ad precandum. 

t Advocatam pnemisit peregrinatio nostra; quse tamquam judicis 
mater, et mater misericordise, suppliciter et efflcaciter salutis nostra 
negocia pertractabit. Serm. 1, de Ass. 

% Unam te ac solam pro nobis in coelo fatemur ease sollicitam. Aft 
In Spec. lect. 6. 


ing us from evil with her prayers, and obtain 
ing for us favors she is never satisfied with de* 
fending us. 

What poor sinners we should be if we had 
not this advocate, so powerful and so merciful, 
and at the same time so prudent and so wise, 
that the judge, her Son, cannot condemn the 
guilty, if she defends them, as Richard of St. 
Laurence says.* Well then, does St. John ( the 
geometrician) salute her: Hail, authority which 
puts an end to strife.} For all the causes de* 
fended by this most wise advocate are gained. 
Hence Mary is called by St. Bonaventure, the 
wise Abigail "Abigail sapiens." This was 
the woman who, as we read in the first of Kings, 
knew so well how to appease King David, by 
her persuasive entreaties, when he was full of 
indignation against Nabal, that he himself bless 
ed and thanked her for having with her sweet 
words, prevented him from revenging himself 
upon Nabal with his own hands.J Precisely the 
same thing does Mary continually in heaven, in 
behalf of innumerable sinners: she knows so well 
how to appease the divine justice with her ten 
der and wise entreaties, that God himself bless 
es her for it, and as it were thanks her, that thus 

* Tarn prudens et diserta eet advocata Maria t quod non potetl 
Alias vindicate in eos, pro quibus ipsa allegat. De Laud. v. I 
2, p. 2. 

t Salve jus dirimens lites. Ap. Pep. Lez. to. 5. 

$ Benedicta tu, quse prohiboisti me Lodle, ne ntotecerar me mam 
C. xx 1 *. 


he restrains him from abandoning and punish? 
ing them as they deserve. For this end, saya 
St. Bernard, the eternal Father, desirous to show 
all possible compassion towards us, besides Jesus 
Christ, our principal advocate with himself, has 
given us Mary for our advocate with Jesus 

There is no doubt, says St. Bernard, that 
Jesus is the only mediator of justice between 
men and God, who in virtue of his merits can, 
and according to his promises will, obtain for us 
pardon and divine grace; but because men rec 
ognize and fear in Jesus Christ the divine 
majesty, which dwells in him as God, it was 
necessary that another advocate should be assign 
ed to us, to whom we could have recourse with 
less fear and more confidence; and this is Mary, 
than whom we can find no advocate more power 
ful with the divine majesty and more compassion 
ate towards us.* But he would greatly wrong 
the mercy of Mary, continues the saint, who 
should still fear to cast himself at the feet of this 
most sweet advocate, who is in nothing severe or 
terrible, but is in all things kind, lovely, and 
compassionate. f Read and revolve as much as 
you will all the history found in the Gospel, and 
if you find any act of austerity in Mary, then fear 

* Fidelis et notens mediator Dei et hominura: sed divinam rever- 
entur in eo homines maiestatem. opus est enim mediatore ad medi- 
atorem ipsum: nee alter nobis utilior quam Maria. Serm. in Sign. 

t Quid ad Mariam accedere trepidet humaua fragilitaa? Nihtt 
ftunterum in ea, niMl terribiie, tota suavis est. 


to approach her. But you will never find any; 
go then joyfully to her, for she will save thee by 
her intercession.* 

Exceedingly beautiful is the exclamation 
which William of Paris puts in the mouth of a 
sinner who has recourse to Mary: Oh mother of 
my God, I come to tbee full of confidence, even 
in the miserable state to which I find myself re 
duced by my sins; if thou dost reject me, I 
will plead with thee, for in a certain sense thou 
art bound to help me since all the Church of the 
faithful calls thee and proclaims thee mother 
of mercy.f Thou, oh Mary, art so dear to God 
that he always graciously listens to thee; thy 
great mercy has never failed; thy most sweet 
condescension has never despised any sinner, 
however enormous his sins, who has had recourse 
to thee.J What! could the whole Church 
falsely and in vain name thee her advocate and 
the refuge of sinners? No, never be it said 
that my sins prevent thee, oh my mother, from 
exercising the great office of mercy which thou 

* Revolve diligentiue evangelic historiae seriem universam, et si 
quid forte durum occurrerit in Maria, ad earn accedere verearis, 
Serm. in Si?rn. Ma^n. 

t Adibo te tmo etiam conveniam. ploriossissima Dei eenitrix, 
quam matrem misericordiae vocat. imo clamitat omnis eccles a sano 
torum. De Keth. Div. c. 18. 

$ Tu, inquam, cujus gratiositas nunquam repulsam patitur, 
cujus misericordia nulliunquam defuit; CUJUB benignissima humani- 
tae nullum unquam deprecantem quantumcumque peccatoreia 

An f also aut inanlter vocat te omnis Ecclesia, advocatam saam, 
t miserorom refogiumf 


dost hold, by which thou art at the same time 
the advocate and mediator of peace between 
God and man, and next to thy Son the only hope 
and refuge of sinners.* Whatever of grace and 
glory is thine, even the dignity of being mother 
of God itself, if I may so speak, thou owest to 
sinners, since for their sake the divine Word has 
made thee his mother.f Far from this divine 
mother who has brought forth unto the world the 
fountain of mercy, be the thought that she, could 
refuse her compassion to any sinner who recom 
mends himself to her.J Since, then, oh Mary, 
thy office is that of peacemaker between God and 
man, may thy great mercy, which far exceeds 
all my sins, move thee to aid me. 

Console yourselves, then, oh ye faint of heart, 
I will say with St. Thomas of Villanova, tako 
heart, oh miserable sinners; this great Virgin, 
who is the mother of your judge and God, is the 
advocate of the human race. Powerful and able 
to obtain whatever she wishes from God; most 

* Absit, ut peccata mea possint enspendere te a tarn salubri officio 
pietatie; quo et advocata es, et mediatrix hominum, post filium 
tuum spes unica et refugium tutissimum miserorum. 

t Totnm siquidem quod habes gratiae, totum quod babes glorias, et 
etiam hoc ipsum quod mater es Dei, si fas est dicere, ob peccatores 
tibi collata sunt. 

$ Absit hoc a matre Dei. quae fontem pietatis toti mundo pe 
perit, nt caique miserorum suse misericordise subventionem nnquam 

f Officium ergo tuum est te mediam interponere inter ipsum et 
homines. Moveat te gloriosa Dei mater, benignissima misericordit 
taa, qu major est incogitabiliter omnibus vitiis meie et 
D. e. 18, de th. Div. 


wise, for she knows every method of appeasing 
him; universal, for she welcomes all, and refuses 
to defend none.* 


Our advocate has shown how great is her kind 
ness towards sinners by her mercy to .Beatrice, 
a nun in the monastery of Fontebraldo, as relat 
ed by Cesariu8,f and by Father Rho.J This un 
happy religious, having contracted a passion for 
a certain youth, agreed to flee with him from 
the convent; and in fact she went one day before 
a statue of the blessed Virgin, there deposited 
the keys of the monastery, for she was portress, 
and boldly departed. Arrived in another coun 
try, she led the miserable life of a prostitute for 
fifteen years. It happened that she met, one day, 
the agent of the monastery in the city where she 
was living, and asked of him, thinking he would 
not recognize her again, if he knew sister Bea 
trice? "I knew her well," he said: "she is a 
holy nun, and at present is mistress of novices." 
At this intelligence she was confounded and 
amazed, not knowing how to understand it. In 
order to ascertain the truth, she put on another 
dress and went to the monastery. She asked for 
eister Beatrice, and behold, the most holy Virgin 
appeared before her in the form of that same 
image to which at parting she had committed 

* Consolamini pussillanimos; respirate miserabiles; Virgo Deipara 
art human! generis advocata; idonea, sapientisaima, untvereaHs, la 
Bog. pro exp. adv. Turc. 


her keys, and her dress, and the divine mother 
thus spoke to her: "Beatrice, be it known to 
thee that, in order to prevent thy disgrace, I 
assumed thy form, and have filled thy office for 
the fifteen years that thou hast lived far from 
the monastery and from God. My child, return, 
and do penance, for my Son is still waiting for 
thee; and strive by thy holy life to preserve the 
good name I have gained thee." She spoke thus 
and disappeared Beatrice re-entered the. mon 
astery, resumed the habit of a religious, and, 
grateful tor the mercj of Mary, led the life of a 
gaint. At her death she made known the fore 
going incident, to the glory of this great queen. 


Oh great mother of my Lord, I now see that 
the ingratitude shown by me for so many years 
to God and to thee, would justly merit that thou 
shouldst abandon all care of me, for the ungrate 
ful are no more worthy of favors. But, oh Lady, 
I have a great idea of thy goodness; I believe it 
to be far greater than my ingratitude; continue, 
then, oh refugeof sinners, to help a miserable sin 
ner who confides in thee. Oh mother of mercy, ex 
tend thy hand to raise a poor fallen creature who 
implores thy mercy. Oh Mary, defend thou me, 
or tell me to whom I shall have recourse, and 
who can protect me better than thou. Can I find 
an advocate with God more merciful and more 
powerful than thou, who art his mother? Thou 
having been created for the mother of the Sar* 


iour, art destined to save sinners, and hast been 
given me for my salvation. Oh Mary, save him 
who has recourse to thee. I do not merit thy 
love, but the desire thou hast to save the lost 
gives me the hope that thou dost love me; and 
if thou lovest me, how can I be lost? Oh my 
beloved mother, if, as I hope, I am saved by thee, 
I will no longer be ungrateful; I will make 
amends by perpetual praises and by all the affec* 
tion of my soul for my past ingratitude, and will 
make some return for the love thou bearest me. 
In heaven, where thou reignest and wilt reign 
forever, I will always joyfully sing thy mercies, 
and forever I will kiss those loving hands that 
have freed me from hell as often as I have deserv 
ed it for my sins. Oh Mary, my liberator, my 
hope, my queen, my advocate, my mother, I 
love thee, I wish thee well, and will always love 
thee. Amen, amen; thus I hope, so may it be. 



THK grace of God is a treasure, very great and 
most earnestly to be desired by every soul. It 
is called by the Holy Spirit an infinite treasure, 
since by means of divine grace we are raised to 
the honor of being made the friends of God: "She 
is an infinite treasure to men, which they that 
use become the friends of God."* Whence it is 

* Infinites eet thesaurus, quo qol uei sont, patticlpea fa*tt MB* 
Sajx, vll. 14. 


that Jesus, our Redeemer and God, did not hesi 
tate to call those who are in grace, his friends: 
You are my friends: "Vos amici mei estis."* 
Oh accursed sin that loosens the ties of this bless 
ed friendship: Your iniquities have divided 
between you and your God:"f for they make the 
soul hateful to God, and from a friend it becomes 
an enemy of the Lord: " To God the wicked and 
his wickedness are hateful alike."! What, then, 
must a sinner do who finds himself so unhappy 
as to have become an enemy of God? He must 
find a mediator who will obtain pardon for him 
and enable him to recover the lost friendship of 
God. Take courage, says St. Bernard, oh sinner, 
who has lost God. Thy Lord himself hath 
given thee a mediator, even his Son Jesus Christ 
who can obtain for thee whatever thou de- 

But, oh God, the saint here exclaims, why 
do men esteem severe this most merciful Sav 
iour, who hath given his life for our salvation? 
Why do they look upon him as terrible who is 
all loveliness? Distrustful sinners, say, why do 
you fear? If you fear because you have offend 
ed God, remember that Jesus with his own 
lacerated hands has nailed your sins to the cross, 

Joan. xv. 14. 

t Inlqnitates vestrse diviaerunt Inter vos et Deum vestruml 

$ Odlo sunt Deo impius et Impietas ejus. Sap. xiv. 9. 

S Jesum tibi dedlt medlatorem; quid non apud talem pattern 
tfl obtineat. Serm. de Aqtued. 


and having satisfied the divine justice for them 
by his death, he has removed them from your 
soul.* But if ever, adds the saint, you fear to 
have recourse to Jesus Christ because his divine 
majesty alarms you, since when he became man 
he did not cease to be God, if you ever wish 
for another advocate with this mediator, invoke 
Mary, for she will intercede for you with the 
Son, who will surely graciously listen to ner, and 
the Son will intercede with the Father, who can 
refuse nothing to this Son.f And so, concludes 
St. Bernard, this divine mother, oh my children, 
is the ladder of sinners, by which they ascend 
anew to the height of divine grace. This is my 
greatest confidence this is the whole ground 
of my hope.J 

Let us hear what the Holy Spirit makes the 
blessed Virgin say in the sacred Canticles: I 
am, says Mary, the defence of those who have re 
course to me, and my mercy is to them a tower of 
refugejfor this I have been appointed by my Lord 
as a peacemaker between sinners and him. Car 
dinal Hugo, on the same text, says, that Mary is 

* Serverum imaginantur, qui pins est, terribilem, qui amabilis 
est. Quid timetis modicse fidei? Peccata affixit cruci euis manibus. 

t Sed forsitan et in ipso majestatem vereare divinam, quod licet 
factus sit homo, manserit tamen Deus. Advocatum habere vis et 
apud ipsum? recurre ad Mariam; exaudiet utique matrem filius, et 
cxaudiet fllium Pater. 

$ Filioli, hsec peccatorum scala, haec maxima mea fiducia est, base 
tota ratio spei mete. Cit. Serm. de Aquaed. 

$ Ego morns; et ubera mea sicnt turns, ex quo facta sura ooram 
e quasi paeem reperieus. Cant c. viii. v. 10. 


lire" great peacemaker who obtains from God, 
and gives peace to enemies, salvation to the lost, 
pardon to sinners, and mercy to the despairing.* 
For this reason she was called by her divine 
spouse: Beautiful as the curtains of Solomon: 
Formosa sicut pelles Salomonis."f In the 
tents of David there was nothing treated of 
but war, but in the tents of Solomon peace alone 
was spoken of. The Holy Spirit giving us to 
understand by this, that the mother of mercy 
does not treat of war and of vengeance against 
sinners, but only of peace and the pardon of 
their offences. 

Again, Mary was prefigured by Noe s dove, 
who returned to the ark bearing in her beak 
the olive-branch, as a sign of the peace which 
God granted to men. Wherefore St. Bonaven- 
tur says: Thou art that most faithful dove, which, 
mediating with God, hath obtained for the world, 
which was lost, peace and salvation. Mary, 
then, was the heavenly dove who brought to 
the lost world the olive-branch, a sign of mercy ;J 
for she gave us Jesus Christ, who is the foun 
tain of mercy, and thus obtained, by the 
price of his merits, all the graces which God 

* Ipea reperit pacem inimicis, salutem perditis, indulgentiam reis, 
miaericordiam desperatis. 

t Cant. i. 4. 

$ Tu enim es ilia fldelissima columba Noe, quse inter Deum 
et mundum diluvio spiritual! submersum mediatrix idelissima 

ipsa Chrfitum nobia detulit fontem misericordia. P. 


gives us. And as through Mary the world re 
ceived celestial peace,* as St. Epiphanius says, 
o by means of Mary sinners are constantly be 
coming reconciled to God. In the same way, 
the blessed Albert us Magnus says in her name: 
I am that dove of Noe, who brought to the 
Church universal peace.f 

Moreover, the rainbow seen by St. John, that 
urrounded the throne of God, was also an exact 
type of Mary.J According to the explanation 
of Cardinal Vitalis, Mary is always before the 
divine tribunal to mitigate the sentence and 
punishment due to the sinner. And St. Ber- 
nardine of Sienna says, that it was of this rain 
bow that the Lord spoke, when he said to Noe 
that he would place in the clouds the bow of 
peace, that when he should see it he might re 
member the eternal covenant that he had estab 
lished with men. || And Mary, says St. Bernar- 
dine, is that very bow of eternal peace.!" For as 
God, at the sight of the bow, remembers the 
peace promised to the earth, thus at the pray 
ers of Mary he pardons sinners the offences com- 

Per te pax ccelestis donata eet. 

t Ego sum colnmba Noe, Ecclesise ramum olivsj et pads tnfeie&i 
niyersalis. In Bibi. Mar. lib. Cant. n. 16. 

J Et Iris erat in circuitu eedis. Apoc. c. iv. 3. 

Iris in circuitu eedis est Maria, quse mitigat Dei judicium et sen- 
Untlam contra peccatores. In Spec. S. Script. 

| Arcum meum ponam in nnbibns, et erit signum foederis inter m 
t terrain . . . Videbo ilium, et recordabor foederis eempiterai. 
Gen. ix. 18. 

J Ipsa eat areas f cederis sempiterni. Serm. 1, de No. Mu. AH 


mitted against him, and establishes peace with 

For the same reason Mary is also compared 
to the moon.f For, St. Bonaventure says, as 
the moon is in the midst between heaven and 
earth, so she continually interposes between God 
and sinners, that she may appease the Lord tow 
ards them, and enlighten them on their return to 

And this was the most important office given 
to Mary when she was placed upon the earth 
of lifting the souls fallen from divine grace, and 
reconciling them to God. Feed thy kids: 
" Pasce hsedos tuos. " This was said to her 
by the Lord when he created her. It is well 
known that sinners are represented by goats; 
and as the elect, represented by sheep, wifl be 
placed on the right hand in the valley of 
judgment, the goats will be placed on the left. 
Now these goats, says William of Paris, are 
committed to thee, oh great mother, that thou 
mayest change them into sheep, and that those 
who, by their sins, have merited to be banished 
to the left, by thy intercession may be placed on 
the right.] Hence the Lord revealed to St. 

* Fructus Iridig est recordatio divini fcederis; sic perverginem 
f lorioaam offensa eis remittitar, f cedus stringitur. Serin, in Apoc. 

t Pulchra at Luna. Cant. vi. 9 . 

$ Sicut Luna est media inter corpora coeleetia et terrena, et quod 
b illis accipit ad inf eriora refundit; eic <st virgo regia inter noa et 
Denm est media, etgratiam ipsa no bis refundit. Serm. 14, da Nftt. 

$ Cant. i. & 

bade* tuoa, quo* convert!* in oves, et qui a iniatrlc In 


Catherine of Sienna that he had created this hia 
beloved child as a sweet bait, that would draw 
men, and especially sinners, to God.* And here 
we should note the beautiful reflection of Wil 
liam, the Englishman, on the passage above cited, 
who says, that God recommends to Mary her 
own goats, "hsedos tuos;" because the Virgin 
does not save all sinners, but only those who 
serve and honor her. Those, on the contrary, 
who live in sin, and do not honor her with any 
special devotion, neither recommend themselves 
to her in order to escape from their sins, are not 
the goats of Mary, but in the judgment will be 
placed miserably on the left among the damned.f 
A certain nobleman who was despairing of his 
eternal salvation on account of his sins, was 
encouraged by a religious to have recourse to 
the most holy Virgin, by visiting her sacred 
image which was in a certain church. The 
nobleman went to the church, and on seeing the 
figure of Mary he felt himself, as it were, invited 
by her to cast himself at her feet and trust. 
He hastens to do so, kisses her feet, and Maiy, 
from that statue, extended her hand for him to 

judicio erant collocandi, tua intercessione collocantur a dextris. 

* Hsec est a me electa tanquam esca dxilcissima ad capiendos hom 
ines, potissimum peccatores. Ap. Bios. Monil. Spir. 

t Suos vocat qnia non omnes hsedi vocantur Marias, .sed qui Mariam 
eolunt ac venerantur, licet sceleribus contaminati. Qui vero pecoatis 
irretiti sunt, nee B. Virginem special! obsequio prosequuntur, nee 
preces fundunt in ejus cultum, ut aliquando resipiscant, hsedi prc. 
facto eunt non Marire, sed ad sinistram judicis sistendi. 


kiss, and on it he saw these words written: "I 
will deliver thee from them that afflict thee." * 
As if she had said to him: My son, do not 
despair, for 1 will deliver thee from thy sins, 
and from the fears that oppress thee. It is re 
lated that on reading these sweet words, that 
sinner felt such sorrow for his sins, and conceived 
such a love for God, and for his sweet mother f 
that he died there at the feet of Mary. Oh, how 
many obstinate sinners does this magnet of 
hearts draw daily to God, as she herself said to 
St. Bridget: "As the magnet attracts to itself 
iron, thus I draw to myself the most obdurate 
hearts, that I may reconcile them to God;f" 
and this prodigy is not rarely, but daily ex 
perienced. I could myself testify to many cases 
that have occurred in our missions alone, where 
sinners who have remained harder than iron 
during all other sermons, while hearing that on 
the mercy of Mary, were touched with com 
punction, and turned to God. St Gregory re 
lates that the unicorn is so ferocious a wild 
beast, that no hunter can succeed in taking it; 
but at the voice of a maiden who calls upon him 
to surrender, he draws near, and without resist 
ance allows himself to be bound by her. Oh, 
how many sinners, more fierce than wild beasts, 
who flee from God, at the sound of the voice of 
this great Virgin Mary, advance and allow them 
selves to be gently bound by her to God! 

* Ego eripiam te de affiigentibus te. 

t Sicnt magnes attrahit ferrum sic ego attiaho dura oorda* L. ^ 



For this end, says St. John Chrysoitom, the 
Virgin Mary was made mother of God, that 
those sinners who, by reason of their wicked 
life, could not be saved according to the divine 
justice, might obtain salvation through her sweet 
compassion and powerful intercession.* St. 
Anselm confirms this when he says that Mary 
has been exalted to be mother of God for sin 
ners rather than for the just, since Jesus Christ 
announced that he came not to call the just, 
but sinners.f And so the holy Church sings: 
"Sinners thou dost not abhor, since but for them 
thou never wouldst have been worthy of such 
a Son "J William of Paris also says: Oh Mary, 
thou art obliged to help sinners, since for all 
the gifts, graces, and honors thou dost possess, 
which are comprehended in the dignity thou 
hast received of being the mother of God, for 
all, if I may so speak, thou art indebted to sin 
ners, since for their sakes thou wert made 
worthy to have a God for thy Son. If, then, 
concludes St. Anselm, Mary, for the sake of 
sinners, has been made mother of God, ho wean 

* Ideo mater Dei pnaelecta es ab eterno; ut quos justitia filii sal. 
vare non potest, tu per tuam ealvares pietatem. Horn, de Prses. B. V. 

t Scio illam magis propter peccatores, quam propter justos, fao 
torn esse Dei Matrem; dixit enim ejus bonus films se non venisse 
tocare justos, Bed peccatores. 

$ Peccatores non abhorres, eine quibus nunqnam fores tanto dlgna 

f Totum quod babes, si fas est dicere, peccatoribu debest 
proptwr peccatores tibi collata *unt. De Beth. DIv. c. 1 


I, however great may be my sins, despair of 

The holy Church teaches us, in the collect of 
the Mass for the Vigil of the Assumption, thai 
the divine mother has been removed from 
this earth that she might intercede for us with 
God, in sure confidence of being graciously 
heard.f Hence Mary is named by St. Justin 
ian, Arbitress: "Sequestra." The Word em 
ployed as arbitress.J Sequester signifies the 
same as arbiter, one to whom two contending 
parties refer all their questions; so that the 
saint means to say, that as Jesus is mediator 
with the eternal Father, so Mary is our media 
trix with Jesus, to whom the Son refers all the 
charges which, as judge he has against us. 

Mary is called by St. Andrew of Crete, the 
confidence and security of our reconciliation 
with God. And by this the saint intends to 
say, that God seeks a reconciliation with sinneri 
by pardoning them, and that they may not de 
spair of pardon, he has given them Mary as a 
pledge of it; hence he salutes her: Hail, oh 
peace of God with men; "Salve divina homin- 

* SI Ipsa propter peccatores facta est Dei mater, qnomodo ta- 
manitas peccatoruxa meorum cogere poterit desperare veniam? D 
Exc. v. c. 1. 

t Quam idclrco de hoc Bseculo transtulit, nt apud te pio 
noatris fiducialiter intercedat. 

$ Verbum usum est Virglne sequestra. 

| Divinarum reconciliationem, qu pigncre accept* fit. 


ibus reconciliatio." Wherefore St. Bonaven 
ture says, encouraging every sinner: If thou 
f earest, on account of thy sins, that an angry 
God may wish to avenge himself upon thee, 
what art thou to do? Go to the hope of sinners, 
namely, Mary; and if thou f earest that she will 
refuse to take thy part, know that she cannot 
refuse to defend thy cause, for God himself has 
assigned her the office of relieving the wretched.* 
And what does the Abbot Adam say? Should 
a sinner fear being lost, to whom the mother 
of his judge offers herself as his mother and ad- 
vocate?f And then the same writer adds: Oh 
Mary! who art mother of mercy, couldst thou 
refuse to pray thy Son, who is judge, for another 
son, who is the criminal? Canst thou refuse to 
intercede in behalf of a redeemed soul with the 
Redeemer, w r ho, for no other end than to save 
sinners, died on the cross?J No, thou wilt not 
refuse, but earnestly wilt employ thyself in 
praying for all those who invoke thee, well 
knowing that the same Lord who hath consti 
tuted thy Son mediator of peace between God 
and man, has at the same time made thee media 
trix between the Judge and the criminal, Here 

* Si propter tuas nequitias Dominum videris indignatum, ad spem 
peccatoram confugias; sibi pro miseris satisfacere ex officio com- 
missum est. 

t Timere ne debct ut pereat, cui Maria se matrem exhibet, et ad- 

$ Tu misericordise mater non rogabis pro filio filium, pro redempto 

Rogabis plane quia qui filium tuum inter Deum et homineni 
posuit mediatorem, te quoque inter reum, et judicem posuit ad 


St. Bernard takes up the subject, and says: Give 
then thanks to him who has provided thee with 
guch a mediatrix.* Whoever thou art, oh sin 
ner, plunged in the mire of guilt, hoary in sin, do 
not despair; thank thy Lord, who in order to 
show mercy to thee, has not only given thee 
his Son for an advocate, but, to increase thy 
confidence and courage, has provided thee with 
such a mediatrix, who, by her prayers, obtains 
whatever she wishes. Have recourse to Mary, 
and thou wilt be saved. 


It is related by Rupensis,f and by Boniface,J 
that in Florence there lived a young girl, named 
Benedetta (the blessed), although she might bet 
ter have been called Maladetta (the cursed), from 
the scandalous and wicked life she led. Hap 
pily for her, St. Dominic happened to preach in 
that city, and she, from mere curiosity, went one 
day to hear him. But the Lord touched her 
heart during the sermon, so that, weeping bit 
terly, she went to make her confession .to the 
saint. St. Dominic heard her confession, gave her 
absolution, and directed her to say the rosary. 
But the unhappy girl, by the force of her evil 
habits, returned to her wicked life. The saint 
heard of it, and going to her, induced her to con- 

* Age gratias ei, qui talem tibi mediatricem providit. Sitn. in 
ftign. Magn. 

t Ros. Sacr. p. 5, c. 60. 

* Stor, Virg. 1. 1, c. 11. 


fees once more. God, in order to confirm hef 
in her good life, one day showed hell to her, and 
some persons there who had been already con 
demned on her account. Then opening a book, 
AQ made her read in it the frightful record of 
her sins. The pentitent shuddered at the sight, 
and, full of confidence, had recourse to Mary, 
asked her help, and learned that this divine 
mother had already obtained from God for her 
time enough to mourn for her numerous sins. 
The vision disappeared, and Benedetta devoted 
herself to a good life; but seeing always open 
before her eyes that dark catalogue, she one day 
prayed in these words to her consoler: "Oh 
mother, it is true that for my sins I should now 
be deep in hell; but since thou, by thy interces 
sion, hast liberated me from it, by obtaining for 
me time for repentance, most merciful Lady, I 
ask of thee one other favor. I will never cease 
to weep for my sins; but do thou obtain for me 
that they may be cancelled from that book." 
After this prayer, Mary appeared to her, and 
told her that in order to obtain what she asked, 
she must preserve an eternal remembrance of 
her sins, and of the mercy of God towards her; 
and still more, that she must meditate on the 
passion of her Son, which he suffered for love of 
her; and also that she must bear in mind that 
many had been damned who had committed fewer 
sins than she had done. She also revealed 
her that a child of only eight years of age, fof 
one mortal sin only, had been that day condemn 


ed to hell. Benedetta having faithfully obeyed 
the most holy Virgin, one day beheld Jesus Christ, 
who showed her that book, and said to her: Be 
hold, thy sins are cancelled; the book is white, 
inscribe on it now acts of love and of virtue. 
Benedetta did this, led a holy life, and died a 
holy death. 


Then, oh my most sweet Lady, if thy office 
is, as William of Paris eays, to interpose as a 
mediatrix between the sinner and God,* I will 
ay to thee with St. Thomas of Villanova: Ah, 
then, oh ou? advocate, fulfil thy office.f Fulfil 
at once thy office also in my behalf. Do not 
tell me that my cause is too difficult to be gained; 
for I know, and all tell me, that no cause, how 
ever desperate, if defended by thee, was ever lost; 
and will mine be lost? No, I fear not this. I 
have only to fear, when I behold the multitude 
of my sins, that thou wilt not undertake my 
defence; but considering thy vast compassion and 
the great desire that fills thy most loving heart 
to help the vilest sinners, I no longer fear even 
this. And who was ever lost that had recourse 
to thee? I invoke, then, thy aid, oh my great 
advocate, my refuge, my hope, and my mother 
Mary. To thy hands T commit the cause of my 
eternal salvation. To thee I consign my soul; 

Oficram tuum eat, te mediam Interponere inter Deum et n<r 
1 8)a *go dvocata noitnt offlcium tuum Itnpie, 


it was lost, but thou must save it. I alwayi 
thank the Lord that he gives me this great 
confidence in thee, which, notwithstanding my 
unworthiness, I believe will secure my salva 
tion. One fear alone remains to afflict me, my 
beloved queen: it is, that I may one day lose, 
through my neglect, this confidence in thee. 
Therefore I pray thee, oh Mary, by all thy love 
for thy Jesus, to preserve and increase more 
and more in me this most sweet confidence in 
thy intercession, by which I certainly hope to 
recover the divine friendship, which I have 
hitherto so foolishly despised and lost; and once 
having recovered it, I hope by thy means to 
preserve il; and preserving it, I hope finally 
through thee to go one day and thank thee for 
it in paradise, and there to sing the mercies of 
God and thine through all eternity. Amen, 
Thus I hope, so may it be, and so it shall be! 




Turn thy eyes of mercy towards us. 


ST. EPIPHANIUS calls the blessed Virgin, 
"Multoculam ;" that is, one who has many eyes, 
that she may relieve our miseries on this earth. 
One day, when a person possessed was being 
exorcised, the devil was asked by the exorcist 
what Mary was then doing. The Evil One 
replied: She is descending and ascending;"* 
by which he intended to say, that this gracious 
Lady does nothing else than descend upon the 
earth to bring graces to men, and ascend to 
heaven to obtain there the divine blessing on our 
supplications. Rightly, then, was the holy 
Virgin named by St. Andrew of Avellino, the 
active power of paradise; for she is contin 
ually employed in deeds of mercy, imploring 
favors for all, for the just and for sinners. 
"The eyes of the Lord are upon the just," says 
David;fbut the eyes of our Lady are upon the 

Ap. 51 P. Pep. to. 5, Lee. 235. 

t Oculi Domini super justos. Ps. xxxiii. 16. 


juat and upon sinners,* as Richard of Si. 
Laurence says; for he adds: The eyes of Mary 
are the eyes of a mother; and the mother not 
only guards her child from falling, but if he 
falls, she hastens to raise him.f 

Jesus himself revealed this to St. Bridget, 
whom the saint heard one day speaking 
to his mother, and saying: "Ask of me, oh my 
mother, whatever thou dost desire^ J and the 
Son is always in heaven saying this to Mary, 
pleased with granting his beloved mother what 
ever she asks. But what does Mary ask? St. 
Bridget understood the mother to answer him: 
I ask mercy for sinners: "Misericordiam peto 
pro miseris." As if she would say, my Son, 
thou hast already destined me for the mother 
of mercy, for the refuge of sinners,for the ad 
vocate of the miserable, now thou sayest to me 
that I may ask whatever I wish; but what 
would I ask of thee? I ask of thee that thou 
wilt have mercy on the sinner: "Misericor- 
diam peto pro miseris." Thou art, oh Mary, 
so full of compassion, St. Bonaventure tenderly 
Bays to her, thou art so watchful to relieve the 
wretched, that it seems thou hast no other desire, 
too other concern than this.) And because, among 
the wretched sinners are the most wretched of 

* Bed oculi Dominie super justos et peccatores. 

t Sicnt oculi matris ad pnernm no cadat, vel si oeciderit, ut cum 

$ Mater pete quod Tie a me. Rev. 1. 1. c. 46. 

I Undique sollicita es de miserly, mieericordl* vallaris, solum ml* 
ami videris appetere. Sup. Salve Keg. 


all, the venerable Bede affirms, that Mary is 
continually praying the Son in behalf of sin 

Even whilst on earth Mary was so kind and 
tender to men that, as St. Jerome says, there 
never was any person so afflicted by his own 
Bufferings as Mary by the sufferings of others.f 
She plainly showed the compassion she feels for 
the sufferings of others at the nuptials of Cana 
(as has been mentioned in previous chapters), 
where, as when the wine failed, without being re 
quested, as St. Bernardine of Sienna remarks, 
she assumed the office of a kind comforter.J 
And from mere compassion for the troubles of 
that family, she interceded with her Son, and 
obtained the miracle of changing the water into 

But, perhaps, says St. Peter Damian, since 
thou wast exalted to the dignity of queen of 
heaven, thou hast forgotten the wretched; and 
then he adds, let this never be thought of it does 
not belong to a mercy so great as that which 
reigns in the heart of Mary, to forget such mis 
ery as ours. The common proverb, honors 
change customs, "Honores mutant mores, * cer 
tainly does not apply to Mary. It, indeed, 

* Stat Maria in couspectu fllil sui non cessans pro peccatoribu* 
-exorare. In cap. i. Luc. 

t Nullum in hac vita adeo pcena torsernnt proprire Bicut Mariam 
alienee. Epist. ad East. 

$ Offlcium piae auxiliatricis assumpsit non rogata. 

$ Nunquid, O Beata Virgo, quia ita gloriflcata es, ideo 
bumilitatis oblita es? Abait, non convenit tanks miaericordi I 
i obliviscl. Serm. 1, de Nat. Virg. 


applies to worldlings who, when raised to 
dignity, become inflated with pride, and forget 
their old and poor friends: but not to Mary, who 
rejoices in her greater exaltation, because it 
gives her more power to assist others. Consider 
ing this point, St. Bonaventure applies to the 
blessed Virgin the words spoken to Ruth." 
Blessed art thou, my daughter, and thy latter 
kindness has surpassed the former." * Meaning, 
as he afterwards explains, that if the pity of 
Mary for the unhappy was great when she lived 
on earth, much greater is it now when she is 
reigning in heaven. f The saint gives the reason 
for this by saying, that the divine mother showa 
now, by the innumerable favors she obtains for 
us, this her increased compassion, because now 
she better understands our miseries, J And he 
adds, that as the splendor of the sun exceeds 
that of the moon, so the mercy of Mary, now 
that she is in heaven, exceeds the mercy she had 
for us when she was upon the earth, And is 
there any one living on the earth who does not 
enjoy the light of the sun? any one on whom 
this mercy of Mary does not shine? ] 

* Benedicta filia prtorem misericordiam posteriore superasti. Rnth 
Hi. 10. 

t Magna fuit erga miseros misericordia Maria adhuc exulnntii 
xnundo, sed multo major est regnaniia in coelc. In Spec, B. V. c, & 

$ Majorem per iunumerabilia beiieflcia none ostendit misericor- 
diam; quia magis mine videt hominum miserias. 

Nam quemadmodum sol lunam superat magnitudine splendoris, 
eic priorem Marias misericordiam superat magnitude euperioris. 

I Quis est super quern misericordia Marias non resptecdett 


On this account she is called bright as the sun, 
"Electa ut sol;"* because no one is shut out 
from the heat of this sun,f as St. Bonaventure 
says. And St. Agnes revealed this from heaven 
to St. Bridget, when she said to her, that our 
queen, now that she is united with her Son in 
heaven, cannot forget her innate goodness; 
hence she exercises her compassion towards all, 
even towards the most impious sinners, so that 
as both the celestial and terrestrial bodies are 
illuminated by the sun, thus through the good 
ness of Mary, there is no one in the world who 
does not, if he asks for it, share in the divine 
raercy.J A great and desperate sinner, in the 
kingdom of Valencia, in order to escape justice, 
had resolved to become a Turk, and was actually 
going to embark, when by chance he passed a 
church, in which Father Jerome Lopez, of the 
Company of Jesus, was preaching, and preach 
ing of the divine mercy; by that preaching he 
was converted, and confessed to the father, who 
inquired of him if he had practised any devo 
tion, for which God had shown towards him that 
great mercy; he answered that he had practised 
no other devotion than praying the holy Virgin 
every day not to abandon him. The same 

* Cant. vi. 9. 

t Non est qui se abscondat a calore ejus. 

t Nunc autem conjuncta filio non obliviscitur innatse bonitatis 
enae, sed ad omnes extendit misericordiam suam, etiam ad pessimos; 
ut sicut sole illuminantur ccelestia et terrestria, sic ex dulcedine 
Mariae nullus est qui non per earn, si petitur seatiat pietatem. L. 3, 
Rev. c. 30. 

f Patrign. Men. 8, Feb. 


Father found in the hospital a sinner, who for 
fifty-five years had never been to confession, 
and had only practised this little devotion, that 
when he saw an image of Mary he saluted it, 
and prayed to her that he might not die in mor 
tal sin; and then he related that in a quarrel 
with an enemy, his sword was broken, and he 
turned to the Madonna, saying: "Alas, I shall 
be slain, damned; oh mother of sinners, help 
me." When he had said this, he found himself, 
he knew not how, transported into a secure place. 
He made a general confession, and died full of 

St. Bernard writes that Mary becomes all 
things to all men, and opens to all the bowels 
of her mercy, that all may receive of her; the 
captive his freedom; the sick man health; the 
afflicted consolation; the sinner pardon, and 
God glory: hence there is no one, since she is the 
sun, who does not partake of her warmth.f 
And is there any one in the world, exclaims St. 
Bonaventure, who will not love this lovely queen? 
She is more beautiful than the sun, and sweet 
er than honey; she is a treasure of goodness, 
and is kind and courteous to all.J I salute thee, 

Pair. Men. 2, Feb. 

t Maria omnia omnibus facta est; omnibus misericordl sfnwa 
aperit, ut de plenitudine ejus accipiant omnes, captivua, redemp- 
tionem, seger curationem, tristis congolationem, peccator veniam; at 
non sit qui se abscondat a calore ejus. In Sig. Mag. 

i Quie te non diliget, O Maria, pulchriorem sole, dulciorem m0tt 
omaibua amabilis, omnibus affabilis? 


then, thus the enamored saint goes on to say, 
oh my Lady and mother! my heart! my soul! 
Pardon me, oh Mary, if I say that I love thee: 
if I am not worthy of loving thee, thoa art 
truly worthy of being loved by me.* 

It was revealed to St. Gertrude,f that when 
any one repeats with devotion these words to 
the Virgin: "Turn, then, towards us, oh our acU 
vocate, thy pitying eyes,"J Mary never fails to 
listen to the prayer. Oh, let the immensity of 
thy mercy, oh great Lady, fill the whole earth, 
exclaims St. Bernard. Whence St. Bonaven- 
ture says, that this loving mother has such a de 
sire to do good to all, that she feels herself of 
fended not only by those who offer her some 
positive injury, for there are souls to be found 
so perverse, especially gamesters, who sometimes, 
to vent their anger, blaspheme and insult this 
good Lady, but she looks upon herself as injured 
by those, also, who neglect to ask of her some 
favor. I So that, as St. Idelbert says, thou dost 
instruct us, oh Lady, to expect favors greater 
than our merits, for thou dost never cease to dish 

* Ave ergo, Domina mea, mater mea; Imo cor meum, anima 
parce mihi, Domh:a, si me amare te dlcam: si ego non sum digntu 
te amare, tu non es digna amari a me. Stim. p. 5, c. 19. 

t Rev. 1. 4, c. 58. 

t Eja ergo; advocata nostra. illos tnos misericordes ocules ad noa 

Latitude misericordiaa tuaa repiet orbem terrarum. Serm. 4, 
Sap. Mies. 

I In te, Domina, peccant, non eolum qoi tibi injnrlam trrogant, eetf 
i qni te non rogant. In Spec. Vlrg. 


pense graces that far exceed what we merit.* 
The prophet Isaias predicted that by the great 
work of human redemption, a great throne of 
divine mercy would be prepared for us: "A throne 
shall be prepared in mercy. "f Who is this 
throne? St. Bonaventure answers: This throne 
is Mary, in whom all, both the just and sinners, 
find the consolations of mercy ;J and he afterwards 
adds: As the Lord is full of compassion, so 
also is our Lady; and as the Son, so the mother 
cannot withhold her mercy from those who ask 
it. Hence Guerric, the abbot, represents Jesus 
thus speaking to Mary: My mother, wpon thee I 
will establish the seat of my kingdom, for 
through thee will I bestow the graces that are 
asked of me: thou hast given me the human na 
ture; I will give to thee, as it were, a divine na 
ture, that is, my omnipotence, by which thou 
canst assist all who invoke thee to obtain their 

When St. Gertrude was one day devoutly re- 

* Doce nos sperare majora meritis, quse meritis majora krgiri 
non desinis. 

t Praeparabitur in misericordia solium ejus. Isa. xvi. 5. 

$ Solium divinse misericordiae est Maria, in qna omnes inveniunt 
olatia misericordiae. Spec. c. 8. 

Nam sicut misericordiosissimum Dominum, ita misericordiosis- 
imam Dominain habemus. Dominus noster multae misericordiw 
inrocantibus se; et Domina nostra multae misericordiae invocanti- 
bus Be. 

I In te mihi regni Bedem constituam, per te preces exaudinm. 
Communicasti mihi quod homo sum, communicabo tibi quod Dent 
germ. 2, de Ass. 


peating these words to the divine mother: Turn 
towards us thy merciful eyes," she saw the Vir 
gin pointing to the eyes of her Son whom she 
held in her arms, and she said to her; "These 
are the most merciful eyes that I can turn tow 
ards all those who invoke me for their salva 
tion."* A sinner once weeping before the 
altar of Mary, and imploring her to intercede 
with God for his pardon, was given to under 
stand that the blessed Virgin turned to the 
child whom she held in her arms, and said to 
him: "My son, shall these tears be in vain?"f an( ^ 
he learned that Jesus Christ at once pardoned 

And how can any one ever perish who recom 
mends himself to this good mother, when the 
Son, as God, has promised, for love of her, to 
exercise mercy, as far as it pleases her, towards 
all those that have recourse to her? Precisely 
this our Lord revealed to St. Bridget; per 
mitting her to hear these words which he spoke 
to Mary: "By my omnipotence, venerated moth 
er, I have granted thee the pardon of all sin 
ners, in whatever way it pleases thee, who de 
voutly invoke the aid of thy mercy. "{ Hence 
the Abbot Adam Persenius, considering the 
great compassion that Mary has for all, full of 

* Hi sunt mieericordiosissimi oculi mel, quos ad omneg me in- 
Tocantes possum salabriter inclinare. Rev. 1. 4, c. 53. 

t Fill, et istse lacrimse peribunt? 

t Ex omnipotentia mea, mater reverenda, tibi concessl propituu 
tionem omnium peccatorum, qui devote invocant tuse piwtati* atur 
ilivm, qualicu&que inodo placeat tibi. 


confidence says to her: Oh mother of mercy, thy 
power is as great as thy pity. As thou art 
powerful to obtain, so thou art merciful to 
pardon.* And when, he adds, dost thou ever 
fail to have compassion on sinners, being the 
mother of mercy; or art thou unable to help them, 
being mother of omnipotence? Ah, thou canst as 
readily obtain whatever thou wilt, as thou canst 
listen to our woes.f Satiate thyself, then, says 
the Abbot Rupert, satiate thyself, oh great 
queen, with the glory of thy Son, and through 
thy compassion, not certainly through our merit, 
be pleased to send down to us, thy poor ser 
vants here below, whatever fragments may re- 

If our sins ever throw us into despair, let us 
say with William of Paris: Oh Lady, do not bring 
forward my sins against me, for I shall bring 
forward thy mercy in opposition to them. And 
let it never be said that my sins can rival, in 
the judgment, thy mercy, which is more pow 
erful to obtain my pardon, than my sins are to 
obtain my condemnation.g 

* Hater misericordice, tanta est pietas tua, quanta potestas; tan 
pla es ad parcendum, quam potena ad impetrandum. 

t Quando non compatieris miseris, mater misericordlsef Aut 
quando illl opem conferre non poteris, cum Bis mater omnipotentoef 
Eadem facilitate obtinens quodcumque vis; qua facilitate nostra ii^- 
notescit miseria. Ap. P. Pep. 

$ O mater misericordise, saturare gloria fllii tul,et dimitte reliqulM 
tnas parvulis tuis. In Cant. lib. 6. 

$ Ne alligaveris peccata mea contra me, qui misericordiam tnana 
allege contra ea. Absit, ut etent in judicio peccata mea contnt 
aaisericordiam tuam, quse omnibus vitiie fortior eet. D& 
Biv. c. 18. 



We read in the chronicles of the Capuchin 
Fathers,* that there lived in Venice a celebrated 
advocate, who, by fraud and evil practices, had 
become rich c His whole life was very bad, and 
it appears that he had but one good habit, that 
of reciting every day a certain prayer to the 
holy Virgin. Yet, even this little devotion saved 
him from eternal death, through the mercy of 
Mary. It happened in this way: Happily for 
himself, he had a great esteem for Father Mat 
thew da Basso, and urged him so much to come 
and dine at his house., that one day the Father 
gave him this pleasure. Having arrived, the 
advocate said to him? "Now, Father, I will show 
you something that you have never seen. I 
have a wonderful ape, who is my valet, washes 
my glasses, lays the table, and opens the door." 
"This may not be an ape," answered the Father: 
"it may be something more than an ape; order 
him to come here." The ape was called again 
and again, search was made for him everywhere, 
and he could not be found. At length, he was 
discovered hidden under a bed in the lower part 
of the house, but he would not come out. 
"Come, then," said the religious, "let us go and 
ee him:" and he went with the advocate to his 
hiding-place. "Infernal beast," he said, "come 
forth, and in the name of God I command you 

*C.ll t p.L 


to tell me what you are." And behold, the ap 
answered that he was the devil, and that he was 
waiting until that sinner should omit some day 
to recite his accustomed prayer to the mother of 
God; for the first time he should omit it, God 
had given him leave to strangle him ? and take 
him to hello At these words the advocate cast 
himself upon his knees to ask help of the servant 
of God, who encouraged him, and commanded 
the devil to depart from that house without com 
mitting any injury, only he gave him permission, 
as a sign that he had really gone, to break a 
piece of the wall. Scarcely had he finished 
speaking, when, with a great crash, a hole was 
made in the wall, which, although it was several 
times closed with stone and mortar, God willed 
that it should remain open for a long time; un 
til, by the advice of the servant of God, it was 
filled up with a slab of marble, with an angel 
carved on it. The advocate was converted, and, 
it is to be hoped, persevered until death in his 
new course of life. 


Oh creature, among all others the greatest and 
most sublime, most holy Virgin, I from this earth 
salute thee; I, a miserable, unhappy rebel to my 
God, who deserve punishment and not favors, 
justice and riot mercy. Oh Lady, I do not say 
this because I distrust thy mercy. I know that 
thou dost glory m being merciful as thou art 


great. I know that thou dost rejoice in being 
so rich, that thou inayest share thy richea 
with us sinners. I know that the more wretch- 
ed are those who seek thee the greater is 
thy desire to help and save them. Oh my 
mother, it is thou who once did weep for 
thy Son when lie died for me. Offer, I pray 
thee, thy tears to God, and with these obtain for 
me a true sorrow for my sins. So much did sin 
ners grieve thee, then, and so much did I, too, 
grieve thee by my iniquities. Obtain for me, oh 
Mary, that I at least from henceforth may no 
longer continue to afflict thee and thy Son by 
my ingratitude. What will thy tears avail me if 
I should continue to be ungrateful to thee? 
What would thy mercy avail me if I should 
again be faithless and be lost? Ko, my queen, 
do not permit it. Thou hast supplied all my 
deficiencies; thou canst obtain from God what 
ever thou wilt; thou graciously nearest every one 
that prays to thee. These two favors do I ask 
of .thee, and at all events from thee do I hope 
and desire them: namely, that thou wilt obtain 
for me to be faithful to God by never more 
offending him, and to love him as much as I have 
offended him during the life that remains to mt. 




And after this our exile, show us the blessed fruit of thy womb, 



IT is impossible that a servant of Mary 
who faithfully honors her and recommends him 
self to her should be lost. This proposition 
at first sight may appear to some persons 
extravagant. But I would beg them not to 
condemn it before reading what will hereafter 
be said on this point. When it is said that a 
devoted servant of Mary cannot be lost, those 
servants are not intended who abuse their de 
votion by sinning with less fear. Therefore it 
is unjust to say, as some do who disapprove ex 
tolling the mercy of Mary to sinners, that by so 
doing they are encouraged to sin the more; for 
,iuch presumptuous persons for their presump 
tion merit punishment and not mercy. It is un 
derstood, then only of those of her servants 
who, with the desire to amend, faithfully honor 
and commend themselves to the mother of God. 
That these should be lost is, I say, morally 


impossible. And I find Father Crasset has 
affirmed the same thing in his book upon de 
votion to Maryland before him Vega,f Men- 
doza,| and other theologians. And that we 
may know that they have not spoken unadvis 
edly, let us see what the Doctors and Saints have 
said on this subject. Let no one be surprised if 
I here quote several sentences, of different 
authors, containing the same thing; for I have 
wished to record them all, in order to show 
how unanimously all waters agree on this 
point. St. Anselm says, that as he who is not 
devoted to Mary and protected by her cannot 
be saved, so it is impossible that he should be 
condemned who recommends himself to the 
Virgin, and is regarded by her with affection. 
St. Antoninus asserts the same thing in nearly 
the same words: As it is impossible that those 
from whom Mary turns away her eyes of com 
passion should be saved, so it must be that all 
those towards whom she turns her eyes, and 
for whom she intercedes, shall be saved and 
glorified.|| This saint adds, then, that the 
servants of Mary must necessarily be saved. 

* Tom. 1. qu. 7. 

t Teologia Mariana. 

J Virid. 1. 1, Probl. 9. 

$ Virgo benedictiBsima, sicut hnpoaaibile eat, nt a te aversus, et a 
te despectus salve tur, ita ad te conversus et a te respectua imposaibil* 
rt ut pereat, De Exc. Virg. c. 11. 

I Sicut impossibile est, at illi a quibus Maria ocnlos sure mlseri- 
eordlce avertit, salventur; ita necessarium quod hi, ad quos con- 
Yrtit oculot BUGS, pro eis advocane, ealventur et glorificratar. Part 


Let us note, however, the first part of the 
statement of these saints, and let those trembl* 
who little esteem, or abandon, through negli 
gence, devotion to this divine mother. They say 
that it is impossible for those to be saved who 
are not protected by Mary. And this is also as 
sented by others, as the blessed Albertus Magnus: 
All those who are not thy servants, oh Mary, 
shall perish: "Gens quse non servierit tibi peri- 
bit."* St. Bonaventure, too: He who neglects 
the service of Mary (Shall die in sin.f And in 
another place: He who has not recourse to thee, 
oh Lady, will not reach paradise. J And on 
Psalm xcix. the saint goes so far as to say that 
those from whom Mary turns away her face, not 
only will not be saved, but can have no hope of 
salvation. And before this St. Ignatius, the 
martyr, said the same thing, asserting that a sin 
ner cannot be saved except by means of the holy 
Virgin, who, on the other hand, saves by her 
merciful intercession many that would be con 
demned by the divine justice. [ Some persons 
ddubt whether this passage is from St. 
Ignatius; at least Father Crasset saya that 
St. John Chrysostom has adopted it 

* Bttl. Mar. c. 60. 

t Qui neglexerit illam, morietur in peccatis suis. In PsaL cxri. 

$ Qui te non invocat in hac vita, non perveniet ad regnam Dei. IB 
Psal. Ixxxvi. 

A qnibus averteria vultnm tuum, non erit spes ad sain tern. 

I Impossibile est aliquem salvari peccatorum, nisi per tnmn, O 
"Virgo, auxilium et favorem, quia quos non salvat Dei jnstitia, ealral 
eua interceswione Marise miaericordia infinite. Ap, ceiada m Jod, 

Tig. B. ia 


as his own.* It is also repeated by the Abbot of 
Celles.f And in the same sense the-holy Church 
applies to Mary these words of Proverbs: All 
that hate me love death: "Omnes qui me oder- 
unt, diligunt mortem t "J For, as Richard of St. 
Laurence says, commenting on the words: She 
is like the merchant s ship : all those who are 
out of this ship shall be submerged in the sea of 
this world.|| Even the heretic CEcolampadius 
esteemed neglect of devotion in any one to the- 
mother of God as a certain sign of reprobation; 
hence, he said : Let it never be heard of me that I 
am averse to Mary, to be ill affected towardi 
whom I should think a certain sign of a repr 
bate mind.T 

On the other hand, Mary says: He that heark- 
eneth to me shall not be confounded.** He who 
has recourse to me, and listens to what I say to 
him, shall not be lost. From which St. Bonaven- 
ture said: Oh, Lady, those who are mindful to 
honor thee, shall be far from perdition.f f Even 

* In Deprec. ad Virg. 

+ In Comp. Virg. c. 5. 

J Prov. viii. 36. 

Facta est quasi navis institoris. Prov. xxxi. 14. 

I In mare mnndi submergentur omnes illi, quos non suscipit navia 
ista. DeLaud. V.I. 11. 

T Nunquam de me audiatnr, quasi averser Mariam, erga quam 
minus bene affici reprobatae mentis cerium existimem judicium. V. 
Ap. P. Pep. Lez. torn. 7. 

** Qui audit me non confundetur. Eccli. xxiv. 30. 

tt Qui prastat in obsequio tuo, procul fiet a perditione. In PU, 


when, as St. Hilary says, they have hitherto deep* 
ly offended God.* 

Hence the devil strives so hard with sinners, 
in order that, having lost divine grace, they may 
also lose devotion to Mary. Sarah, seeing Isaac 
playing with Ishmael, who was teaching him evil 
habits, asked Abraham to send him away, and 
his mother Agar also: Cast out this bond-woman 
and her son."f She was not satisfied that the 
son alone should leave the house without 
the mother, fearing lest the son would come to 
yisit his mother, and thus continue to frequent 
the house. In like manner, the devil is not sat 
isfied with seeing Jesus cast out from a soul, if he 
does not see the mother also cast out: "Cast out 
this bond- woman and her son." Otherwise he fears 
that the mother, by her intercession, may again 
obtain the return of her son. And he has cause 
to fear, for as the learned Father Paciucchelli 
remarks: He who is faithful in honoring the 
mother of God, through Mary, will soon receive 
him.J Therefore rightly was the devotion to 
our Lady called by St. Ephreni: The passport of 
escape from hell: "Charta libertatis." The di 
vine mother was also named by him: The pro 
tectress of the condemned ;"Patrocinatrix damna- 
toruin." And with truth St. Bernard says, that 

* Quantumcumqne quis f uerit peccator, si Marie devotus extfterit, 
aunquam in aeternum peribit. Cant. 12, in Matt, 
t Ejice ancillam hanc, et filium ejus. Gen. xxi. 10. 
$ Qul Dei genitrici perseveranter obseqaitur, non multa mom t 
Ipsum in se recipiet. In Salv. Reg. Ex. fc 


Mary is neither wanting in the power nor the 
will to save us.* Not in the power, because it 
is impossible that her prayers should not be heard, 
as St Antoninus asserts ;f and St. Bonaventure 
nays also, that her requests cannot be unavailing, 
but obtain for her what she wishes: Quod quse- 
rit invenit et frustrari non potest.J JSTot in the 
will to save us, for Mary is our mother, and de 
sires our salvation more than we desire it our 
selves. If this is then true, how can it ever hap 
pen that a servant of Mary should be lost? He 
may be a sinner, but if, with perseverance and at 
desire for amendment, he commends himself to 
this good mother, she will take care to obtain for 
him light to guide him out of his bad state, con 
trition for his sins, perseverance in goodness, and 
finally a good death. And is there any mother 
who would not rescue her child from death, if 
she could do it by praying his judge for mercy? 
And can we belive that Mary, the most loving 
mother possible to her servants, would fail to 
rescue one of them from eternal death, when aha 
can do it so easily? 

Ah, devout reader, let us thank the Lord if we 
find that he has given us the love of the queen of 
heaven, and confidence in her; for God, as St. 
John Damascene says, does not grant this grace 
except to those whom he wishes to save. These 

* Nee facnltas, Bee voltmtas illi deesse potest Serm. do Aff . 

t Impossibile est Deiparam non exaudiri. P. 4, tit. 15, c. 17. v. 4. 

$ Serm.. de Aquaed. 


the beautiful words of the saint, with which he 
would quicken his own and our hope: Oh mother 
of God, if I place my confidence in thee I shall he 
saved. If I am under thy protection, I have 
nothing to fear, because to be thy servant is to 
have certain arms of salvation, which God only 
grants to those whom he will save.* Hence 
Erasmus thus salutes the Virgin: Hail, terror of 
hell! hail, hope of Christians! confidence in thee 
secures salvation. f 

Oh, how much it grieves the devil to see a soul 
persevering in its devotion to the divine mother! 
"We read in the life of Father Alphonsus Alver- 
ez, who had a special devotion to Mary, that 
being in prayer, and finding himself tormented 
by impure temptations with which the devil afflic 
ted him, the enemy said to him: Quit thy de 
votion to Mary, and I will cease to tempt thee. 

The Lord revealed to St. Catherine of Sienna, 
as we read in Blosius, that he, in his goodness, 
had granted to Mary, from love to his only be 
gotten Son, whose mother she is, that not even 
one sinner, who commends himself devoutly to 
her, should be the prey of hell.| The Prophet 
David, too, prayed to be rescued from hell, for 
the honor in which he held Mary: "I have loved, 
oh Lord, the beauty of thy house; take not away 

* Senn. de Nat. B. V. 

t Salve, inferoruin formido, Christianorum epes, certa est fiducia 
tna. Orat. ad Virg. 

$ Mariae filii mei genitrici a bonitate mea concessum est pn^tei 
Incarnati Verbi reyerentiam, ut quicumque etiam peccator ad earn 
Lain devota veneratione recurrit, nullo modo rapiatur de daemon* ii> 
In Man. Spir. 


toy soul with the wicked."* He says of thy 
house, "Domus tuae," because Mary was, in 
deed, that house of God, which he himself, 
when he became man, built on this earth for his 
habitation, and for the place of his rest, as we 
read in Proverbs: Wisdom hath built herself 
a house.f No, he surely will not be lost, says 
St. Ignatius, the martyr, who is constant in his 
devotion to this virgin mother.J And this is 
confirmed by St. Bonaventure, who says: Oh 
Lady, those who love thee enjoy great peace in 
this life, and in the other they shall not see 
eternal death. No, for it never did, and never 
will happen, as the devout Blosius assures us, 
that an humble and constant servant of Mary 
will be lost.] 

Oh, how many would have been eternally 
condemned, or remained in obstinacy, if Mary 
had not interceded with her Son to exercise 
mercy! Thus says Thomas a Kempis.^T And 
it is the opinion of many doctors, especially of 
St. Thomas, that the divine mother has obtain 
ed from God a reprieve for many persons who 
had even died in mortal sin, and their return to 

* Dominc, dilexi decorem domus tuae, ne perdas cum impiis ani. 
mam meam. Psal. xxv. 8, 9. 

t Sapientia sedificavit sibi domum. Prpy. ix. I. 

J Nunquam peribit qui genitrici Virgin! devotus sedulusque ex> 

Pax multa diligentibus te, Domina; anima eorum non videbit 
mortem in seternmn. In Psal. cxviii. 

1 Fieri non potest ut pereat qui Marise sedulus et umilis cultor ex- 
titerit. In Cant. v. Spir. c. 18. 

T Quanti fuissent, asternaliter condemnati, vel permansissent In 
desperatione obstinati, nisi beatissima Virgo Maria interpellasset ad 
flUum. Ap. Pep. Lez. torn. 7. 


life to do penance. "We have many example* 
of this given by writers of good authority. 
Among others, Flodoard, who lived about tht 
ninth century, narrates, in his chronicles,* 
that one Adelman, a deacon, who appeared to 
be dead, was about to be buried, when he 
returned to life, and said, that he had seen the 
place in hell to which he had already been con 
demned, but that, through the intercession of 
the blessed Virgin, he had been sent back to 
earth to do penance. Surius also relates, that a 
Roman citizen, named Andrew, had died 
without doing penance, and that Mary had ob 
tained his return to life that he might procure 
pardon. f Pelbart, moreover, relates, that in 
*his time, when the Emperor Sigismund was 
J crossing the Alps with his army, a voice was 
heard, proceeding from a dead body, of which 
only the bones remained, asking for confession, 
and saying, that the mother of God, to whom 
he had been devoted whilst he was a soldier, 
had obtained for him that he should live in 
those bones until he had made his confession. 
Having confessed, he died.f These and similar 
examples must not serve as encouragement for 
some rash person who would live in sin, in the 
hope that Mary would free him from hell, even 
if he should die in sin ; for as it would be a 
great folly to throw one s self into a well, in the 

* Ap. Crass, to. 1, q. 12. 

tL.l,c. 85. 

$ Stellar. Cor. B. V. 1. 18, p. 2, a. 1. 


hope that Mary would save us from death, be 
cause the Virgin has rescued some persons under 
similar circumstances; thus a greater folly would 
it be for one to run the risk of dying in sin, on 
the presumption that the holy Virgin would res 
cue him from hell. But these examples should 
serve to strengthen our confidence by the con 
sideration, that if the intercession of this divine 
mother could deliver those from hell even 
those who have died in sin how much more will 
it prevent those from falling into hell who in 
life have recourse to her with the intention to 
amend and serve her faithfully? 

Then, oh our mother, let us say with St. Ger- 
manus: What will becomeof us who are sinners, 
but who wish to amend and have recourse to 
thee, who art the life of Christians?* Let us, 
oh Lady, hear what St. Anselm says of thee, that 
he will not be lost for whom thou hast once offer 
ed thy prayers. f Pray, then, for us, and we shall 
be saved from hell. Who will tell me, says Rich 
ard of Victor, that when I am presented at the 
divine tribunal, the Judge will not be favorable 
to me, if I shall have thee to defend my cause, 
oh mother of mercy ?J And the blessed Henry 
Buso declared, that he had placed his soul in the 
care of Mary, and he said, that if the Judge wish 
ed to condemn him, he would have the sentence 

* Quid antem de nobis fiet, O sanctissima Virgo, O vita Christiaiv. 
turn. De Zona Virg. 

t ^Sternum vse non sentiet ille pro quo semel oraverit Maria. 
1 81 aocedam ad jadicium, et matrem miserieordiae in causa mea 
mecom, quis Jadiciuin denegablt propitinm? In 0. c. 15. 


pass through the hands of Mary.* For lie hoped 
that when the sentence of condemnation should 
fall into the kind hands of the Virgin, its execu 
tion would certainly be prevented. I ask and 
hope the same for myself, oh my most holy 
queen. Whence I will always repeat with St. 
Bonaventure: Oh Lady, in theel have placed all 
my hopes, therefore I securely hope not to be 
lost, but safe in heaven to praise and love thee 


In the year 1604 there lived in a city of Flanders 
two young students, who, instead of attending 
to their studies, gave themselves up to excesses 
and dissipation. One night, having gone to the 
house of a woman of ill fame, one of them, nam 
ed Richard, after some time returned home, but 
the other remained. Richard having gone home 
was undressing to go to rest, when he remember 
ed that he had not recited that day, as usual, 
Borne "Hail Marys." He was oppressed with 
sleep and very weary, yet he roftsed himself and 
recited them, although without devotion, and 
only half awake. He then went to bed, and hav 
ing just fallen asleep, he heard a loud knocking 
at the door, and immediately after, before he 
had time to open it, he saw before him his com 
panion, with a hideous and ghastly appearance. 
"Who are you?" he said to him. "Do you not 

* Si judex servum suum damnare voluerit, per maims tuas pii- 
simas, O Maria, hoc faciat. Hor. Sap. 1. 1, c. Id. 
t In te, Domiiia, speravi, non conf indar iu ceternum. In PsaL 


kno^vme?" answered the other. "But what has 
so changed you? you seem like a demon." "Alas!" 
exclaimed this poor wretch, "I am damned." 
"And how is this?" "Know," he said, "that 
when I came out of that infamous house, a devil 
attacked me and strangled me. My body lies 
in the middle of the street, and my soul is in hell. 
Know that my punishment would also have been 
yours, but the blessed Virgin, on account ofthose 
few Hail Marys said in her honor, has saved you. 
Happy will it be for you, if you know how to 
avail yourself of this warning, that the mother 
of God sends you through me." After these 
words he opened his cloak, showed the fire and 
serpents that were consuming him, and then 
disappeared. Then the youth, bursting into a 
flood of tears, threw himself with his face on 
the ground, to thank Mary, his deliverer, and 
while he was revolving in his mind a change of 
life, he hears the matin bell of a neighboring 
Franciscan Monastery. "It is there," he ex 
claimed, "that God calls me to do penance." 
He went immediately to the convent to beg the 
fathers to receive him. Knowing how bad his 
life had been, they objected. But after he had 
related the circumstance which had brought him. 
there, weeping bitterly all the while, two of the 
fathers went out to search in the street, and ac 
tually found there the dead body of his com 
panion, having the marks of strangulation, and 
black as a coal. Whereupon the young man was 
received. Richard from that time led an exem- 


plary life. He went into India to preach the 
faith; from thence passed to Japan, and finally 
had the good fortune and received the grace of 
dying a martyr for Jesus Christ, hy being burn 
ed alive.* 


Oh Mary!. oh my most dear mother! in what an 
abyss of evil I should find myself, if thou, with 
thy kind hand, hadst not so often preserved me! 
Yea, how many years should I already have 
been in hell, if thou, with thy powerful prayers, 
hadst not rescued me! My grievous sins were 
hurrying me there; divine justice had already 
condemned me; the raging demons were waiting 
to execute the sentence ; but thou didst appear, oh 
mother, not invoked nor asked by me, and hast 
saved me. Oh my dear deliverer, what return 
can I make thee for so much grace and so much 
love? Thou hast overcome the hardness of my 
heart, and hast drawn me to love thee and con 
fide in thee. And oh, into what an abyss of 
evils I afterwards should have fallen, if thou, 
with thy kind hand, hadst not so many timei 
protected me from the dangers into which I was 
on the brink of falling! Continue, oli my hope, 
continue to save me from hell, but first of all 
from the sins into which I might again fall. 
Do not permit that I shall have to curse thee in 
hell. My beloved Lady, I love thee, and how 
an thy goodness endure to see one of thy eer- 

* P. Alt Andrada de Bapt. Vlrg. 


rants who loves thee, lost? Ah, obtain for me 
the grace to be no longer ungrateful to thee and 
to my God, who for love of thee hath granted 
me so many favors. Oh Mary, what dost thou 
gay to me? Shall I be lost? I shall be lost if I 
leave thee. But who will any more venture to 
forsake thee? Shall I ever forget thy love for 
me? Thou, after God, art the love of my soul. 
I dare live no longer without loving thee. I 
bless thee! I love thee! and I hope that I shall al 
ways love thee in time and in eternity, oh creat 
ure most beautiful! most holy! most sweet! 
most amiable of all creatures in this world! 


Too happy are the servants of this most kind 
mother, since not only in this world they are 
aided by her, but also in purgatory they are 
assisted and consbled by her protection. For 
succor being there more needed, because they 
are in torment and cannot help themselves, so 
much the more does this mother of mercy strive 
to help them. St. Bernardine of Sienna says, 
that in that prison of souls who are spouses of 
Jesus Christ, Mary has a certain dominion and 
plenitude of power to relieve them, as well as 
deliver them from their pains.* 

* Beat* Virgo in regno pnrgatorii dominlum habet. Berax I, 48 
Horn. Mar. a 1, c. 3. 


And, in the first place, as to relieving them, 
the same saint, applying the words of Ecclesia8 
ticus: I have walked in the waves of the sea: 
"In fluctibus maris ambulavi," * adds, visiting 
and relieving the necessities and sufferings of 
my servants, who are my child ren.f St. Ber- 
nardine says, that the pains of purgatory are 
called waves, because they are transitory, unlike 
the pains of hell, which never end: and they are 
called waves of the sea, because they are very 
bitter pains. The servants of Mary tormented 
by those pains are often visited and succored by 
her. See, then, how important it is, says 
Novarino, to be a servant of this good Lady; 
for she never forgets such when they are suffer 
ing in those flames. And although Mary succors 
all the souls in purgatory, yet she always obtains 
more indulgences and alleviations for those who 
have been especially devoted to her.J 

This divine mother, in her revelations to St. 
Bridget, said: "I am the mother of all the soula 
in purgatory; and all the sufferings which they 
merit for the sins committed in life are every 
hour, while they remain there, alleviated in some 
measure by my prayers." This kind mother 

* Cap. xxiv. v. 8. 

t Scilicet visitans et subveniens necessitatibus et tormentis dc- 
votorum meorum quia filii sunt. Serm. 3, de Nom. Mar. a. 1, o. 8. 

J Vide quam referat Virginem colere, cum cultorum suorum im 
purgatorii flammis existentium non obliviscatur. Et licet omnibus 
opem et refrigerium ferat, id tamen praecipue erga suos praestat. 
Nov. Vlrg. Umb. c. 15, exc. 86. 

Ego mater omnium qui sunt in purgatorio, quia omnes poense, 
quse debentur iltis pro peccatis suis, in qualibet hora propter 
mas quodammodo mitigantur. L. 4. Rev. c. 132. 


sometimes condescends even to enter into thai 
holy prison, to visit and console these her afflict 
ed children. I have penetrated into the bottom 
of the deep: "Profundum abyssi penetravi," as 
we read in Ecclesiasticus;* and St. Bonaventure, 
applying these words, adds: I have penetrated 
the depth of this abyss, that is, of purgatory, to 
relieve by my presence those holy souls.f Oh, 
how kind and beneficent is the holy Virgin to 
those who are suffering in purgatory! says St. 
Vincent Ferrer; through her they receive con 
tinual consolation and refreshment.;); 

And what other consolation have they in their 
sufferings than Mary, and the help of this moth 
er of mercy? St. Bridget one day heard Jesus 
saying to his mother: "Thou art my mother, 
thou art the mother of mercy, thou art the 
consoler of those who are in purgatory. " And 
the blessed Virgin herself said to St. Bridget, 
that as a poor sick person, suffering and desert 
ed on his bed, feels himself refreshed by some 
word of consolation, so those souls feel them 
selves consoled in hearing only her name.] The 
name alone of Mary, a name of hope and salva- 

* Cap. xxiv. 8. 

t Abysei, idest purgatorH, adjuvans lllas sanctas animas. 
$ Maria bona, existentibus in purgatorio; quiaper earn habentsuf- 
fragium. Ser. 2, de Nat. 

| Tu es mater mea, tu mater mieericordiae, tu consolatio eorum, qui 
unt in purgatorio. Lib. 1, Rev. 19. 

I Qui eunt in purgatorio gaudent, nomine meo audito, quemad- 
modum eager jacens in lecto, cum audit verbnm solatii. Ap. B. 
Cant. 1. 3, de Laud. V. 


tion, which these beloved children often invoke 
in that prison, is for them a great comfort. 
But, then, says Novarino, the loving mother, 
on hearing herself invoked by them, adds her 
prayers to God, by which these souls receive 
comfort, and find their burning pains cooled aa 
if by dew from heaven.* 

But not only does Mary console and succor 
her servants in purgatory; she also releases 
them from this prison, and delivers them by her 
intercession. From the day of her glorious 
assumption, in which that prison is said to have 
been emptied, f as Gerson writes; and Novarino 
confirms this by saying, that many weighty 
authors relate that Mary, when about to ascend 
to paradise, asked this favor of her Son, that 
she might take with her all the souls that were 
then in purgatory ;J from that time, says Gerson, 
the blessed Virgin has possessed the privilege 
of freeing her servants from those pains. And 
this also is positively asserted by St. Bernar- 
dine, who says that the blessed Virgin has the 
power of delivering souls from purgatory by 
her prayers and the application of her merits, 
especially if they have been devoted to her. 

* Virginis nomen illarum pcenarnm refrigerium est; addlt Virgo 
preces quibus veluti eupero quodam rore cruciatus illi magni miti- 
gantur. Nov. cit. c. 15, exc. 86. 

t Totum purgatorium fuiyee evacuatum. 

$ Perunt quippe bonae notae auctoreg, Virginem in ccelum ituram a 
fllio hoc petiisse, ut omnes animas quse detinebantnr in purgatorio, 
ecum ad gloriam ducere posset. Cit. Ere. 86. 

Ab his torraentia liberat beata Virgo, maxime derotos saoa. 
i. 3. de Noin. Mar. a. 8, c. 3. 


And Novarino says the same thing, believing 
that by the merits of Mary, not only the 
torments of these souls are assuaged, but also 
abridged, the time of their purgation being 
shortened by her intercession:* and for this it 
is enough that she presents herself to pray for 

St. Peter Damian relates,f that a certain lady, 
named Marozia, after death, appeared to her god 
mother, and told her that on the day of the As 
sumption of Mary she had been released by her 
from purgatory, with a multitude of souls ex 
ceeding in number the whole population of 
Rome. St. Denis the Carthusian relates, that 
on the festivals of the birth and resurrection of 
Jesus Christ, Mary descends into purgatory, ac 
companied by troops of angels, and releases 
many souls from their torments.^ And Nova 
rino believes that the same thing happens on 
every solemn festival of the holy Virgin. 

Every one has heard of the promise made by 
Mary to Pope John, to whom she appeared, and 

* Crediderim omnibus qui in flammis purgantur, Marise mentis 
non solum leviores f uisse redditas illas poenas, sed et breviores; adee 
ut cruciatuum ternpus coutractum Virginis ope illius sit. Cit. Exc. 86. 

t Lib. 3, Ep. 10 et in ord. 50. 

$ Beatii?i?irna Virgo singulis in annis festivitate nativitatis Christ! 
ad purgatorii loca cum multitudine angelornm descendit, et multas 
Inde animas cripit. Etiam in nocte dominiae resurrectionis solet 
descendere ad purgatorinm pro eductione animarum. Cart Serm. 
S, de Aff. 

Facile autem crediderim in quocumqne Virginia soleainl festo 
plures animas ab iliis poenis tsiiui. In loc. cit. 


ordered him to make known to all those who 
should wear the sacred scapular of Carmel, that 
on the Saturday after their death they should be 
released from purgatory. And this was proclaim 
ed by the same pontiff, as Father Crasset re 
lates,* in a bull which he published. It was 
also confirmed by Alexander V., Clement VIL, 
Pius V., Gregory XIII. , and Paul V., who, in 
1612, in a bull said: "That Christians may pious 
ly believe that the blessed Virgin will aid 
by her continual intercession, by her merits and 
special protection, after death, and principally 
on Saturday, which is a day consecrated by the 
Church to the blessed Virgin, the souls of the 
members of the confraternity of holy Mary of 
Mount Carmel, who shall have departed this 
life in the state of grace, worn the scapular, ob 
serving chastity according to their state of life, 
recited the office of the Virgin, and if they have 
not been able to recite it, shall have observed 
the fasts of the Church, abstaining from flesh- 
meat on Wednesdays, except on Christmas-day." 
And in the solemn office of the feast of holy 
Mary of Mount Carmel, we read that it is pious 
ly believed, that the holy Virgin, with a moth 
er s love consoles the members of the confrater 
nity of Mount Carmel in purgatory, and by her 
intercession conducts them to their heavenly 

* Tom. 2, Div. d. B. Virg. tr. 6, prat. 4. 

t Materno plane affectu, dum igne purgatonl expiantur, eolari, ac 
in coelestem patriam obtentu suo quantocius pie creditor afferre. In 
*> 8. Mar. de M. Csrm. 16, Jul. 


Why should we not also hope for the same 
graces and favors, if we are devoted to this 
good mother? And if with more special love 
we serve her, why cannot we hope to obtain the 
grace of going immediately after death to para 
dise, without entering into purgatory? as we 
read that the holy Virgin said to the blessed 
Godfrey, through brother Abondo, in these 
words: "Go and tell brother Godfrey to advance 
in virtue, for thus he will be a child of my Son, 
and mine also; and when his soul quits the body, 
I will not permit it to go to purgatory, but I 
will take it and present it to my Son."* And if 
we would assist the holy souls in purgatory, let 
us endeavor to remember tliem in all our pray 
ers to the blessed Virgin, applying to them es 
pecially the holy rosary, which procures for 
them great relief, as we read in the following ex* 


Father Eusebius Nierembergh relates,! that 
there lived in the city of Aragona a girl, named 
Alexandra who, being noble and very beautiful, 
was greatly loved by two young men. Through 
jealousy, they one day fought and killed each 
other. Their enraged relatives, in return, killed 
the poor young girl, as the cause of so much 
trouble, cut off her head, and threw her into a 
well. A few days after, St. Dominic was pass 
ing through that place, and, inspired by the 

* In lib. de Gest. Vir. ill. Sol. Villar. 
t Troph. Marian. 1. 4, c. 29. 


Lord, approached the well, and said: "Alexan 
dra, come forth," and immediately the head of 
the deceased came forth, placed itself on the 
edge of the well, and prayed St. Dominic to hear 
its confession. The saint heard its confession, 
and also gave it communion, in presence of a 
great concourse of persons who had assembled to 
to witness the miracle. Then, St. Dominic or 
dered her to speak and tell why she had receiv 
ed that grace. Alexandra answered, that when 
she was beheaded, she was in a state of mortal 
sin, but that the most holy Mary, on account of 
the rosary, which she was in the habit of recit 
ing, had preserved her in life. Two days the 
head retained its life upon the edge of the well, 
in the presence of all, and then the soul went to 
purgatory. But fifteen days after, the soul of 
Alexandra appeared to St. Dominic, beautiful 
and radiant as a star, and told him, that one of 
the principal sources of relief to the souls in pur 
gatory is the rosary which is recited for them; 
and that, as soon as they arrive in paradise, they 
pray for those who apply to them these power 
ful prayers. Having said this, St. Dominic saw 
that happy soul ascending in triumph to the 
kingdom of the blessed. 


Oh Queen of heaven and of earth, oh mother 
of the Lord of the world, oh Mary, creature most 
great, most exalted, most amiable, it is true that 
many on the earth do not love thee and do not 


know tnee; but there are innumerable angels and 
saints iu heaven who love and praise thee con 
tinually. On this earth, too, how many souls 
burn with love of thee, and live enamored of thy 
goodness 1 Ah, if I, too, might love tnee, my 
most lovely Lady! Oh, that I might always be 
engaged in serving thee, in praising thee, in 
honoring thee, and in striving to awak 
en love of thee in others. A God hath been 
enamored of thee, who, by thy beauty, if 
I may so speak, hast drawn him from the bo 
som of the eternal Father, to come upon the earth 
and become man and thy Son; and I, a miserable 
worm, shall I not be enamored of thee? Yes, 
my most sweet mother, I also will love thee, 
love thee much, and do all in my power to make 
thee loved by others. Accept, then, oh Mary, 
the desire I have to love thee, and help me to 
fulfil it: I know that thy lovers are regarded 
with much favor by thy God. Next to his own 
glory, he desires nothing more than thy glory, 
in seeing thee honored and loved by all. From 
thee, oh Lady, I await all my blessings. Thou 
must obtain the pardon of all my sins, thou must 
obtain for me perseverance, succor in death, de 
liverance from purgatory, in a word, thou must 
conduct me to paradise. All this thy lovers 
hope from thee, and they are not deceived. This 
I also hope, who love thee with all my heart, and 
above all things next to God, 




OH, what a signal inark of predestination have 
the servants of Mary! The holy Church ap 
plies to this divine mother the words of Ecole- 
siasticus, and makes her say for the comfort of 
her servants: "In all these I sought rest, and 
I shall abide in the inheritance of the Lord."* 
Cardinal Hugo, commenting on this, remarks; 
Blessed is lie in whose habitation the holy Vir 
gin found rest : "Beatus in cujus domo beatae 
Virgo requiem invenerit." Mary, through the 
love she bears to all, seeks to make devotion to 
her prevail in all hearts. Many do not receive 
it or do not preserve it; blessed is he who receives 
it and preserves it. In the inheritance of the 
Lord will I abide ; that is, adds the learned Pa- 
ciucchelli, in those who are the inheritance of 
the Lord.f Devotion to the Virgin abides in all 
those who are the inheritance of the Lord, that 
is, who will be in heaven praising him eternally. 
Mary continues in the passage above cited : 
"He that made me, rested in my tabernacle, and 
he said to me : Let thy dwelling be in Jacob, 
and thy inheritance in Israel, and take root in 
my elect "J My Creator has condescended to 

* In omnibus requiem quwsivt, et lu hereditate Dom.iii moraoor. 
Cap. xxiv. 11. 

t Et in hcereditate Domini morabor. idest in illis qui sunt haeredita* 

$ Qoi crcavit me, requievit in taberoacoAo meo; et dixit mini, to 


come and rest in my bosom, and has willed 
that I should inhabit in the hearts of all the 
elect, whom Jacob prefigured, and who are the 
inheritance of the Virgin; and he has ordained 
that devotion to me and confidence in me should 
take root in the hearts of the elect. 

Oh, how many would have failed of being 
among the blessed in heaven, if Mary, by her pow 
erful intercession, had not conducted them thith 
er! "I made that in the heavens there should 
rise light that never faileth;"* thus Cardinal 
Hugo putsinto her mouth these words of the same 
chapter of Ecclesiasticus: I have made to shine 
in heaven as many eternal lights as I have de 
voted servants. Whence the same author adds, 
commenting on this text: Many saints are in 
heaven by her intercession, whenever would have 
been there without it.f St Bonaventure says, 
that the gate of heaven will be opened to re 
ceive all those who trust in the protection of 
Mary.J Hence St. Ephrem called devotion to 
the divine mother the opening of paradise. 
And the devout Blosius, addressing the Virgin, 
says to her: Lady, to thee are committed the 
keys and the treasure of the heavenly kingdom. 

Jacob Inhabits, et In Israel heereditare, et In electta eis mitt* 

* Ego feci in ccelis, ut oriretur lumen indeficiens. Cap. xxiv. v. 6. 

t Mnlti sancti sunt in coelis, intercessione ejus, qui nunquam, ibi 
f oissent nisi per earn. 

$ Qui speraverit in ilia, porta coeli reserabitur ei. 

Reseramentum ccelestis Jerusalem. Orat. de Laud. Vifg. 


And, therefore, we should continually suppli 
cate her in the words of St. Ambrose: Open to 
us, oh Virgin, heaven, for thou hast the keys of 
it.f Nay, thou art even the gate of it, as the 
holy Church names thee, "Janua cceli." 

For this reason the great mother is also call 
ed by the holy Church: Star of the sea: "Ave, 
Maris Stella." For as navigators, says the 
angelic St. Thomas, are guided to port by means 
of a star, thus Christians are guided to heaven 
by means of Mary.J 

She is for this reason, finally, called by St. 
Peter Damian, the ladder of heaven: "Scala 
ccelestis;" for, as the saint says, by means of 
Mary, God has descended from heaven to earth, 
that by the same, or by her, men might merit 
to ascend from earth to heaven. And for 
this reason, oh Lady, says St. Anastasius, thou 
art full of grace, that thou mightest be made 
the way of our salvation, and the ascent to the 
celestial country. || St. Bernard calls the bless 
ed Virgin: The vehicle to heaven: "Vehiculum 
ad co3lum." And St. John the Geometrician 

* Tibi regni coelestis claves thesaurique commissl sunt. Cimel. 
Endol. 1. 

t Aperi noois, O Yirgo, coeium, cujus claves habes. 

$ Dicitur steila maris. quia sicut navigantes ad portum diriguntu* 
per stellam maris, ita Christian! diriguntur ad gloriam per Mariana. 
Opusc. 8. 

| Scala eoelestis, quia per ipsam Dens descendit ad terrain, ut pel 
ipsam homines mererentur ascendere ad ccelnm. 

I Ave gratia plena, quod facta sis salntia via, ascensusque ad sa< 
Serin. 1, de Anuunc. 


salutes her: Hail, most noble chariot: "Salve cla- 
rissime currus;" by which her servants are con 
ducted to heaven. And, St Bonaventure address 
es her thus: Blessed are those who know thee, 
oh mother of God! for to know thee is the path 
to immortal life, and to publish thy virtues is 
the way to eternal salvation.* 

In the Franciscan chroniclesf it is related of 
brother Leo, that he once saw a red ladder, up 
on which Jesus Christ was standing, and a white 
one, upon which stood his holy mother. He 
saw persons attempting to ascend the red ladder; 
they ascended a few steps and then fell; they 
ascended again, and again fell. Then they were 
exhorted to ascend the white ladder, and on that 
he saw them succeed, for the blessed Virgin 
offered them her hand, and they arrived in that 
manner safe in paradise. St. Denis the Carthu 
sian asks: Who will ever be saved? Who will 
ever reign in heaven? They are saved, and will 
certainly reign, he himself answers, for whom 
this queen of mercy offers her prayers.]; And 
this Mary herself affirms: By me kings reign: 
"Per me reges regnant." Through my inter 
cession souls reign first in the mortal life on this 
earth, by governing their passions, and then they 
go to reign eternally in heaven, where, as St. 

* Sclre et cognoscere te, O Virgo Deipai-a, est via immortalitatia; 
et narrare virtutes tuas est via salutis. In Fsal. Ixxxv. 

t P. 1, t. 1, c. 35. 

$ Quis salvatur? quis regnat IE cceio? ill! cant, pro quibus regta* 
misericordise mterpellat. 

i Prov. viii. J& 


Augustine declares, all are kings: "Quot ct 
tot reges." Mary, in a word, as Richard of St. 
Laurence says, is the mistress of paradise, since 
there she commands according to her pleasure, 
and introduces into it whom she will. Therefore, 
applying to her the words of Ecclesiasticus, ho 
adds: "My power is in Jerusalem:"* I command 
what I will, and introduce whom I will.f And 
as she is the mother of the Lord of paradise, she 
is with reason, also, says Rupert, the Lady of 
paradise. She possesses, by right, the whole 
kingdom of her Son.J 

This divine mother, with her powerful prayers 
and assistance, has obtained for us paradise, if 
we place no obstacle to our entrance there. 
Wherefore those who are servants of Mary, and 
for whom Mary intercedes, are as secure of par 
adise as if they were already there. J To serve 
Mary and to belong to her court, adds St. John 
of Damascus, is the greatest honor we can attain; 
for to serve the queen of heaven is to reign al 
ready in heaven, and to live in obedience to her 
commands is more than to reign.T On the 

* In Jerusalem potestas mea. C. 24, 25. 

f Imperando scilicet quod volo, et quos volo, introdncencta. Rtott. 
1. 4, de. L. V. 

$ Totum jure possidet fllii regnum. L. 3, in Cant. 4. 

Coeleete nobis regnum sno interventu, auxiliis, et preclho* to- 
petravit. St. Antoninus, p. 4, tit. 15, c. 2, s. 1. 

I Qui Virgini famulatur, ita securus est de paradiso ac si eet ifi 
paradise. Guerricus Abbas. 

^ Summus honor servire Marias, et de ejus esse familia. 
i servire regnare eet, est ejus agi f roenls plnsquam regwaa. D ; 


other hand, he says that those who do not serve 
Mary will not be saved; whilst those who are 
deprived of the support of this great mother, are 
deprived of the succor of the Son, and of all the 
celestial court.* 

Forever praised be the infinite goodness of 
our God who has constituted Mary our advocate 
in heaven, that she, as mother of the judge and 
mother of mercy may efficaciously by her 
intercession, order the great aif air of our eter 
nal salvation. This sentiment is taken from St. 
Bernard. f And James the Monk, esteemed a 
doctor among the Greek fathers, says that God 
has made Mary a bridge of salvation, by which 
we are enabled to pass over the waves of this 
world, and reach the blessed port of paradise. J 
Hence St. Bonaventure exclaims: Hear, oh ye 
people who desire paradise; serve and honor 
Mary, and you will certainly find life eternal. 

Not even those who deserve hell should de 
spair of attaining the kingdom of the blessed, 
if they faithfully devote themselves to the ser 
vice of this queen. Sinners, says St. Germanus, 

* Gens quse non servierit illi, peribit. Gentes destitutes tantae matris 
auxilio, destituuntur auxilio Filii, et totius curite coelestis. Exc. 
Virg. c. 9. 

t Advocatam promisit peregrinatio nostra, quse tanqnam judioLs 
mater, et mater misericordiae. suppliciter et efflcaciter salutis nostrae 
negotia pertractabit. Serm. 1, de Assump. 

% Earn tu pontem fecisti, quo a mundi fluctibus trajiciens, ad 
tranquillum portnra tuum deveniamus. Orat. in Nat. Deip. 

Audite, gentes, qui cupitis regnum Dei, Virginem Mariana honor- 
ate et invenietis vitam etwnam. in Psalt. Vir. 


have sought to find God by thy means, oh Mary t 
and have been saved!* Richard of St. Lau^ 
rence remarks that Mary is said by St. John to 
be crowned with stars. f On the other hand, in 
the sacred Canticles, the Virgin is said to be 
crowned with wild beaste, lions and panthers: 
"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."]; What does this signify? Richard 
answers that those wild beasts are those sinners, 
who, through the favor and intercession of Mary, 
have become stars of paradise, which are a 
crown more worthy of this queen of mercy, 
than all the material stars of heaven. The 
servant of the Lord, sister Seraphina da Capri, 
as we read in her life, in her prayes to the most 
holy Virgin during the Novena of her assump 
tion, asked of her the conversion of a thousand 
sinners; but as she feared that her demands 
were too extravagant, the Virgin appeared to 
her, and reproved her for this her vain fear, 
saying to her: "Why do you fear? am I not 
powerful enough to obtain for thee from my 
Son the salvation of a thousand sinners? Be 
hold them, I have already obtained it." She 

* Peccatores per te, Deum exquisierunt et salvi facti aunt. Serm. 
de Dorm. Deip. 

t Et in capite ejus corona stellarum dnodecim. Apoc xii. 1. 

$ Veni de Libano, sponsa mea, veni de Libano, veni coronaberls 
de cubilibus leonum, de montibus pardorum. Cant. iv. 8. 

Et quid est hoc? nisi quia ferse per gratiam et orationes Marise 
sent atellce, qua conveniunt tanfee regies. De Laud. Virg. cap. & 


showed her the soul of innumerable sinners who 
had merited hell, and had afterwards been 
saved by her intercession, and were already 
enjoying eternal bliss. 

It is true that in this life no one can be cer 
tain of his eternal salvation: "Man knowethnot 
whether he be worthy of love or hatred, but all 
things are kept uncertain for the time to come."* 
David asked of God : Oh Lord, who will be sav 
ed? "Who shall dwell in thy tabernacle?"f St. 
Bonaventure, writing on these words, answers: 
Oh sinners, let us follow the footsteps of Mary, 
and cast ourselves at her blessed feet, and let us 
not leave her until she blesses us, for her bless 
ing will secure to us paradise. J It is enough, oh 
Lady, says St. Anselm, that thou dost wish to 
save us, for then we cannot but be saved. St. 
Antoninus adds, that souls protected by Mary are 
necessarily saved; those upon whom she turns 
her eyes are necessarily justified and glorified, jj 

With reason, says St. Ildephonsus, the most 
holy Virgin predicted that all generations would 
call her blessed ;*f for all the elect by means of 

* Xeecit homo utrura odio yel amore dlgnns sit. Bed 
faturum servantur iucerta. Eccli. ix. 1, 2. 

t Dotnine qnis habitabit in tabernaculo tuof PsaU xiv. 1. 

$ Amplectamur Mariee vestigia, peccatores, et ejus beatis pedibm 
pcrvolvamur Tuneamus earn fortiter, nee dimittamas, donee ab ea 
jnereamnr benedici. 

Tantummodo velis salutem nostram, et vere nequaquam 
ease non poterirnus. De Exc. Vlrg. c. 11. 

! Neceesarium est quod hi ad quos convertit (Maria) ocniof I 
JttBtificentur. et glorificentur. P. 4, tit. 55. 

^ Beatam me dicent omnes generationea Lnc. i, 46, 


Mary obtain eternal blessedness.* Thou, oh 
great mother, art the beginning, the middle, and 
the end of our felicity, says St. Methodius.f- 
The beginning, because Mary obtains for us the 
pardon of our sins; the middle, because she ob 
tains for us perseverance in divine grace; the end, 
because she finally obtains for us paradise. By 
thee, St. Bernard continues, heaven has been 
opened by thee hell has been emptied by thee 
paradise has been restored by thee, in a word, 
eternal life has been given to many sinners who 
have merited eternal death.J 

But above all, we should be encouraged in the 
certain hope of paradise, by the rich promise 
which Mary has herself made to those who hon 
or her, and especially to those who, by their 
words and their example, strive to make 
her known and honored among others: 
* They that work by me shall not sin; they that 
explain me shall have life everlasting."! Oh 
happy, then, are they, says St. Bonaventure, who 
gain the favor of Mary! they will be welcomed 
by the blessed as being already their compan 
ions; and whosoever bears the seal of a servant 

* Beata Jure dicltnr, quia omnes ex ea beatiflcantur. Senn. 3, de 

tTu felicltatis nostree principium, medium et finis. Serm. iu 

$ Per te coelum apertum est, infernus evacuatus, instaurata ccelestii 
Jerusalem, miseris damnationem expectantibus vita data est. Serm. 
4, de Aff. Virg. 

Qui opera bunt in me, non peccabunt. Qui elucidant me, yitam 
>! habfcbunt. Eccli. xxiv. 30, 31 . 


of Mary, has his name already written in the 
book of life.* Of what avail is it, then, to trou 
ble ourselves with the opinions of the school 
men, on the question, whether predestination to 
glory precedes or follows the foreknowledge of 
merits? Whether or not our names are written 
in the book of life? If we are true servants of 
Mary and obtain her protection, we certainly are 
written there; for, as St. John of Damascus says, 
God gives the grace of devotion to his holy moth 
er only to those whom he will save ; in conformity 
with this, as the Lord seems to have declared 
expressly through St. John: "He that shall over 
come, I will write upon him the name of my 
God, and the name of the city of my God." f 
And who is this city of God but Mary? as St. 
Gregory explains, commenting on this passage 
of David: "Glorious things are said of thee, oh 
city of God."! 

We may, then, well say with St. Paul: "Hav 
ing this seal, the Lord knoweth who are his." 
Whosoever carries the seal of a servant of Mary, 
is acknowledged by God as his own. We read 
in St. Bernard, that devotion to the mother of 
God is the most certain sign that we shall obtain 

* Qui acquirnnt gratiam Mariae, agnoscentnr a civibns paradi8i et 
qui babuerit caracterem ejua, adnotabitur in libro vine. In Spec. 

t Qui vicerit .... scribam super eum nomen Dei mei, et nomen 
civitatis Dei mei. Apoc. iii. 12. 

t Gloriosa dicta eunt de te, civitas Dei. Psal. Ixxxvi. 3. 
Habens signaculum hoc, cognovit Dominus qui sunt ejvu. Tim. 


eternal salvation.* And the blessed Alarms, 
speaking of the "Hail Mary," says that he who 
often invokes the Virgin with this angelical 
salutation, has a very certain sign of predesti 
nation.! And again he says of perseverance in 
the daily recitation of the holy rosary: Let it 
be to thee a most probable sign of eternal salva 
tion, if thou dost perseveringly honor the blessed 
Virgin by daily reciting her rosary.J Father 
Kierembergh still further remarks, that the ser 
vants of the mother of God not only are more 
privileged and favored in this world, but also in 
heaven will be more especially honored. And 
he adds, that in heaven they will have a peculiar 
ly rich device and livery, by which they will be 
known as servants of the queen of heaven and as 
the people of her court, according to those words 
of Proverbs: "All her domestics are clothed with 
double garments." 

St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi saw a small vessel 
in the midst of the sea, in which all the servants 
of Mary had taken shelter; she herself steering 
it, safely conducted them to port. By this the 
saint understood that they who live under the 
protection of Mary, are rescued , in the midst of 

* Certiesimum est signum salutis seternse consequendae. 

t Habentes devotionem hnnc, signum eet pnedestinationis per- 
magnum ad gloriam. P. 2, Eos. c. 11. 

$ Signum sit tibi probabilissimum aeternae salutis, si perseveranter 
in die beatam virginem in Pealterio salutaveris. P. 44, de Psalt. 
. 44. 

| Omnes domestic! ejus vestiti aunt dupiicibus. zzxl 81. 


all the dangers of this life, from the shipwreck 
of sin, and from damnation, for by her they are 
guided in safety to the port of paradise. Let us, 
then, strive to enter this blessed little vessel of 
the mantle of Mary, and there let us dwell secure 
of the kingdom of heaven; for the Church sings, 
"Holy mother of God, all those who are to be 
partakers of eternal joy dwell with thee, and 
live under thy protection."* 


Oesarius relates, f that a certain Cistercian 
monk, who was a devoted servant of our bless 
ed Lady, desired very earnestly a visit from his 
dear Lady, and was praying her continually to 
grant him this favor. He went one night into 
the garden, and while he stood there looking 
up to heaven, breathing forth to his queen in 
ardent sighs his desire to see her, a beautiful 
and radiant virgin descended, and said to him: 
Thomas, wouldst thou like to hear me sing?" 
"Certainly," he answered, and then she sang so 
weetly that it seemed to the devout religious 
that he was in paradise. Having finished her 
song, she disappeared, -leaving him absorbed 
with an ardent desire to know who it could 
have been; and, soon after, another extremely 
beautiful virgin appeared to him, who, like the 
rst, allowed him the pleasure of hearing her 

totttttitsm omnium habitetto e*t to te, sancti Del genltrix. 
* LiW. :, Hal. c. & 


sing. He could not refrain from asking this one 
who she was, and the virgin answered : <k She 
whom you saw a little while ago was Cather 
ine, and I am Agnes, both martyrs for Jesus 
Christ, sent by our Lady to console you. Give 
thanks to Mary, and prepare for a greater favor." 
Having said this she disappeared, but left the re 
ligious with a greater hope of finally seeing his 
queen. Nor was he deceived, for shortly after he 
saw a great light and felt a new joy flowing into 
his heart, for in the midst of that light the moth 
er of God appeared to him surrounded by angels, 
and of a beauty far surpassing that of the other 
two saints who had appeared to him. She said 
to him: "My dear servant and son, I have been 
pleased with the devotion which you have of 
fered me, and have graciously heard your pray 
ers: you have desired to see me; look on me, and 
I will also sing to you." Then the most holy Vir 
gin began to sing with so great sweetness, that 
the devout religious lost his senses, and fell with 
his face upon the ground. The matin-bell sound 
ed, the monks assembled, and not seeing Thom 
as, searched for him in his cell and other parts 
of the convent, and at last going into the garden 
they found him there, apparently lifeless. The 
superior comanded him to tell what had befallen 
him. And coming to himself, by the power of 
obedience, he related all the favors which thedi- 
Tine mother had bestowed upon him. 



Oh queen of paradise! mother of holy 
love! for thou art of all creatures the most love 
ly, the most beloved of God and his first lover; 
ah, suffer the vilest and most ungrateful sinner 
on the earth to love thee, who sees himself re 
leased from hell by thy intercession, and with 
out any merit of his own so blessed by thee, that 
he is enamored of thy goodness. I would wish 
if I could, to make known to all men who do 
not know thee, how worthy thou art to be loved, 
that all might love and honor thee. I would 
willingly die for love of thee, in defending thy 
virginity, thy dignity as mother of God, 
and thy immaculate conception; if it 
were ever needful for me to die in de 
fence of these thy great privileges. Oh my 
most beloved mother, graciously accept this my 
affection, and do not permit that one of tky ser 
vants, who loves thee, should ever become an en 
emy of thy God, whom thou lovest so much. 
Ah, unhappy me, such once was I when I offend 
ed my Lord. But then, oh Mary, I did not 
love thee, and I sought little to be loved by thee. 
Now, after the grace of God, I desire nothing 
else than but to love thee, and to be loved by thee. 
I do not despair of this on account of my past 
offences, for I know that thou, oh most benign 
and grateful Lady, dost not disdain to love 
even the most miserable sinners who love thee, 
"ever dost allow thyself to be outdone in 


love by any one. Ob most lovely queen, I wish 
to go to thee in paradise, there to love thee. 
There, at thy feet, I shall better know how 
amiable thou art, and how much thou hast done 
to save me; therefore I shall love thee there with 
greater love, and shall love thee eternally, with 
out the fear that I shall ever cease to love thee. 
Oh Mary, I have the certain hope of being 
saved through thee. Pray to Jesus for me. I 
have no other wish. It is thine to save me; thou 
art my hope. I will always exclaim, Oh Mary, 
my hope, thou must save me. 



Oh clement! Oh mercifull 

ST. BERNARD, speaking of the great mercy of 
Mary for us poor sinners, says that she is the 
very Land promised by God, flowing with 
milk and honey.* St. Leo says, that to the Vir 
gin has been given such bowels of compassion, 
that she not only merits to be called merciful, 
but should be called mercy itself. f And St. Bo- 
naventure, considering that Mary was made the 
mother of God for the sake of us sinners, and 

* Terra repromissionis Maria lacte et melle manans. Serin, snp. 
Salv. Reg. 

t Maria adeo praedita est miscricordiae vteceribns ut non tamea 
natsericors, Bed ipsa misericordia dici promereatur. Serm. 1. de Sat 


that to her was committed the charge of dispens 
ing mercies; and considering, moreover, the 
great care she has for all those in misery, which 
renders her so rich in compassion, that she ap 
pears to desire nothing else than to relieve the ne 
cessitous, says, that when he looked on Mary, it 
seemed to him that he no longer beheld the di 
vine justice, but only the divine mercy with 
which Mary is filled.* 

In a word, the mercy of Mary is so great, 
that as Guerric the Abbot says: Her bowels of 
love can never for a moment cease to bring 
forth for us the fruits of mercy. f And what, 
exclaims St. Bernard, can flow but mercy 
from a fountain of mercy? "Quid de fonte pie- 
tatis nisi pietas?"J For this reason Mary was 
called the olive-tree: As a fair olive-tree in the 
plains: "Quasi oliva speciosa in campis." For, 
as the olive-tree produces nothing but oil, the 
symbol of mercy, thus from the hands of Mary 
nothing but graces and mercies proceed. Hence, 
justly, says the venerable Louis da Ponte, is 
Mary called the mother of oil, since she is the 
mother of mercy.] If, then, we have recourse 
to this mother, and ask of her the oil of her 
mercy, we cannot fear that she will refuse us, 

* Certe, Domina, cum te aspicio, nihil nisi miBericordiam cerno; 
nam pro miseris mater Dei facta es, et tibi officium miserendi com- 
migsum. Undique sollicita es de miseris, misericordia vallaris; 
fsolum misereri videris appetere. Stim. Am. 

t Cnjua viscera nunquam desistunt f ructum parturire pietatis, 
Serm.l, de Aesum. 

% Serm. 1, in Dom. p. Ep. 

Eccli. xxiv. 19. 

{ Merito dici potest mater olei, nam est mater misericordlce. Lib, 
1, in Cant. 


as the wise virgins refused the foolish, answer 
ing: "Lest there be not enough for us and for 
you."* No, for she is, indeed, rich in that oil 
of mercy, as St. Bonaventure remarks: Mary 
abounds in the oil of mercy: "Maria plena oleo 
pietatis."f She is called by the Church not 
only prudent, but most prudent, and by this we 
may understand, as Hugo of St. Victor says, 
that Mary is so full of grace and mercy that 
there is enough for all without exhausting 

But why, I would ask, is it said that this fair 
olive is in the midst of the plains, and not rath 
er in a garden surrounded by walls and hedges? 
Cardinal Hugo answers to this question: In order 
that all may easily see her, and thus may easily 
have recourse to her, to obtain relief for their 
necessities. St. Antoninus confirms this beau 
tiful thought, when he says: That as all can go 
and gather the fruit of an olive-tree that is ex 
posed in the open fields, so all, both the just and 
sinners, can have recourse to Mary to obtain 
mercy. [ And then the saint adds: Oh how 
many sentences of punishment have been revok 
ed through the merciful prayers of this most 

* Ne forte non snfficiat nobis et vobis. Mattb. xxv. 9. 

t Maria plena oleq pietatis. In. Spec. cap. 7. 

$ Gratia plena, et in tantum plena, ut ex tua redundante oleo totoa 
rnundus hauriat. Si enim prudentes Virgines oleum acceperunt in 
vaeie cum lampadibus, tu prudentissima Virgo pestasti vas redun. 
dans et indeficiens, ex quo, effuso oleo misericordice, omnium lam* 
pades illuminares. 

Ut omnes earn reepiciant, omnes ad earn confugiant. 

I Ad olivam in campis omnes poesunt accedere. et accipere frao- 
tnm ejug. Ad Mariam et justi et peccatores posauut accedere, u 
lade mieericordiain accipiant. P. 3, tit. 31, c. 4. 


holy Virgin, in favor of sinners who have 
had recourse to her!* And what more secure 
refuge can we find, says the devout Thomas & 
Kempis, than the compassionate heart of Mary? 
There the poor find shelter; the sick medicine; 
the afflicted consolation; the doubtful counsel; 
the abandoned help.f 

Wretched should we be, if we had not this 
mother of mercy, mindful and solicitous to help 
us in our miseries! "Where there is no wife," 
says the Holy Spirit, "he mourneth that is in 
want."]; This wife, remarks St. John Damascene, 
is certainly Mary, without whom the sick man 
suffers and mourns. So, indeed, it is, since 
God has ordained that all graces should be dis 
pensed by the prayers of Mary: where these are 
wanting, there is no hope of mercy, as our Lord 
signified to St. Bridget, saying to her: "Unless 
Mary interposes by her prayers, there is no hope 
of mercy. "|| 

But perhaps we fear that Mary does not see or 
pity our miseries. Oh, no! she sees them and 
feels them more than we do ourselves. And 
who among the saints can be found, says St. 

* O qnot sententias flagellorum propter peccata haec sanctissima 
Tirgo misericorditer revocavit! 

t Non est tutior locus ad laten dum , quam sinus Marias . Ibi pauper 
habet domicilmm, ibi infirmus invenit remedium, tristis solatium; 
Ibi turbatus consilium, ibi destitutus acquirit juvamentum. 

$ Ubi non est mulier ingemiscit egens. Eccli. xxxvi. 27. 

Ingemiscit infirmus, ubi non f uerit haec sanctissima mater. 

I Nisi preces Marias interrenirent, non easel spes misericord!^ 
Her. 1. 6, e. 26. 


Antoninus, who pities us in our miseries as Marj 
does?* Hence, wherever she sees misery she 
cannot refrain from hastening to relieve it with 
her great compassion.f Thus Richard of St. 
Victor remarks, and Mendoza confirms it by say 
ing: Therefore, oh blessed Virgin, wherever 
thou seest misery, there thou dost pour forth thy 
mercies.J And our good mother, as she herself 
declares, will never cease to exercise this office 
of mercy: And unto the world to come I shall 
not cease to be; and in the holy dwelling-place, 
I have ministered before him.g Upon which 
words Cardinal Hugo remarks: I will not cease, 
says Mary, even to the end of the world, to sue* 
cor men in their miseries, and to pray for sin 
ners, that they may be saved and rescued from 
eternal misery. || 

Suetonius relates of the Emperor Titus, that 
he was so desirous to grant favors to those who 
asked them of him, that on those days when he 
had no opportunity of doing so, he would say, 
sorrowfully, I have lost a day: "Diem perdidi." 
This day has been lost to me, because I have 
passed it without benefiting any one. Probably 

* Non reperitur aliquis sanctorum ita compati in infirmitatibus, 
Bicut mulier htec beatissima Virgo Maria. P. 4, t. 15. c. 2. 

t Ubicumque fuerit miseria, tua currit et succurrit misericordia. 
In Cant. 4, 5. 

$ Itaque, O B. Virgo, ubi miserias invenis, ibi tuas misericordias 
effundis. Cap. 4, 1, Reg. 

Et usque ad futurura saeculura non desinam, ut in habitationa 
ancta coram ipso ministravi. .Eccli. xxiv. 14. 

I Usque ad futurum sculum, id est beatorum, nou desinam mi* 
eriis subvcnire, et pro peccatoribus orare. 


Titus said this more through vanity, or a desira 
for esteem, than through a movement of charity. 
But our Empress Mary, if a day should ever 
pass in which she did not confer some favor, 
would say it only because she is full of charity, 
and of a desire to do us good; for as Bernardino 
de Bustis says, she is more desirous to confer 
favors on us, than we are to receive them from 
her.* And this same author adds, that when 
we have recourse to her, we shall always find 
her with her hands full of mercy and liberality ,f 
Rebecca was the type of Mary, who when 
the servant of Abraham asked her for a little 
water, answered that she would give him water 
enough not only for himself, but for his camels 
also.J Hence the devout St. Bernard address 
ing the blessed Virgin, says: Oh Lady, not to 
the servant of Abraham only, but also to his 
camels give from thy overflowing pitcher. 
By which he intends to say: Oh Lady, thou art 
merciful and more liberal than Rebecca, there 
fore thou dost not rest contented witli dispens 
ing the favors of thy unbounded compassion to 
the servants of Abraham alone by whom are 

* Pins vult ilia bonum tibi facere et largirl gratiam, quam tu ao. 
cipere concupiscas. Mar. p. 1, Serrn. 5, de Nov. Mar. 

t Invenies earn in manibus plenam misericordla et liberalitata 
Loc. cit. 

J Quin et camelis tuis hauriam aquam, donee cnnctl bibant Gen. 
xxiv. 19. 

Domina, nee puero Abrahre tan turn, sed. et cameUs trttrae d 
upiffluente hydria tua. Serrn. Sup. Miss 


meant the faithful servants of God, but thou 
dost bestow them also on the camels, who rep 
resent sinners. And, as Rebecca gave more 
than she was asked, so Mary bestows more than 
we pray for. The liberality of Mary, says Rich 
ard of St. Laurence, resembles the liberality of 
her Son, who always gives more than is asked, 
and is therefore named by St. Paul: "Rich to all 
that call upon him;"* that is, giving abundant 
ly his graces to all those that have recourse to 
him with their prayers. Hear the words of Rich 
ard: The bounty of Mary is like the bounty of 
her Son; she gives more than is asked. f Hence 
a devout author, addressing the Virgin, says: Oh 
Lady, pray for me, for thou wilt ask favors for 
me with greater devotion than I can do; and 
thou wilt obtain from God graces greater by far 
than I can pray t or.J 

When the Samaritans refused to receive Jesus 
Christ and his doctrine, St. James and St. John 
said to their Master: Lord, wilt thou that we 
command fire to come down from heaven and 
consume them?" But the Saviour answered: 
"You know not of what spirit you are." As 
if he had said: I am of so mild and merciful a 
spirit, that I have come from heaven to save, not 
to punish sinners, and would you wish to iee 

* Dives in omnes qui invocant ilium. Rom. x. 12. 

t Largitas Marise assimilat largitatem fllii sui; dat amplins quam 
petatur. De Laud. Virg. 

} Mfejori devotione orabis pro me, quam ego auderem petere; et 
majora mihi impetrabis quam petere praesumam. 

Noscitis cujus spiritus estis. Luc. ix. 55. 


them lost? What fire? What punishment? Be 
Bilent, speak to me no more of punishment, that 
is not my spirit. But we cannot doubt that 
Mary, whose spirit is in every thing so like that 
of her Son, is wholly inclined to exercise mercy; 
for, as she told St. Bridget, she is called the moth 
er of mercy, and the mercy of God itself has made 
her so compassionate and sweet towards all.* 
Wherefore Mary was seen by St. John clothed 
with the sun: "And there appeared a great won 
der in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun."f 
Upon which passage St. Bernard remarks, ad 
dressing the Virgin: Thou hast clothed the sun, 
and art thyself clothed with it.J Oh Lady, thou 
hast clothed the sun, the divine Word, with hu 
man flesh, but he hath clothed thee with his 
power and his mercy. 

So compassionate, then, and kind is this queen, 
says St. Bernard, that when a sinner recom 
mends himself to her mercy, she does not begin 
to examine his merits, and whether he is worthy 
or not of being heard, but she graciously hears 
all and succors them. Hence St. Idelbert re 
marks, that Mary is called fair as the moon: 
"Pulchra ut Luna:"|| because, as the moon illu 
minates and benefits the smallest bodies upon the 

* Ego vocor mater misericordiae, et vero misericordia illius miseri- 
cordem me fecit. Rev. 1. 1, c. 6. 

t Et signum magnum apparuit In ccelo, mulier amicta sole. Apoc. 

t Vestis solem, et vestiris ab eo. 

Non discutit merita, sed omnibus exorabtiem se pnebet, Sena 
in Sign. Magn. 

I Cant. 6, 9. 


earth, so Mary enlightens and helps the most 
unworthy sinners.* And although the moon re 
ceives all her light from the sun, she moves 
more quickly than the sun; for, as a certain au 
thor remarks, what the sun does in a year, the 
moon does in a month. \ Hence, says St. An- 
selm: Our relief is sometimes more immediate 
when the name of Mary is invoked than when 
we invoke the name of Jesus. J Wherefore Hugo 
of St. Victor tells us, that if by reason of our 
sins we fear to draw near to God, because he is 
an infinite majesty that we have offended, we 
should not hesitate to have recourse to Mary, be 
cause in her we shall find nothing to alarm us. 
She is indeed holy, immaculate, queen of the 
world, and mother of God; but she is of our flesh, 
and a child of Adam, like ourselves. 

In a word, says St. Bernard, whatever apper 
tains to Mary is full of grace and mercy; fo* 
she, as mother of mercy, has become all things 
to all, and by her great charity has made her 
self a debtor to the just and to sinners, and open 
to all the bowels of her compassion, that all may 
share it.J As "the Devil,* according to St. Pe- 

* Pulchra ut luna quia pulchrum est benefacere Indignis. Epiat. 261 

t Qnod sol f acit in anno, luna f acit in mense. Jo. di Miniau. 1. 1, 
fie Coel. c. 3. 

\ Velocior nonnumquam est nostra ealus, invocato nomine Maria, 
quam invocato nomine Jesu. De Excell. Virg. c. 6. 

Si pertimescis ad Deum accedere, respice ad Marfam; non illio 
fayenis quod timeas, genus tuum vides. 

I $uae ad earn pertinent, plena omnia pietatte et gratise. Deniqua 
onauia omnibus fact* et, sapientibus et insiplentibog copiosissima 


ter, "goeth about seeking whom he may devour/ * 
so, on the contrary, says Bernardino de Bustia, 
Mary goeth about seeking to whom she can 
give life and salvation. f 

We should understand that the protection of 
Mary, as St. Germanus says, is greater and 
more powerful than we can comprehend. J And 
how is it that the same Lord, who was under 
the old law so severe in punishing, exercises so 
great mercy towards the greatest sinners? Thus 
asks the author del Pomerio; and he also an 
swers: He does all this for the love and 
merits of Mary.|| Oh, how long since would 
the world have been destroyed, says St. Fulgeii- 
tius, if Mary had not preserved it by her inter 
cession !^f But we may with confidence goto 
God, as St. Arnold Carnotensis asserts, and hope 
for every blessing, now that the Son is our 
mediator with the divine Father, and the 
mother with the Son. How can it be that the 
Father will refuse to hear graciously the Son, 
when he shows him the wounds he has received 

charitate debitricem sc fecit. Omnibus misericordise suse slnura 
aperit, ut de plenitudine ejus accipiant omnes. Super Sign. Magn. 

* Circuit quserens quern devoret. Ep. 1, c. 5. 

+ Ipsa se mper circuit, quaerens quern Balvet. Mariai. p. S. 
Serm. 3. 

t Patrocinium tuum majus est, quam apprehend! possit. De Zona. 

Quare parcit nunc mundo ipse Deus, qui olim multo his minor* 
peccata acrius punivit? Ap. P. Pepe. Grand, etc. 

I Totum hoc facit propter B. Virginem, et ejus merita. 

1 Ccelum et terra jamdudum ruissent, si Maria suis precibus no 


for sinners? And how can it be that the Son 
will not graciously hear the mother, when she 
shows him the breasts from which she has nour 
ished us?* St. Peter Chrysologus says with, 
great energy, that this favored Virgin, having 
received God in her womb, demands in return, 
peace for the world, salvation for the lost, life 
for the dead.f 

Oh how many, exclaims the Abbot of Celles, 
who merits to be condemned by the divine 
justice, are saved by the mercy of Mary! for 
she is the treasure of God and the treasure of 
all graces; therefore it is that our salvation is in 
her hands. J Let us always then have recourse 
to this mother of mercy, and confidently hope 
to be saved by means of her intercession; since 
she, as Bernardine de Bustis encourages us to 
believe, is our salvation, our life, our hope, our 
counsel, our refuge, our help. Mary is 
that very throne of grace, says St. Antoninus, 
to which the apostle exhorts us to have recourse 
with confidence, that we may obtain the divine 

* Securum accessum jam habet homo ad Deum, ubi mediatorem 
causse euae tilium habet ante Patrem, et ante filiam, matrem. Christua 
oatendit Patri latus et vulnera, Maria Chrieto pectus, et-ubera. D 
Laud. Virg. 

t Una puella sic Deum In ii pectoris capit hospitio, ut pacem ter- 
ris, salutem perditia, yitam mortals, pro ipsa domo exigat pen- 
ionem. Serm. 140. 

$ Ssepe quos justitia filii potest damnare, mater misericordia li- 
berat. Thesaurus Domini est, et thesauraria gratiarum. Salus noetra 
In manu illius est. Prolog, in Contempl. Virg. 

$ Haec st nostra ealus, vita, spes, consilium refugium, 
notnun. P. l, Ser. 6, de Com. Mar. 


mercy, with all needed help for our salvation.* 
To the throne of grace, that is, to Mary, as St. 
Antoninus remarks.f Hence, Mary was called 
by St. Catherine of Sienna; The dispenser of di- 
Tine mercy: * Administratrix misericordise." 

Let us conclude, then, with the beautiful and 
sweet exclamation of St. Bernard upon the words: 
Oh clement, oh merciful, oh sweet Virgin Mary! 
"Oh clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria." 
Oh Mary, thou art clement to the unhappy, mer 
ciful to those who pray thee, sweet to those who 
love thee: clement to the penitent, merciful to 
the advancing, sweet to the perfect. Thou 
ehowest thyself clement by rescuing us from 
punishment, merciful by bestowing on us graces, 
sweet by giving thyself to those who seek thee.J 


Father Charles Bovius relates that in Doinana, 
in France, lived a married man who had held a 
criminal connection with another woman. Now 
the wife being unable to endure this, continually 
besought God to punish the guilty parties; and 
one day in particular went to an altar of the 

* Adeamus cum fiducia ad thronum gratiaa, ut miserlcordiam COB- 
equamur, ut gratiam inveniamua in auxilio opportune. Hebr. 
ir. 16. 

t Ad thronum gratire, scilicet ad Mariana. P. 4, t. 15, c. 14, s. 7. 

J Clemens indigentibus, pia exorantibus, dulcis diligentibus. O 
elemens poenitentibus, pia proficientibus, dulcis contemplantibus. O 
clemena liberaudo, O pie largiendo, O dulcis te donando. Sup. Salr. 


blessed Virgin, which was in a certain church t 
to implore vengeance upon the woman who had 
alienated her husband from her; and this very 
woman went also every day to the same altar, 
to repeat a "Hail Mary." One night the divine 
mother appeared in a dream to the wife, who, 
on seeing her, began her accustomed petition: 
"Justice, mother of God, justice." But the 
-blessed Lady answered: "Justice! do you seek 
justice from me? Go and find others, to execute 
justice for you. It belongs not to me to do it 
for you. Be it known to you," she added, 
"that this very sinner offers every day a devo 
tion in my honor, and that I cannot allow any 
sinner who does this, to suffer and be punished 
for his sins." The next day the wife went to 
hear mass in the above-named church of our 
Lady, and on coming out met her husband s 
friend; at the sight of her she began to reproach 
her and call her a sorceress, who had even en 
chanted with her sorceries the blessed Virgin. 
"Be silent," cried the people: "what are you 
saying?" "I be silent!" she answered: "what I 
say is only too true; this night the Virgin 
appeared to me; and when I implored justice of 
her, she answered me, that she could not grant 
it on account of a salutation which this wicked 
woman repeats daily in her honor." They ask 
ed the woman what salutation she repeated to 
the mother of God, She answered that it was 
the "Hail Mary;" and then on hearing that the 
blessed Virgin had dealt with her so mercifully 


in return for that trivial act of devotion, she 
cast herself on the ground before the sacred 
image, and there, in the presence of all the 
people, asked pardon for her scandalous life, and 
made a vow of perpetual continence. She after 
wards put on a religious habit, built for herself 
a little cell near the church, where she retired, 
and persevered in continual penance until the 
day of her death. 


Oh mother of mercy! since thou art so com 
passionate, and hast so great a desire to do good 
to us sinners, and to satisfy our demands, I, the 
most wretched of all men, to-day have recourse 
to thy mercy, that thou mayest grant my re 
quests. Let others ask what they will, health of 
body, wealth, or temporal advantages; I come to 
ask of thee, oh Lady, those things which thou thy 
self dost most desire of me, and which are most 
comforinable and most pleasing to thy sacred 
heart. Thou who wast so humble, obtain for 
me humility and love of contempt. Thou who 
wast so patient in the difficulties of this life, ob 
tain for me patience in things contrary to my wish 
es. Thou who didst overflow with love to God, 
obtain forme the gift of a holy and pure love. 
Thou who wast all charity towards the neighbor, 
obtain for me charity towards all men, and es 
pecially towards those who are my enemies. 
Thou who wast wholly united to the divine will, 
obtain for me a perfect uniformity with the will 


of that God in all his dispositions concerning 
me. Thou, in a word, art the most holy of a?l 
creatures; oh Mary, obtain for me the grace to 
become a saint. Thy love is unfailing;thou canst 
and wilt obtain all things for me. Nothing, 
then, can hinder me from receiving thy graces 
but my neglect to invoke thee, or my want of 
confidence in thy intercession. But thou thyself 
must obtain for me the grace to seek thee, and this 
grace of confidence in thy intercession. These 
two greatest gifts I ask from thee from thee 
will I receive them from thee do I confidently 
hope for them. Oh Mary! Mary, my mother, 
my hope, my love, my life, my refuge, and my 
consolation. Amen. 




Oh sweet Virgin Mary! 


THE great nnme of Mary, which was given to 
the divine mother, was not found on earth, neith 
er was it invented by the mind or will of men, as 
were all other names that are in use among them; 
but it came from heaven, and was given to the 
Virgin by divine ordinance, as St. Jerome,* St. 
Epiphanius f St. Antoninus,J and others attest. 
The name of Mary was drawn from the treasury 
of the divinity, as Richard of St. Laurence says: 
" De thesauro divinitatis Marise nomen evol- 
vitur." From the treasury of the divinity, oh 
Mary, came forth thy excellent and admirable 
name; for the Most Holy Trinity, the same au 
thor goes on to say, gave to thee this name, next 
to the name of thy Son, so superior to every name, 
and attached to it such majesty and power, that 
when it is uttered, all in heaven, earth, and hell 

* Lib. de Nat. Mar. t Or. de Praes. Deip. 

t Hist, tit, 4. c. 6. De Laud. Virg. p. 14. 


must fall prostrate and venerate it.* Among *J1 
the other privileges which the Lord has attached 
to the name of Mary, let us see how swees he 
has made it to the servants of this most holy 
Lady in life as well as in death. 

To begin with life, the holy anchorite, Hon- 
orius, says, that the name of Mary is fall of all 
divine sweetness.f And the glorious St. Anthony 
of Padua attributes to the name of Mary the same 
sweetness as St. Bernard attributed to the name 
of Jesus. The name of Jesus, said the latter, 
the name of Mary, said the former, is joy to the 
heart, honey to the mouth, melody to the ear of 
their devoted servants. J It is related in the 
life of the venerable Father John Ancina, Bish 
op of Saluzzo, that when he pronounced the name 
of Mary, he experienced so great a sensible 
sweetness that he even tasted it on his lips. 
We also read that a certain woman in Cologne 
told the Bishop Marsillius, that whenever she 
pronounced the name of Mary she perceived in 
her mouth a taste sweeter than honey. Mar 
sillius made the trial, and he also experienced 
the same sweetness. We read in the holy Can 
ticles, that at the Assumption of the Virgin, the 
angels three times asked her name: "Who is she 

* Dedit tibi, Maria, tota Trinitas nomen post nomen filii tni supra 
omne nomen; ut in nomine tuo omne genuflectatur, cceleetium, tei> 
restrinm, et infernorum. De Laud. v. 1. 1, c. 2. 

tHoc nomen Marise plenum est omni dulcedine ac suavitato 

$ Nomen Jesu . . Nomen Marise jubilua in corde, mel in ore, iq 


that goeth up by the desert as a pillar of 
smoke?"* "Who is she that cometh forth as 
the morning rising?"f And in another: Who 
is this that cometh up from the desert, flowing 
with delights?"!; Richard of St. Laurence in 
quires why the angels so often asked the name 
of this queen, and answers: The sound of the 
name of Mary was so sweet to the angels, and 
they repeated the question that they might hear 
it repeated also. 

But I do not hear speak of this sensible sweet 
ness, since it is not commonly granted to all, but 
I speak of the salutary sweetness of consolation, 
love, joy, confidence, and strength, which the 
name of Mary universally gives to those who, 
with devotion, pronounce it. Speaking on this 
subject, Francone the Abbot says, that next to 
the holy name of Jesus, the name of Mary is so 
rich in blessings, that no other name is uttered 
on earth or in heaven from which devout souls 
receive so much grace, hope, and sweetness. J 
For the name of Mary, he goes on to say, con 
tains in itself something admirable, sweet, and 

* Quse est ista, qure ascendit per desertnm, eicut virgula fnmi? 
ill. G. 

t Qu est ista, qnae progreditur, quasi aurora consurgens? C. vi. 9. 
$ Qnaa est ista, quae ascendit de deserto deliciis afflnensf viii. 5. 

Forsitan, quia dulce nomen sibi desiderant responded. De Land. 
Virg. c. 2. 

I Nqneenim post filii nomen aliud nomen coelnm et terra nominal. 
Wide tantnm gratiae, spei, et suavitatia piae mentes conciplant. P 
Grat. Nov. Test. tr. 6. 


divine, which, when it meets a friendly heart, 
breathes into it an odor of holy sweetness. And 
the wonder of this great name is, he concludes, 
that if heard a thousand times by the lovers of 
Mary, it is always heard as new, the sweetness 
they experience in hearing it spoken being al 
ways the same.* 

The blessed Henry Suso, also speaking of 
this sweetness, says, that in pronouncing the 
name of Mary, he felt his confidence so much in 
creased, and his love so joyfully enkindled, that 
amidst the joy and tears with which he pro 
nounced the beloved name, he thought his heart 
would have leaped from his mouth ; and he affirm 
ed that this most sweet name, as honeycomb, 
melted into the depths of his soul. Whereat 
he exclaims: Oh most sweet name! oh Mary, what 
must thou thyself be, if thy name alone is so 
lovely and sweet? 

The enamored St. Bernard, too, addressing 
his good mother with tenderness, says to her: Oh 
great, oh merciful Mary, most holy Virgin, 
worthy of all praise, thy name is so sweet and 
lovely that it cannot be spoken without enkind 
ling love to thee and to God in the heart of him 
who pronounces it; the thought of it alone is 
enough to console thy lovers, and inflame them 

* Nomen namque Marias minim quid, suave, atque divinum ia Be 
continet, et cum convenit amicis cordibug, arnica suavitatis odorem 
piret. Et mirum illud est de nomine Marise, ut millies auditnm 
mper audiatur quasi novum. De. grat. Nov. Test. tr. 6. 


with a far greater love to thee.* If riches are 
a consolation to the poor, because by them they 
are relieved of their miseries, oh how much more, 
says Richard of St. Laurence, does thy name 
console us sinners, oh Mary; far more than the 
riches of earth it relieves us in the troubles of 
the present life.f 

In a word, thy name, oh mother of God, is 
full of grace and divine blessings, as St. Metho- 
dius says.J And St. Bonaventure affirms that 
thy name cannot be pronounced but it brings 
some grace to him who devoutly utters it. So 
great is the virtue of thy name, oh most com- 
passionate Virgin, says the Idiot, that no one can 
pronounce it, however hardened, however de 
sponding may be his heart, and not find it won 
derfully softened; for it is thou who dost console 
sinners with the hope of pardon and of grace.|| 
Thy most sweet name, according to St. Ambrose, 
is a sweet ointment, which breathes the fragrance 
of divine grace.^f The saint thus invokes the 

* O magna, O pia, O multum landabilis Maria, tu nee nominari 
potes quin accendas; nee cogitari, quin recrees affectus diligentium 
te. Ap. S. Bon. Spec. c. 8. 

t Marise nomen longe melius quam divitiae, quia melius augustiam 
relevat. De Laud. Virg. c. 2. 

| Tnum, Dei genitrix, nomen divinis benedictionibus et gratiis ex 
omni parte refertum. Orat. in Hyp. 

Nomen tuum devote nominari non potest sine nominantis utili- 
tate. Spec. B. Virg. c. 8. 

I Tanta est yirtus tui sacratissimi nominis, semper benigna Virgo 
Maria, quod mirabiliter emollit duritia cordis humani. Peccator 
per te respirat in epe veniae et gratia. Idiot, in Alph. Mar. p. 827. 

^ Unguen turn nomen tuuin. Descendat istud unguentum in aninu* 


divine mother: May this oil of salvation descend 
into the depths of our soul; by which he intends 
to say: Oh Lady, remind us often to pronounce 
thy name with love and confidence; for thus to 
name thee, either is a sign that we already 
possess divine grace, or it is an earnest that we 
shall soon recover it. 

For as Landolph of Saxony expresses it: The 
remembrance of thy name, oh Mary, consoles 
the afflicted, brings back the wanderer to the 
path of salvation, encourages the sinner, and 
saves him from despair;* and Father Pelbart re 
marks, that as Jesus Christ by his five wounds 
has prepared for the world the remedy for its 
woes, thus also Mary, with her most holy name, 
which is composed of five letters, confers every 
day pardon upon sinners. f 

For this reason, the holy name of Mary in the 
sacred Canticles is compared to oil: Thy name 
is as oil poured out: "Oleum effusum nomen 
tuum."J The blessed Alanus, commenting on 
this passage, says: The glory of her name is 
compared to oil poured out. As oil heals the 
sick, diffuses odor, and kindles flame; thus the 

preaecordia, S. Maria, quo diTinse gratia epiramenta redoleam. De 
Instit. Virg. c. 13. 

* O Maria, tui recordatio nominis moestos Iietificat, errantes ad 
viam salutis revocat, et peccatores ne despereut conf ortat. In vita 
Christ, p. 2, c. 86. 

t Sic Maria suo sanctissimo nomine, quod quinque litteris conrtAS, 
onfert quotidie veniair t>eccatoribue. Stellar, a. 2. 

$ Cant. i. 2. 


name of Mary heals sinners, rejoices hearts, and 
inflames them with divine love.* Hence Richard 
of St. Laurence encourages sinners to invoke this 
great name, because that alone will be sufficient 
to cure all their maladies; adding, that there is 
no disease so malignant that it will not at once 
yield to the virtue of this name.f 

On the other hand, the devils, as Thomas 
Kempis affirms, are in such fear of the queen of 
heaven that at the sound of her great name they 
flee from him who pronounces it as from burn 
ing fire.]; The Virgin herself revealed to St. 
Bridget that there is no sinner living so cold in 
divine love, that if he invokes her holy name, 
with the resolution to amend, the devil will not 
instantly depart from him. And she at anoth 
er time assured her of this, telling her that all 
the demons so greatly venerate and fear her 
name, that when they hear it pronounced they 
immediately release the soul which they held 
in theirchains.ll 

* Gloria nominis ejus oleo effuso comparator. Oleum segrotantem 
eanat. odorem parit, fiammam accendit. lu Cant. 1, 2. 

t Peccator es? ad nomen Marise confugias; ipsum solum eufficitad 
medendum. Nulla pestis, quse ad nomen Marise non cedat continue, 
De Laud. Virg. p. 14. 

% Expavescnnt coeli reginam spiritus maligni, et diffugiunt, audito 
nomine sancto ejus, velut ab igne. Serm. 4, p. 3, ad Novit. 

| Null us est in hac vita tarn frigidus ab amore Dei, qui si invoca- 
verit nomen meum, cum propoeito pcenitendi, statim diabolus ab ipso 
non discedat. Rev. lib.. 1, c. 9. 

|| Omnes daemones verentur hoc nomen, et timent, qui audientea 
hoc nomen Marise, statim relinquunt animam de unguibns, quibus 
tenebant earn. Rev. 1. 2, c. 19. 


And as the rebel angels depart from sinners who 
invoke the name of Mary, thus, on the contrary, 
our Lady herself told St. Bridget, that the good 
angels draw more closely around those just 
souls who devoutly pronounce it.* And St. Ger- 
manus assures us, that as breathing is a sign of 
life, so the frequent utterance of the Dame of 
Mary is a sign that we are already living in divine 
grace, or that we shall soon receive that life; for 
this powerful name is effectual to obtain help and 
life for him who devoutly invokes it.f Finally, 
Richard of St. Laurence adds, that this admi 
rable name is like a tower of strength, by taking 
shelter in which the sinner will be saved from 
death, since from this celestial tower the most 
abandoned sinners come forth securely defended 
and saved. J 

A tower of strength, thus continues the same 
Richard, which not only shields sinners from 
punishment, but also defends the just from the 
assaults of hell; and he adds: Next to the name 
of Jesus there is no name which gives such sup 
port, and through which so great salvation is be- 

* Angeli boni, audito nomine meo, justie magis propinquant. Ap. 
Dion. Cart, de Laud. V. cap. tilt. 

+ Quomodo corpus enim vitali8 signum operation!? habet respira- 
tionem, ita sanctissimum nomen tuum, O Virgo, quod in ore ser- 
vorum tuorum versatur assidue, vitoe et auxilii non solum est siguum, 
Bed etiam ea procurat et conciliat. De Zona. Virg. 

t Tunis fortissima nomen Dominse, ad ipsam fugiet peccator, et 
liberabitur. Hsec defendit (juoslibet, et quantumlibet peccatow*. 
DLaud. Virg. 1.11. 



itowed upon men, as this great name of Mary.* 
Especially is it everywhere known, and the ser 
vants of Mary daily experience, that her great 
name gives strength to overcome temptations 
against chastity. The same author, remarking 
on the words of St. Luke: And the name of the 
Virgin was Mary: "Et nomen Virginis Maria,"f 
Bays, that these two names, of Mary and of Vir 
gin, are united by the evangelist to show that 
the name of this most pure Virgin can never be 
separated from chastity. J Hence St. Peter 
Chrysologus says, that the name Mary is a sign 
of chastity: "Nomen hoc indicium castitatis;" 
meaning, that whoever is in doubt whether he 
has yielded to temptations against purity, if he 
remembers having invoked the name of Mary 
may be sure that he has not violated chastity. 

Let us, then, always follow the beautiful 
counsel of St. Bernard, who says: In every dan 
ger of losing divine grace let us think of Mary, 
let us invoke the name of Mary together with 
that of Jesus, for these names are always united. 
Let these two most sweet and powerful names 
never depart from our heart and our lips, for 
they will always give us strength to keep us from 

* Non est in aliqao nomine tarn potens adjutorium, nee est aliud 
nomen datum hominibus poet nomen Jesu, ex quo tanta salus re- 
fundatur hominibus, sicut nomen Mariae. De Laud. Virg. c. 2. 

t Luc. i. 27. 

$ Hoc nomen semper cum castitate conjunctum esae debet. Lot. 


falling, and to conquer every temptation.* 
Very precious are the graces which Jesus Christ 
has promised to those who are devoted to the 
name of Mary, as he himself, speaking to his 
holy mother, gave St. Bridget to understand, re 
vealing to her that whoever will invoke the name 
of Mary with confidence and a purpose of amend 
ment, shall receive three special graces: namely, 
a perfect contrition for nis sins, the grace to make 
satisfaction for them and strength to obtain per 
fection, and at last, the glory of paradise ;f for 
as the divine Saviour added: "Thy words are so 
sweet and dear to me, oh my mother, that I can 
not refuse thee what thou dost ask." J 

Finally, St. Ephrem adds that the name of 
Mary is the key of the gate of heaven to him 
who devoutly invokes it; and therefore St. 
Bonaventure rightly calls Mary the salvation of all 
those who invoke her: "Osalus te invocantium;" 
as if it were the same thing to invoke the name 
of Mary and to obtain eternal salvation; for as 
the Idiot affirms: The invocation of this holy and 
sweet name leads to the acquisition of super- 

* In periculis, in augustiis, in rebus dubiis Mariam cogita, Mariam 
invoca. Non recedat ab ore, non recedat a corde. Horn. 2, Sup. 

t Quicumque invocaverit nomen tuum, et in te sperabit cum pro, 
posito emendandi, tria illi dabuntur, contritio peccatorum, eorum 
Batisfactio, et fortitude ad proflciendum et insuper regnum ccelorum. 
Rev. 1. 1, c 10. 

$ Tanta enim est in me dulcedo verborum tuorum, quod negaw 
non valeo, quod tu petis. 

Nomen Marias est reseratorium portee cceli. In Deprec ad Yirg; 


abundant grace in this life, and sublime glory 
in another.* If you desire, then, brethren, con 
cludes Thomas a Kempis, to be consoled in every 
affliction, have recourse to Mary, invoke Mary, 
honor Mary, recommend yourselves to Mary. 
Rejoice with Mary, weep with Mary, pray with 
Mary, walk with Mary, and with Mary seek 
Jesus; in a word, with Jesus and Mary desire to 
live and die. Do this, he adds, and you will al 
ways advance in the way of the Lord; for Mary 
will pray for you, and the Son will surely gra 
ciously listen to the mother.f Such are his 
beautiful words. 

Very sweet, then, in life to her servants, is 
the most holy name of Mary, on account of the 
great graces which it obtains for them, as we 
have seen above; but sweeter still will it be to 
them in dying by the sweet and holy death she 
will obtain for them. Father Sertorio Caputo, 
of the Society of Jesus, exhorted all those who 
were called to the bedside of the dying, often 
to pronounce the name of Mary, saying that 
this name of life and of hope, pronounced in 
death, is alone sufficient to scatter the enemies 

* Devota invocatio hujus nominis ducit ad virorem gratia in pr 
gnti, et ad virorem glorise in futuro. De Laud. Virg. 1. 2, c. 2. 

t Si consolari in omni tribulations quseritis, accedite ad Mariam, 
Mariam invocate, Mariam honorate, Mariae vos commendate; cum 
Maria gaudete, cum Maris iolete, cum Maria orate, cum Maria am 
bulate, cum Maria Jesum quaerite; cum Maria et Jesu vivere et morf 
desiderate. Fratres, si ista exercetis, proflcietis. Maria pro vobi 
libenter orabit, et Jesu libeuter matrem suam exaudiet. Sera. par. 
3, Serm. 2. 


and to comfort the dying in all their anguishes 
St. Camillus of Lellis also strongly recommended 
it to his religious, that they should remind tht 
dying often to invoke the name of Mary and of 
Jesus, as he always practised it with others; but 
more sweetly he practised it himself at the mo* 
ment of his death, when, as we read in his life, 
he named with so much tenderness his beloved 
names of Jesus and Mary, that he inflamed also 
with love of them all those who heard him. And 
at length, with his eyes fixed on their adorable 
image, and his arms crossed, the saint expired 
in celestial peace, pronouncing with his last 
breath the most sweet names of Jesus and Mary, 
This short prayer of invoking the holy names of 
Jesus and Mary, says Thomas a Kempis, which 
it is as easy to retain in the memory as it is 
sweet to consider, is at the same time powerful 
to protect whoever uses it from all the enemies 
of our salvation.* 

Blessed is he, says St. Bonaventure, wholovea 
thy sweet name, oh mother of God.f Thy name 
is so glorious and admirable, that those who 
remember to invoke it at the moment of death, 
do not then fear all the assaults of the enemy.J 

Oh, the happy lot of dying as Father Fulgen* 
tius of Ascoli, a Capuchin, died, who expired 

* Haec brevis oratlo, Jesn et Maria, facilis est ad tonendom, dnl 
cie ad cogitandum, fortis ad protegendum . 

t Beatus vir qui diligit nomen tuum, Maria f 

$ Gloriosum et admirabile nomen tuum; qul illud rcttaeot, &oae 
pftveecunt in ptmcto mortis. Spec. B. Ylrg. 


singing: Oh Mary, Mary, the most lovely of all 
beings, let me depart in thy company. Or, as 
blessed Henry the Cistercian, of whom it is re 
lated in the annals of the order, that he died 
with the name of Mary on his lips.* Let us 
pray, then, my devout reader, let us pray God to 
grant us this grace, that the last word we pro 
nounce at death may be the name of Mary; as 
St. Germanus desired and prayed. f Oh sweet 
death, oh safe death, that is accompanied and 
protected by such a name of salvation, that God 
does not permit it to be invoked in death, except 
by those whom he will save! 

Oh, my sweet Lady and mother, I love thee 
much, and because I love thee, I love also thy 
holy name. I purpose and hope with thy aid al 
ways to invoke it in life and death. For the 
glory, then, of thy name (let us conclude with 
the tender prayer of St. Bonaventure), when my 
soul departs from this world, wilt thou come to 
meet it, oh blessed Lady, and take it in thy 
arms?J Do not disdain, oh Mary, let us con 
tinue to pray with the saint, to come and com 
fort it, then, with thy sweet presence. Thou art 
its ladder and way to paradise. Wilt thou ob 
tain for me the grace of pardon and eternal 

* Inter Ipsam dulcifisimi nomlnls articulationem. An. 1109. 
+ Dei matris nomen sit mihi ultimus linguae loquentis motus. OraL 
C, ad Ann. Virg. 

J Propter honorem nomlnls tui in exitu animaa me de hoc muad 
illi, domina, et susclpe earn. In PaalL Delp 


rest?* And the saint then terminates with say. 
ing: Oh Mary, our advocate, to thee it belongs 
to shield thy servants, and defend their cause be 
fore the tribunal of Jesus Christ.f 


It is related by Father Rho, in his Sabbati, 
and by Father Lireo, in his Trisagio Mariana, of 
a certain young maiden of Guelder-land, who 
lived about the year 1465, that she was sent one 
day by her uncle to purchase something at the 
market of the city of Nimeguen, with the direc 
tion to go and pass the night" at the house of her 
aunt, who lived in the town. The girl obeyed, 
but when she went at night to her aunt s house, 
she was rudely sent away by her, and she set out 
on her way homewards. Night overtaking her, 
she fell into a passion, and called loudly upon 
the devil to come to her aid. And behold, he 
suddenly appeared in the form of a man, and 
promised to assist her, provided she would do 
one thing. I will do any thing, answered the 
unhappy creature. I only wish, said the enemy, 
that henceforth you will not bless yourself with 
the sign of the cross, and will change your 
name. As to the cross, she answered, I will no 
longer sign myself with it, but my name of 
Mary is too dear to me, I will not change it. 

" * Consolare earn vultu sancto tuo. Esto 11)1 scala et iter ad parar 
disum; impetra ei indulgentiam pacis et sedem lucis. 
t Sustine devotos, supcipe causas reorum ante tribunal Christ!. 


Then I will not help you, said the devil. At 
length, after much debate, is was agreed that 
she should be called by the first letter of the 
name of Mary, that is, Erarae. They then went 
together to Antwerp, and the wretched girl re 
mained there six years with her diabolical com 
panion, living so sinful a life, that it was the 
scandal of the whole place. One day she told 
the devil that she wished to see her country again; 
the enemy objected, but finally was obliged to 
consent. When they entered together the city 
of ETimeguen, there was just then performing a 
public representation of the life of the most holy 
Mary. At such a sight the poor Emrne, from 
that little devotion she had still preserved tow. 
ards the mother of God, began to weep. 
"What are we doing here?" said her companion; 
"would you perform here another comedy?" 
He then seized her to take her away, but she 
resisted, and seeing that she was escaping from 
him, in a rage he raised her into the air and let 
her fall in the midst of the theatre. The poor 
girl then related what had happened to her. She 
went to the parish priest to confess, but he sent 
her to the Bishop of Cologne, and the bishop 
sent her to the Pope, who, having heard her con 
fession, imposed it upon her as a penance, that 
she should wear three rings of iron, one around 
her neck, and two around her arms. The pen 
itent obeyed, and having arrived at Maestricht, 
she retired into a convent of penitents, where 
she lived for fourteen years in severe penance. 


One morning she arose from her bed and found 
the three rings broken. Two years after she 
died in the odor of sanctity, and wished to have 
the ring buried with her, which had changed her 
from a slave of hell into the happy slave of Mary, 
her deliverer. 


Oh great mother of God, and my mother 
Mary, it is true that I am unworthy to pro 
nounce thy name, but thou who lovest me, and 
dost desire my salvation, thou must obtain for 
me, that, unclean as maybe my tongue, I may 
yet always invoke thy most holy and most 
powerful name; for thy name is the support of 
the living, and the salvation of the dying. Ah, 
most pure Mary! ah, most sweet Mary! make 
thy name henceforth to be the breath of my life. 
Oh Lady, do not delay coming to my help when 
I call upon thee, since in all the temptations 
which may assail me, in all the necessities I may 
suffer, I shall never cease calling upon thee, al 
ways repeating Mary, Mary. Thus I hope to do 
in life, thus especially I hope to do in death, that 
I may afterwards come to praise eternally in 
heaven thy beloved name: O clemens! O pia! O 
dulcis Virgo Maria! Ah Mary! Mary most ami 
able! what comfort, what sweetness, what con 
fidence, what tenderness does my soul fee) only in 
pronouncing thy name, only in thinking of thee? 
I thank my God and my Lord that he has given 


thee, for my good, this name so sweet, so lovely, 
so powerful. 

But, oh my Lady, I am not satisfied with 
merely pronouncing thy name, I would pro 
nounce it also with love; I desire that my love 
may remind me to speak thy name at every 
hour, that I may exclaim with St. Anselm: 
Oh name of the mother of God, thou art my 
love. O amor mei nomen matris Dei. 

Oh my dear mother Mary! oh my beloved 
Jesus! may your most sweet names always live 
in my own and in all hearts. May I forget all 
other names, that I may remember and always 
invoke none but your adored names. Ah Jesus, 
my Redeemer! and my mother Mary, when the 
moment of my death shall arrive, and my soul 
shall depart from this life, by your merits grant 
me the grace then to utter my last accents, re 
peating: Hove you, Jesus and Mary; Jesus and 
Mary, I give you my heart and my soul. 




THE following prayers are added, not only for the use 
of the faithful, but also because they show the great 
idea which the saints entertained of the power and mer 
cy of Mary, and their great confidence in her patronage. 


OH immaculate and wholly pure Virgin Mary! 
mother of God, queen of the universe, our most 
excellent Lady, thou art superior to all the saints, 
thou art the only hope of the Fathers, and the 
joy of the blessed. By thee we have been 
reconciled to our God. Thou art the only ad 
vocate of sinners, the secure haven of the ship 
wrecked. Thou art the consolation of the world, 
the redemption of captives, the joy of the sick, 
the comfort of the afflicted, the refuge and sal 
vation of the whole world. Oh great princess! 
mother of God! cover us with the wings of thy 
compassion: have pitv on us. We have no hope 
but in thee, oh most pure Virgin! We are given 



to thee, and consecrated to thy service; we bear 
the name of thy servants; do not permit Lucifer 
to draw us down to hell. Oh immaculate Vir 
gin! we are under thy protection; therefore, 
unitedly we have recourse to thee, and supplicate 
thee to prevent thy Son, whom our sins have 
offended, from abandoning us to the power of 
the devil. 

Oh full of grace! illuminate my intellect, loos 
en my tongue that it may sing thy praises, and 
especially the Angelic Salutation, so worthy of 
thee. I salute thee, oh peace! oh joy! oh salva 
tion and consolation of the whole world! I sal 
ute thee oh greatest of miracles! paradise of de 
light! secure haven of those who are in danger! 
fountain of grace! mediatrix of God and men! 


WE raise our eyes to thee, oh queen of the 
world. After having committed so many sins 
we must appear before our Judge, and who 
will appease him? None can do it better than 
thou, oh blessed Lady, who hast loved him so 
much, and hast been so tenderly beloved by him. 
Open thy heart, then, oh mother of mercy, to 
our sighs and prayers. We fly to thy protec 
tion; appease the anger of thy Son, and restore 
us to his favor. Thou dost not abhor the sin 
ner, however loathsome he may be; thou dost 
not despise him, if he sends up his sighs to thee, 
and with contrition asks thy intercession; thou, 
with thy kind hand, dost deliver him from d* 


spair; thou dost encourage him to hope, dost com 
fort him, and dost not leave him until thou 
hast reconciled him to his Judge. 

Thou art that only one in whom the Saviouf 
found his rest, and with whom he has deposited 
all his treasures. Hence all the world, oh Mary, 
honors thy chaste womb, as the temple of God, 
where the salvation of the world had its begin 
ning. In thee was effected the reconciliation be 
tween God and man. Thou art the enclosed 
garden, oh great mother of God, whose flowers 
have never been gathered by the sinner s hand. 
Thou art the beautiful garden, in which God 
has placed all the flowers which adorn the 
Church, such as the violet of thy humility, the 
lily of thy purity, and the rose of thy charity. 
Who can be compared to thee, oh mother of grace 
and of beauty? Thou art the paradise of God. 
From thee hath sprung up the fountain of liv 
ing water, that waters all the earth. Oh, how 
many favors hast thou bestowed upon the 
world, by meriting to be the channel of the 
waters of salvation! 

Of thee the Holy Ghost speaks when he says: 
Who is she that arises like the dawn, fair as the 
moon, bright as the sun? Thou art, then, come 
into the world, oh Mary, as a resplendent dawn, 
preceding, with the light of thy sanctity, the 
coming of the Sun of Justice. The day in which 
thou didst appear in the world may truly be 
called the day of salvation, the day of grace. 
Thou art fair as the moon; for aa there is no 


planet more like the sun, so there is no creature 
more like God than thou art. The moon illu 
minates the night with the light which it re 
ceives from the sun, and thou dost illuminate our 
darkness, with the splendor of thy virtues; and 
thou art fairer than the moon, because in thee 
is found neither stain nor shade. Thou art 
bright as the sun, I mean as that Sun which 
hath created the sun; he has been chosen among 
all men, and thou among all women. Oh sweet, 
oh great, oh most lovely Mary, thy name can 
not be pronounced by any one that thou dost 
inflame with thy love; neither can those who 
love thee think of thee without feeling them 
selves encouraged to love thee more. 

Oh blessed Lady, help our weakness. And 
who is more fit to speak to our Lord Jesus Christ 
than thou, who dost enjoy, so near to him, hia 
sweet conversation? Speak, speak, oh Lady, be 
cause thy Son listens, and thou wilt obtain from 
him whatever thou shalt demand. 


OH my only Lady, who art the sole consoV* 
tion which I receive from God; thou who art the 
only celestial dew that doth soothe my pains; 
thou who art the light of my soul when it is 
surrounded with darkness; thou who art my 
guide in my journeyings, my strength in my 
weakness, my treasure in my poverty ; balm for 
my wounds, my consolation in sorrow; thon 
who art my refuge in misery, the hope of my 


salvation, graciously hear my prayer, have pity 
on me, as is befitting the mother of a God who 
hath so much love for men. Thou who art our 
defence and joy, grant me what I ask; make me 
worthy of enjoying with thee that great happi 
ness which thou dost enjoy in heaven. Yes, my 
Lady, my refuge, my life, my help, my defence, 
my strength, my joy, my hope, make me to come 
with thee to paradise. I know that, being the 
mother of God, thou canst obtain this for me if 
thou wilt. Oh Mary, thou art omnipotent to 
save sinners, thou needest nothing else to re 
commend us to thee, for thou art the mother of 
true life. 


DRAW me after thee, oh Virgin Mary, that I 
may run to the odor of thy perfumes. Draw 
me, for I am held back by the weight of my sins 
and by the malice of my enemies. As no one 
goes to thy Son unless the divine Father draws 
him, so I would dare to say, in a certain sense, 
that no one goes to him if thou dost not draw 
him with thy holy prayers. It is thou who 
feachest true wisdom; thou who dost obtain par 
don for sinners, because thou art their advocate. 
It is thou who dost promise glory to him who 
honors thee, because *-bou art the treasurer of 

Thou hast found grace with God, oh most 


sweet Virgin, because thou hast been preserved 
from the stain of original sin, filled with the 
Holy Spirit, and hast conceited the Son of God. 
Thou hast received all these graces, oh Mary 
most humble, not only for thyself, but also 
for us, that thou mayest help us in all our ne^ 
cessities. And thou, indeed, dost so; thou dost 
guccor the good by preserving them in grace; 
and the bad, by bringing them to receive the 
divine mercy; thou dost aid the dying by pro 
tecting them against the snares of the devil; 
and thou dost aid them also after death by re 
ceiving their souls, and leading them to the 
kingdom of the blessed. 


THY name, oh mother of God, is full of all 
graces and divine blessings. Thou hast compre 
hended him who is incomprehensible, and nour 
ished him who nourishes all living creatures. He 
who fills heaven and earth and is Lord of all, has 
chosen to have need of thee, since thou hast cloth 
ed him with that garment of flesh that he had not 
before. Rejoice, oh mother and handmaid of 
God! rejoice! rejoice! thou hast for a debtor him 
to whom all creatures owe their being. We are 
all debtors to God, but God is a debtor to thee. 
Hence it is, oh most holy mother of God, that 
thou hast greater goodness and greater charity 
than all the other saints, and more than all others 
hast near access in heaven to God, because thou 
art his mother. Ah, we pray thee that we may 


celebrate thy glories, and may know how great 
is thy goodness, being mindful of us and of our 


I SALUTE thee, oh Mary ! thou art the hope of 
Christians; receive the petition of a servant who 
tenderly loves thee, especially honors thee, and 
places in thee all the hope of his salvation. From 
thee I have life, thou dost restore me to the fa 
vor of thy Son; thou art the certain pledge of iny 
salvation. I implore thee, then, to deliver me 
from the burden of my sins; dispel the darknes 
of my mind; banish earthly affections from 
my heart; repel the temptations of my enemies, 
and so order my life, that I may reach, by thy 
means and by thy guidance, the eternal felicity 
of paradise. 


I SALUTE thee, oh full of grace! the Lord is 
with thee. I salute thee, oh cause of our joy, by 
whom the sentence of our condemnation has been 
already revoked, and changed into a judgment 
of benediction. I salute thee, oh temple of the 
glory of God, sacred house of the King of Hea- 
Ten. Thou art the reconciliation of God with 
men. I salute thee, oh mother of our joy. In 
truth thou art blessed, for thou alone, among all 
women, hast been found worthy of being th 


mother of thy Creator. All nations call thee 

Oh Mary, if I put my confidence in thee I shall 
be saved; if I am under thy protection I have 
nothing to fear, for to be thy servant is to have 
the secure armor of salvation, which God does 
not grant except to those whom he will save. 

Oh mother of mercy, appease thy Son. Whilst 
thou wast on earth thou didst only occupy a 
small part of it; but now that thou art raised 
above the highest heaven, the whole world con 
siders thee as the propitiatory of all nations. 
We supplicate thee, then, oh holy Virgin, to 
grant us the aid of thy prayers with God; pray 
ers which are dearer and more precious to us than 
all the treasures of earth; prayers that render 
God inclined to forgive our sins; and wilt thou 
obtain for us abundant graces to receive the par 
don of them and to practise virtue? prayers that 
conquer our enemies, confound their designs, and 
triumph over their forces. 


I COME to thee, oh mother of God, I supplicate 
thee to obtain for me the pardon of my sins, and 
that I may be purified from all the errors of my 
life. I pray thee to grant me thy grace, that I 
may unite myself with affection to thy Son and 
to thee; to thy Son as to my God, to thee as to 
the mother of my God. 



HEARKEN oh most holy Virgin, to our prayers, 
and remember us. Dispense to us the gifts of 
thy riches, and the abundant graces with which 
thou art filled. The archangel salutes thee and 
calls thee full of grace. All nations call thee 
blessed; the whole hierarchy of heaven blesses 
thee, and we, who are of the terrestrial hierarchy, 
also say to thee: "Hail, full of grace, the Lord 
is with thee;" pray for us, oh mother of God, our 
Lady and our Queen. 


WE pray thee, oh most blessed Lady, by that 
grace which God bestowed on thee when he so 
greatly exalted thee, rendering all things possible 
to thee with him; we pray thee to obtain for us 
that the fulness of grace which thou hast merit 
ed may make us to share thy glory. Be pleased, 
oh most merciful Lady, to procure for us the 
good for which God consented to become man in 
thy chaste womb. Be not slow to hear us. If 
thou wilt deign to supplicate thy Son, he at once 
will graciously hear thee. It is enough that thou 
wilt save us, for then we cannot but be saved. 
Who can restrain the bowels of thy compassion? 
If thou hast not compassion on us, thou who art 
the mother of mercy, what will become of us 
when thy Son shall come to judge us? 

Come, then, to our succor, oh most compassion- 


ate mother, without regarding the multitude of 
our sins. Remember again and again that our 
Creator has taken human flesh from thee, not 
to condemn sinners, but to save them. If thou 
hadst been made mother of God only for thine 
own advantage, it might be said that it would be 
to thee of little importance whether we were 
saved or condemned; but God has clothed him 
self with thy flesh for thy salvation and for that 
of all men. What will it avail us that thou art 
BO powerful and so glorious, if thou dost not 
render us partakers of thy felicity ? Aid us and 
protect us; remember the need we have of thy 
assistance. We recommend ourselves to thee; 
save us from damnation, and make us serve and 
love eternally thy Son Jesus Christ. 


HOLY VIRGIN, mother of God, succor those 
who implore thy assistance. Turn to us. But, 
having been deified, as it were, hast thou for 
gotten men? Ah, certainly not. Thou kuowest 
in what peril thou hast left us, and the wretched 
condition of thy servants; no, it is not befitting a 
mercy so great, to forget so great misery as 
ours. Turn to us with thy power, because he 
who is powerful hath given thee omnipotence in 
heaven and on earth. To thee nothing is im 
possible, for thou canst raise even the despair 
ing to the hope of salvation. Thou must be 
compassionate as thou art powerful. 


Turn to us, also, in thy love. I know, oh my 
Lady, that thou art all kindness, and dost love 
us with a love that no other love can surpass. How 
dost thou appease the anger of our Judge when 
he is on the point of punishing us for our offences! 
All the treasures of the mercy of God are in thy 
hands. Ah, may it never happen that thou 
shouldst cease from doing us good: thou seekest 
but the occasion of saving all sinners, and of be 
stowing thy mercy upon them; for thy glory in 
creases when, by thy means, penitents are pardon 
ed, and the pardoned come to paradise. Turn, then 
to us, that we may come to see thee in heaven; for 
the greatest glory we can obtain next to seeing 
God, is to see thee, to love thee, and to be under 
thy protection. Ah, graciously hear us, since 
thy Son wishes to honor thee, by granting all 
thy requests. 


OH mother of God, I fly to thee and I im 
plore thee not to cast me off, for the whole 
Church of the faithful calls thee, and proclaims 
thee the mother of mercy. Thou art so dear to 
God, that thou art always graciously heard; thy 
compassion has never been wanting to any one; 
thy most gracious condescension has never de 
spised any sinner, however enormous his sin, who 
has recommended himself to thee. Does the 
Church falsely and in vain call thee her advo 
cate, and the refuge of the unhappy? No; let my 


sins never prevent thee from exercising thy 
great office of mercy by which thou art the ad 
vocate, the mediatrix of reconciliation, the only 
hope, and the most secure refuge of sinners. 
Let it never be that the mother, who, for the 
good of the whole world, brought forth him 
who is the fountain of mercy, should refuse her 
mercy to any sinner who has recourse to her. 
It is is thy office to reconcile God to man; let 
then thy compassion move thee to help me, 
for it is greater than all my sins. 


OH most holy, immaculate Virgin, and my 
mother Mary, to thee who art the mother of my 
Lord, the queen of the world, the advocate, the 
hope, the refuge of sinners, I, the most miser 
able of all, have recourse to-day. I adore thee, 
oh great queen, and thank thee for all the fa 
vors thou hast hitherto granted me, especially 
for having delivered me from hell, which I have 
so often deserved. I love thee, oh most amia 
ble Lady, and through the love I bear thee prom 
ise that I will always serve thee, and do all that I 
can that thou mayest also be loved by others. 
I place in thee all my hopes of salvation; accept 
me for thy servant, and receive me under thy 
mantle, oh thou mother of mercy. And since 
thou art so powerful with God, deliver me from 
all temptations, or obtain for me the strength 


to conquer them always until death. From 
theelask a true love for Jesus; from thee I 
hope to die a good death. Oh, my mother, by 
the love thou bearest to God, I pray thee always 
to help me, but most of all at the last moment 
of my life. Do not leave me until thou seest 
me actually safe in heaven, blessing thee, and 
singing thy mercies throughout all eternity. 
Amen. Thus I hope. Thus may it be. 




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






Sow befitting it was to all Three of the Divine Persons that 
Mary should be preserved from original sin. 

THE ruin was great which accursed sin 
brought upon Adam and the whole human race; 
for when he unhappily lost grace, he at the 
same time lost the other blessings with which, in 
the beginning, he was enriclud, and drew upon 
himself, and upon all his descendants, both the 
displeasure of God, and all other evils. But 
God ordained that the blessed Virgin should be ex 
empt from this common calamity, for he had des 
tined her to be the mother of the second Adam, 
Jesus Christ, who was to repair the injury done 
by the first. Now, let us see how befitting it was 
that the Three Divine Persons should preserve 
this Virgin from original sin. We shall see that 
it was befitting the Father to preserve her from it 
as his daughter, the Son as his mother, the Holy 
Spirit as his spouse. 

First Point. In the first place, it was fitting 
that the eternal Father should create Mary free 
from the original stain, because she was his 
daughter, and his first-born daughter, as she 


herself attests: "I came out of the mouth of the 
Most High, the first-born before all creatures;"* 
for this passage is applied to Mary by the sa 
cred interpreters, by the holy Fathers, and by 
the Church herself, on the solemn festival of her 
Conception. Whether she be the first-born on 
account of her predestination, together with her 
Son, in the divine decrees, before all creatures, 
as the school of the Scotists will have it; or the 
first-born of grace, as predestined to be the 
mother of the Redeemer, after the prevision of 
Bin, according to the school of the Thomists, all 
agree in calling her the first-born of God; which 
being the case, it was not meet that Mary 
should be the slave of Lucifer, but that she 
should only and always be possessed by her 
Creator, as she herself asserts: "The Lord pos 
sessed me in the beginning of his ways."f Hence 
Mary was rightly called by Dionyshis, Archbish 
op of Alexandria: One and sole daughter of life: 
Una et sola filia vits6;"J diifering in this from 
others, who being born in sin, are daughters of 

Moreover, it was meet that the eternal Fa* 
ther should create her in his grace, since he des 
tined her for the restorer of the lost world, and 
mediatrix of peace between man and God; and 
thus the holy Fathers name her, and especially 

* Ego ex ore altissimi prodivi primogenita anto omnem creatnram. 
Bccli. xxiv. 5. 

t Dominus possedit me in initio viarum suarvun. Prov. viii. 22. 
t Ep. contr. Pa. Samoa. 


St. John Damascene, who thus addresses her. Oh 
blessed Virgin, thou art born to procure the sal 
vation of the whole world !* St. Bernard saya 
that Mary was already prefigured in the ark of 
Noe; for as by the ark men were saved from the 
deluge, so by Mary we are saved from the ship 
wreck of sin; but with this difference, that by 
means of the ark few only were saved, but by 
means of Mary the whole human race has been 
redeemed. f Hence it is that Mary is called by 
St. Athanasius: The new Eve, the mother of life: 
Nova Eva, mater vitse."J A new Eve, because 
the first was the mother of death, but the most 
holy Virgin is the mother of life. St. Theo- 
phanes, Bishop of Nice, exclaims: Hail to thee, 
who hast taken away the sorrow of Eve. 
St. Basil calls her: the peacemaker between God 
and men. || St. Ephrem: The peacemaker x>f the 
whole world. ^f 

Now, certainly he who treats of peace should 
not be an enemy of the offended person, still less 
an accomplice of his crime. St. Gregory says, 
that to appease the judge his enemy certainly 
must not be chosen, for instead of appeasing him 
he would enrage him more. Therefore, aa Mary 

* In vitam prodiisti, nt orbis untversi administram te prseberea. 
Or. 1, de Nat, Virg. 

t Sicut per i] lam homines evaserunt diluvium, sic per istam peccatf 
naufragium. Per illain paucorum facta est liberatio, pt* istam hu 
Biani generis salvatio. Serm. de B. Virg. 

t Or. de S. Deip. 

Salve quse sustulisti tristitiam Evae. 

I Ave, Dei hominumque sequestra constitute. 

T Aye totias orbis conciliatrix. 


was to be the mediatrix of peace between God 
and man, there was every reason why she should 
not appear as a sinner and enemy of God, but as 
his friend, and pure from sin. 

Besides, it was fitting that God should preserve 
her from original sin, since he destined her to 
bruise the head of the infernal serpent, who, by 
seducing our first parents, brought death upon all 
men, as our Lord predicted: "I will put enmities 
between thee and the woman, and thy seed and 
her seed; she shall crush thy head."* Now, if 
Mary was to be the strong woman brought into 
the world to crush Lucifer, surely it was not 
fitting that she should first be conquered by 
Lucifer, and made his felave, but rather that she 
should be free from every stain, and from all 
subjection to the enemy. As lie had in his pride 
already corrupted the whole human race, he 
would also corrupt the pure soul of this Virgin. 
But may the divine goodness be ever praised, 
who prevented her with so much grace, to the 
end that remaining free from every stain of sin, 
she could overthrow and confound his pride, as 
St. Augustine says, or whoever may have been 
the author of that commentary upon Genesis: As 
the devil was the head from whence original sin 
proceeded, that head Mary crushed, because no 
sin ever entered the soul of the Virgin, and 
therefore she was free from all stain.}- St. 

* Immicitias ponam inter te et mulierem, et semen tuum et semen 
Hlius; ipsa conteret caput tuum. Gen. iii. 15. 
t Cum peccati originalis caput sit diabolus, tale caput Maria cou 


Bonaventure still more clearly expresses the 
same: It was meet that the blessed Virgin Mary, 
by whom our shame was to be removed, should 
conquer the devil, and there she should not 
yield to him in the least degree.* 

But it was especially fitting that the eternal 
Father should preserve his daughter from the 
sins of Adam, because he destined her for the 
mother of his only begotten Son. Thou wast 
preordained in the mind of God, before every 
creature, to bring forth God himself made nian.f 
If for no other reason, then, at least for the hon 
or of his Son, who was God, the Father would 
create her pure from every stain. The angelic 
Doctor St. Thomas says, that all things ordained 
by God must be holy, and pure from every 
defilement.J If David, when he was planning 
the temple of Jerusalem with a magnificence 
worthy the Lord, said; "Not for man a house 
is prepared, but for God;"now, how much 
greater cause have we to believe that the great 
Creator, having destined Mary to be the mother 

trivit; quia nulla peccati subjectio ingressum habuit in animam Vlr- 
ginis, et ideo ab omni macula immunis fuit. In Gen. iii. 15. 

* Congruum erat ut B. Virgo Maria, per quam aufertur nobis op 
probrium, vinceret diabolum, ut nee ei succumberet ad modicum. 
In 3, diet. 3, art. 2. q . 2. 

t Tu ante omnem creaturam in mente Dei prseordinata fuisti, ut 
Deum ipsum hominem procreares. Serm. 15, cap. 4. 

$ Sanctitas illis rebus attribuiter, quae in Deum sunt ordinata. I* 
p. q. 36. art. 1. 

Neque enim homini preparatur habitatio, sed Deo. 1. Pt* 
xxix. 1. 


of his own Son, would adorn her soul with every 
grace, that it might be a worthy habitation for 
a God. God, the creator of all things, affirms 
blessed Denis the Carthusian, about to construct 
a worthy habitation for his Son, adorned her 
with all pleasing gifts.* And the holy Church 
herself assures us of this, when she affirms that 
God prepared the body and soul of the Virgin 
to be, on earth, a habitation worthy of his only 
begotten Son. "Omnipotent, eternal God!" 
thus the holy Church prays, "who, by the co 
operation of the Holy Ghost, didst prepare the 
body and soul of the glorious Virgin mother, 
that she might become a worthy habitation for 
thy Son,"&c.f 

It is acknowledged to be the greatest glory of 
sons to be bora of noble parents. The glory 
of children are their fathers: "Gloria filiorum, 
patres eorum."J So that in the world the im 
putation of small fortune and little science is 
more endurable than that of low birth; for the 
poor man may become rich by industry, the ig 
norant learned by study, but he who is of low 
birth can hardly become noble; and if ever this 
occurs, the old and original reproach is liable 
always to be revived. How can we then believe 

* Omnium artlfex Deus, filio suo dlgnum habitaculum fabricaturns, 
earn omnium gratificantium charismatum copla adornavit. Lib. 2. 
de Laud. Virg. art. 2. 

t Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qul gloriosea Virginia et matrii 
Mari corpus et animam ut dignum fllii tui habitaculum effici me** 
eretur, Spiritu Sancio co-operaute prseparasti, etc. 

t Prov. XYii. 0. 


that- God, when he was able to give his Son a 
noble mother, by preserving her from sin, would 
have consented that he should be born of a 
mother defiled with sin, and permit Lucifer to 
reproach him with the opprobrium of being born 
of a mother who once was his slave and an en- 
<3my of God! No, the Lord has not permitted 
this, but he has well provided for the honor of 
his Son, by ordaining that his mother should al 
ways be immaculate, that she might be a fit 
mother for such a Son. The Greek Church con 
firms this: "By a singular providence, God or 
dained that the most holy Virgin should be per 
fectly pure from the very beginning of her life, 
as was becoming her who was to be a mother 
worthy of Christ."* 

It is a common axiom among theologians, that 
no gift has ever been granted to any creature 
with which the blessed Virgin was not also 
enriched. St. Bernard thus expresses it: We 
certainly cannot suspect that what has been 
bestowed on the chosen among mortals should 
be withheld from the blessed Virgin. ( And St. 
Thomas of Villanova says: Nothing was ever 
given to any of the saints that did not shine 
more pre-eminently in Mary from the beginning 
of her life.J And if it be true, according to the 

* Providentia singular! perfecit ut sanctissima Virgo ab ipso vitse 
suse principle tarn omnino existeret pura quam decebat illam, qua 
Christo digna mater exieteret. In Men. die. 25. Martii. 

t Quod rel paucis mortalium constat esse collatum, fas certe no* 
est suspicari tantse Virgin! ease negatum. Epist. 174. 

$ Nihil unqnam aJicui sanctorum concessum eet, quod a principi 
vitK cumulating non prsefulgeat in Maria. Serin. 2, de Asa. 


celebrated saying of St. John Damascene, that 
there is an infinite distance between the mother 
of God and the servants of God,* it certainly 
must be supposed, as St. Thomas teaches, that 
God has conferred greater graces of every 
kind on the mother than on the servants.f Now, 
asks St. Anselm, the great defender of the priv 
ileges of the immaculate Mary, this being grant 
ed, was the wisdom of God unable to prepare a 
pure abode for his Son, free from every human 
stain?J Has it been in the power of God, con 
tinues St. Anselm, to preserve the angels of 
heaven unstained amidst the ruin of so many, 
and could he not preserve tue mother of his Son 
and the queen of angels from the common fall 
of man? Could God, I add, give the grace 
even to an Eve to come into the world immacu 
late, and afterwards be unable to bestow it 
on Mary? 

Ah, no, God could do it and has done it, since 
it was altogether fitting, as the above-named St. 
Anselm says, that this Virgin, to whom God 
was to give his only Son, should be adorned 
with such purity, that it not only should surpass 
the purity of all men and of all angels, but 

* Matris Del et servorum Dei infinitum est discrimen. Or. 1, d 

t Majora in quovis genere privilegia gratise deferenda sunt matrf 
Dei, quam servis. 3, p. q. 27, art. 2. 

$ Impotensne fait sapientia Dei mundum habitaculum condere, re- 
mota omni labe conditionis humanse? Serm. de Cone. 

Angelos, aliis peccantibus, a peccato servavit; et matrara ab 
alioruin peccfttia exortem servare non potuitf Loc. cit. 


should be second in greatness only to that 
of God.* And still more plainly does St. John 
Damascene declare, that he preserved the soul 
as well as the body of this Virgin, as beseemed 
her who was about to receive God into her 
womb, for he being holy, dwells only with the 
holy.f Thus the eternal Father could say to 
this beloved daughter: "As the lily among the 
thorns, so is my love among the daughters."! 
Daughter among all my other daughters, thou 
art like a lily among thorns; for they are all 
stained by sin, but thou wert ever immaculate, 
and ever my friend. 

Second Point. In the second place, it was be 
fitting the Son that Mary, as his mother, should 
be preserved from sin. It is not permitted to 
other children to select a mother according to 
their good pleasure; but if this were ever grant 
ed to any one, who would choose a slave for 
his mother when he might have a queen? who a 
peasant, when he might have a noble? who an 
enemy of God, when he might have a friend of 
God? If, then, the Son of God alone could se 
lect a mother according to his pleasure, it must 
be considered as certain that he would choose one 
befitting a God. Thus St. Bernard expresses it: 

* Decens erat nt ea puritate, qua major sub Deo nequit intelligL, 
Virgo ilia niteret, cui Deus Pater unicum sibi filium dare dispona- 
bat. Diet. Lib. de Cone. 

t Cam Virginia una cum corpore animam conservasset, ut earn de- 
cebat, quse Deum in sinu sno exceptura erat; sanctus enim ipse cum 
Bit, in eanctis requiescit. Lib. 4, de Fid. Ort. cap. 15. 

$ Sicut liliura inter spinas, aic arnica mea inter alias. Caut. ii. % 


The Creator of men to be born of man must 
choose such a mother for himself as he knew to 
be most fit.* And as it was, indeed, fitting that 
a most pure God should have a mother pure from 
all sin, such was she created, as St. Bemardine 
of Sienna says, in these words: The third kind 
of sanctification is that which is called maternal, 
and this removes every stain of original sin. 
This was in the blessed Virgin. God, indeed, 
created her, by the nobility of her nature as well 
as by the perfection of grace, such as it was be 
fitting that his mother should be.f And here 
the words of the apostle may be applied: "For 
it was fitting that we should have such a high 
priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from 
sinners,"J&c. Here a learned author remarks, 
that according to St. Paul, it was meet that our 
Redeemer should not only be separated from sin, 
but also from sinners, as St. Thomas explains it: 
It was meet that he who came to take away sins, 
should be separate from sinners as far as con 
cerns the sin of which Adam was guilty. But 
how could it be said of Jesus Christ that he was 

* Nascens de homlne factor homlnum talem sibi debuit eligert 
matrem, qualem se decere sciebat. H. 3, Sup. Miss. 

t Tertio fuit ganctificatio maternalis, et haec removet omnem cul- 
pam originalem. Haec fait in B. Virgine; sane Deus talem tarn De 
bilitate naturae, quam perfectione gratise coudidit matrem, qnalena 
eum decebat habere euam matrem. Tom. 2, Serm. 51, c. 1. 

J Talis enim decebat, ut nobis esset pontifex sanctus, innocens, 
Impollutus segregatus a peccatoribus, etc. Heb. vli. 26. 

Oportuit eum qui peccata venerat tollere, esse a peccatoribus 
segregatum quantum ad culpam cui Adam subjacuit. 8, p. c. 4, art* 


separate from sinners if his mother was a sinner? 
St. Ambrose says: Not from earth, but from 
heaven, Christ selected this vessel through which 
he should descend, and consecrated the temple 
of modesty.* The saint alludes to the words of 
St. Paul: "The first man was of the earth, 
earthy: the second man from heaven, heaven 
ly."! St. Ambrose calls the divine mother; A 
celestial vessel: not that Mary was other than 
earthly in her nature, as heretics have sometimes 
fancied, but celestial through grace, for she was 
superior to the angels of heaven in sanctity and 
purity, as it was meet she should be, when a 
King of glory was to dwell in her womb; as 
John the Baptist revealed to St. Bridget: "It 
was befitting the King of glory to remain in no 
vessel but one purer and more select than all an 
gels and men;"J to which we may add what 
the eternal Father himself said to the same 
saint: "Mary was a clean and an unclean vessel. 
Clean because she was wholly fair, but unclean 
because she was born of sinners; although she 
was conceived without sin, that my Son should 
be born without sin." And these last words 

* Non de terra, sed de coelo vas sibl hoc per quod descenderet, 
Christus elcgit, et sacravit templum pudoris. De Inst. Virg. c. 5. 

t Primus homo de terra terrenus; secundus homo de crelo crelestis. 
1 C. xv. 47. 

t Non decuit regem gloriae jacere nisi in vase purissimo et electis- 
aimo prae omnibus angelis et hominibus. Rev. 1. 1, c. 17. 

Maria fuitvas mundum et non mundum; mimdum quia totum 
pulchra; eed non mundum, quia de peccatoribus nata est, licet sine 
peocato concepta, at flliu* meus de ea sine peccato uasceretur. L. 
5, c. 13. 


are worthy of note, that Mary was conceived 
without sin, so that the divine Son might be con 
ceived without sin. Not that Jesus Christ 
could be capable of contracting sin, but that he 
might not suffer the opprobrium of having a 
mother infected with sin, and a slave of the dev 

The Holy Spirit says, that the honor of the 
Father is th glory of the Son, and the dishon 
or of the Fat ler is the shame of the Son.* And 
St. Augusth e says, that Jesus preserved the 
body of Mary from being corrupted after death, 
since it would have dishonored him if corrup 
tion had destroyed that virginal flesh from which 
he had clothed himself.f Corruption is the re 
proach of the human condition, from which the 
nature of Mary was exempted, in order that Je 
sus might be exempt from it, for the flesh of Je 
sus is the flesh of Mary. Now, if it were a dis 
honor for Jesus Christ to be born of a mother 
whose body was subject to the corruption of the 
flesh, how much greater would be the shame had 
he been born of a mother whose soul was cor 
rupted by sin! Moreover, as it is true that the 
flesh of Jesus is the same as that of Mary, in 
guch a manner (as the saint himself here adds) 
that the flesh of the Saviour after his resurreo- 

* Gloria enim homlnls ex honore patris sui, et dedecus fllii pater 
tine honore. Eccli. iii. 13. 

t Putredo namque humanae est opprobrium conditionis, a quo cum 
Jesus sit alienus, natura Marias excipitur; caro enim Jesu caro 
Varitt est Serin, de Ass. B. V. 


tion was the very same which he received from 
his mother;* therefore St. Arnold of Carnoten- 
sis says: The flesh of Mary and of Christ is one, 
and hence I esteem the glory of the Son to be 
not so much common to both as the same.f 
Now, this being true, if the blessed Virgin had 
been conceived in sin, although the Son had not 
contracted the stain of sin, yet there would al 
ways have been a certain stain from the union 
of himself with flesh once infected by guilt, a 
vessel of uncleaaness and a slave of Lucifer. 

Mary was not only the mother, but a worthy 
mother of the Saviour. Thus all the holy 
Fathers name her. St. Bernard says: Thou 
alone hast been found worthy, that in thy vir 
ginal hall the King of kings should choose his 
first mansion.]; And St. Thomas of Villanova: 
Before she had conceived she was fitted to be 
the mother of God. The holy Church herself 
attests that the Virgin merited to be the mother 
of Jesus Christ.J Explaining which passage, 
St. Thomas of Aquinas remarks, that Mary 

* Caro Christl caro est Mariae, et quamvls gloria resurrectionis 
fuerit glorificata, eadem tamen numsit quae de Maria sumpta est. 
Loc. cit. 

t Una est Marise et Christ! caro; atqueadeo filii gloriamcum matre 
non tarn communem jndico, quam eamdem. De L. V. 

% Tu sola inventa est digna, ut in tna virginali aula Rex Hegum 
primam sibi mansionem eligeret. In Depr. ad Virg. 

Antequam conciperet, jam idonea erat ut esset mater Dei. Scrm. 
. de Nat. Virg. 

I B. Virgo cujus viscera meruerunt portare Christum Dominnm. 
Besp. 1. Noct 2, in Nat. Mar. 


could not merit the incarnation of the Word, 
but with divine grace she merited such perfection 
as would render her worthy to become the moth 
er of a God;* as St. Peter Damian also writes: 
Her singular sanctity merited (out of pure 
grace) that she should alone be judged worthy 
to receive a God.f 

Now, this being granted, that Mary was a 
mother worthy of God, what excellency and 
what perfection, says St. Thomas of Villanova^ 
were befitting her! J The same angelic Doctor 
declares, that when God elects any one to a 
certain dignity, he also fits him for it; hence, 
he says, that God having chosen Mary for his 
mother, certainly rendered her worthy of it by 
his grace, according to what the angels said to 
her: "Thou hast found grace with God, behold 
thou shalt conceive, etc." And from this the 
saint infers that the Virgin never committed 
any actual sin, not even a venial sin, otherwise, 
he sayg, s la would not have been a worthy 

* B. Virgo dicitur meruisse portare dominum omnium, non qui 
meruit ipsum incarnari, Bed quia nieruit ex gratia sibi data illona 
puritatis et sanctitatis gradum ut congrue posset esse mater Dei. 8 
p. q. 2, a 11, ad 8. 

f Slngularis ejus sanctitas ex gratia hoc promerult, quod euecep- 
tione Dei singular! ter judicata est digna. De Ass. Serm, 2. 

$ Qua antem exceJlentia, quae perfectio decuit earn ut esset mater 
Dei. 6erm. 3, Nat. Virg. 

Beata autem Virgo fuit electa divinitus, ut esset mater Dei; et 
Ideo non est dubitandum, quin Deus, per suam gratiam, earn ad hoc 
id on earn reddidit, secundum quod Angelus ad earn dicit. Luc. 1, In- 
Teniati gratiam apuci Deum; ccce concipies, etc., 3, p. q. 87, a. 4, in 


mother of Jesus Christ, since the ignominy 
of the mother would also be that of the Son, if 
his mother had been a sinner.* Now, if Mary, 
by committing only one venial offence, which 
does not deprive the soul of divine grace, might 
be said not to have been a worthy mother of 
God, how much more if she had been stained 
with original sin, which would have rendered 
her an enemy of God, and a slave of the devil! 
Therefore St. Augustine says in a celebrated pas 
sage of his writings, that speaking of Mary, he 
would make no mention of sins, for the honor of 
that Lord whom she merited for her Son, and 
through whom she had the grace to conquer sin 
in every way.f 

We should therefore hold it for certain, that 
the incarnate Word selected for himself a befit 
ting mother, and one of whom he need not be 
ashamed, as St. Peter Damian expresses it.J 
And also St. Proculus: He inhabited those 
bowels which he had created, so as to be free 
from any mark of infamy. Jesus felt it no 
reproach to hear himself called by the Jews the 

* Non fuisset idonea mater Dei, si peccaseet aliquando, quia ig- 
Bominia matris ad filium redundasset. Serin. 3, Nat. Virg. 

t Excepta itaque S. Virgine Maria, de qua propter honorem Do 
mini nullam prorsus, cum de peccatis agitur, habere volo quaestionem. 
Inde enim ecimus quod ei plus gratise collatum f uerit ad vincendum 
ex omni parte peccatum, quae concipere et parere meruit eum quern 
constat nullum habnisse peccatum. De Nat. et grat. contr. Pel. t. 
7, c. 36. 

$ Christus talem matrem sibi elegit, qualem moruit habere, de qua 
non erubesceret. 

Intra viscera, qua citra ullam sui dedecoris notam creaverat, 
toabitavit. Or. de Nat. Dom. 


son of a poor woman: "Is not his mother called 
Mary?"* for he came on earth to give an ex 
ample of humility and patience. But on the 
other hand, it would doubtless have been a re 
proach to him if it could have been said by the 
demons: Was he not born from a mother who 
was a sinner, and once our slave?f It would be 
considered most unfit that Jesus Christ should 
have been born of a woman deformed and maim 
ed in body, or possessed by evil spirits; but how 
much more unseemly that he should be born of a 
woman once deformed in soul, and possessed by 

Ah, that God who is wisdom itself well knew 
how to prepare upon the earth a fit dwelling for 
him to inhabit: "Wisdom hath built herself a 
house,"J "The Most High hath sanctified his 
own tabernacle." "God will help it in the morn 
ing early." The Lord, says David, sanctified 
this his habitation in the morning early; that is, 
from the beginning of her life, to render her 
worthy of himself; for it was not befitting a 
God who is holy to select a house that was not 
holy: Holiness becometh thy house: " Domum 
tuum decet sanctitudo."|| And if he himself 
declares that he will never enter into a malicious 

* Nonne mater ejus dicitur Maria? Matth. xiii. 55. 
t Nonne mater ejus extitit peccatrix? 
t Sapientia aedificavit sibi domum. Prov. ix. 1. 
Sanctificavit tabernaculum suum altissimus .... Adjtnrabit 
earn Dens mane diluculo. Peal. xlv. 56. 
I Psal. xcii. 5. 


Jioul, and into a body subject to sins," * how 
can we think that the Son of God would have 
chosen to inhabit the soul and body of Mary 
without first sanctifying her and preserving her 
from every stain of sin? for, as St. Thomas 
teaches us, the eternal Word inhabited not only 
the soul, but the body of Mary. f The Church 
also sings: Oh Lord, thou didst not shrink from 
the Virgin s womb: "Non horruisti Virginia 
uterum." Indeed, a God would have shrunk 
from incarnating himself in the womb of an 
Agnes, of a Gertrude, of a Theresa, since those 
virgins, although holy, were for a time, stained 
with original sin; but he did not shrink from be 
coming man in the womb of Mary, because this 
chosen Virgin was always pure from every guilt, 
and never possessed by the infernal serpent. 
Hence St. Augustine wrote: The Son of God 
has built himself no house more worthy than 
Mary, who was never taken by the enemy, nor 
robbed of her ornaments. J 

On the other hand, St. Cyril of Alexandria 
says: Who has ever heard of an architect build 
ing a house for his own use and then giving the 
first possession of it to his greatest enemy? 

* In malevolam anlmam non introibit sapientia, nee habitabit in 
corpore subdito peccatis. Sap. i. 4. 

t Dei filius in ipsa habitabit, non solum in anima, sed etiam in 
utero. 3, p. q. 27, a. 4. 

t Nullam digniorem domum sibi filius Dei aedificavit, quam Mariam, 
quse nunquam f uit ab hostibus capta, neque suis ornamentis epoliata. 

Quis unquam audivit architectum, qui sibi domum aedifieavit, 
ejus occupationem et possessionem primo BUO inimico cessisse. Iq 
Cone. Eph. n. 6. 


Certainly our Lord, who, as St. Methodius de 
clares, gave us the command to honor our parents, 
would not fail, when he became man, like our 
selves, to observe it himself, by bestowing on 
his mother every grace and honor.* Hence St. 
Augustine says, that we must certainly believe 
that Jesus Christ preserved from corruption the 
body of Mary after death, as it has been said 
above; for if he had not done so, he would not 
have observed the law, which, as it commands 
respect to the mother, so it condemns disrespect. f 
How much less mindful would Jesus have been 
of the honor of his mother, if he had not pre 
served her from the sin of Adam! That Son 
would, indeed, commit a sin, says Father Thom 
as d Argentina, an Augustinian, who, being able 
to preserve his mother from original sin, should 
not do so; now that which would be sinful in us, 
says the same author, cannot be esteemed 
befitting the Son of God, namely, if he should 
not have created his mother immaculate when 
he was able to do so. Ah, no, exclaims Gerson, 
since thou, the supreme Prince, dost wish to 
have a mother, honor will certainly be due to her 
from thee: but this law would not appear well 
fulfilled if thou shouldst permit her, who was to 

* Qul dixlt, honora patrem et matrera ut decretum a se promul- 
f atum eryaret, omnem Matri gratiam et honorem iinpendit. Or. in 

t Sicut honorem ma trie pneeipit ita inhonorationem damnat 
Sena, de Ass. B. Virg. 


be the dwelling of all purity, to fall into th 
abomination of original sin.* 

Moreover, the divine Son, as we know, came 
into the world to redeem Mary before all others, 
as we read in St. Bernardine of Sienna.f And 
as there are two modes of redeeming, as St. Au 
gustine teaches, one by raising the fallen; the 
other, by preventing from f ailing ;J doubtless, 
the latter is the most noble. More nobly, says 
St. Antoninus, is he redeemed who is prevented 
from falling, than he who is raised after f ailing ; 
because in this way is avoided the injury or 
stain that the soul always contracts by a fall. 
Therefore we ought to believe that Mary was 
redeemed in the nobler manner, as became the 
mother of a God, as St. Bonaventure expresses 
it; for Frassen proves the sermon on the assump 
tion to have been written by that holy doctor. | 
We must believe that by a new mode of sancti- 
fication the Holy Spirit redeemed her at the first 
moment of her conception, and preserved her by 
a special grace from original sin, which was not 

* Cum tu Summus Princeps velis habere matrem, illi certe deb*, 
bishonorem; minis autem appareret illam legem non bene adim- 
pleri, si in abominationera peccati originalis permitteres illam qua 
esse debet habitaculum totiua puritatis. Serm. de Cone. B. M. 

t Christus plus pro redimenda Virgine venit quam pro omni alia 

% Duplex est redimendi modus, unus redknendo 2apsum, alter 
redimendo non lapsum, ne cadat. 

Nobilius redimitur cui providetur, ne cadat, quam ut lapsus erf 

I icot, Acad. torn. 8, art. 3, sect. 3. q. L s. 5. 


in her, but would have been in her.* On thii 
subject Cardinal Cusano has elegantly written: 
Others have had a deliverer, but the holy Virgin 
had a predeliverer;f others have had a Redeem 
er to deliver them from sin already contracted, 
but the holy Virgin had a Redeemer who, be 
cause he was her Son, prevented her from 
contracting sin. 

In a word, to conclude this point, Hugo of St. 
Victor says, the tree is known by its fruit. If 
the Lamb was always immaculate, always im 
maculate must the mother also have been.J 
Hence this same doctor saluted Mary by calling 
her: The worthy mother of a worthy Son: "O 
digna digni." By which he meant to say, that 
none but Mary was the worthy mother of such 
a Son, and that none but Jesus was the worthy 
Son of such a mother. Therefore let us say 
with St. Ildephonsus: Give suck, then, oh Mary, 
give suck to thy Creator; give suck to him who 
created thee, and hath made thee so pure and 
perfect that thou hast merited that he should re 
ceive from thee the human nature. || 

* Credendum est enhn quod novo sanctificationis genere in ejua 
eonceptionis primordio Spiritus Sanctus earn a peccato original! (non 
quod infuit, sed quod infuisset) redemit atque singular! gratia pre. 
servavit. Serm. 2, de Ass. 

t Alii liberatorem, Virgo sancta praeliberatorem habuit. 

$ Talie agnus, qualis Mater agni; quoniam omnis arbor ex fructu 
BUO cognoscitur. Coll. 3, de Verb. Inc. 

O digna digni, formosa pulchri, excelsa altissimi, mater Dei. Ug. 
d S. Viet. Serni. de Ass. 

I Lacta, O Maria, Creatorem tuum, lacta eum qui t fecit, et qui 
talera fecit te, ut ipse fieret ex te. Serm. de Kat. Virjj. 


Third Point. If, then, it became the Father 
^O preserve Mary as his daughter from sin, 
and the Son because she was his mother, it also 
became the Holy Spirit to preserve her as his 
spouse. Mary, says St. Augustine, was the 
only one who merited to be called the mother 
and spouse of God.* For, as St. Anselm affirms, 
the Holy Spirit came bodily upon Mary and 
rested in her, enriching her with grace beyond 
all creatures, dwelt in her, and made his spouse 
queen of heaven and of earth. f As thesaint ex 
presses it: He was with her really, as to the ef 
fect, since he came to form from her immaculate 
body the immaculate body of Jesus Christ, as 
the archangel predicted: The Holy Ghost shall 
come upon thee.J For this reason, says St. 
Thomas, Mary is called the temple of the Lord, 
the sanctuary of the Hoiy Spirit, because, by 
the operation of the Holy Spirit, she was made 
mother of the incarnate Word. 

Now, if an excellent painter were allowed to 
choose a bride as beautiful or as deformed as he 
himself might paint her, how great would be 
his solicitude to make her as beautiful as pos 
sible! Who, then, will say that t>he Holy Spirit 

* Hsec est quse sola meruit mater, et sponsa vocari. Serm. de ABB. 

t Ipse spiritus Dei, ipse amor Patris et Filii corporaliter venit in 
earn eingularique gratia prse omnibus in ipsa requievit, et reginam 
eceli et terrae fecit sponsam suam. De Exc. Virg c. 4. 

t Spiritus Sanctus superveniot in te. Luc. i. 35. 

Unde dlcitur templum Domini, sacrarium Spiritus fiancti, quia 
concepit ex Spiritu Sancto . Opuac , 8. 


has not dealt thus with Mary, and that, having 
it in his power to make this his spouse as 
beautiful as it became her to be, he has not 
done so? Yes, thus it was fitting he should do, 
and thus he did, as the Lord himself attested 
when praising Mary; he said to her: "Thou art 
all fair, oh my love; and there is not a spot in 
thee;"* which words, as we learn from a Lapide, 
St. Ildephonsus, and St. Thomas, explain as 
properly to be understood of Mary. St. Bernar- 
dine of Sienna,f and St. Lawrence Justiriian,J 
also declare that the passage above quoted is 
precisely to be understood of her immaculate 
conception; hence the Idiot says: Thou art all 
fair, oh most glorious Virgin, not in part, but 
wholly; and the stain of sin, whether mortal, or 
venial, or original, is not upon thee. 

The Holy Spirit signifies the same thing, when 
he called this his spouse: "A garden enclosed, a 
fountain sealed up.*|| Mary, says St. Jerome, 
was properly this enclosed garden and sealed 
fountain; for the enemies never entered to harm 
her, but she was always uninjured, remaining holy 
in soul and body. T And in like manner St. Ber- 

* Tota pulchra es, arnica mea. et macula non est in te. Cant. 

t Tom. 2, Serm. 52. $ Serm. de Nat, Virg. 

$ Tota pulchra es, Virgo gloriosissima, non in parte, sed in toto; et 
macula peccati sive mortalis, sive venialis, sive originalis non est in. 
te. In Contemp. B. V c. 3, 

I Hortus conclusus, eoror mea sponsa, hortus conclusus, fons Big- 
natus. Cant, iv, 12. 

^ Hsec est hortns conclusus, fons signatus ad quam nulli petuerunt 
4oli irrumpere, nee prevalere fraus inimici: sod permansit sancta 
aente, et corpore, Ep. 10, ad East, de Ass. 


nard said, addressing the blessed Virgin: Thou 
art an enclosed garden, where the sinner s hand 
never entered to rob it of its flowers.* 

We know that this divine spouse loved Mary 
more than all the other saints and angels united, 
as Father Suarez, St. Lawrence Justinian, and 
others affirm. He loved her from the beginning, 
and exalted her in sanctity above all creatures, 
as David expresses it: "The foundations thereof 
are in the holy mountains; the Lord loveth the 
gates of Sion above all the tabernacles of Jacob. 
. . . This man is born in her, and the Highest 
himself hath founded her."f All which words 
signify that Mary was holy from her conception. 
The same thing is signified by what the Holy 
Spirit himself says in another place: Many 
daughters have gathered together riches; tbou 
hast surpassed them all."J If Mary has sur 
passed all in the riches of grace, she then possess 
ed original justice, as Adam and the angels had 
it. "There are young maidens without number: 
one is my dove, my perfect one (the Hebrew 
reads, my uncorrupted, my immaculate) ; she is 
the only one of her mother." All just souls 

* Hortns conclusus tu es, ad quern deflorandum manus peccatorum 
nunquam introivit. 

t Fundamenta ejus in montibus sanctis; diligit Dominus portas 
Sion super omnia tabernacula Jacob. . , . Homo natus est in ea et 
ipge fundavit earn Altissimus. Psai. Ixxxvi. 1, 2, 5. 

$ Mutse flliae congregaverunt divitias, tu supergressa es universas. 
Prov. xxxi. 29. 

Adolescentularum non est numerus. Una est columba mea, per 
*, una est matris suss. Cant. vi. 8. 


are children of divine grace; but among these, 
Mary was the Dove without the bitter gall of 
sin, the Perfect One without the stain of original 
sin, the one conceived in grace. 

The angel, therefore, before she was the 
mother of God, already found her full of grace, 
and thus saluted her: Hail, full of grace: "Ave 
gratia plena." Commenting upon which words, 
Sophronius writes, that to the other saints grace 
is given in part, but to the Virgin it was given 
in fulness.* So that, as St. Thomas says, grace 
not only made the soul, but also the flesh of 
Mary holy, that with it the Virgin might clothe 
the eternal Word.f Now by all this we are to 
understand, as Peter of Celles remark*, that 
Mary, from the moment of her conception, was 
enriched by the Holy Spirit, and filled with 
divine grace. J Hence, as St. Peter Damian says: 
She being elected and pre-elected by God, was 
borne off by the Holy Spirit for himself. 
Borne off, as the saint expresses it, to explain 
the swiftness of the Divine Spirit, in making her 
his spouse, before Lucifer should take possession 
of her. 

* Bene gratia plena dicitur, quia caeterls per partes praestatur, 
Mariae vero simul se tota infundit plenitude gratiae. Serm. de Ass. 
B. V. 

t Anima B. Virginia ita fuit plena quod ex ea refundtt gratia In 
carnem, ut de ipsa conciperet Deum. Opusc. 8. 

$ Simul in ea collecta est gratiae plenitude, quia ab exordlo SUM 
conceptionis aspersione Spiritus Sancti tota deitatis gratia est su- 
perfusa. Lib. de Panib. cap. 10. 

A Deo electam et preelectam totam earn rapturus erat siM 
Spiritus Sanctus. Semx. de A.nn T 


I will at length close tbis discourse, in which 
I have been more diffused than in the others, 
because our little congregation has for its prin 
cipal protectress the most holy Virgin Mary, 
precisely under this title of her immaculate con 
ception. I will close, I say, by declaring in a 
few words what are the reasons which make me 
certain, and which, as I think, should make every 
one certain of this pious sentiment, so glorious 
to the divine mother that she was free from 
original sin. 

There are many doctors who maintain that 
Mary was even exempt from contracting the debt 
of sin; such as Cardinal Galatino,* Cardinal Cu- 
sano,f De PonteJ Salasar, CatherinusJ Nova- 
rino,^" Viva,** De Lugo, Kgidius, Richelius, and 
others. Now this opinion is very probable; for 
if it is true that in the will of Adam, as head of 
the human race, were included the wills of all, as 
Gonet,f f Habert,Jt an d others hold it to be prob 
able, on the testimony of these words of St. 
Paul: "In whom (Adam) all have sinned. " If 
this, then, is probable, it is also probable that 
Mary did not contract the debt of sin; for God 
having greatly distinguished her in the order of 
grace from the rest of mankind, it should be 
piously believed, that in the will of Adam, th 
will of Mary was not included. 

* De Arcan. 1. 7, c. 18. t L. 8, Exerc. 8. 

$ Lib. 2, Cant, ex to. J De V. Cone. c. 7, s. 7. 

I De pecc. orig. c. ult. T Umbra. Virg. c. 10, exc. 88. 

** P. 8, d. 2, q. 2, a. 8. tt Man. to. 3, tr. 5, c. 6, s. ft. 

i To. 8, de pecc. c. 7. 

IS Omnes In quo (Ada) peccaverunt, Horn. v. 


This opinion is only probable, but I adhere t 
it, as being rnore glorious for my Lady. But, 
then, I hold it for certain thai Mary has not con 
tracted the sin of Adam, as Cardinal Everard,* 
Duval,f Raynauld,J Lossada, Viva,] and many 
others hold it for certain, and even proximately 
definable as an article of faith, as they express 
it. I omit, however, the revelations that confirm 
this opinion; especially those made to St. Bridget, 
approved by Cardinal Torrecremata, and by four 
supreme Pontiffs, and which we read in the sixth 
book of the above-mentioned revelations, in vari 
ous places.^ But I can by no means omit to men 
tion here the opinions of the holy Fathers on this 
point, in order to prove how uniform they have 
been in conceding this privilege to the divine 
mother. St. Ambrose says : Receive me not from 
Sarah, but from Mary, as an uncorrupted Virgin, 
a Virgin through grace preserved pure from 
every stain of sin.** Ongen, speaking of Mary, 
says: Neither was she infected by the breath of 
the venomous serpent.ff And St. Ephrem: She 
is immaculate, and remote from every taint of 
sin.JJ St. Augustine, meditating on the words 
of the angel, "Hail, full of grace," says: By these 

* In Exam. TheoU 1 1, 2, q. 2, do pecc. 

$ Piet. Lugd. n. 89. Disc. Th. de 1mm. Cone. 

I Qu. Prod, ad Trut. ^ C. xii. 49, 55. 

** Suscipe me non ex Sara, sed ex Maria, ut incorrupta sit virgo, 
sed virgo per gratiam ab omni integra labe peccati. Serm. 22, in 
Paal. cxviii. 

ft Nee serpentis venenosi afflatibug infecta est. Horn. 1. 

$ Immaculata, et ab omni peccati labe alienissima. Tom. 5, or. 
ad Dei Gen. 


words he shows her to be entirely {note, entirely, 
excluded from the wrath of the first sentence, 
and restored to the full grace of benediction.* 
St. Jerome: That cloud was never in darkness, 
but always in the light.f St. Cyprian, on Psalm 
Ixxvii., or whoever may be the author of that 
treatise, says: Neither did justice suffer that ves 
sel of election to be open to common injuries, 
for, being far exalted above others, she was a 
partaker of their nature, but not of their sin.J 
St. Amphilochius also says: He who created the 
first virgin without reproach, also created the sec 
ond without stain or crime. Sophronius: There 
fore she is called the immaculate Virgin, because 
she was in no manner corrupted.] St. Ildephon- 
sus: It is certain that she was exempt from orig 
inal sin.*!" St. John of Damascus: To this para 
dise the serpent had no entrance.** St. Peter 
Damian: The flesh of the Virgin, received from 

* Ave, gratia plena; quibus ostendit ex integro (nota ex integro) 
Iram primae sententiae exclusam, et plenam benedictionis gratiam 
restitutam. Serin. 11, in Nat. Dom. 

t Nubes ilia non fuit in lenebris, semper in luce. In Psal. 77. 

t Nee sustinebat justitia, ut illud vas electionia communibus lax- 
aretur injuriis, quoniam plurimum a caeteris distans natura comma* 
nicabat non culpa. Lib. de Cam. Chrlsti oper. de Nativ. 

Qui antiquatn virginera sine probro condidit, ipse et secundani 
sine nota et crimine fabricatus est. Or. de Deip. 

5 Virginem ideo dici immaculatam, quia in nullo corrupta est. In 
Ep. Ap. Syn. to. 3, p. 307. 

^ Constat earn aboriginal! peccato fuisse immunem. Cent. Disp. 
De Virg. Mar. 

** Ad hunc paradisum eerpens aditum non habuit. Or. 3, da 
Vat Mar. 


Adam, was free from Adam s taint of sin.* St. 
Bruno: This is that uncorrupted earth which the 
Lord has blessed, and hence she is pure from all 
contagion of sin.f St. Bonaventure, also: Our 
Lady was full of preventing grace in her sancti- 
fication, namely, of grace preservative against 
the defilement of original sin.J St. Bernardine 
of Sienna: For it is not to be believed that the 
Son of God himself would choose to be born of 
a Virgin, and assume her flesh, if she were de 
filed in any way with original sin.g St. Law 
rence Justinian: From her conception she was 
prevented with blessing.] So the Idiot, upon 
those words, Thou hast found grace, " Invenisti 
gratiam," says: Thou hast found peculiar grace, 
oh most sweet Virgin, for thou wast preserved 
from original stain, &c.^ And many other 
Doctors express the same. 

But there are two arguments which conclu 
sively prove the truth of this opinion. The 
first is the universal consent of the faithful on 

* Caro Virginia ex Adam sumpta, maculas Adam non admislt- 
Serm. de Ass. V. 

t Hsec est incorrupta terra ilia, cui benedixit Dominus, ab omni 
propterea peccati contagione libera. In Psal. ci. 

% Domina nostra fuit plena gratia pneveniente in sua eanctiflca- 
tione, gratia scilicet praeservativa contra fceditatem originalis culpae, 
Serm. 2, de Ass. 

Non enim credendum est, quod ipse filius Dei voluerit nasci ex 
Virgine, et Biimere ejus carnem, quae esset maculata aliquo originali 
peccato. Tom. 3, Serm. 49. 

I Ab ipsa conceptione fuit in benedictionibus praeventa. Senn. d 

T Qratiam singularem, O dulcissima Virgo, invenisti, quia fu* 
Cant in te ab originali labe pneservatio, etc. C- 6. 


tliis point. Father Egidius, of the Presenta 
tion, asserts that all the religious orders follow 
the same opinion:* and although in the order of 
St. Dominic, says a modern author, there are 
ninety-two writers who are of the contrary^ 
opinion, yet one hundred and thirty-six are of 
ours .But what should especially persuade UP; 
that our pious opinion is conformable to the 
common opinion of Catholics, is the declaration 
of Pope Alexander VII., in the celebrated bull, 
"Sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum," issued in the 
year 1661, namely: "This devotion and worship 
to the mother of God again increased and was 
propagated, ... .so that the universities having 
embraced this opinion (that is, the pious one), 
almost all Catholics embrace it."f And, in fact, 
this opinion is defended by the universities of 
the Sorbonne, of Alcala, of Salamanca, of Coim- 
bra, of Cologne, of Mayence, and of Naples, and 
by many others, in which every one who 
graduates binds himself by an oath to the de 
fence of the immaculate Mary. The learned 
Petavius rests his proof of the immaculate con 
ception mainly upon this argument of the com 
mon consent of the faithful. J Which argument, 
writes the most learned Bishop Julius Torni, 
cannot fail to convince; for, in fact, if nothing 

* De Prrer. Virg. q. 6, a. 4. 

t Aucta rursus, et propagata fuit pietas hsec et cultus erg DtU 
param . . . ita ut, accedentibus academiis ad hanc eententiam, jam 
fere omnes Catholic! earn coraplectantur, 

JTom. 5,p,2,l. U,e.2,n. 10. 


else, the common consent of the faithful renders 
us certain of the sanctification of Mary in the 
womb, and of the glorious assumption of Let 
soul and body in heaven ; why, then, should not 
this same common sentiment render us certain 
of her immaculate conception?* 

By another reason, still stronger than the 
first, we are assured of the truth of the fact, that 
the Virgin is exempt from the original stain, 
namely, the festival instituted by the universal 
Church in honor of her immaculate Conception. 
And with regard to this I see, on the one hand, 
that the Church celebrates the first moment 
when her soul was created and infused into the 
body, as Alexander VII. declares in the bull 
above quoted, in which it is expressed that the 
Church prescribes the same veneration for the 
conception of Mary, as the pious opinion concedes 
to her, which holds her to be conceived without 
original sin. On the other hand I know it to be 
certain that the Church cannot honor any thing 
unholy, according to the decrees of the sovereign 
pontiffs St. Leof and St. Eusebius : "In the 
Apostolic See the Catholic religion has always 
been preserved pure from stain.J" And all the 
theologians, including St. Augustine, St. Ber 
nard, and St. Thomas, teach the same thing. The 
latter makes use of the argument of the festival 

* In. adn. ad. Est. 1. 2, Dist. 3, s. 2. 
tEp. Deer. 4, c.2. 

$ In Sede Apostolica extra maculam semper est catholica servat* 
teligio. Beer. 24, 9, 1, c. In sede. 
{ Sera. 96, t 113. 


of lier birth, instituted by the Church, to prort 
that Mary was sanctified before birth; and 
therefore says: The Church celebrates the na 
tivity of the blessed Virgin; but no feast is 
celebrated in the Church except in honor of 
some saint; therefore the blessed Virgin 
was sanctified in the womb.* Now if it is 
certain, as the angelic Doctor declares, 
that Mary was sanctified in the womb, 
because for this reason the holy Church 
celebrates her birth ; why should we not then 
hold it for certain that Mary was preserved 
from original sin from the first moment of her 
conception, now that we know that in this 
sense the Church herself celebrates the festival 
of it ?f In confirmation, too, of this great priv 
ilege of Mary, it is well known what numer 
ous and remarkable graces our Lord has been 
pleased to dispense daily in the kingdom of 
Naples, by means of the little pictures of the 
Virgin of the Immaculate Conception. I could 
relate many that took place under the eyes of 
the fathers of our own congregation ; but I will 
relate only two, which are truly wonderful. 


There came a woman to one of the houses of 
our little congregation, in this kingdom, to tell 

* Ep. ad. Can. Lugd. 

t Ecclesia celebrat nativitatem B . Virginia; non autem celebratnr 
festum in Ecclesia nisi pro aliquo gancto; Ergo B. Virgo fuit in 
Btero eanctificata. 2, p. q. 27, a. 2. 


one of the fathers that her husband had not been 
to confession for many years, and that she did 
not know how to bring him back to his duties, 
for whenever she spoke to him of confession he 
beat her. The father told her to give him a 
little picture of Mary immaculate. Evening 
came, and the woman again begged her husband 
to go to confession; but the man being as deaf as 
before, she gave him the picture. He had no 
sooner received it than he said: "When will you 
take me to confession, for I am ready ? " The 
wife, at that sudden change, wept for joy. In 
the morning he came to our church, and when 
the father asked him how long it was since he 
had been to confession, he answered: "Twenty- 
eight years." "And what has brought you to 
confession this morning?" said the father. 
"Father," he said, "I was obstinate, but yes 
terday my wife gave me a picture of the 
Madonna, and immediately I felt my heart 
changed, so that last night appeared to me a 
thousand years long, and I thought the day 
would never come when I might go to con 
fession." He made his confession with great 
compunction, changed his life, and continued 
for a long time to go often to confession to 
the same father. 

In another place, in the diocese of Salerno, 
during one of our missions, there was a certain 
man who had a great enmity against one who 
?nad offended him. One of our fathers spoke to 
him, and exhorted him to pardon the 


"* Father, have you ever seen me at the sermon? 
No, you have not, and for this reason I stay 
away: I see that I am damned, but I do not 
^ish it otherwise, I must have revenge." The 
father made every effort to convert him, but 
rinding that he was wasting his words, " Take, * 
he said to him, (( this little picture of the 
Madonna." " Of what use," said he, " is this 
picture?" But he took it, and as if he had never 
refused to pardon his enemy, he said to the 
missionary, " Father, do you wish anything more 
than reconciliation? for that I am ready." The 
next morning was appointed for the reconcilia 
tion; but when the morning came, his mind was 
changed, and he would do nothing. The father 
offered him another picture. He did not wish 
for it, and took it unwillingly; but behold, no 
sooner had he taken it, than he immediately 
said, "Let us be reconciled: where is Mastro- 
datti?" He then forgave his enemy, and after 
wards made his confession. 


All, my immaculate Lady, I rejoice with thee, 
seeing thee endowed with so great purity. I 
give thanks, and make the resolution always to 
give thanks to our common Creator, for having 
preserved thee from every stain of sin, as I cer 
tainly believe; and to defend this great and pe 
culiar privilege of thy immaculate conception I 
am ready, and swear to give even my life if it 
is necessary. I wish that all the world might 


know thee, and acknowledge thee for that 
beatiful aurora, which was always resplendent 
with the divine light; that chosen ark of salva 
tion, safe from the common shipwreck of sin; 
for that perfect and immaculate dove, as thy 
divine spouse declared thee; that inclosed gar* 
den, which was the delight of God; that foun 
tain sealed up, which the enemy never entered 
to trouble; finally, that spotless lily, which thou 
art, springing up among the thorns of the 
children of Adam; for whereas all are born defiled 
with original sin, and enemies of God, thou 
wast born pure, all spotless, and in all things a 
friend of thy Creator. 

Let me, then, also praise thee as thy God 
himself hath praised thee when he said: Thou 
art all fair, and there is not a spot in thee: 
"Tota pulchra es et macula non est in te." Oh 
most pure dove, all white, all beautiful, and al 
ways the friend of God: <% O quam pulchra es, arni 
ca mea, quam pulchra es." Oh most sweet, most 
amiable, immaculate Mary, thou who art so 
beautiful in the eyes of our Lord, do not disdain 
to look with thy pitying eye upon the loathsome 
wounds of my soul. Behold me, pity me, and 
heal rne. Oh powerful magnet of hearts, draw 
also my miserable heart to thee. Thou who 
even from the first moment of thy life wast 
pure and beautiful in the sight of God, have 
pity on me, for I was not only born in sin, but 
after baptism, I again have defiled my soul with 
sin Will God, who hath chosen thee for hii 


child, hia mother, and his spouse, and therefore 
hath preserved thee from every stain, refuse 
any grace to thee? Virgin immaculate, you 
must save me; I will say to thee with St. Philip 
Neri, make me always to remember 
thee and do not forget me. It seema 
to me a thousand years before I shall go 
to behold thy beauty in paradise, to praise and 
love thee more, my mother, my queen, my be 
loved, most lovely, most sweet, most pure, im 
maculate Mary. Amen. 



Mary teas born a saint, and a great saint* for great was tht 
grace with which our Lord enriched her from the begin* 
ning, and great was the fidelity with which Mary at onet 
corresponded with it. 

MEN are accustomed to celebrate the birth of 
their children with joy and feasting; but rather 
ought they to weep and give signs of grief and 
mourning, considering that these are born, not 
only destitute of merits and of reason, but 
moreover infected by sin and children of wrath, 
and therefore condemned to misery and death. 
But with reason do we celebrate, with feasts 
and universal praise, the birth of our infant 
Mary, for she came into this world an infant in 
age, it is true, but great in merits and in virtue 


Mary was born a saint, and a great saint. But 
to conceive the degree of sanctity in which sh 
was born, we must call to mind, in the first 
place, how great was the first grace with which 
God enriched Mary; and in the second, with 
how great fidelity Mary at once corresponded 
with God. 

First Point. Commencing with the first point, 
it is certain that the soul of Mary was the most 
beautiful soul that God ever created; indeed, 
Dext to the incarnation of the Word, this work 
was the greatest and most worthy of himself 
that the Omnipotent could accomplish in this 
world a work, as St. Peter Damian terms it, 
which God alone excels: "Opus quod solus Dens 
supergreditur." Hence it was that the divine 
grace did not descend upon Mary in drops as 
upon the other saints, but as David predicted: 
Like rain upon the fleece: "Sicut pluvia in vel- 
lus.* The soul of Mary was like wool, that 
happily imbibed all that great shower of graces 
without losing a drop. The holy Virgin, says 
St. Basil, drew into herself all the graces of the 
Holy Spirit.f Hence she herself said by the 
mouth of Ecclesiasticus: My abode is in the 
fulness of saints: "In plenitudine Sanctorum de- 
tentio mea;"J which St. Bonaventure thus ex 
plains: I have in fulness all that the other sainti 
have in part; and St. Vincent Ferrer, speaking 

* Psal. Ixxi. 6. 

t Virgo eancta totam sibi hauserat Spiritus Sancti gratiam. In. 
Cat D. Ph. in 1. Luc. JC.xxiv. 16. 

S Totum teneo in plenitudine quod alii sancti tenent in partea 


especially of the sanctity of Mary before her 
birth, said, that she surpassed all the saints and 
angels in sanctity.* 

The grace of the blessed Virgin surpassed the 
grace not only of each saint in particular, but of 
all the saints and angels together, as the most 
learned Father Francis Pepe, of the Society of 
Jesus, proves, in his admirable work on the gran 
deur of Jesus and Mary;f and he asserts that 
this opinion, so glorious for our queen, is now 
common and established among modern the 
ologians, as Carthagena, Suarez, Spinelli, Recu- 
pito, Guerra, and others, who have avowedly ex 
amined it, which was not done by the ancients; 
and he further relates, that the divine mother 
sent Father Martin Guttierez to thank Father 
Suarez in her name for having, with so much 
courage, defended this most probable opinion, 
which Father Segneri asserts, in his work enti 
tled "The Servant of Mary," was maintained by 
the common consent of the Faculty of Sala 

Now if this opinion is universal and certain, 
the other opinion is also very probable, name 
ly, that Mary received from the first moment of 
her immaculate conception this grace, superior 
to the grace of all the saints and angels togeth 
er. This the same Father Suarez powerfully 
defends, and Father Spinelli, Recupito,J and 
Colombiere, follow him. But besides the an- 

* Virgo sanctific ata fuit in ntero super omnes sanctos et angelo^ 
t Tom. 3, Lea. 136. * Ap. P. Pepe. Loc. cit. Serxu. 3. 


thority of theologians, there are yet two great 
and convincing reasons sufficient to prove the 
above-mentioned opinion. The first reason is, 
that Mary was chosen by God to be the mother of 
the divine Word, hence blessed Denis the Car 
thusian says, that having been elected to an or 
der superior to all creatures (for in a certain 
sense the dignity of mother of God, as Father 
Suarez affirms, belongs to the order of the by- 
postatic union), gifts of a superior order were 
justly bestowed upon her from the beginning of 
her life, so that her graces far exceeded those 
granted to all other creatures. And, indeed, it 
cannot be doubted, that at the same time, when 
in the divine decrees the person of the eternal 
Word was predestined to become man, a mother 
was also destined for him, from whom he was to 
take the human nature, and this was our infant 
Mary. Now St. Thomas teaches that the Lord 
gives to every one grace proportioned to that 
dignity for which he destines him;* St. Paul 
taught this before, when he said: "Who also 
hath made us fit ministers of the New Testa 
ment;"! signifying to us that the Apostles receiv 
ed from God gifts proportioned to the great of 
fice to which they were elected. St. Bernardine 
of Sienna adds, that when a man is chosen by 
God for any state, he not only receives the dis 
positions requisite for that, but also the gifts 

* TTnlcnique a Deo datnr gratia, sectmdnm hoc ad quod eligitnr. 
3, p. q. 27, a. 5, ad. 1. 
t Qiii et idouos aos fecit luiniatroe Nori Testament!. 8 Co* 


necessary to fill the office in a becoming man 
ner.* Now if Mary was chosen to be mother of 
God, it was meet that God should adorn her, 
even from the first moment, with an immense 
grace, and of an order superior to the grace of 
all other men and angels; it being requisite that 
the grace should correspond with the most high 
and immense dignity to which God exalted her; 
in which opinion all theologians agree with St. 
Thomas, who says: The Virgin was elected to be 
the mother of God, and therefore there can be 
no doubt that God, by his grace, rendered her 
fit for it.f Hence Mary, before being made moth- 
er of God, was adorned with a sanctity so per 
fect, that it rendered her fit for this great dig 
nity. In the blessed Virgin, therefore, says the 
holy doctor, was a perfection, as it were prepara 
tive, by which she was fitted to become the 
mother of Christ; and this was the perfection 
of sanctification.J 

And St. Thomas had before said, that Mary 
was called full of grace, not on account of the 
degree of grace, since she had not grace in its 
highest possible degree; for even the habitual 
grace of Jesus Christ (as the same doctor says) 

* Regnla firma est in sacra theologia, quod quandocnmque Deus 
tllquem eligit ad aliquem statum, omnia bona illi dispenset, qme illi 
tatui necessaria sunt et ilium copiose decorant. Serm. 10, a 2, c. I. 

t Virgo fuit electa, ut esset mater Dei, et ideo non est dubitandum 
quia Deus per suam gratiam earn ad hoc idoneam reddidit. Loc. 
cit. art. 4. 

t In B. Virgine fuit perfectio quasi dispositiva, per quam redde- 
batur idonea ad hoc quod esset mater Christi; et haec fuit parfoctio 
anctific*tionia. Cit. q. 27. a. 5, ad a. 


was not the highest possible, so that God, by 
his absolute power, could not make it greater; al 
though it was grace sufficient to correspond to 
the end for which his humanity was destined by 
the divine Wisdom, that is, for the union with 
the person of the Word.* The divine power, al 
though it may form something greater and 
better than the habitual grace of Christ, yet 
could make nothing that should be destined to 
any thing greater than the personal union of the 
only begotten Son of the Father, to which 
union such a measure of grace would sufficiently 
correspond, according to the idea of divine wis 
dom. f 

The same angelic Doctor teaches, that the 
divine power is so great, that however much it 
gives, there always remains something more to 
give; and although the natural power of the crea 
ture in receiving is in itself limited, so that it 
can be entirely filled, yet the power of its 
obedience to the divine will is unlimited, and God 
can always increase its fulness by making it 
more capable of receiving;! and hence, to return 
to our proposition, St. Thomas declares, that the 
blessed Virgin, although not full of grace, in re- 

* 8, p. q. 7, a. 10, ad 1. 

t Virtus divina, licet possit facere aliquid majus et melius, quam 
it babitualis gratia Christ! ; non tamen poseet facere quod ordi- 
naretur ad aliquid majus quam sit unio personalia ad filium uuigeni 
turn a Patre, cui unioni sufficienter correspondet talis mensura 
gratiae, secundum definitionem divinse sapientisp. D. q. 7, a. 12, ad 2. 

$ Potentiam naturalem ad recipiendum posse totam impleri, no 
autem potentiam obedientise. S. Th. q. 29, de Verit. a. 3, ad 3. 


epect to absolute grace; yet is called full of grace 
in respect to herself, since she possessed a grace 
immense, sufficient, and corresponding to her 
great dignity, which rendered her fit to become 
the mother of a God.* Hence the blessed Fer 
nandez says, that the measure by which we can 
know how great was the grace communicated 
to Mary is her dignity as mother of God.f 

Justly, then, did David say, that the foun 
dations of this city of God, Mary, should be laid 
upon the summits of the mountains: "Funda- 
menta ejus in montibus sanctis;" J by which we 
are to understand that the beginning of the life 
of Mary was more exalted than the completed 
jfives of all the saints put together. "The Lord 
loveth the gates of Sion," the prophet continues, 
"above all the tabernacles of Jacob." And 
David himself gave this as the reason, namely, 
that God was to make himself man in her vir 
ginal womb: Man was born in her: "Homo natus 
est in ea." Hence it was fitting that God should 
give to this Virgin, even from the first moment 

* Beata Virgo est plena gratia, non ex parte Ipeiusgratise; qnia 
non habuit gratiam in suinma excellentia qua potest haberi, nee ad 
omnes effectus gratiae; sed dicitur fuisse plena gratia per compara- 
tionem ad ipsam; quia scilicet habebat gratiam sumcientem ad 
tatum ilium, ad quern erat a Deo electa, ut esset mater unigeniti 
ejus. D. q. 7, a. 10, ad 1. 

t Et igitur dignitas matris Del regula, per quam metiendum, quic- 
quid Virgini ab eo collatum credimus. 

$ Psal. Ixxxvi. l. 

$ Diligit Dominus portas Sion super omnia tabernacula Jacob, 


be created her, a grace corresponding with thf 
dignity of the mother of God. 

Isaias foretold the same when he said, that m 
future the mountain of the house of the Lord, 
which was the blessed Virgin, should be pre 
pared on the summit of all the other mountains, 
and therefore all the nations must hasten to this 
mountain, to receive the divine favors.* St. 
Gregory explains this by saying: Yea, the 
mountain on the top of mountains, because the 
glory of Mary shone above that of all the saints.f 
And as St. John Damascene expresses it: 
The mountain which it pleased God to choose 
for his habitation. J Mary was called a cypress, 
but a cypress of Mount Sion: she was also called 
a cedar, but a cedar of Lebanon; an olive-tree, 
but a fair olive-tree; chosen, but chosen as the 
sun; for, as the sun, says St. Peter Damian, with 
his light so far exceeds all the splendor of the 
stars, that they are seen no more when be 
appears, so the great Virgin Mary surpasses, 
with her sanctity, the merits of the whole celes 
tial court. And as St. Bernard elegantly ex 
presses it: Mary was so sublime in sanctity, that 
none but Mary was a fitting mother of God. 

* Et erlt In novissimis diebus prseparatus mons domus Domini in 
vertice montium, et elevabitur super colles, et fluent ad eum omnei 
gentes. Isa. ii. 2. 

t Mone quippe in vertice montium, quis altitude Marias super om- 
nes sanctos refulsit. L. 1, in I, Reg. c. v. 

$ Mons in quo beneplacitum est Deo habitare in eo. 

| Siderum rapit posltionem, ut shit quasi non sint; sic Virgo inee 
ita skigulorurc. et omnium antecedit. Serm. de Ass. 


And no other Son than God was befitting 

The second argument which proves that Mary, 
in the first moment of her life, was more holy 
than all the saints united, is founded upon the 
great office which she had from the beginning, 
of mediatrix of men; for which it was requisite 
that she should possess a greater treasure of 
grace than the whole human race together. It 
is very well known how universally this title of 
mediatrix is applied by theologians and by the 
very holy Fathers to Mary, since by her power 
ful intercession and merits de congruo she has ob 
tained salvation for all, procuring for the ruined 
world the great blessing of redemption. It is 
said by merit de congruo, because Jesus Christ 
alone is our mediator by way of justice, and by 
merit de condigno, as it is expressed by the 
schools, he having offered to the eternal Father 
his merits, which he has accepted for our sal 
vation. Mary, on the contrary, is the mediatrix 
of grace by way of simple intercession, and of 
merit de congruo, she having offered to God, aa 
the theologians say with St. Bonaventure, her 
merits for the salvation of all men; and God, 
through grace, has accepted them in union with 
the merits of Jesus Christ. Hence Arnold Car- 
notensis says: She effected our salvation in com 
mon with Christ.f And Richard of St. Victor, 

* Neque enim decebat Deum alia mater quam Virgo neque Vlr^ 
ginem alius filius quam Deus. 
t Ipsa in nostra salute comnmnem cum Christo effectual obtinuit 


also: She desired, sought, and obtained the sal 
vation of all; nay, more, the salvation of all was 
effected through her.* So that every blessing 
and every gift of eternal life which each of the 
aints has received from God, has been obtained 
for them by Mary. 

And it is this which the holy Church wishes 
us to understand, when she honors the divine 
mother by applying to her these passages of 
Ecclesiasticus: In me is all grace of the way and 
of the truth: u ln me gratia omnis vise et ver- 
itatis." f It is said: Of the way, because through 
Mary all graces are dispensed to those who are 
still on the road to heaven; Of the truth, because 
through Mary is given the light of truth. In 
me is all hope of life and of virtue: "In me om- 
nes spes vitse et virtutis." J Of life, because 
through Mary we hope to attain the life of grace 
upon earth, and of glory in heaven; and of vir 
tue, because through Mary virtue is obtained, 
and especially the theological virtues, which are 
the principal virtues of the saints. I am the 
mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowl 
edge, and of holy hope. Mary by her inter 
cession obtains for her servants the gifts of 
divine love, of holy fear, of celestial light, and 
of holy confidence. And St. Bernard infers that 

* Omnium salutem deslderavlt. qusesivit, obtfnuit; imo omnium 
ealus per ipsam effecta. C. 26, in Cant. 

t C. xxiv. 25. * Ibid. 

| Ego mater pulchna dilectionis, et timoris, et agnitionis, et aaact* 


it is taught by the Church, that Mary is th 
universal mediatrix of our salvation. "Extol 
the finder of grace, the mediatrix of salvation, 
the restorer of ages." Thus the Church sings of 
her to me, and hath taught me to sing the same.* 

Therefore, as St. Sophronius, Patriarch of 
Jerusalem, asserts, the archangel Gabriel called 
her full of grace: "Ave gratia plena;" because 
whilst to others, as the saint above mentioned 
remarks, limited grace is given, to Mary it was 
given in fulness. j- And thus it was ordered, 
as St. Basil attests, that in this way she might 
become the worthy mediatrix between God and 
men.J For if the Virgin had not been full of 
divine grace, as St. Lawrence Justinian adds, 
how could she be the ladder of paradise, the ad 
vocate of the world, and the true mediatrix 
between God and men? 

The second argument is now made perfectly 
clear: If Mary, even from the beginning, as al 
ready destined to be the mother of the common 
Redeemer, received the office of mediatrix of 
all men, and consequently also of all the saints, 
it was requisite that she, from the beginning, 

* Magnifies gratiae inventricem, raediatricem salntis, restauratri- 
cem Bseculornm. Hsec mihi de ilia cantat Ecclesia, et me eaderu 
docuit decantare. Epist. 175, ad Canonic. Lugd. 

t Bene plena, qnia caeteris sanctis datur gratia per partes; Maria 
vero tota se infudit plenitudo gratiae. Serin, de Ass. 

$ Ave gratia plena, propterea Deum inter et homines mediatrix in- 

Quomodo non est Maria plena gratia, quae effecta est paradiei 
cala, interventrix inuudi, Dei atque hominum verissima mediatrix* 
Senu. da ana. B. V. 


should have a greater grace than all the saintf 
had, for whom she was to intercede. To ex 
plain myself more clearly, if by means of Mary 
all men were to render themselves dear to God, 
it was meet that Mary should be more holy and 
more dear to God than all other men united. 
Otherwise, how could she intercede for all 
others? In order that an intercessor may ob 
tain from his prince favor for all his vassals, it 
is absolutely necessary that he, more than all 
the other vassals, should be dear to his mon 
arch. And Mary, therefore, concludes St. An- 
selm, merited to be the worthy restorer of the 
ruined world, because she was the most holy 
and most pure of all creatures.* 

Mary was, then, the mediatrix of men, some 
one will say, but can she be called also the me 
diatrix of angels? Many theologians are of 
opinion that Jesus Christ obtained by his merits 
the grace of perseverance also for the angels; so 
that as Jesus Christ was their mediator de con- 
dignOy Mary may also be called their mediatrix 
de congruo, having hastened by her prayers the 
coming of the Redeemer. At least, having mer 
ited de congruo to be chosen for the mother 
of the Messias, she merited for the angels the 
restoration of their seats which had been lost by 
the demons. Then, at least, she merited for 
them this accidental glory; hence, Richard of 

* Pura sanctitas pectoris ejus, omnis creaturse puritatem, sancti* 
tatemqne transcendens, promeruit ut reparatrix penliti orbis digui* 
fcima flwet. De Excell. Virg. c. 9. 


St. Victor says: Every creature by her is restor 
ed, the ruin of the angels by her is repaired, and 
human nature is reconciled.* And St. Anselm 
before had said: All things by this Virgin 
are reclaimed and restored to their pristine 

So that our heavenly child, because she was 
appointed mediatrix of the world, as well as pre 
destined for the mother of the Redeemer, even 
from the first moment of her life, received grace 
greater than that of all the saints united. Hence 
how lovely in the sight of heaven and earth was 
the beautiful soul of that happy infant, although 
still inclosed in the womb of its mother! In the 
eye of God she was the creature most worthy of 
love, because, already full of grace and of merit, 
she could, even at that time, exult and say: 
When I was a little child I pleased the Most 
High: "Cum essem parvula, placui Altissimo." 
And at the same time she was the creature most 
full of love for God that until that time had ap 
peared in this world; so that Mary, had she been 
born immediately after her most pure concep 
tion, would have come into the world more rich 
in merits, and more holy, than all the saints 
united. Now, let us consider how much more holy 
she was at her birth, coming to the light after 
the acquisition of those merits which she made 

* TJtraque creatura per hanc reparatur, et angelorum ruina per 
hanc restanrata est, et natura humana reconciliata. In Cant. 4. 

t Cuncta per hanc Virginem in etatum pristinum revocata sunt el 
restanrata* De Exc. Virg. c. 11. 


during the nine months that she remained in her 
mother s womb. Let us now go on to consider 
the second point, namely: how great was the fi 
delity with which Mary at once corresponded 
with the divine grace. 

Second Point. It is not now an individual 
opinion of some few divines, says a learned au 
thor,* it is the opinion of the whole world, that 
the holy infant, when she received sanctifying 
grace in the womb of St. Anna, received at the 
same time the perfect use of reason, with a great 
divine light corresponding to the grace with 
which she was enriched. Hence we may believe, 
that from the first moment when her pure soul 
was united to her most pure body, she was en 
lightened with divine wisdom to comprehend 
eternal truths, the beauty of virtue, above all, 
the infinite goodness of her God, and how much 
he deserves to be loved by all men, but especi 
ally by her, on account of the peculiar graces 
with which he had adorned her and distinguish 
ed her from all creatures, preserving her from 
the stain of original sin, bestowing on her a grace 
BO abundant, and destining her for the mother of 
the Word and the queen of the universe. 

Hence Mary, from that moment grateful to 
her God, began to effect all that she could, 
using faithfully all that great treasure of grace 
that she had received; and wholly applying her 
self to please and love the divine goodness. 
From that moment she loved him with all he* 

* Father La Colomblere. Serau 31. 


strength, and thus continued to love him through 
all those nine months that she lived before her 
birth, in which she did not cease for a moment 
to unite herself to God by fervent acts of love. 
She was free from original sin, and therefore 
she was also exempt from every earthly attach 
ment, from every irregular tendency, from every 
distraction, from all strife of the senses, which 
could have prevented her from advancing con* 
stantly in the divine love. All her senses 
united with her blessed spirit in drawing her near 
to God. Hence her pure soul, freed from every 
hindrance, without lingering, always rose to 
God, always loved him, and always increased in 
love to him. Therefore she called herself a 
plane-tree planted by the waters: "Quasi pla- 
tanus exaltata sum juxta aquam;"* for she, in- 
deed, was that noble tree of God that always 
grew beside the stream of divine grace. She also 
called herself a vine: As the vine I have brought 
forth a pleasant odor: "Ego quasi vitis fructifi- 
cavi suavitatem odoris;"f not only because she 
was so humble in the eyes of the world, but also 
because, as the vine never ceases to grow: "Vitis 
nullo fine crescit:" according to the Proverb, so 
the most holy Virgin always increased in perfec 
tion. The growth of other trees, as the orange, 
mulberry, pear, &c., is determinate, but the vine 
always increases, and increases in proportion to 
the height of the tree by which it is supported. 
Hail, oh vine, always vigorous! thus St. Gregory 

* IcclL xxiy. 18. t EcclL xxiv. 83. 


Thaumaturgus salutes her;* for she was always 
united to her God, who was her only support. 
Thus it was of her that the Holy Spirit spoke 
when he said : Who is this that cometh up from the 
desert flowing with delights, leaning on her be 
loved?! Commenting on this, St. Ambrose says: 
Who is that, accompanied by the divine Word, 
increases like the vine supported by a lofty 

Many grave theologians teach, that the soul 
which possesses a habit of virtue, whenever she 
corresponds faithfully with the actual graces 
which she afterwards receives from God, always 
produces an act equal in intensity to the habit 
she possesses; so that each time she acquires a 
new and double merit, equal to the aggregate of 
all the merits before acquired. This increase, as 
they say, was granted to the angels in the time 
of their probation; and if it were granted to the 
angels, who shall say that it was not also given 
to the divine mother while she lived on this 
earth, but especially in the time of which I am 
speaking, when she remained in the womb of her 
mother, and was certainly more faithful than 
the angels, in corresponding with grace? 
Mary, then, during all that time was redoubling 
continually that sublime grace, which from the 
first moment she possessed; for, corresponding 

* Serm. 1, In Ann. 

tQuse est ista, quse ascendit de deserto deliciis affluens, inniaa 
super dilectum euum? Cant. viii. 5. 

% Hoc est qu ascendit, ita ut inhseret Dei Verbo, iicut Yitii pit* 
Ap. Seg. Fred. 40, dell Ann. 


with all her power and perfection In every act 
ehe performed, at every successive moment she 
redoubled her merits. Hence, if, in the first 
moment, she had received a thousand degrees 
of grace, in the second she had two thousand, 
in the third four thousand, in the fourth eight 
thousand, in the fifth sixteen thousand, in the 
sixth thirty thousand; and yet we have only 
reached the sixth moment. But multiply in this 
way for a whole day, multiply for nine months, 
and consider, what treasures of grace, of merits, 
and of sanctity Mary brought into the world 
when she was born. 

Let us rejoice, then, with our infant, who 
was born so holy, so dear to God, and so full 
of grace; and let us rejoice not only for her, but 
also for ourselves, since she came into the world 
full of grace, not only for her own glory, but 
for our good. St. Thomas says the most holy 
Virgin was full of grace in three ways: 1st, She 
was full of grace in soul, so that from the be 
ginning her holy soul belonged entirely to God. 
2d, She was full of grace in body, so that she 
merited to clothe the eternal Word with her 
pure flesh. 3d, She was full of grace for the 
common benefit, so that all men might share it.* 
Some saints, adds the angelic Doctor, have so 
much grace, that not only is it enough for them 
selves but also to save many others, not, how 
ever, all men; only to Jesus Christ and Mary 
was given so great a grace that it was sufficient 

* Fnit etiam gratia plena quantum ad refusionem ad omntt 


to save all men. If any one bad enough for the 
salvation of all, that would be the greatest; and 
this was in Jesus Christ and the blessed 
Virgin.* Thus St. Thomas writes. Hence 
what St. John said of Jesus "And of his ful 
ness we all have received"! the saints say 
of Mary. St. Thomas of Villanova eays:Full of 
grace, of whose fulness all receive.J There 
fore St. Anselm remarks, there is no one who 
does not share in the grace of Mary. And is 
there any one in the world to whom Mary is not 
merciful, and on whom she does not bestow 
some favor?] From Jesus, however (we should 
understand), we receive grace as from the au 
thor of grace, from Mary as the mediatrix; from 
Jesus as the Saviour, from Mary as the advo 
cate: from Jesus as the fountain, from Mary as 
the channel. 

Therefore St. Bernard says that God has 
established Mary as the channel of the mercies 
which he wishes to dispense to men; and for 
this reason he filled her with grace, that every 
one might receive his portion of her fulness. 
A full channel, that all might partake of its 
fulness, but not receive the fulness itself. 1" 
Hence the saint exhorts all to consider with how 

* Sed quando quis haberet tantum, quod sufficeret ad salutem om 
nium, hoc esset maximum; et hoc fuit in Christo et beata Virgins. 
Op use. 8. 

t Et de plenitudine ejus nos omnes accepimus. C. i. 16. 

$ Gratia plena, de cujus plenitudine accipinnt universi. 

| ita ut nullus sit, qui de plenitudine gratis Virginia con sit par- 

I Qnis unquam reperitur cui Virgo propitia non sit? Quis ad quern 
jus misericordia non ee extendat? 

Plenua aquseductus, ut accipiant ctri de pleuitudine, sed noa 
ptautudinwn ipaam. 


much love God will have us honor this great 
Virgin, since in her he has placed all the treas 
ure of his blessings; that whatever we possess 
of hope, grace, and salvation, we may thank 
our most loving queen for it; since it all comes 
to us through her hands, and by her interces 
sion.* Miserable is that soul who closes for her 
self this channel of grace, by neglecting to 
recommend herself to Mary! When Holopher- 
nes wished x to make himself master of the city 
of Bethulia, he ordered the aqueducts to be de 
stroyed: " And he commanded their aqueduct to 
be cut off."f And this the devil does when he 
wishes to make himself master of a soul, ho 
makes her abandon the devotion to the most 
holy Mary. When this channel is closed, she 
will at once lose the light and the fear of God, 
and finally eternal salvation. By the following 
example it will be seen how great is the com 
passion of the heart of Mary, and the ruin which 
he brings upon himself who closes this 
channel, and abandons devotion to this queen 
of heaven. 


It is narrated by Tritemius, Camsius, 
and others, that in Magdeburg, a city of Saxony, 
there was a certain man named Udo, who, from 
his youth, had been so destitute of talent that 

* Intueamini qnanto devotionis affectu a nobie earn voluerit hon- 
orari, qui totins boni plenitudinem poeuit in Maria; ut proinde si 
quid spei nobis est, si quid gratise, si quid salutis. ab ea noverimua 
rtdundare. Serm. de Aquaed. 

t Incidi praecepit aquseductus illorum. Judith vii. 6. 


he was th ridicule of all his schoolfellows. 
Now one day, being more than usually disheart* 
ened, he went to pray to the most holy Virgin 
before her image. Mary appeared to him in a 
dream, and said to him: "Udo, I will console 
you, and not only will I obtain from God for 
you abilities which will protect you from de 
rision, but even talents which will make you ad 
mired; and moreover, after the death of the 
bishop, I promise that you shall be elected in 
his place." Thus Mary said, and thus it came 
to pass. Udo made great progress in the 
sciences, and obtained the bishopric of that city. 
But Udo was so ungrateful to God and to his 
benefactress for these favors, that he neglect 
ed all his devotions arid became the scandal of the 
place. Whilst he was in bed one night with a 
wicked companion, he heard a voice saying to 
him: "Udo, cease this sinful pastime; you have 
sinned enough."* At first he was irritated by 
these words, thinking it was some one who was 
reproving him; but hearing it repeated a second 
arid a third night, he began to tremble a little, 
lest it should be a voice from heaven. Notwith 
standing all this, he continued in his wicked 
ness. But after God had given him three 
months for repentance, behold the punishment! 
One night a devout canon, named Frederick, was 
praying, in the church of St. Maurice, that God 
would remove the scandal which Udo gave; 
when, behold, the door of the church was burst 

* Udo cessa de ludo; lusisti satis; Udo. 


open by a strong wind. Two youths entered 
with lighted torches in their hands, ,and stood 
on each side of the high altar. Then two 
others followed, who spread before the altar a 
carpet, and placed upon it two thrones of gold. 
Another youth, in military attire, followed, with 
a sword in his hand, and stopping in the midst 
of the church, cried: "Oh ye saints of heaven, 
whose relics are preserved in this church, come 
to assist at the great justice which the sovereign 
Judge is about to execute." At these words 
many saints appeared, and also the twelve apos 
tles, as assistants in this judgment. Lastly, 
Jesus Christ entered, and seated himself on one 
of these thrones. Afterwards Mary appeared, 
attended by many holy virgins, and seated her 
self on the other throne at the side of her Son. 
The Judge now ordered that the culprit should 
be brought forward, and he was the miserable 
Udo. St. Maurice spoke, and demanded, in the 
name of the people whom he had scandalized, 
justice for his infamous life. All present 
raised their voices and said: "Oh Lord, he 
merits death." "Let him die, then," said the 
eternal Judge. But before the sentence was 
executed (see how great is the mercy of Mary) 
she, the kind mother, that she might not be pres 
ent at that tremendous act of justice, left the 
church; and then the heavenly minister, who en 
tered among the first, with the sword, approach 
ing Udo, with one blow severed the head from 
the body, and the vision vanished. The place 


was left dark. The canon, trembling, went fo* 
a light from a lamp which was burning under 
the church; and when he returned, saw the body 
of Udo with the head cut off, and the pavement 
all covered with blood. When daylight came, 
the people thronged the church, and the canon 
related the whole vision and the circumstances 
of that fearful tragedy. And on the same day 
the wretched Udo, who was condemned to hell, 
appeared to one of his chaplains, who knew 
nothing of what had taken place in the church. 
The body of Udo was thrown into a marsh, and 
his blood remained for a perpetual memorial on 
that pavement, which was always covered with 
a carpet; and from that time it became the cus 
tom to uncover it when a new bishop took pos 
session of the church, that at the sight of such 
a punishment he might be mindful to lead a 
good life, and not be ungrateful for the graces 
of the Lord and of his most holy mother. 


Oh holy and heavenly infant Mary! thou who 
art the destined mother of my Redeemer and 
the great mediatrix of miserable sinners, have 
pity on me. Behold at thy feet another 
ungrateful creature who has recourse to thee and 
implores thy mercy. It is true that, for my in 
gratitude towards God and thee, I am deserving 
of being abandoned by God and by thee; but I 
have been told, and thus I believe, knowing how 
great is thy compassion, that thou wilt not re 


fuse to help him who, with confidence, re 
commends himself to thee. Thou, oh most ex 
alted of all creatures, since there is no one above 
thee but God, and, in comparison with thee, the 
greatest in heaven are but small; oh saint of 
saints, oh Mary, abyss of grace, full of grace, 
help a miserable sinner who has lost it by his 
own fault. I know that thou art so dear to God 
that he denies thee nothing. I know also that 
thou dost rejoice to employ thy greatness in re 
lieving the distressed. Ah, make known how 
great is thy favor with G^d by obtaining for 
me a divine light and a flame so powerful that 
it may change me from a sinner into a saint, 
and. detaching me from every earthly affection, 
may wholly inflame me with divine love. Do 
this, oh Lady, because thou canst do it; do this 
for the love of that God who has made thee so 
great, so powerful, and merciful. Thus I hope. 



The offering which Mary made of herself to. God toa 
prompt, without delay; entire, without reserve. 

THERE never has been, and there never will 
be, any offering of a pure creature greater and 
more perfect than that which Mary made to 
God, being yet only a child of three years, when 


she presented herself in the temple to offer him, 
not spices, nor calves, nor talents of gold, but 
her whole self as a perfect holocaust, consecrating 
herself as a perpetual victim in his honor. Well 
did she understand the voice of God, which even 
then called her to dedicate herself wholly to his 
love, with these words: Arise, make haste, my 
love, and come: "Surge, propera, arnica mea, et 
veni."* And therefore her Lord would have 
her from thenceforth forget her country, her 
parents, and every thing, to attend to nothing 
but to love arid please him: "Hearken, oh 
daughter, and see and incline thy ear; and for 
get thy people and thy father s house."f And 
she at once obeyed promptly the divine voice. 
Let us consider, then, how acceptable to God 
was this offering which Mary made of herself, 
as she presented herself promptly and entirely 
to him; promptly without delay; entirely with 
out reserve; these are the two points. 

First Point. Mary offered herself to God 
promptly. From the first moment when this 
heavenly infant was sanctified in the womb of 
her mother (which was at the first moment of 
her immaculate conception), she received the 
perfect use of reason, that she might from 
thenceforth begin to merit, as the Doctors uni 
versally agree; and one of them, Father Suarez, 
says, that as the most perfect mode by which 

* Cant, it, 10. 

t Audi, fllia, et vide, et inclina aurem tuam; et obliviscere pop* 
km tuum, et domum patris tui. Psal. xliv. 11. 


God sanctifies a soul is its sanctification by its 
own merits, as St. Thomas teaches,* so it is to 
be believed that the blessed Virgin has been 
thus sanctified. f And if this privilege was 
granted to the angels and to Adam, as the an 
gelic Doctor says,! much more should we believe 
that it was granted to the divine mother, on 
whom we cannot doubt that God, having 
deigned to make her his mother, conferred 
greater gifts than on all other creatures, as the 
same Doctor teaches. From her he received 
his human nature, hence before all others she 
must have obtained from Christ the fulness of 
grace ; for, being mother, as Father Suarez says, 
she has a certain peculiar right to all the gifts 
of her Son.J And as, by the hypostatic union, 
Jesus must of right have the fulness of all 
graces; thus by the divine maternity, it was 
meet that Jesus should confer on Mary, as a 
natural debt, greater graces than those bestowed 
on all the other saints and angels. 

Thus, from the beginning of her life, Mary 
knew God, and knew him so well, that no tongue, 
as the angel declared to St. Bridget, shall 
suffice to tell how the intellect of the holy Vir 
gin clearly saw God in the first moment she 
knew him.^f And even in that first moment of 

* 3 p. q. 19, a. 3. 

t Sanctificari per propium actum est perfectior modus. Ergo ere- 
dendum est hoc modo fuisse sanctificatam Virginem. To. 2, in 3 p. 
D. 4, 5, 8. 1 1 p. q. 63, a. 5, et q. 95, a. 2. 

| Ex ea accepit humanam Naturam, et ideo prae caeteris majorem 
deouit a Christo gratiae plenitudinem obtinere. 3 p. q. 27, a. 5. 

I Unde fit ut smgulare jus habeat ad dona filii sui. T. 2, in 3, p. 
D. 1,5,2, \ germ. Aug. c. 14. 


light by which she was illuminated, she offered 
herself wholly to her Lord, dedicating herself 
entirely to his love and glory, as the angel 
continued to say to St. Bridget: "At once our 
queen resolved to sacrifice her will to God, with 
all her love, for the whole time of her life; and 
no one can understand how completely her will 
Bubmitted itself then to embrace all things 
pleasing to him."* 

Yet, when the immaculate infant understood 
afterwards that her holy parents, Joachim 
and Anna, had promised to God, even by a vow, 
M various authors relate, that if he should 
grant them a child, it should be consecrated to 
his service in the temple; for it was an ancient 
custom of the Jews to place their children in 
cells which were near the temple, that there 
they might be properly educated, as we learn 
from Baronius, Nicephorus, Cedrenus, and Suar- 
ez, as also from Josephus, the Jewish historian, 
St. John Damascene, St. Gregory of Nicomedia, 
St. Anselm,f and St. Ambrose.J As it is also 
clearly seen in Macchabees, where, speaking of 
Heliodorus, who wished to enter the temple by 
force in order to take from it the treasures de 
posited there, it is said: "Because the place was 
like to come into contempt .... the virgins 
that were shut up hastened to Onias." When 
Mary knew of this vow, as I have before said, 
she wished solemnly to offer and conseciate her- 

Serm. Aug. c. 14. t De Form, et Mor. B. M. % De Vir. 1. 1. 
9 Pro eo quod in contemptum locus esset venturus. . . Virgin** 
quee concluese erant, procurrebant ad Oniam. 


elf to God, by presenting herself in the temple, 
as Germanus asserts, and also St. Epiphanius, 
who says, that when she was hardly three years 
old she was presented in the temple,* at an age 
when children have the greatest desire for the 
assistance of their parents, and need it the 
most. She was even the first to entreat her 
parents earnestly that they would take her to 
the temple, to fulfil their promise; and her holy 
mother, Anna, as St. Gregory of Nyssa says, 
did not delay to bring her there, and offer her to 

And behold, Joachim and Anna, generously 
sacrificing to God what was dearest to them on 
earth, set out from Nazareth, carrying by turns, 
in their arms, their beloved little daughter, who 
could not \*.ilk so great a distance as was that 
from Nazareth to Jerusalem, a journey, as sev 
eral authors assert, of eighty miles. They thus 
went on their way, accompanied by only a few 
of their relations, but by hosts of angels, as St. 
George of Nicomedia asserts,J who attended 
and ministered to the immaculate Virgin, as 
she went to dedicate herself to the Divine 
Majesty. How beautiful are thy steps, oh 
prince s daughter! " Quam pulchri sunt gressus 
tui, filia principis!" Oh, how beautiful, how 
pleasing to God, as the angels sung, are thy 
steps, as thou goest to offer thyself to him, oh 

* Tertio anno oblata est in templo. Serm. de Laud. Virg. 
t Anna hand cunctata est earn at templum addncere, ac Deo of 
feree. Or. de Nat. Chr. 
J De Oblat. Deip. Cant. vii. L 


great and chosen daughter of our common Lord! 
God himself on that day, says Bernardino de 
Bustis, celebrated a great feast with the whole 
celestial court, when he beheld his spouse con- 
ducted to the temple.* For he never saw ^a 
creature more holy and more beloved offering 
herself to him.f Go, then, said St. Germanus, 
Archbishop of Constantinople, go, oh queen of 
the world, oh mother of God, go joyfully to the 
house of the Lord, to wait for the coming of the 
Holy Spirit that will make thee mother of the 
eternal Wo rid. J 

When the holy company had arrived at the 
temple, the eager child turned to her parents, 
kneeling kissed their hands, and asked for their 
benediction; and then, without turning back, she 
ascended the fifteen steps of the temple, as Ariaa 
Montanus relates upon the authority of Joseph- 
us, the Jewish historian, and presented herself to 
the priest, who, according to St. Germanus, was 
Zachary; then, taking leave of the world, and 
renouncing all the goods which it promises to 
its followers, she offered and consecrated herself 
to her Creator. 

At the time of the deluge, the raven which 
was sent by Noe from the ark remained to feed 

* Mdgnam quoqne festlvitatem fecit Deus cum angelis in deduo 
tione suse sponsae ad templnm. Marial. p. 4, Serm. 1. 

t Quia nullus unquam Deo gratior, usque ad illud tempns a* 
endit. Loc. cit. 

$ Abi ergo, oh Domina Mater Dei, In atria Domini, exultans et ex 
pectans Sancti Spirits adventum et unigeniti Filii conceptionwn 
D0 Oblat Virg. 


upon the bodies of the dead, but the dove with* 
out stopping to rest her foot, returned quickly 
to the ark: She returned to him into the ark: 
"Reversa est ad eum in arcam."* Many who 
are sent by God into this world, unhappily stop 
to feed on earthly things. Not so Mary, our 
celestial dove; she knew that God should be our 
only good, our only hope, our only love; sh^ 
knew that the world is full of dangers, and 
that he who the soonest leaves it, is freest from 
its snares; therefore she sought promptly to flee 
from it in her tenderest years, and seclude herself 
in the sacred retirement of the temple, where 
she could better hear the voice of God, and bet 
ter honor and love him. And thus the holy 
Virgin, from the beginning of her life, rendered 
herself dear and acceptable to her Lord, as the 
holy Church makes her say: Rejoice with me, 
all ye who love the Lord, for when I was little 
I pleased the Most High."t For this reason she 
was compared to the moon; for as the moon 
completes her course more quickly than the 
other planets, so Mary attained perfection soon 
er than all the saints, by giving herself promptly 
to God without delay; and entirely without re- 
ierve. And now let us pass to the second point, 
upon which we shall have much to say. 

Point Second. The enlightened infant well 

* Gen. viii. 9. 

t Congratulaminl lulhi omni qul diligltis Domlnum, qula, cum 
Mem parvala, pkcai altLuimo. In 8, Hip. 1, Noct, In Fet. S. M. 


knew that God does not accept a divided heart, 
but wishes it entirely consecrated to his love, ac 
cording to the precept he has given: "Thou shalt 
love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart."* 
Hence, from the first moment of her existence, 
she began to love God with all her strength, and 
gave herself wholly to him. But her most holy 
soul awaited with earnest desire the time when 
she could in reality consecrate herself entirely, 
and with a public solemnity, to God. Let us 
consider, then, with how great a fervor the lov 
ing Virgin, seeing herself actually inclosed in 
that holy place, first prostrated herself to kiss 
that ground as the house of the Lord, then ador 
ed his infinite majesty, and thanked him for the 
favor she had received of being brought so early 
to inhabit his house. Then she offered herself 
entirely to God; entirely, without reserving any 
thing. She offered to him all her powers and 
all her senses, her whole mind and her whole 
heart, her whole soul and her whole body, for it 
was then, as we are told, that to please God, she 
made the vow of virginity. A vow, according 
to Rupert the Abbot, that Mary was the first to 
make; "Votum virginitatis prima emisit."f And 
she offered herself without limitation of time, as 
Bernardine de Bustis asserts: Mary offered and 
dedicated herself to the perpetual service of 
God.J Since she had then the intention of dedi- 

* Diliges Bominum Deum tuum ex toto corde tuo. 
t Lib. 1, de Inst. Virg. 

i Maria seipsam pcrpetuis Dei obsequiis obtulit et dedicavit. Mae 
j>. 4, Serm. 1. 


eating her whole life to the service of his Divine 

Majesty in the temple, if it should so please 
God; and of never quitting that sacred place, 
Oh, with what affection must she have exclaim 
ed: My beloved to me, and I to him: "Dilectus 
metis mihi, et ego illi."* I for him, as Cardinal 
Hugo remarks, will wholly live and will wholly 
die: "Ego illi tota vivam, et tota moriar." My 
Lord and my God, she said, I have come hither 
only to please thee, and to give thee all the hon 
or I can; here Lwill live wholly for thee and die 
for thee, if it so please thee; accept the sacrifice 
which this thy poor servant makes to thee, and 
help me to be faithful to thee. 

And here let us consider how holy was the 
life that Mary led in the temple, where, like the 
rising morn, "Quasi aurora consurgens," increas 
ing always in perfection, as the dawn increases 
in light; who can describe how, from day to day, 
in her more brightly shone her virtues; char 
ity, modesty, humility, silence, mortification, 
meekness? This fair olive-tree, planted in the 
house of God, as St. John Damascene says, un 
der the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, became 
the habitation of all the virtues.f The same 
saint says in another place: The counte 
nance of the Virgin was modest, her mind hum 
ble, her words kind, proceeding from a recollect 
ed heart.J And he elsewhere asserts: The Vir- 

* Cant. ii. 16. 

t Ad templum adducitnr, ac deinde in domo Dei plantata, atqtw 
per spiritum saginata, instar olivai f rugif erae virtntum omnium flom- 
kilium efficitur. L. 4, de Fid. c. 15. { Or. 2, de Nat. Vifr 


gin withdrew her thoughts from all earthly 
things, embracing all the virtues. Thus, then, 
by the practice of perfection, she made so great 
progress in a short time, as to merit being made 
a temple worthy of God.* 

St. Anselm, also, speaking of the life of the 
holy Virgin in the temple, says: Mary was do 
cile, spoke little, was always composed, never 
laughed, was never distracted. She persevered 
in prayer, in the reading of the Holy Scripture, 
in fasting, and all virtuous works.f St. Jerome 
goes more into detail, and tells us how Mary s 
life was ordered: From early in the morning till 
nine o clock she remained in prayer; from nine 
to three she was engaged in labor; at three she 
resumed her prayers, until the angel, as usuffl, 
brought her food. She was the most constant in 
vigils, the most exact in obedience to the divine 
law, the most profound in humility, and the 
most perfect in every virtue. No one ever saw 
her angry; all her words were so full of sweet 
ness, that when she spoke it always appeared 
that God was with her.J 

The divine mother herself revealed to St. 
Elizabeth, a Benedictine nun, in the convent of 
Sconaugia, as we read in St. Bonaventure, 
that when she was left in the temple by her 
parents, she resolved on having God alone for 

* De Fid. Ort. 1. 4, c. 15. 
t De Form, et Mor. B. M. 

* De ilia appres. 1 ist. della vita di Maria del P. Giu*. de Gesu to 
Maria. Cann. Scalzo. 1. 2, e. 1. 



father, and often thought what she could do to 
please him.* She determined, moreover, to con 
secrate to him her virginity, and to possess 
nothing in the world, giving her entire will to 
God.f She also told her that above all the di 
vine precepts to be observed, she placed before 
her eyes the precept, "Thou shalt love the Lord 
thy God,"! and that she went in the middle of 
the night to pray the Lord before the altar of 
the temple, that he would grant her the grace 
to observe the commandments, and to see the 
mother of the Redeemer born while she lived, 
praying him that he would preserve her eyes to 
see her, her tongue to praise her, her hands and 
feet to serve her, and her knees to adore in her 
arms, his divine Son. St. Elizabeth, on hear 
ing this, said to her: "But, my Lady, were you 
not full of grace and virtue?" and Mary answer 
ed her: "Know that I esteemed myself the most 
vile, and unworthy of divine grace; therefore I 
prayed thus for grace and virtues." And, final 
ly, that she might persuade us of the absolute 
necessity we are all under, of asking from God 
the graces that we need, she added: "Do you 
think that I obtained grace and virtue without 
effort? Know that I received no grace from 

* Cum pater men? et mater mea dimiserunt me in templo, statui 
In corde meo habere Deum in patrem, et ssepe cogitabam quid pos- 
Bern facere illi gratum. 

t Statui eervare virginitatem; nihil nnquam possidere in mundo; 
et omnem voluntatem meam Deo commisi. 

$ Diligee Dominum Deum tuum. 


God without great effort, constant prayer, ai> 
dent desire, and many tears and penances." 

But above all, we should consider the rev* 
lations made to St. Bridget, of the virtues and 
exercises practised by the blessed Virgin in her 
childhood, in these words: "Even from an in 
fant Mary was filled with the Holy Spirit, and 
as she increased in age, she increased also in 
grace. Even from that time she resolved to 
love God with all her heart, so that he should 
never be offended by her actions or her words, 
and for this reason all the goods of earth were 
despised by her. She gave all she could to the 
poor. In her food she was so temperate that 
she only took what was absolutely necessary to 
support life. Discovering then from the sacred 
Scriptures, that this God was to be born from a 
virgin to redeem the world, her spirit was so 
kindled with divine love that she desired and 
thought only of God; and taking pleasure only 
in God, shunned the conversation even of her 
parents, that they might not hinder her from 
thinking on God. And more than all did she 
desire that the coming of the Messiah might be 
in her day, that she might be the servant to that 
happy Virgin Avho merited to be his mother. 
Thus the revelation made to St. Bridget.* 

Ah, for love of this exalted child the Redeem 
er hastened his coming into the world, for whilst 
she through her humility did not esteem herself 
worthy of being the servant of the divine moth* 
*L, l,3.c.a 


er, she was herself chosen for this mother, and 
by the odor of her virtues and her powerful 
prayers, she drew into her virginal womb the 
divine Son. Hence was Mary called the turtle 
by her divine spouse: The voice of the turtle is 
heard in our land: "Vox turturis audita est in 
terra nostra."* Not only because she, like the 
turtle, always loved solitude, living in this world 
as in a desert, but also because, like the turtle 
who makes the fields mournful with its sad note x 
Mary was always mourning in the temple over 
the miseries of the lost world, and asking from 
God, the Redeemer of the world. Oh, with 
how much greater affection and fervor than the 
prophets did she repeat to God in the temple 
their supplications and sighs, that he might send 
the Redeemer; "Send forth, oh Lord, the Lamb, 
the ruler of the earth. "f "Drop down dew, ye 
heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the 
just."J "Oh, that thou wouldst rend the hea 
vens and wouldst come down." 

In a word, it was an object of delight to God 
to see this young Virgin always ascending to a 
higher perfection, like a pillar of smoke, rich in 
the odors of all virtues, as the Holy Spirit ex 
actly describes her in the sacred Canticles: 
"Who is she that goeth up by the desert, as a 
pillar of smoke of aromatical spices, of myrrh, 

* Vox turturis audita est in terra nostra. Cant. ii. 12. 
t Emitte agnum, Domine, dominatorem terrse. Isa. xvi. 1. 
$ Rorate coeli desuper, et nubes pluant justum. Id. xlr. 8. 
Utinam dirumperes ccelos, et deacenderes. Id. Ixiv. i. 


and frankincense, and of all the powders of tbt 
perfumer ?" * This holy child, says Sophronius, 
was in truth the garden of delights of the Lord, 
for he found there flowers of every kind, and all 
the odors of the virtues.f This St. John 
Chrysostom affirms, that God chose Mary for 
his mother on earth, because he found not on 
the earth a more perfect and more holy Virgin 
than Mary, neither a place more worthy for him 
to dwell in than her sacred womb;| as St. Ber 
nard also says: On the earth there was no more 
worthy place than the womb of the Virgin. 
St. Antoninus asserts that the blessed Virgin, 
in order to be elected and predestined to the 
dignity of mother of God, must have possessed 
a perfection so great and consummate, that it 
should surpass the perfection of all other 

As then the holy young child Mary, present 
ed and offered herself in the temple promptly 
and entirely, so let us, at this day, without de 
lay and without reserve, present ourselves to 
Mary, and entreat her to offer us to God, who 
will not refuse us when he sees us offered by 
the hand of her who was the living temple of 
the Holy Spirit, the delight of her Lord, and 

* Qnse est ista quae ascendit per desertum eicnt virgnla fumi ex 
aromatibue myrrhae. et thuris et universi pulveris pigmentarii. Cant, 
iii. 6. 

t Vere virgo erat hortus deliciarnm In quo consita eunt univewt 
florum genera, et odoramenta virtutum. Senn. de Ass. 

* Ap. Canis. 1. 1. de B. V. c. 13. 

| Nee in terris locus dignior utero virginalL 
I Ultima gratia perfections est prseparatio ad Filium Dei oonefr 
pieadum. P. 4, tit. 15, c. 6. 


the chosen mother of the Eternal Word. And 
let us place a great hope in this exalted and 
most gracious Lady, who rewards with so much 
love the devotions that are offered to her by her 
servants, as may be seen by the following 


We read in the life of Sister Domenica of Para 
dise, written by Father Ignatius of Niente, a 
Dominican, that in a village called Paradise, near 
Florence, this little girl was born of poor par 
ents. From her infancy she practised devotion 
to the divine mother. She fasted every day of 
the week in her honor, and on Saturday she dis 
tributed to the poor the food of which she had 
deprived herself; and every Saturday she went 
into the garden, or into the neighboring fields, 
and there gathered all the flowers she could find, 
and placed them before a statue of the holy Vir 
gin with the infant Jesus in her arms, which she 
had in her house. But let us see now with what 
favors our most grateful Lady compensated this 
her servant, for the homage she paid her. As 
she stood one Sunday at the window, when she 
was about ten years of age, she saw in the street 
a woman with a beautiful countenance, accom 
panied by a little child, and they both extended 
their hands as if to ask alms. She went for some 
bread, and, behold, before she could open the 
door, they stood beside her, and she saw woundi 
on the hands, feet, and breast of the child. 


Then she said to the woman: Who has wounded 
this child?" "It was love," answered the moth- 
er. Domenica, charmed by his beauty and mod* 
esty, asked him if his wounds pained him; but 
he only answered with a smile. As they wer 
standing near the images of Jesus and of Mary, 
the mother said to Domenica: "Tell me, little 
girl, what makes you crown these images with 
flowers?" She answered: "The love I have for 
Jesus and Mary makes me do it." "And how 
much do you love them?" "I love them as 
much as I can." "And how much can you love 
them?" "As much as they will help me." 
"Continue, then," said the mother, "continue to 
love them, for they will richly return your love 
in paradise." 

Then the little girl perceived a celestial odor 
coming forth from those wounds, and she asked 
the mother with what ointment she had anoint 
ed them, and if that ointment could be pur 
chased? "It is purchased," answered she, "with 
faith and works." Domenica then offered them 
the bread. The mother said: "The food of this 
my Son is love; tell him that you love Jesus and 
he will be satisfied." The child at mention of 
this word love, began to show great signs of joy, 
and turning to the little girl, he asked her how 
much she loved Jesus. She answered that she 
loved him so much, that day and night she was 
always thinking of him, and desired nothing else 
but to please him as much as she could. "Well," 
answered he, "love him; and love will teach you 


what you must do to satisfy him.* The odor 
then increasing which came from those wounds, 
Domenica exclaimed: "Oh God, this odor makes 
me die of love; if the odor of a child is so sweet t 
what must be the odor of paradise?" But be 
hold the scene was changed; the mother appear 
ed robed as a queen, and surrounded with light, 
and the child resplendent as a sun of beauty. 
He took those flowers and strewed them on her 
head. She at once saw that these persons were 
Jesus arid Mary, and prostrated herself in ador 
ation before them. And thus ended the vision. 
Domenica afterwards took the Dominican hab 
it, and died in the year 1553, with the reputa 
tion of a saint. 


Oh beloved of God! most amiable child Mary! 
oh, that like thee, who didst present thyself in 
the temple, and at once and wholly didst con 
secrate thyself the glory and love of thy God, I 
might offer to thee to-day the first years of my 
life, and dedicate myself entirely to thy 
service, oh my most holy and sweet Lady! But 
it is now too late, for, unhappily, I have lost so 
many years in serving the world and my capri 
ces, as it were entirely forgetful of thee and of 
God. Alas for the time in which I did not love 
thee!* But it is better to commence late than 
at all. Behold, oh Mary, to-day I present my 
self to thee, and offer myself entirely to thy 

* V tempori ffli, In quo non amavi t*. 


service, for the longer or shorter tim that re* 
mains for me to live on the earth; and with thea 
I renounce all creatures, and dedicate myself en 
tirely to the love of my Creator. I consecrata 
to thee, then, oh queen, my mind, that I may al 
ways think of the love that thou dost merit, my 
tongue to praise thee, and my heart to love thee. 
Accept, oh most holy Virgin, the offering which 
the most miserable sinner presents to thee; ac 
cept it, I pray thee, for the sake of that conso 
lation which filled thy heart when in the temple 
thou gavest thyself to God. And if late I be 
gin to serve thee, it is right that I should make 
good the time lost by redoubling my devotion 
and my love. Aid my weakness, oh mother of 
mercy, with thy powerful intercession, and 
obtain for me perseverance and strength to be 
faithful to thee until death; that always serv 
ing thee in this life, I may come to praise thee 
eternally in paradise. 



Mary could not humble herself more than she did in th6 
incarnation of the Word. On the other hand, God could 
not exalt Tier more than he has exalted her. 

"WHOSOEVER shall exalt himself shall be hum. 
bled, and he that shall humble himself shall be 


exalted."* These are the words of our Lord, 
and cannot fail. Therefore, God having deter 
mined to make himself man, in order to redeem 
lost man, and thus manifest to the world his in 
finite goodness, being about to choose on earth 
his mother, sought among women the holiest 
and most humble. Among them all he saw one, 
the youthful virgin Mary, who, as she was the 
most perfect in all virtues, so was she the most 
simple; and humble as a dove in her own es 
teem. "There are young maidens without num 
ber; one is my dove, my perfect one." f Let 
this one,then, said God, be my chosen mother. 
Let us then see how humble Mary was, and how 
God exalted her. Mary could not humble her 
self more than she did in the incarnation of the 
Word; this will be the first point. That God 
could not exalt Mary more than he exalted her. 
will be the second. 

First Point. Our Lord in the holy Canticles, 
speaking precisely of the humility of this most 
humble Virgin, said : " While the King was at 
his repose, my spikenard sent forth the odor 
thereof. ^ St. Antoninus, commenting on these 
words, says that the spikenard, inasmuch as it 
is a small and lowly plant, was a type of the 
humility of Mary, whose odor ascended to hea* 
ven, and drew, even from the bosom of the eter- 

* Qui autem se exaltaverit, humiliabltur; et qui se humill averit, 
exaitabitur. Matt, xxiii. 12. 

t Adolescentularum non est numsrus. Una est columba mea. pei* 
fecta mea. Cant. vi. 7, 8. 

$ Dam esset Her. in accubita suo, nardus mea dedit odoreia i 


nal Father, into her virginal womb the divine 
Word. The spikenard is a small herb, and sig 
nifies the blessed Virgin, who exhaled the odor 
of humility; which odor ascended even to hea 
ven, and in heaven as it were awakened him 
who was in his repose, and brought him to rest 
in her womb.* Thus the Lord, drawn by the 
odor of this humble Virgin, chose her for his 
mother, when he wished to become man to re 
deem the world. But he, for the greater glory 
and merit of this his mother, would not make 
himself her Son without first obtaining her con 
sent. He would not take flesh from her with 
out her consent.f Therefore, when the humble 
young Virgin was in her poor dwelling, sighing 
and praying to God more earnestly than ever 
that he would send the Redeemer, as was reveal 
ed to St. Elizabeth, a Benedictine nun, behold 
the Archangel Gabriel came, bearing the great 
embassy. He enters and salutes her, saying: 
"Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; 
blessed art thou among women. "J Hail, oh 
Virgin, full of grace, for thou wast always rich 
in grace, above all the other saints. The Lord 
is with thee because thou art so humble. Thou 
art blessed among women, for all others have 
incurred the curse of original sin; but thou, be- 

* Nardus est herba parva, et significat B. Virginem, qme dedit 
humilitatis odorera; qui odor usque ad coelum ascendit, et in coelo 
accumbentem fecit quasi evigilare, et in utero suo quiescere. P. 4, 
tit. 15, c. 21, s. 2. 

t Noluit camera sumere ez ipsa, non dante ipsa. In Cant. 3. 

$ Ave gratia plena; Dominus tecum; benedicta tu in mulieribua, 


cause thou art to be the mother of the Blessed 
One, hast been and wilt always be blessed, and 
free from every stain. 

But what does the humble Mary answer to 
this salutation so full of praises ? She answered 
nothing, but she was disturbed thinking on such 
a salutation: "And when she had heard, she 
was troubled at his saying, and thought with 
herself what manner of salutation this should 
be."* And why was she disturbed? through 
fear of illusion, or through modesty at the sight 
of a man, as some suppose, remembering that 
the angel appeared to her in human form ? No, 
the text is plain; she was troubled at his saying, 
"turbata est in serraone ejus," as Eusebius 
Emissenus remarks: Not by his appearance, but 
by his speech: Non in vultu, sed in sermone 
ejus." Such a disturbance was then wholly 
owing to her humility at hearing those praises, 
so far beyond her humble esteem of herself. 
Hence the more she is exalted by the angel, the 
more she humbles herself, and the more she con 
siders her nothingness. St. Bernardine remarks: 
If the angel had said that she was the greatest 
sinner in the world, Mary would not have been 
thus surprised; but in hearing those exalted 
praises she was greatly disturbed.f She was 
troubled because, being so full of humility, she 

* Quae cum andisset, turbata est in sermone ejus, et cogitabat 
qualis esset ista salutatio. 

t Si dixisset, oil Maria, tu es major ribalda quss est in mundo, non 
ita admirata fuisset; unde torbata fuit da tantis laudibus. Serm. 
96, de Am. Inc. p. 3. 


abhorred every praise, and desired that none but 
her Creator, the giver of every good, should be 
praised and blessed. Mary said exactly this to 
St. Bridget, speaking of the time when she be 
came mother of God. "I disliked my own praise, 
and only wished to hear that of the giver and 
Creator." * 

But I would remark, that the blessed Virgin 
had already well learned from the Holy Script 
ures that the time foretold by the prophets for 
the coming of the Messiah had arrived; that the 
weeks of Daniel were now completed; that al 
ready, according to the. prophecy of Jacob, the 
sceptre of Judah had passed into the hands of 
Herod, a strange king, and she well knew that a 
virgin was to be the mother of the Messiah; 
and ehe hears those praises offered by the angel 
to herself, which seemed to belong only to the 
mother of God; did it then come into her mind 
that perhaps she herself might be that chosen 
mother of God ? No, her profound humility 
did not permit this thought. These praises had 
no other effect than to cause her great fear; so 
that, as St. Peter Chrysologus remarks: As 
Christ wished to be consoled by an angel, so 
must the Virgin be encouraged by an angel.f 
As the Saviour willed to be comforted by an an 
gel, so it was necessary that St. Gabriel, seeing 
Mary so full of fear at that salutation, should 

* Nolui laudem meam, sed solius Datoris et Creatoris. L. 1, 
Rev. c. 23. 

t Sicat Christns per angelum voluit confortari, ita per angelum de 
bait Virgo aniinari. 


encourage her, saying: "Fear not, Mary, for 
thou hast found grace with God."* Do not 
fear, oh Mary, nor be surprised by the great 
titles by which I have saluted thee, for if thou 
art so little and humble in thine own eyes, God, 
who exalts the humble, has made thee worthy to 
find the grace lost by man; and therefore has he 
preserved thee from the common stain of all the 
children of Adam; therefore, even from the 
moment of thy conception he has adorned thee 
with a greater grace than that of all the saints; 
and therefore, finally, he now exalts thee to be 
his mother: "Behold, thou shalt conceive and 
ghalt bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his 
name Jesus." f 

Now why this delay? The angel, oh Lady, 
awaits thy answer, as St. Bernard says: We 
rather await it who are condemned to death.J 
Behold, oh our mother, continues St. Bernard, 
to thee is now offered the price of our salvation, 
which will be the divine Word in thee made 
man; if thou wilt accept him for a son, we 
shall be immediately delivered from death; be 
hold the price of our salvation is offered to thee; 
immediately we are liberated if thou dost con 
cent^ Thy Lord himself, as he is greatly en 
amored of thy beauty, so much the more desires 

* We tlmeas, Maria, invenisti gratiam apnd Denm. Luc. I. 30. 

t Ecce concipies, et paries fiflum, et vocabis nomen ejus Jesnm. 
Luc. i. 31. 

$ Expectat angelns responsum, expectamus et nos, oh Domina, 
vcrbum miserationis, quos miserabiliter premit sententia damna- 
tioniB. Horn. 4, Sup. Miss. 

Ecce offertur tibi pretium salutis nostrse; statim librabi mur, tA 
itis. Loc. cit. 


thy consent, on which he has made the salvation 
of the world depend.* Answer quickly, oh 
Lady, adds St. Augustine, delay no longer the 
salvation of the world, which now depends on 
thy consent. f 

But, behold, Mary already answers ; she an- 
Bwers the angel, and says : Behold the hand 
maid of the Lord, be it done unto me according 
to thy word."J Oh, what more beautiful, more 
humble, and more prudent answer could all the 
wisdom of men and of angels united have in 
vented, if they had thought of it for millions 
of years ! Oh powerful answer, which gave 
joy in heaven, and poured upon the earth a vast 
flood of graces and blessings ! Answer, that 
hardly came forth from the humble heart of 
Mary before it drew from the bosom of the 
eternal Father, the only begotten Son, to be 
come man in her most pure womb! yes, for 
hardly had she uttered these words: Behold the 
handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me accord 
ing to thy word; when immediately the Word 
was made flesh : "Verbuin caro f actum est;" the 
Son of God became also the Son of Mary. Oh 
powerful Fiat! exclaims St. Thomas of Villa- 
nova; oh efficacious Fiat! oh Fiat to be reverenc- 

* Ipse quoque Dominus, quantum concupivit decorem tuum, tan- 
turn desiderat et responsionis assensum, in qua nimirum proposuit 
alvare muDdum. Horn. 4, Sup. Miss. 

t Responde jam Virgo sacra, vitam quid tricas mundo? Serm. 21, 
de Temp. 

$ Ecce aneilla DonJni, flat mini secundum verbum tuum. Loo. 


ed above every fiat!* for by another fiat God 
created the light, the heaven, and the earth ; 
but by this fiat of Mary, says the saint, God be 
came man like us. 

But let us not wander from our point, let us 
consider the great humility of the Virgin in this 
answer. She was indeed well enlightened to un 
derstand how great was the dignity of the moth 
er of God. She already had been assured by 
the angel that she was this happy mother chos 
en by the Lord. But with all this she is not at 
all raised in her own esteem, stops not at all to 
enjoy her exaltation, but considering on one 
side her own nothingness, and on the other the 
infinite majesty of her God, who chose her for 
his mother, she knows how unworthy she is of 
such an honor, but would by no means oppose 
herself to his will. Hence, when her consent 
was asked, what does she do? what does she say? 
Wholly annihilated as to self; all inflamed, on 
the other hand, with the desire of uniting her- 
eelf thus more closely to God, by entirely aban 
doning herself to the divine will: Behold, she 
answers, behold the handmaid of the Lord: 
4 *Ecce ancilla Domini." Behold the slave of the 
Lord: obliged to do whatever her Lord com 
mands. And she intended to say: If the Lord 
chooses me for his mother, who have nothing of 
my own; if all that I have is his gift, who could 
think that he selects me for any merit of my 

5 O Flat potenel O Fiat efficaxl O Fiat super omni fiat veneran- 
dam! Cone. 3, de Ana. 


own? Behold the handmaid of the Lord. 
What merit can a slave have, to be made the 
mother of her Lord? Behold the handmaid of 
the Lord. Let the goodness of God alone be 
praised, and not the slave ; since it is wholly his 
goodness which has led him to place his eye on 
a creature so lowly as I, and make her so 

Oh humility, exclaims here Guerric the Abbot; 
small in its own eyes, great in the eyes of God! 
Insufficient to itself, sufficient to him whom 
the whole world cannot contain!* But still 
more beautiful on this occasion is the excla 
mation of St. Bernard, which he makes in the 
fourth sermon on the Assumption of Mary, in 
which, admiring the humility of Mary, he says: 
Oh Lady, how have you been able to unite in 
your heart such an humble esteem of yourself 
with so much purity, so much innocence, and 
with such fulness of gracef as thou dost possess! 
And whence, oh blessed Virgin, did this humil 
ity, this so great humility, take such deep root 
in thee, when thou wast so honored and exalted 
by God?J Lucifer, seeing himself endowed 
with great beauty, aspired to exalt his throne 
above the stars, and make himself like to God. 
Now \vhat would not that proud spirit have 

* O humilitas, angusta elbl, ampla Divimtatit Insuffidens sIW, 
ufficiens ei quern non capit orbis! 

t Quanta humilitatis virtus, cum tanta puritate, cum fnnoccntla 
tanta, imo cum tanta gratia plenitudine? 

$ Unde tibl humilitas, et tanta humiHtas O Beata? 

Supr astra Dei exaltabo eolium meum, et similis ero altissimo, 
Im. aciv. 13. 


said and attempted if lie had seen himself adorn 
ed with the privileges of Mary? Not so the 
humble Mary; the more she saw herself exalted, 
the more she humbled herself. Ah Lady, for 
this beautiful humility, concludes St. Bernard, 
thou hast indeed merited to be regarded by God 
with peculiar love, to charm thy King with thy 
beauty; to draw him with the sweet odor of thy 
humility, from his repose in the bosom of God, 
into thy most pure womb.* Hence St. Bernar- 
dine de Bustis says, that Mary merited more by 
that answer: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord," 
than all creatures could merit by their works. f 

Thus, says St. Bernard, this innocent Virgin, 
although by her virginity she rendered herself 
dear to God, yet by humility afterwards render 
ed herself worthy, as much as a creature can ren 
der itself worthy, to be made the mother of her 
Creator. Although she pleased by her virgin 
ity, by her humility she conceived: "Etsi placuit 
ex virginitate, tamen ex humilitate concepit."J 
And St. Jerome confirms this by saying, that 
God chose her for his own mother more for her 
humility, than for all her other sublime virtues. 
Mary herself expressed this to St. Bridget, by 

* DIgna plane qnam resplceret Domlnus, cu jus decorem concnpis- 
eret Rex, cujus odore suaviasimo ab seterno illo Paterni sinus attra- 
heretur accubitu. 

t Beata Virgo plus meruit, dicendo humiliter: Ecce ancilla Dora* 
Ini, quam eimul mereri possent omnes purse creaturse. Mar. 12, p. 5, 
p. 2. 

$ Horn. 1, Sap. Miss. 

Maluit Deus de Virgine Incarnari propter humilltatem, 00*01 
ptopter aliam quamcumque virtuteiu. 


saying to her: How much did I merit such a grace 
to be made the mother of my Lord, if not becausa 
I knew my nothingness, and humiliated myself?* 
And this she declared before in her Canticle, so 
fall of the deepest humility, when she said: "Be 
cause he hath regarded the humility of his hand 
maid . . . He that is mighty hath done great 
things to me."f Upon which words St. Law 
rence Justinian remarks, that the blessed Virgin 
does not say, he regarded my virginity, my inno 
cence, but only my humility.J And by this hu 
mility, as St. Francis de Sales remarks, Mary did 
not intend to praise the virtue of her humility, 
but wished to proclaim that God had regarded 
her nothingness, humility, that is, nothingness: 
"Humilitatem, id est niliilitatem," and through 
his pure goodness had willed thus to exalt her. 

In a word, St. Augustine says that the hu 
mility of Mary was like a ladder, by which our 
Lord deigned to descend upon earth to become 
man in her womb. And St. Antoninus confirms 
this by saying that the humility of the Virgin 
was her most perfect and the next preparation 
to become the mother of God.J And by this ia 

* TTnde promerni tantam gratlam, nisi quia cogitavi et scivi nihil a 
toe ease vel habere? L. 2, Rev. c. 35. 

t Qtda reepexit humilitatem ancillse suse fecit mihi majfna 

qui potens est. Luc . 4. 48, 49. 

JNon ait, respexit virginitatem, inuocentiam; seu humilitatem 

Pacta est Mariae humilitas scala ccelestis, per quam Deus de. 
ecendit ad terras. Sup. Magn. 

\ Ultima gratia perfectionis est prseparatio ad Filiuin Dei cone** 


explained what Isaias predicted: "And there shall 
come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a 
flower shall rise up out of his root.* The blessed 
Albertus Magnus remarks, that the divine flow 
er, namely, the only-begotten of God, according 
to Isaias, would come forth, not from the top or 
the trunk of the tree of Jesse, but from its root, 
which precisely denotes the humility of the 
mother, f And this is more clearly explained by 
the Abbot of Celles. Observe, says he, that not 
from the top, but from the root this flower is to 
spring up. | And therefore our Lord said to his 
beloved daughter; "Turn away thy eyes from 
me, for they have made me flee away." And 
from whence flee, unless from the bosom of the 
Father to the womb of Mary?] as St. Augustine 
says. Upon which the learned interpreter Fernan 
dez observes, that the most humble eyes of Mary, 
with which she always contemplated the divine 
greatness, never losing sight of her nothingness, 
did such violence to God herself that they drew 
him into her bosom.^f And by this we are to 
understand, says Francone the Abbot, why the 

piendum; quae prseparatio fuit per profundam humilitatem. p. 5, tit. 

15, c. 6, et 8. 
* Egredietnr virga de radice Jesse, et flos de radice ejus ascendet. 

Jsa. xi. 1. 

t De radice ejus, hnmilitas cordis intelligitur. 
Nota, quod non ex snmmitate, sed de radice ascendet flos. 
Averte oculos tuoa, quia ipsi me avolare fecerunt. Cant. vi. 4, 
I) Unde avolare, nisi a sinu Patris in uterum matrisf 
T Ita illius oculi humillimi Deum tenuerunt, ut suavissima quadara 

violentia ipsummet Dei Patris Verbum in uterum suum Virgo afr 

ttraxerit. In c. 14, Gen. Beet. 1. 


Holy Spirit so much praised the beauty of this 
his spouse for her eyes, which were like those of 
a dove: "How beautiful art thou, my love! how, 
beautiful art thou! thy eyes are like doves 
eyes;"* because Mary, looking on God with the 
eyes of a simple, humble dove, he was so mucli 
enamored of her beauty, that with the bands of 
love she made him a prisoner in her virginal 
womb; these are the words of the abbot: In what 
place on the earth could so be. iutiful a virgin be 
found, who could allure the King of heaven by 
her eyes, and by a holy violence lead him cap 
tive, bound in the chains of charity?f We will 
conclude this point by remarking that Mary, in 
the incarnation of the Word, as we have seen 
from the beginning, could not have humiliated 
herself more than she did. Let us now see how 
God could exalt her no higher than he did by 
making her his mother. 

Point Second. In order to comprehend, the 
greatness to which Mary was elevated, it would 
be necessary to comprehend the sublime majesty 
and grandeur of God. It is sufficient, then, only 
to say , that God made this Virgin his mother, 
to have it understood that God could not exalt 
her more than he did exalt her. Rightly did 
St. Arnold Carnotensis affirm, that God, by 

* Qnam pnlchra es, arnica mea, qnam pnlchra esi ocnll tui colnw- 
bnrnm. Cant. iv. 1. 

t Ubinam terrarum tarn speciosa Virgo inveniri posset, auee Regent 
ecelorum oculis caperet, et vinculia charitatie pia violentia captinuoi 
traheret. De Grat. Nov. Test. ir. 6. 


making himself the Son of the Virgin, establish 
ed her in superior rank to all the saints and 
angels: " Maria constituta est , -super oranem 
Creaturam."* So that, next to God, she is in 
comparably higher than the celestial spirits, as 
St. Ephrem asserts: "Nullacomparatione caeteris 
superis est gloriosior."j- St. Andrew of Crete 
confirms this, saying: God excepted, she is the 
higest of all: "Excepto Deo, omnibus est al- 
tior."J And St. Anselm also says: Oh Lady, there 
is none equal to thee, because every other, is 
above or beneath thee; God alone is superior to 
thee, and all others are inferior. So great, in a 
word, says St. Bernardine, is the exaltation of 
this Virgin, that God alone is able to compre 
hend it. || 

This removes the surprise expressed by some 
persons, remarks St. Thomas of Villanova, that 
the holy Evangelists, who have so fully recorded 
the praises of a Baptist and a Magdalene, have 
been so brief in their descriptions of the priv 
ileges of Mary ; for, says the saint, it was enough 
to say of her, that from her Jesus was born.T 
What more would you wish the Evangelists to 
Bay, continues the saint, of the grandeur of this 
Virgin ? let it be enough for you, that they at- 

* Tract, de L. V. t Or. de Laud. Deip. 

$ Or. de Dorm. Deip. 

Nihil tibi, Domina est sequalie; omne enim quod est, ant supra 
te est, aut infra; quod supra, solus Deus; quod infra, est omne quod 
Deus npn est. Ap. Pelb. Stellar. 1. p. 3, a. 2. 

I Tanta est perfectio Virginia ut soli Deo cognoscenda reservatut, 
To. 2, Serm. 51, a. c. 8. 2. 

? gfttie fait de ea dicere; de qua natus est Jc 


lest her to be the mother of God. Having re 
corded in these few words the greatest, and, in 
deed, the whole of her merits, it was not necessary 
for them to describe each separately.* And 
why not ? because, as St. Anselm answers: To 
say of Mary this alone, that she was the moth 
er of a God, transcends every glory that can be 
attributed to her, in thought or word, after 
God.f Peter of Celles adds, remarking on this 
same thought: By whatever name you may 
wish to call her, whether queen of heaven, ruler 
of the angels, or any other title of honor, you 
will never succeed in honoring her so much as 
by calling her only the mother of God.J 

The reason of this is evident, for as the an 
gelic Doctor teaches: The nearer a thing ap 
proaches its author, the greater the perfection it 
receives from him; therefore, Mary being the 
creature nearest to God, she has partaken more 
than all others of his grace, perfection, and 
greatness. To this Father Suarez traces the 

* Quid ultra requiris? Sufficlt tibi qnod mater Dei e?t. Ubi ergo 
totum erat, pars scribenda lion f uit. Couc. 2, de Nat. Virg. 

t Hoc solum de S. Virgine predicari, quod Dei mater sit, excedif 
omnem altitudinem, quse post Deuiu dici vel cogitari poteet. De. 
Exc. Virg. c. 4. 

t Si cceli Reginam, pi angelorum Dominam, vel quodlibet aliud 
protuleris, non assurges ad hunc honorem, quo prsedicatur Dei geni- 
trix. L. de Pan. c. 31. 

Quanto aliquid magis appropinquat principio in quolibet genere 
tanto magis participat effectum illius principii. Beata autem virgo 
Maria propinquissima Christo fuit secundum htimanitatem; quia ex 
ea accepit humanam naturam; et ideo praecseteris majorem debuit a 
Christo gratiie plenitudinem obtinere. 3 p. q. 27, a. 5. 


cause why the dignity of mother of God is of 
an order superior to any other created dignity; 
because it appertains, in a certain manner, to the 
order of union with a divine person, with which 
union it is necessarily connected.* Hence St. 
Denis the Carthusian asserts, that after the hy- 
postatic union, there is none more intimate than 
the union of the mother of God with her Son.f 
This, as St. Thomas teaches, is the highest union 
that a pure creature can have with God.f 
And the blessed Albertus Magnus affirms, that 
to be mother of God is a dignity next to that 
of being God; therefore he says, that Mary 
could not be more united to God than she was, 
without becoming God.| 

St. Bernardine affirms, that in order to become 
mother of God, it was requisite that the holy 
Virgin should be exalted to a certain equality 
with the divine Persons, by a certain infinity of 
graces. T And as children are esteemed moral 
ly one with their parents, so that their posses- 

* Dignitas matrls est alteriorisordinis, pertinet enim quodammod* 
ad ordinem unionis hypostaticse ; ilium enim intrinsece respicit, et 
cum ilia necessariam conjunctionein babet. To. 2, in. 3, p. d. 
2, s. 2. 

t Post hypostatlcam conjunctionem non eet alia tarn vicina, ut 
unio matris Dei cum filio KUO. L. 2, de Laud. V. 

$ Est suprema qusedam conjunctio cum persona infinita. 1, p. q. 
25, a. 6. 

Immediate post esse Deum, est esse matrem Dei. Super Miss. 
C. 180. 

I Magis Deo conjungl, nisi fieret Deus, non potuit. 

^ Quod fcemina conciperet et pareret Deum oportuit earn elevarf 
ad quamdam sequalitatem divinam, per quamdam infinitatem gratia* 
iwu. To. 1, Serm. 61, c. 16. 


sions and honors are in common, therefore St. 
Peter Damian says, that if God dwells in creat 
ures in different modes, he dwelt in Mary in a 
singular mode of fitness, making himself one 
with her.* And he exclaims in these celebrat 
ed words: Here let every creature be silent and 
tremble, and scarcely dare to behold the immen 
sity of so great a dignity. God dwells in a 
virgin with whom he has the identity of one 

St. Thomas asserts, that Mary, being made 
mother of God, by reason of this close union 
with an infinite good, received a certain infinite 
dignity, which Father Suarez calls infinite of its 
kind.J The dignity of mother of God is the 
highest dignity which can be conferred on a 
pure creature. The angelic Doctor teaches, that 
the humanity of Jesus Christ, though it might 
have received greater habitual grace from God, 
yet, as to the union with a divine Person, could 
not receive greater perfection; so, on the other 
hand, the blessed Virgin could receive no great 
er dignity than to be the mother of God. For 
aa habitual grace (this is his reasoning) is a creat 
ed gift, we must acknowledge that its essence ia 
finite. The capacity of every creature is lim- 

* Quarto modo inest Dens creature, scilicet Marise Virgin!, per 
Identitatem, quia idem est quam ilia. Serin. 1, de Nat. Virg. 

t Hie taceat et contremiscat omnis creatura, et vix audeat aspicere 
tantae dignitatis immensitatem. Habitat Deus in Virgine, cam qu 
anius naturae habet identitatem. Loc. cit. 

Dignitas matris Dei suo genere est infinite. To. 2, in 8, p. d. 


itcd in measure, which however prevents not 
the divine power from being able to form another 
creature of greater capacity.* Though the di 
vine power may create something greater 
and better than the habitual grace of Christ, 
yet it could not destine it to any thing greater 
than was the personal union of the only begot* 
ten Son with the Father.f The blessed Virgin, 
because she is the mother of God, has a certain 
infinite dignity from the infinite good, which is 
God; and in this respect nothing greater can be 
created. J St. Thomas of Villanova says the 
same thing: Certainly there is something infinite 
in being the mother of the Infinite One. And 
St. Bernardino says, that the state to which God 
exalted Mary as his mother was the high- 
est, so that he could exalt her no higher. |) And 
this is confirmed by Albertus Magnus. The 
Lord conferred on the blessed Virgin the high- 

* Cnm enim gratia habitualis sit donum creatum, couflterl oportet 
quod habeat essent lam fin i tain. Est cujusiibet creature determinate 
eapacitatis mensura, qute tamen divinae potestati non pnejudicat, 
quin poesit aliam creaturam majoris capacitatis facere. Opusc. 2, 
Comp. Theol. c. 215. 

t Virtus divina, licet possit facere aliquid majus et melius quam 
iit habitualis gratia Christi, non tamen posset facere quod ordinare- 
tur ad aliquid majus quam sit unio personalia ad filium unigenitom 
a patre. 3. p. q. 7, a. 12, ad 2. 

$ B. Virgo ex hoc quod est mater Dei, habet quamdam dignita 
tem infinitam, ex bono infinite quod est Deus. Et ex hac parte non 
potest fieri melius. 1, p. q. 25, a. 6, ad 4. 

TJtique habet quandam infinitatem ease matrern inflnltl. 
3, de Nat. Mar. 

| Status maternitatis Dei erat snmmil status, ijttl pane 
<Laii posset. To. 3, Senn. 6, a. 8, e, 1. 


est gift which any pure creature was capable of 
receiving, namely, the maternity of God.* 

Therefore St. Bonaventure wrote that cele 
brated sentence, that God could make a greater 
world, a greater heaven, but could not exalt a 
creature to greater excellence than by making 
her his mother.f But better than all others has 
the divine mother herself described the height to 
which God has elevated her when she said: He 
that is mighty hath done great things to me: 
"Fecit mihi magna qui potens est."J And why 
has the holy Virgin never made known what 
were the great favors conferred upon her by 
God? St. Thomas of Villanova answers, that 
Mary did not explain them, because they were 
eo great that they could not be explained. 

St. Bernard therefore, with reason, says that 
God has created all the world for this Virgin, 
who was to be his mother: "Propter hanc totus 
mundus factus est."| And St. Bonaventure 
says that the preservation of the world is at the 
disposal of Mary.^f The saint in this place ad- 

* Domlnus B. Virgin! emnmnm donavlt, cujus capax fait pur* 
reatnra, scilicet Dei maternitatem. L. 1, de Laud. Virg. c. 178. 

t Esse matrem Dei est gratia maxima purse creaturae conferibilis. 
Ipia est quam majorem facere non potest Deus, majus coelum, 
majorem quam matrem Dei facere non potest Spec. B. V. Lect. 10. 

% Luc. L 49. 

Non explicat qusenam hsec magna fuerlnt, qula inexplicabllla. 
Cone. 3, de Nat. Virg. 

| Propter hanc totus mundus factus est. Serm. 7, in Salv. Reg. 

^f Dispositione tua, Virgo sanctissima, perseverat mundus, quern 
et tu cum Deo ab initio f undasti. Ap. P. Pep. Lect. 371. 


heres to the words of Proverbs, applied by the 
Church to Mary: I was with him forming all 
things: "Cum eo erarn cuncta componens. " * 
St. Bernardine adds, that God, for love of Mary, 
did not destroy man after the sin of Adam.} 1 
Hence the Church, with reason, sings of Mary: 
She has chosen the best part: "Optimam partem 
elegit."J For this virgin mother not only 
chose the best things, but she chose the best 
part of the best things; the Lord bestowing 
upon her, in the highest degree, as the blessed 
Albertus Magnus attests, all the graces, and the 
general and particular gifts conferred on all 
other creatures, wholly in consequence of the 
dignity granted her of becoming mother of 
God. Thus Mary was an infant, but of this 
state she had only the innocence, but not the 
defect of incapacity, for from the first moment 
of life she always had the perfect use of reason. 
She was a virgin, but without the reproach of 
sterility. She was a mother, but with the priv 
ilege of virginity. She was beautiful, even most 
beautiful, as Richard of St. Victor asserts, and 
also St. George of Nicomedia, and St. Dionysius 
the Areopagite, who, as many believe, once had 
the happiness of enjoying the sight of her beauty, 

* Prov. vili. 80. 

t Propter singularissimam dilectionem ad hanc Virginem prser- 
vavit. To. 1, Serm. 61. c. & 

$ In Off . Ass. B. V. 

| Beatissima Virgo gratia fuit plena, quia omnes gratias generate! 
at specialet omnium creaturarum in eummo habuit. Bibl. Ma. in 
Luc. 18. 


and said that if faith had not taught him that 
she was a creature, he should have adored her 
as God. And the Lord himself revealed to St. 
Bridget, that the beauty of his mother surpass 
ed the beauty of all men and angels, allowing 
the saint to hear him say to Mary: "Thy beauty 
exceeds that of all the angels, and of all creat 
ures."* She was most beautiful, I repeat, but 
without injury to those who looked upon her, 
for her beauty put to flight impure emotions, and 
Suggested even pure thoughts, as St. Ambrose 
attests: So great grace had she, that she not 
only pn served her own virginity, but also conferr 
ed a remarkable gift of purity on those who 
beheld her.f And St. Thomas confirms this: 
The grace of sanctification not only repressed in 
the Virgin illicit emotions, but also had efficacy 
for others; so that although she was beautiful in 
person, she never excited impure desires.J 
Therefore she was called myrrh, which prevents 
corruption: I yielded a sweet odor like the best 
myrrh: "Quasi mirrha electa dedi suavitatem 
odoris;" as the holy Church applies it. She was 
occupied in active life, but labor did not inter- 

* Omncs angelos et omnla qua creata sunt excessit pulchritudo 
tua. L. 1. Bev. c. 51. 

t Tanta erat sua gratia nt non solum in se virginitatem servaret, 
Bed etiam ei quos inviseret, integritatis donum insigne conferret. 
De InsU Virg. c. 7. 

J Gratia sanctificationis non solnm repressit in Virgine motus 
illicitos, eed etiam in aliis efficaciam habuit; ita ut quamvis esset 
pulcnra corpore a nullo concupisceretur. In 3 Dist. disp. 2, q. 2, a. 3 


rupt her union with God. In the contemplative 
life she was reco21ected in God, but without 
neglect of the temporal life, and of the char- 
ity due to the neighbor. Death came upon her, 
but without its suffering, and without the cor 
ruption of the body. 

To conclude then: this divine mother is infin 
itely inferior to God, but immensely superior to 
all creatures; and if it is impossible to find a Son 
more noble than Jesus, it is also impossible to 
find a mother more noble than Mary. This 
should cause the servants of such a queen not 
only to rejoice in her greatness, but also to in 
crease their confidence in her most powerful pro 
tection; for, being mother of God, says Father 
Suarez, she has a certain right to his gifts, to ob 
tain them for those for whom she prays.* St. 
Germanus, on the other hand, says that God 
cannot but hear the prayers of this mother, for 
he cannot but recognize her for his true and im 
maculate mother. Thus says the saint address 
ing the Virgin: But thou, who dost prevail with 
God by a maternal authority, even for those who 
grievously sin, thou dost obtain the great grace 
of reconciliation; for thou canst not but be 
graciously heard, as God in all things conforms 
to thy wishes as to those of a true and pure 
mother.f Therefore, oh mother of God, and our 

* Unde fit, nt eingulare jus habeat ad dona fllll sul. To. 2, m 8 p. 
d. 1, s. 2. 

t Tu autem qua materna in Deum auctoritate polles, etiam Hi qm 
saormiter peccant eximiam reconciliationis gratiam concilia*. Koo 


mother, in thee is not wanting the power to help 
us. The will, too, is not wanting. Nee facul- 
tas, nee voluntas illi deesse potest.* For thou 
knowest, I will say with thy servant the Abbot 
of Celles, that God has not created thee for him 
self alone, but has given thee to the angels for 
their restorer, to men for their deliverer, and to 
the demons for their conqueror, for by thy means 
we recover divine grace, and by thee the enemy 
is conquered and crushed. f 

And if we wish to please the divine mother, 
let us often salute her by saying the "Hail Mary." 
One day Mary appeared to St. Matilda, and told 
her that no one could honor her better than by 
this salutation; and we shall certainly obtain 
through it, peculiar graces from this mother of 
mercy, as will be seen by the following ex 


A well-known incident is related by Father Paul 
Segneri in his "Christian Instructed. ]; A Ro 
man youth, of evil habits and laden with sins, 
went to confession to Father Kiccolas ZuccLi. 
The confessor received him kindly, compassiona 
ted his misery, and told him that devotion to the 
blessed Lady would free him from bis accursed 

enim potes non exaudiri cum Deus tibi ut verae ac inteinerat matri 
BUJ6 in omnibus morem gerat. De Zona Virg. 

* Serm. de Ass. 

t Non tantum sibi te fecit, sod te angelis dedit in instaurationem, 
hominibus in reparationem, dtemonibus in hostemt nam per te Deus 
homini pacificatur, diabolus vincitur et conteritur. V. in Prol Cont 

* P. 3, Reg. 34. 


vices. He therefore imposed it upon him as a 
penance, that until the time of his next confession, 
every morning and evening, on rising and going to 
bed, he should recite a "Hail Mary" to the Virgin; 
making an offering to her of his eyes, hands, and 
his whole body, praying her to keep him as her 
own; and that he should kiss the ground three 
times. The young man practised this penance, 
and at first with very little improvement; but 
the father continued to exhort him never to give 
it up, encouraging him to trust in the patronage 
of Mary. In the mean time, the penitent left 
home with some other companions, and travelled 
over the world. Having returned to Home, he 
went again to seek his confessor, who to his 
great joy and surprise, found him entirely chang 
ed, and free from his former impurities. "My 
son," he said, "how have you obtained from God 
so happy a change?" "Father," answered the 
youth, "the blessed Virgin, for that little devo 
tion which you taught me, has obtained for me 
this grace." But the wonder did not cease here. 
The same confessor related this fact from the 
pulpit. An officer, who, for several years, had 
kept up an illicit intercourse with a certain 
woman, heard it, and proposed also himself to 
practise the same devotion, in order to free him 
self from that horrible tie which held him a 
slave of the devil (which intention is necessary 
for all such sinners, that the Virgin may aid 
them) : and he also quitted his bad practices and 
changed his life. 


But what followed? At the end of six 
months, foolishly and too confidently trusting in 
his strength, he wished, one day, to go and find 
that woman, to see if she had also changed her 
way of life. But on approaching the door of 
her house, where he was in manifest danger of 
falling again into sin, he felt himself thrust back 
by an invisible force, and soon found himself 
distant from the house the whole length of the 
street, and before his own door; he was then en 
lightened to see clearly that Mary had thus 
rescued him from his destruction. Thus we per 
ceive how solicitous is our good mother, not only 
to save us from sin, if we for that end commend 
ourselves to her, but also to protect us from the 
danger of falling into it again. 


Oh immaculate and holy Virgin loh creature 
the most humble and the greatest before God ! 
thou wast so small in thy own eyes, but so 
great in the eyes of thy Lord, that he exalted 
thee even to choose thee for his mother, and 
therefore to make thee queen of heaven and of 
earth. I then thank that God who hath so much 
exalted thee, and rejoice with thee in seeing thee 
BO closely united to God, that more is not per 
mitted to a pure creature. I am ashamed to appear 
before thee who art so humble, with so many 
graces; I, a miserable sinner, and so proud with 
so many Bins. But wretched as I am, I, 


wish to salute thee: Hail Mary, full of grace: 
"Ave Maria, gratia plena." Tbou art already 
full of grace; obtain a share of it also for me. 
The Lord is with thee: "Dominus tecum." 
The Lord who hath ever been with thee even 
from the first moment of thy creation, is now 
more intimately with thee, by making himself 
thy Son. Blessed art thou among women: 
"Benedicta tu in naulieribus." Oh woman, 
blessed among all women, obtain for us also the 
divine benediction. Oh blessed plant which 
hath given to the world a fruit so noble and so 
holy: "Et benedictus fructus ventris tui." 
Holy Mary, mother of God: "Sancta Maria, 
mater Dei." Oh Mary, I confess that thou art 
the true mother of God, and for this truth I 
would give my life a thousand times. Pray for 
us sinners; "Ora pro nobis peccatoribus." But 
if thou art the mother of God, thou art also the 
mother of our salvation, and of us poor sinners; 
since it is to save sinners that God made him 
self man; and he has made thee his mother that 
thy prayers may have the power to save every 
sinner. Pray for us, oh Mary. Now and in the 
hour of our death: "Nunc et in hora mortis 
nostrae." Pray always; pray now, while we are 
in life, in the midst of so many temptatiens and 
so great danger of losing God; but still more, 
pray in the hour of our death, when we are on 
the point of leaving this world and being pre 
sented at the divine tribunal; that being saved 
by the merits of Jesus Christ, and by thy in 


tercession, we may one day come, without the 
danger of losing thee any more, to salute thee 
and praise thee, with thy Son, in heaven, for 
all eternity. Amen. 



i/tary is the tfeasurer of all the divine graces. Therefore to 
who desires graces should have recourse to Mary; and he 
wTio has recourse to Mary, should be secure of obtaining 
the graces he wishes. 

HAPPY is that house esteemed which is visited 
by some royal personage, both for the honor it 
receives from him, and the advantages it hopes 
for; but more happy should that soul be called 
which is visited by the queen of the world, most 
holy Mary, who cannot but fill with mercies 
and graces those blessed souls whom she deigns 
to visit with her favors. The house of Obededom 
was blessed when it was visited by the ark of the 
Lord: The Lord blessed his house: "Benedixit 
Dominus domui ejus."* But with how much 
greater blessings are those persons enriched who 
receive some loving visit from this living ark of 
God, as was the divine mother! Happy that 
house which the mother of God visits,f wrote 
Engelgrave. This was experienced by the 

* 1 Par. f Felix ilia domus quam mater Dei vlsitafc 


house of the Baptist, wherein scarcely had Mary 
entered, when she filled all that family with 
celestial graces and benedictions; and for this 
reason, the present feast of the Visitation is 
commonly called the feast of our Lady of 
graces. We shall consider to-day, in the pres 
ent discourse, how the divine mother is the 
treasurer of all graces. We shall divide the 
discourse into two points. In the first, we shall 
prove that he who desires graces must have re 
course to Mary. In the second, that he who 
has recourse to Mary, should be certain of ob 
taining the graces that he desires. 

Point First. After the holy Virgin had 
heard from the archangel St. Gabriel, that her 
cousin Elizabeth had been six months pregnant, 
she was interiorly enlightened by the Holy 
Spirit to know that the Word which had taken 
human flesh and had already become her Son, 
wished to commence manifesting to the world 
the riches of his mercy, by the first graces that 
he desired to impart to all that family. There 
fore, without interposing any delay, as St. Luke 
relates: Rising up, Mary went into the moun 
tainous country in haste: "Exurgens abiit in mon- 
tana cum festinatione."* Rising then from the 
quiet of her contemplation, to which she was al 
ways devoted, and leaving her dear solitude, she 
immediately set out for the house of Elizabeth. 
And because holy charity suffers all things: 
"Charitas omnia suffert;" and can bear no delay, 
as St. Ambrose remarks, when treating of this 


gospel : The grace of the Holy Spirit knows no 
slow movements : "Nescit tarda molimina Spir- 
itus Sancti gratia :" therefore not heeding the fa 
tigue of the journey, the tender and delicate maid 
en quickly set forth on her way. Having arriv 
ed at that house, she saluted her cousin : "She 
entered into the house of Zachary, and saluted 
Elizabeth."* And as St. Ambrose remarks, Marj 
was the first to salute Elizabeth : "Prior saluta- 
vit." But the visit of the blessed Virgin was 
not like the visits of the worldly, which, for the 
most part, consist in ceremonies and false display ; 
the visit of Mary brought into that house an 
abundance of graces. For at her first entrance, 
and at that first salutation, Elizabeth was filled 
with the Holy Spirit, and John was delivered 
from guilt and sanctified, and therefore gave 
that sign of joy, exulting in the womb of his 
mother ; for he wished in this way to make known 
the grace received by means of the blessed Vir 
gin ; as Elizabeth herself declared : "As soon as 
the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, 
the infant in my womb leaped for joy." So, as 
Bernardine de Bustis observes, in virtue of the 
salutation of Mary, John received the grace of the 
Divine Spirit, who sanctified him : When the 
"blessed Virgin saluted Elizabeth, the voice of the 
salutation entering through her ears, descended 
to the child, by virtue of which salutation he re 
ceived the Holy Spirit. J 

* Et intravit in domum Zachariee, et ealutavit Elisabeth, 
t Et facts, est vox salutationis tuae in auribus meis, exultavit 
in gaudio inf ami in utero meo. 
$ Com B. Virgo salutavit Elisabath, vox salutationis per aures ejoi 


Now if these first-fruits of the redemption all 
passed through Mary, and she was the channel 
by means of which grace was communicated 
to the Baptist, the Holy Spirit to Elizabeth, the 
gift of prophecy to Zachary, and so many other 
blessings to that house, which were the first 
graces that we know to have been given upon 
earth by the Word, after he had become incar 
nate; we have great reason to believe that God, 
even from that time, had constituted Mary a 
universal channel, as St. Bernard calls her, 
through which thenceforth should be dispensed 
to us all the other graces which the Lord wishes 
to bestow on us, as it was said in p. 1 c. 5, of 
this work. 

Rightly then is this divine mother called the 
treasure, the treasurer, and the dispensatrix of 
divine graces. Thus she is called by the venera 
ble Abbot of Celles: The treasure of the Lord 
and the.treasurer of graces: "Thesaurus Domini, 
et thesauraria gratiarum."* By St. Peter 
Damian, also; The treasure of divine graces: 
Thesaurus divinarum gratiarum." By blessed 
Albertus Magnus: The treasurer of Jesus Christ: 
"Thesauraria Jesu Christi." By St. Bernar- 
dine: The dispensatrix of graces: "Dispensatrir 
gratiarum." By a Greek Doctor, quoted 
by Petavius:f The store-house of all good 
things: "Promptuarium omnium bonarum." 

ingrediens ad pnerum descendit, vtrtute cujus salutationis poef 
Spiritmn Sanctum accepit. Part 7, Sena. 4. 
* Prol. Cont. Virg. c. 1. t D Trim. 


Thus, also, St. Gregory Thaumaturgus says: 
Mary is called so full of grace, because 
in her the treasure of grace was hidden,* And 
Richard of St. Laurence says that God has plac 
ed in Mary, as in a treasury of mercy, the gifts 
of all the graces, and from this treasure he en 
riches his servants.f 

St. Bonaventure, speaking of the field of the 
Gospel where the treasure is hidden which should 
be bought at any great price, as Jesus Christ 
hath said: "The kingdom of heaven is like unto 
a treasure hidden in a field, which, when a man 
hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth 
and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth the 
field ;"J remarks that this field is our Queen 
Mary, in whom is the treasure of God, that is, 
Jesus Christ, and with Jesus Christ the source 
and fountain of all graces. St. Bernard also 
affirms that the Lord has placed in the hands of 
Mary all the graces that he wishes to dispense 
to us, that we may know that whatever of good 
we receive, we receive it all from her hands.) 
And of this Mary herself assures us. when she 

* Maria sic gratia plena dicitur, quod in ilia gratite thesaurus recon- 

t Maria est the*""- is quia in ea, ut in gazophylacio, repoeuit 
Dominus omn a dona gratiarum; et de hoc thesauro largitur ipse 
larga stipeudia suis militibus et operariis. De Laud. Virg. 1. 4. 

$ Simile est regnum coelorum thesauro abscondito in agro, quern 
qui invemt homo, vadit et vendit universa quae habet, et emit agrum 
ilium. Matth. xiii. U. 

Ager iste est Maria, in qua thesaurus Dei Patris absconditua eat. 
jlpec. c. 7. 

I Tetius boni plenitudinem posuit in Maria, nt proinde si quid tpf 


says: In me is all grace of tlie way and of the 
truth: "In me gratia omnis vise et veritatis."* 
In me are all the graces of true blessings that 
you men can desire in your life. Yes, our moth 
er and our hope, well do we know, to use the 
words of St. Peter Damian, that all the treasures 
of the divine mercies are in thy hands.f And 
before Damian, St.Ikleplionsus asserted it with 
more force, for addressing the Virgin he said to 
her: Oh Lady, all the graces which God has 
determined to bestow upon men, he has deter 
mined to dispense by thy hands; and therefore 
has he committed to thee all the treasure of 
graces. J Hence, oh Mary, concluded St. Ger- 
manus, no grace is dispensed to any one except 
by thy hands; no one is except by thee; no one 
receives the gift of God except through thee. 
The blessed Albertus Magnus makes a beautiful 
reflection upon the words of the angel to the 
most holy Virgin; "Fear not, Mary, for thou 
hast found grace with God,"|| saying: Oh, Mary, 
thou hast not stolen grace as Lucifer wishes to 
steal it; thou hast not lost it as Adam lost it; 

tn nobls est. si quid grattae, el quid salutls, ab ea noverimus redun, 
dare. Serm. de Aq< ae 1, 

* Eccli. xxiv. $25. 

t In manibus tuie omnes thesauri mlserationum Del. 

t Omnla bona qnse illis summa majestas decrevitfacere, tuis man. 
ibus decrevit commendare; commissi qnippe tibi sunt thesauri et 
ornameuta gratiarum. In Cor. Virg. cap. 15. 

Nemo qui salvus fiet, nisi per te ; nemo donum Del suscipit, nial 
per t. Serin, de Zona Virg c 

3 Ne timeas, Maria invenisti enlm gratiam apud Deum. Luc. 1. 



thou hast not bought it as Simon the Magician 
wished to buy it; but thou hast found it because 
thou hast desired and sought it. Thou hast 
found the uncreated grace, that is, God himself, 
become thy Son; and at the same time thou 
hast found and obtained all created good.* St. 
Peter Chrysologus confirms this thought, by 
saying that the great mother found this grace 
by restoring salvation to all men.f And else 
where he says, that Mary found grace in its ful> 
ness, sufficient to save all men.J In the like 
manner as God made the sun, says Richard of 
St. Laurence, that by it the earth may be illumin 
ated, so hath he created Mary, that by her 
means all divine mercies may be dispensed to 
the world. And St. Bernardine adds that the 
Virgin, as soon as she was made mother of the 
Redeemer, acquired, as it were, a jurisdiction 
over all graces: when the Virgin Mary conceived 
the Word of God in her womb, she obtained, as 
I should say, a certain jurisdiction over all the 
temporal manifestations of the Holy Spirit; so 
that no creature obtained any grace from God, 

* Ne timeas, quia Invenistt. Non rapuisti, ut primus angelus; 
non perdidisti, ut primus parens; non emisti ut Simon Magus; sd 
Jnvenieti, quia quaesivisti. Invenisti gratiam increatam et in ilia cm- 
Hem creaturam. In Marial. c. 237. 

t Hanc gratiam accepit Virgo salutem steculis redditura. Serm. 3, 
de Ann. 

% Invenietl gratiam, quantam ? quantam superius dixerat, plenam 
t vere plenam, qnae largo imbre totam funderet, et infunderet crea 
turam. Serm. 142. 

Sicnt sol factus est, at illuminat totum mundum: sic Maria fact* 
let, nfc mtoricordiam impetret tot; mundo. De Laud. Virg. lib. T. 


unless according to the disposal of this pious 

Let us conclude this point in the words of 
Richard of St. Laurence, who says, that if we 
wish to obtain any grace, we must have recourse 
to Mary, who cannot but obtain for her ser 
vants whatever she demands; since she has found, 
and always will find, divine grace. f And this 
he took from St. Bernard, who said: Let us seek 
grace, and let us seek it through Mary, for what 
she seeks she finds, and cannot be frustrated. J 
If, then, we desire graces, we must go to this 
treasurer and dispensatrix of graces; for this is 
the sovereign will of the Giver of every good, 
as St. Bernard himself assures us, that all graces 
are dispensed by the hands of Mary. All, all, 
Totum, totum; he who says all, excludes noth 
ing. But, because confidence is necessary in 
order to obtain grace, we now will pass on to 
consider how certain we should be of obtaining 
graces, if we have recourse to Man 7 . 

Second Point. And why should Jesus Christ 

* A tempore quo Virgo mater conceplt In titero verbnm Del, quan- 
dam ut sic dicam, jurisdictionem obtinuit in omni Spiritus Sanctl 
processione temporal!; ita ut ntilla creatura aliquam a Deo obtinuit 
gratiam, nisi secuudum ipsius pise matris dispensationem. Senn. 61, 
Tract. 1, Art 8. 

t Cupientes invenire gratiam, quaeramus inventricem gratiae, qua? 
quia semper invenit, frustrari non potest. De Laud. Virg. 1. 2, p. 5. 

$ Quwramus gratiam, et per Mariam quaeramus; quia quod quaerit, 
invenit, et frustrari non potest. Serm. de Aqused. 

Qnia sic eet roluntaa ejus, qui totum nos habert rorait pF 
Koran. Lot.cit 


ever have placed in the hands of this his moth 
er all the riches of the mercies which he wishes 
to use for our benefit, if not that she may en 
rich with them all her servants who love and 
honor her, and with confidence recur to her? 
"With me are riches .... that I may enrich 
them that love me: "Mecum sunt divitise .... 
nt ditem diligentes me."* Thus the Virgin her 
self speaks in this passage, which the holy 
Church applies to her on so many of her festi 
vals. Therefore, for no other use, but for our 
benefit, says Adam the Abbot, are the riches of 
eternal life preserved by Mary, in whose bosom, 
the Saviour has deposited the treasure of the 
wretched, that, supplied from this treasure, the 
poor may become rich.f And St. Bernard adds, 
as I learn from another author, that for this pur 
pose Mary has been given to the world, for a chan 
nel of mercy, that by her means graces may con 
tinually descend from heaven upon men.J 

From this the holy Father goes on to ask, 
why St. Gabriel, having found the divine moth 
er already full of grace, according to his salu 
tation: Hail, full of grace: "Ave gratia plena:" 
afterwards says that the Holy Spirit was to 
come to her, to fill her still more with grace; if 
she was already full of this grace, what more 

* Prov. viii. 18, 21. 

t Divitise salutis penes Virginem nostris usibus reservantur. Chrii. 
tui in Virginia ntero pauperum gazophylacium collocarit; inde 
pauperes locupletati sunt. In. Alleg. utr. Test. c. 24. Eccli. 

$ Ad hoc enim data eet ipsa mundo quasi aqtiaeductus, ut pel 
Ipsam A Deo ad homines dona ccelestia jugiter descenderetit. 


could the coming of the Holy Spirit effect? 
Mary was already full of grace, thus answers St. 
Bernard, but the Holy Spirit came upon her for 
our good, that from her superabundance we 
poor sinners might be provided.* For thii 
reason Mary was called the moon, of which it is 
said: the moon is full, for herself and others; 
"Luna plena sibi, et aliis." 

"He that shall find me, shall find life, and 
shall have salvation from the Lord."f Blessed 
is he who having recourse to me finds me, says 
our mother. He will find life, and will find it 
easily; for, as it is easy to find and draw water 
(as much as one wishes) from a great fountain, 
so it is easy to find graces and eternal salvation 
by going to Mary. A holy soul hath said, we 
have only to ask graces of our Lady and we 
shall have them. And St. Bernard says, that 
before Mary was born, the world was without 
this abundance of graces, that now are overflow 
ing the earth, because this desirable channel 
(Mary) was wanting.^ But now that we actual 
ly have this mother of mercy, what graces can 
we not obtain, if we cast ourselves at her feet? 
I am the city of refuge, thus St. John of Damas 
cus makes her to say, for all those who have re- 

* Ad quid nisi, nt, adveniente jam Spiritu plena sibi, eodem super, 
veniente, nobis quoque superplena et supereffluens fiat? Serm. 2. 
de Ass. 

t Qui me invenerit, inveniet vitam, en hauriet salutem a Domino, 
Prov. viii. 35. 

$ Propterea tanto tempore humano generi flnenta gratiee defuerunt 
quod necdum intercederet is tarn desiderabilis aquseductus. Serm. 
de JLquwd. 


ourse to me: come, then, my children, and yon 
will obtain from me graces, in greater abundance 
than you can imagine.* 

It is true that many experience what the ven 
erable Sister Maria Villain saw in a heavenly 
vision. This servant of God once saw the moth 
er of God in the likeness of a great fountain, to 
which many went to draw the waters of graces; 
but what then happened ? Those who carried 
vessels which were whole, preserved after 
wards the graces received; but those who 
caryied broken vessels, that is, souls la 
den with sins, received the graces, but quickly 
lost them again. As for the rest, it is certain 
that by means of Mary, men, even the most un 
grateful and wretched sinners, daily obtain in 
numerable graces. St. Augustine says, address 
ing the Virgin: Through thee the wretched ob 
tain mercy, the ungrateful grace, sinners pardoD, 
the weak support, the earthly heavenly things, 
mortals life, and travellers their country.f 

Let our confidence, then, ever revive, oh 
devoted servants of Mary, as often as we have 
recourse to her for graces. And to revive this 
confidence, let us ever remember the two great 
privileges which this good mother possesses, 
namely: the desire she has to do us good, and 

* Ego civitas refugii iis, qui ad me confugiunt; accedite, el gra 
tiarum dona affluentissime haurite. Serm. 2, de Dorm. B. V. 

t Per te haereditamus misericordiam miseri, ingrati gratlam, ve 
niam peccatores, sublimia infirm!, coelestia terreni, mortals* vitam, 6 
patriam peregrin!. Serm. de Ass. B. V. 


the power she has with her Son to obtain what 
ever she asks. That we may know the desire 
Mary has to aid all, it would be sufficient only 
to consider the mystery of the present festival, 
namely, the visit of Mary to Elizabeth. The 
journey from Nazareth, where the most holy 
Virgin lived, to the city of Hebron (called by 
St. Luke a city of Judah), where, according to 
Baronius and other authors, Elizabeth dwelt, 
was about sixty-nine miles, as the author of the 
life of Mary, Father Giuseppe of Jesus, one of 
the barefooted Carmelites, asserts,* as also 
Bede and Brocardo. But this did not prevent 
the blessed Virgin, tender and delicate as she 
then was, and not accustomed to such efforts, 
from immediately setting forth moved by what ? 
moved by that great charity with which her 
most tender heart was ever filled, to go and 
commence from that time her great office of 
dispenser of graces. Precisely thus does St. 
Ambrose speak of this her journey: She did not 
go as if incredulous of the announcement, but 
happy in her desire, hastening for joy, and in 
tent upon her office. f Not that Mary, as the 
saint says, went to inform herself of the truth 
of what the angel had told her concerning 
Elizabeth, but joyful through her desire to help 
that household, hastening for the joy she felt to 
do good to others, and wholly intent on that 
charitable errand. Rising up, she went with 
* L. 3, c. 12. 

t Non abiit quasi incredula de oraculo, ed quasi Iseta pro roU| 
foatina pne gaudio, religiosa pro officio. In. c. 1, Luc. 


haste; "Exurgens abiit cum festinatione. 11 
Here let it be observed that the Evangelist, 
when he spoke of Mary going to the house of 
Elizabeth, said that she went in haste: Abiit 
festinatione; but speaking of her return from 
that house, he makes no more mention of haste, 
but simply says: "And Mary abode with her 
about three months, and she returned to her own 
house."* What other object, then, says St. Bona- 
venture, caused the mother of God to hasten 
when going to visit the house of the Baptist, 
except the desire to do good to that family ?f 

Certainly, since the assumption of Mary into 
heaven, this her affection of charity towards 
men has not ceased ; nay, it has ever been in 
creasing, for there she better knows our 
necessities, and feels more pity for our miseries. 
Bernardine de Bustis writes, that Mary more 
earnestly desires to do us good than we desire 
to receive it from her.J To such a degree, that 
St. Bonaventure says, she considers herself in 
jured by those who do not ask favors of her; 
for this is the desire of Mary, to enrich all with 
her graces; for, indeed, according to the 
assertion of the Idiot, she superabundantly en 
riches her servants.} 

* Mansit autem Maria cum ilia quasi mensibus tribus; et reversa 
st in domum suam. Luc. i. 56. 

t Quid earn ad officium charitatis festinare cogebat, nisi charitaa 
quse in corde fervebat? Spec. c. 54. 

t Pius vult ilia bonum tibi facere, et largiri gratiam, quam tu ac- 
cipere concupiscas. Mar. p. 1, Serm. 5. 

In te, Domina, peccant non solum qui tibi injuriam irrogant, ge4 
warn qui te non rogant. In Spec. Virg. 

| Maria thesaurus Domini est, et theeauraria gratiarum ipeiiu. 


Hence the same author says, that he who 
finds Mary finds every good : "Inventa Mariaj 
invenitur omne bonum." And he adds, that 
every one can find her, were he even the most 
abandoned sinner in the world; for she is so 
gracious that she sends away none who have 
recourse to her.* I invite all to come to me, 
Thomas a Kempis makes her say, I wait for all, 
I wish that all may come ; neither do I ever de- 
epise any sinner who comes to seek my help, 
however unworthy he may be.f All who go to 
her asking favors, says Richard, will find her 
always ready, always inclined to succor them, 
and obtain for them every grace of eternal sal 
vation by her powerful prayers : "Inveniet sem 
per paratam auxiliari." 

I have said by her powerful prayers, for this is 
the other reflection which should increase our 
confidence, namely, knowing that she obtains 
from God whatever she asks in favor of her 
servants. Observe especially, says St. Bonaven- 
ture, in this visit that Mary made to Elizabeth, 
the great virtue of the words of Mary ; for at 
the sound of her voice the grace of the Holy 
Spirit was given to Elizabeth as well as to 
her son, as the Evangelist has written : "And it 
came to pass that when Elizabeth heard the sal- 

Donis specialibus ditat copiosissime eervientes sibi. In Prol. Cant. 
B. V. c. 1. 

* Tanta est ejus benignitas, quod nulli formidandum est ad earn 
accidere. Tantaque misericordia, quod ab ea nemo repellitur. 

t Omnes invito, omnes expecto, cranes desidero, uollam peccar 
torem despicio. 


ntation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb, 
and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost."* 
On which St. Bonaventure remarks: Behold, 
how great is the virtue of the words of our 
Lady, for at the sound of them the Holy Spirit 
is given. f Theophilus of Alexandria says that 
Jesus is much pleased when Mary prays to him 
for us, for then all the graces which he bestows 
on us through the supplications of Mary, he does 
not consider to be conferred on us, but rather 
on Mary herself. J And let these words be 
noted: Persuaded by the prayers of his mother 
he gives: "Precibus SUSB genitricis evictus, 
donat." Yes, because Jesus, as St. Germanus 
attests, cannot but graciously hear Mary in all 
her petitions, wishing in this, as it were, to obey 
her as his true mother; hence the saint says 
that the prayers of this mother have a certain 
authority with Jesus Christ, so that she obtains 
pardon even for the greatest sinners, who com 
mend themselves to her. 

And this is indeed confirmed, as St. John 
Chrysostom observes, by what took place at the 

* Et factnm est, ut audivit salutationem Maria Elisabeth, exultavit 
infans in utero ejus; et repleta est Spiritu Sancto Elisabeth. Luc. 

t Vide quanta virtus sit verbis Dominse, quia ad eorum pronuntia- 
tionem confertur Spiritus Sanctus. Tract, de Vit. Christ. 

$ Gaudet filius, orante matre, quia omnia quse nobis precibus u 
genetricia evictus donat, ipsi matri se donasse putat. Ap. Baldl 
Giard di Mar. nella Pref. 

Tu autem materna in Deum auctoritate pollens, etiam iis, qul 
enonniter peccant, eximiam remissionis gratiam concihas . Non enim 
poles non exaudiri, cum Deus tibi ut verse et mtemeratsa matri w 
omnibus morem gerat. Or. de Dorm. V. 


nuptials of Cana, where Mary, asking of her 
Son the wine that was wanting, said: "They 
have no wine;" Jesus answered: "Woman, what 
is that to me and to thee ? my hour is not yet 
come."* But although the time for miracles 
has not yet arrived, as Chrysostom and Theo- 
philactus explain; yet, says the same Chrysos 
tom, our Saviour, in order to obey his mother, 
performed the miracle she requested, and con 
verted the water into wine.f 

"Let us go therefore," thus the apostle ex 
horts us, " with confidence to the throne of 
grace; that we may obtain mercy, and find 
grace in seasonable aid."J The throne of grace 
is the blessed Virgin Mary, says the blessed 
Albertus Magnus:" Thronus gratia est beata 
Virgo Maria. " If, then, we wish for graces, let 
U8 go to the throne of grace, which is Mary; and 
let us go with the hope of being certainly heard; 
for we have the intercession of Mary, who ob 
tains whatever she asks of her Son. Let us ask 
for grace, I repeat with St.Bernard, and through 
Mary let us ask: " Qua3ramus gratiam et per 
Mariam quseramus," trusting to what the Vir 
gin mother said to St. Matilda, that the Holy 
Spirit, filling her with all his sweetness, had 

* Vinum non habent .... Quid mihi et tibi est mulier? nondum 
venit hora mea. Jo. ii. 3, 4. 

t Et licet ita respondent, maternis tamen votis obtemperavit. S. 
Jo. Chrys. Horn. 21, in Joan. 

$ Adeamua ergo cum fiducia ad thronum gratiae, ut misericordiani 
consequamur, et gratiam inveniamus in auxilio opportune, ilebr. 
iv. 16. 

S Snn. de Ded. Ecel- 


rendered her so dear to God that everyone wno t 
through her intercession, asked for graces, woul^ 
certainly obtain them. * 

And if we give credit to that celebrated 
saying of St. Ansel ra: We shall sometimes find 
grace sooner by having recourse to Mary, than 
by having recourse to our Saviour Jesus him- 
self;f not that he is not the source and Lord of 
all graces, but because if we go to Mary, and 
she intercedes for us, her prayers will have more 
power, as the prayers of a mother, than ours. 
Let us never then leave the feet of this treasurer 
of graces, but say to her witli St. John Dama 
scene: Open to us, oh blessed mother of God, the 
door of thy mercy, for thou art the salvation of 
the human race.J Oh mother of God, open to 
us the door of thy mercy, by praying always for 
us; for thy prayers are the salvation of all men. 
And when we have recourse toMaiy, it would be 
best to ask her to pray for us, and obtain for us 
those graces which she knows are most ex 
pedient for our salvation; which is precisely 
what Brother Reginald, a Dominican, did, as is 
related in the chronicles of the order. This 
servant of Mary was infirm, and asked of her 
the grace of bodily health. Our Lady appear- 

* Spiritus Sanctus tota sua durcea ine me penetnmrto, tarn gratio- 
sam eflecit, ut omnis qui per me gratiam qusjerit, ipsaiu inveniat. 
Ap. Canis. 1. 1, c. 13. 

t Velocior est nonnunquam sains nostra, invocato nomine Marie, 
juam invocato nomine Jesu. De Exc. Virg. c. 6. 

$ Misericordi* januam aperi nobis, benedicta Deipara tu enim m 
salus generis human! . 

L. 1, p. 1, c. 5, 


ed to him, accompanied by St. Cecilia and St. 
Catherine, and said to him with the greatest 
sweetness: "My son, what shall I do for thee?" 
The religious at this kind offer of Mary was 
troubled, and knew not what to answer. Then 
one of those saints gave him this counsel: "Re 
ginald, do you know what you should do ? Do 
not ask for any thing, place every thing at her 
disposal, because Mary knows how to obtain for 
thee a grace greater than you could ask." The 
sick brother followed her advice, and the divine 
mother obtained for him the grace of health. 

But if we also desire the happy visits of this 
queen of heaven, it will greatly aid us if we 
often visit her before some image, <K in some 
church dedicated to her. Let us read the follow 
ing example, and learn with what special favors 
she rewards the devout visits of her servants. 


It is related in the Franciscan chronicles, that 
two religious of that order, who were going to 
visit a sanctuary of the Virgin, were overtaken 
by night in a great wood, where they became be 
wildered and so troubled that they knew not 
what to do. But advancing a little, they dis 
cerned through the darkness something which 

t O O 

seemed to them a house. They went groping 
along with outstretched hands, and at length 
touched a wall; they found the door, knocked, 
and heard some one within asking who they were? 
They answered that they were two poor religious 


who bad lost their way by accident in that wood 
and were seeking a shelter, that at least they might 
not be devoured by wolves. But suddenly they 
heard the door open, and saw two pages richly 
dressed, who received them with great courtesy. 
The religious asked them who inhabited that pal 
ace? The pages answered that a very kind, good 
Lady inhabited it. We wish to pay our respects 
to her, said they, and thank her for her charity^ 
We will take you to her, said the pages, for she too 
wishes to speak to you. They ascended the stairs, 
found the apartments all illuminated, richly fur- 
nished, and perfumed as with an odor of para, 
disc; they finally entered the apartment of the 
Lady, who was majestic and most lovely in her 
appearance, and who welcomed them with the 
greatest kindness, and then asked them in what 
direction they were travelling? They answered 
that they were going to visit a certain church 
of the blessed Virgin. If that is the case, said 
the Lady, when you go I will give you a letter 
from myself, which will greatly aid you. And 
whilst the Lady was speaking to them, they felt 
all inflamed with love of God, and filled with 
a joy such as they had never before experienc 
ed. They afterwards went to rest, if perchance 
they could sleep in the midst of so much joy, 
and in the morning they went again to take 
leave of the Lady of the mansion, thank her, 
and at the same time receive the letter, they did 
so and departed. But when they had gone a 
little distance from the house, they perceived 


that there was no superscription to the letter; 
but they turned and returned, and could not 
find the house again. At last they opened the 
letter, to see to whom it was sent, and what it 
contained, and found that it was from the most 
holy Mary, and was written to themselves, and 
let them know that she was the Lady whom 
they saw the night before, and that on account 
of the devotion they cherished for her, she had 
provided a house and refreshment for them in 
that wood. She exhorted them to continue to 
serve and love her, for she would well reward 
their devotion, and assist them in life and in 
death. At the bottom of the letter they read 
the signature of the Virgin Mary. We may 
easily imagine the thanks that those good relig 
ious offered to the divine mother, and how 
greatly they were inflamed with the desire of 
loving her and serving her to the end of their 


Immaculate and blessed Virgin, since thou art 
the universal dispenser of all divine graces, 
therefore ^hou art the hope of all, and also my 
hope. I always thank my Lord that he hath 
given me to know thec, and the means that I 
must use to obtain graces and save myself. 
Thou art this means, oh great mother of God, 
for I now understand that it is principally 
through the merits of Jesus Christ, and after 
those, through thyjnt.ejrcesgion, that I am to be 


saved. Ah, my queen, thou didst make so great 
haste to visit, and sanctify with thy visit, the 
house of Elizabeth; ah, visit, and visit quickly 
the poor house of my soul. Ah, hasten! thou 
knowest better than I how poor it is, how infect 
ed with many maladies, with irregular affections, 
bad habits, and actual sin, all those fatal diseases 
which will bring it to eternal death. Thou 
canst enrich it, oh treasurer of God ! and thoa 
canst heal all its infirmities. Visit me then in 
life, and visit me especially at the hour of my 
death, for then thy help will be more necessary 
to me. I do not, indeed expect, neither am I 
worthy that thou shouldst visit me on this earth 
with thy visible presence, as thou hast done to 
so many of thy servants, but servants not so 
unworthy and ungrateful as I am. I will be 
content to be allowed then to see thee in thy 
kingdom of heaven, there to love thee better, 
and thank thee for whatever good thou hast done 
me. At present I will be content that thou 
shouldst visit me with thy mercies. It is 
enough that thou dost pray for me. 

Pray for me then oh Mary, and commend me 
to thy Son. Thou knowest better than now 
myself, my miseries and my necessities. What 
more would I say to thee? Have pity on me. 
I am so miserable and ignorant that I do not 
even know, and cannot even ask, the graces that 
are most necessary for me. Oh my queen and 
most sweet mother, ask thou and obtain for me, 
from thy Son, those graces which thou knowest 


to be most useful and necessary k>r my soul. 
Into thy hands I entirely abandon myself, and 
only pray the divine Majesty, that through the 
merits of my Saviour Jesus, he may grant me 
those graces that thou dost ask of him for me. 
Ask, ask then for me, oh most holy Virgin, 
whatever thou esteemest best. Thy prayers are 
never rejected. They are the prayers of a 
mother to a Son, who loves thee so much, and 
finds his joy in granting whatever thou dost ask 
of him, thus the more to honor thee, and at the 
same time, show thee the great love he bears 
thee. Oh Lady, thus let it be. I will live 
trusting in thee. Thou must think only on 
saving me. Amen. 



The great sacrfice which Mary this day made to God in of 
fering him t?ie life of her Son. 

THERE were two precepts of the ancient law 
concerning the birth of first-born sons. One 
was, that the mother should remain as an un 
clean person, retired in her house, for forty 
days; after which she should go to purifv her 
self in the temple. The other was, that the 
parents of the first-born should take him to the 
temple, and there offer him to God. On this 
day the most holy Virgin desired to obey both 


precepts. Although Mary was not bound by 
the law of purification, since she was always a 
virgin, and always pure; yet, by her love of 
humility and odedience, she wished to go, like 
other mothers, to be purified. At the same 
time she obeyed the second precept, to present 
and offer her Son to the eternal Father; "And 
after the days of her purification, according to 
the law of Moses, were accomplished, they car 
ried him to Jerusalem, to present him to the 
Lord."* But the Virgin offered him in a dif 
ferent manner from that in which other mothers 
offered their sons. Others offered them, but 
they knew that this was a simple ceremony of 
the law, through which, by redeeming them, 
they made them their own, without the fear 
that they should be obliged to offer them again, 
and to death. Mary really offered her Son to 
death, knowing certainly that the sacrifice of 
L the life of Jesus which she then made, should 
one day be actually consummated upon the altar 
of the cross; so that Mary, by offering the life of 
her Son through the love she bore this Son 3 really 
sacrificed herself entirely to God . Laying aside, 
then, all the other considerations which we 
might make upon the various mysteries of this 
festival, let us only consider how great was this 
sacrifice that Mary made of herself to God, by 
offering to him, on this day, the life of her Son. 
And this will be the only subject of the follow* 
ing discourse. 

* Et postquam impleti sunt dies purgationis ejns, secundum legem 
Moysi, tulerunt ilium in Jerusalem, ut sisterent eum Domino. Luc, 

. 11 ** 


The eternal Father had already determined to 
save man, who was lost through sin, and free 
him from eternal death. But because he wished 
that, at the same time, his divine justice should 
not be defrauded of a full and due satisfaction, 
he did not spare the life of his own Son, already 
made man in order to redeem man; but he requir 
ed that he should pay, to its most rigorous ex 
tent, the penalty merited by men: "He that spar 
ed not even his own Son," says the apostle, "but 
delivered him up for us all."* He sent him 
therefore on the earth to become man, destined 
for him a mother, and chose the Virgin Mary; 
but as he did not wish his divine Word to be 
come her Son before she accepted him by her ex 
press consent, so he did not wish that Jesus 
should sacrifice his life for the salvation of men 
without the concurrence of the consent of Mary, 
that together with the sacrifice of the life of the 
Son, the heart of the mother might be sacrificed 
also. St. Thomas teaches, that the relation of 
mother gives an especial right over her children; 
hence Jesus, being innocent in himself and not 
deserving any punishment for his own sins, it 
seemed fitting that he should not be destined to 
the cross as the victim for the sins of the world 
without the consent of his mother, by which 
she should voluntarily offer him to death. 

But although Mary, from the moment she was 
made mother of Jesus, gave her consent to his 

* Qui proprio filio suo non pepercit, sed pro nobis omnibus, tradidit 
ilium. Rom. viii. 33. 


death, yet the Lord wished her, on this day, to 
make, in the temple, a solemn sacrifice of herself, 
by offering solemnly her Son, and sacrificing to 
the divine justice his precious life. Hence St. 
Epiphanius called her a priest: "Virginem ap- 
pello velut sacerdotem." * Now we begin to see 
how much this sacrifice cost her, and what hero 
ic virtue she was obliged to practise when she 
had herself to sign the sentence of condemnation 
of her dear Jesus to death. 

Now behold Mary actually on her way to Je 
rusalem to offer her Son; she hastens her steps 
towards the place of sacrifice, and she herself 
carries her beloved victim in her arms. She 
enters the temple, approaches the altar, and 
there, filled with modesty, humility, and devo 
tion, she presents her Son to the Most High. At 
this N moment St. Simeon, who had received the 
promise from God that he should not die before 
seeing the expected Messias, takes the divine 
child from the hands of the Virgin, and, enlight 
ened by the Holy Spirit, announces to her how 
much sorrow this sacrifice must cause her, this 
sacrifice which she was about to make of her Son, 
with whom must her blessed soul also be sacrific 
ed. Here St. Thomas of Villanova contemplates 
the holy old man, who, when he had come to an 
nounce the fatal prophecy to this poor mother, 
is agitated and silent, f Then the saint considers 
Mary, who asks: Why, oh Simeon, in the time 
of so great consolation, are you thus disturbed? 
* Or. de Laud. Deip. t Serm. de Purific. Virg. 


"Unde tanta turbatio?" To whom he answers: 
Oh, noble and holy Virgin, I wished not to an 
nounce to thee such bitter tidings, but since the 
Lord wishes it thus, for thy greater merit, hear 
what I say to thee.* This infant who now caus 
es thee, and with reason, so much joy, oh God, 
shall one day bring thee the most cruel suffering 
that any creature has ever experienced in the 
world; and this will be when thou shalt see him 
persecuted by men of every sort, and placed on 
earth as the mark of their sneers and derision, 
even until he is put to death before thy eyes.f 
Know that after his death there will be many 
martyrs who, for love of this thy Son, will be 
tormented and slain; but if their martyrdom 
will be of the body, thy martyrdom, oh divine 
mother, will be of the heart, t 

Yes, of the heart, for nothing but compassion 
for the sufferings of this Son so dear could be 
meant by the sword of sorrow that St. Simeon 
predicted was to pierce the heart of the mother: 
"And thy own soul a sword shall pierce. "* 
Already the most holy Virgin, as St. Jerome 
says, had been enlightened through the divine 
Scriptures to know the sufferings which the Re 
deemer was to endure in his life, and still more 
at the time of his death. She well understood 

* O Virgo regia, nollem tibi talia nuntiare, Bed audi. Serm. d 
Purific. Virg. 

t Nimium nunc pro isto infante laeteris, sed ecce iste positus ia 
Bignum cui coutradicetur. 

$ O quot millia hominum pro ipso puero laniabuntur, et jugulabun- 
tur; et si omnes patientur in corpore, tu Virgo in corde patieris. 
Loc. cit. 

Et tuara ipeius animam doloris gladius pertransibit. Lac. ii. 86. 


from the prophets, that he was to be betrayed 
by one of his friends: "Who ate my bread bath 
greatly supplanted me;"* as David predicted. 
Abandoned by his disciples: Strike the shepherd, 
and the sheep shall be scattered: "Percute Pas- 
torem, et dispergentur oves."f Well did she 
know the insults, spitting, blows, and derision 
that he was to suffer from the people; " I have 
given my body to the strikers, and my cheeks to 
them that plucked them; I have not turned 
away my face from them that rebuked me and 
spit upon me."J She knew that he was to be 
come the scandal of men, and the outcast of the 
lowest of the people: " But I am a worm and no 
man, the reproach of men and the outcast of 
the people," even to be laden with insults and 
outrages: "He shall be filled with reproaches."! 
She knew that at the end of his life his sacred 
flesh would be torn and bruised by scourges: 
"He was wounded from our iniquities, he was 
bruised for our sins," 1 ]" so that his body would 
be wholly disfigured by them, become as a lep 
er, all sores; "There is no beauty in him, nor 
comeliness, and we have thought him, as it were, 
a leper,"**even till the bones were uncovered: 

* Qui edebat panes meos, magnificavit super me supplantationem. 
Peal. xl. 10. t Zacc. xiii. 7. 

t Corpus meum dedi percutientibus, et genas meas vellentibus, 
faciem meam non avert! ab increpantibus, et conspuentibus In me. 
Isa. 1. 6. 

Ego autem sum vermis et non homo; opprobrium hominum et 
abjectio plebis. Psal. xxi. 7. 

1 Saturabitur opprobriis. Thren. 3. 

^ Ipse autem vulneratus est propter iniquitates nostras, attritus 
est propter scelera nostra. Isa. liii. 5. 

** Non est species ei neque decor . . . . Et nos putatlmus earn 
quasi leprosum. Isa. liii. 2, 1. 


"They have numbered all my bones."* She 
knew that he was to be pierced by nails, f That 
he was to be reputed with the wicked. J And that 
finally he was to die, hanging on the cross, slain 
for the salvation of men: " And they shall look 
upon me whom they have pierced. " 

Mary, I repeat, already knew all the suffer 
ings that her Son was to endure, but in the 
above quoted words of St. Simon: "And thy 
own soul a sword shall pierce," as the Lord 
revealed to St. Theresa, all the minute circum 
stances of the external as well as internal suf 
ferings which her Lord Jesus was to endure in 
his passion, were made known to her. She con 
sented to all with a firmness which made the 
angels wonder, and pronounced the sentence 
that her Son should die, and die by a death so 
ignominious and painful, in these words: Eter 
nal Father, since thou dost will it, not my will, 
but thine be done: "Non mea voluntas, sed tua 
fiat; " I unite mine to thy holy will, and sacri 
fice to thee this my Son; I am satsified that he 
should lose his life for thy glory, and for the 
salvation of the world. And I also sacrifice to thee 
my heart; let grief pierce it as much as pleases thee; 
it suffices to me that thou, oh my God, art glorified 
and satisfied ; not my will, but thine be done. Oh, 
charity without measure! oh, constancy 
without example! oh, victory, that merits the eter* 
nal admiration of heaven and of earth! 

* Dinumeraverunt omnia ossa mea. Peal. xxi. 18. 
t Foderunt manus meas et pedes meas. Loc. cit. 
% Et cum sceleratis reputatus est. Isa. liii. 12. 
Et aspicient ad me quern confixerunt. Zacc. xii. 10 


And hence Mary, in the passion of Jesus was 
silent when he was unjustly accused; she said 
nothing to Pilate, who was inclined to liberate 
him, for he had already known his innocence; 
but she only appeared in the public to be pres 
ent at the great sacrifice, which was to be 
offered on Calvary. She accompanied him to the 
place of punishment ; she was with him from 
the first moment he was placed upon the cross: 
There stood by the cross of Jesus his mother: 
"Stabat juxta crucem Jesu mater ejus;" until 
she saw him expire, and the sacrifice was consum 
mated. And all this to complete the offering 
which she had already made of him to God in 
the temple. 

In order to understand the violence that 
Mary had to offer herself in making this sac 
rifice, it would be necessary to comprehend the 
love which this mother bore to Jesus. Gener 
ally speaking, the love of mothers is so tender 
for their children, that when they are at the 
point of death, and they are about to lose them, 
they forget all their faults, their defects, and 
even the injuries they have received from them, 
and they suffer an inexpressible grief. And 
yet the love of those mothers is a love divided 
among other children, or among other creatures. 
Mary has one only Son, and he is the most 
beautiful of all the children of Adam; he is 
most amiable, for he has all lovable qualities; 
he is obedient, virtuous, innocent, holy, in one 
word, he is God. The lore of this mother too 


is not divided among other objects; she has cen 
tered all her love upon this only Son, neither 
does she fear loving him to excess, for this Son 
is God, who merits an infinite love. And this 
Son is the victim whom she had voluntarily 
to offer to death. 

Let every one consider, then, how much it 
must have cost Mary to sacrifice on the cross the 
life of a Son so amiable, and what strength of 
mind she must have exercised in tihis act. Be 
hold the most fortunate of mothers, because she 
is the mother of a God, but she is at the same 
time a mother most worthy of compassion, be 
cause the most afflicted; being the mother of a 
Son whom she saw destined to the cross from 
the day when he was given her for a Son ! 
What mother would accept a son, knowing that 
afterwards she should lose him by such a painful 
and infamous death, and that she should be 
present to see him die ? Mary willingly accept 
ed this Son with so hard a condition; and not 
only accepted him, but offers him herself this 
day, with her own hands, to death, sacrificing 
him to the divine justice. St. Bonaventure says, 
that the blessed Virgin would willingly have 
taken upon herself the sufferings and death of 
her Son; but to obey God she made the great 
offering of the divine life of her beloved Jesus, 
conquering, but with the greatest grief, all the 
tenderness of love that she bore him.* Hence 

* Si fieri potulseet, omnia tormenta quse filius pertulit, sustinuisset; 
et nihilominus placuit ei quod unigenitus ejus pro salute generi* 
offerretur. In p. 1, Dist. 48, q. 2- 

r / 


it is, that in this offering Mary had to do more 
violence to herself, and was more generous, than 
if she had offered herself to suffer all her Son 
Was to suffer. Therefore she surpassed all the 
martyrs in generosity, for the martyrs offered 
their own lives; but the Virgin offered the life 
of her Son, whom she loved and esteemed in- 
finitely more than her own life. 

Neither did the suffering of this painful offer 
ing end here; rather it commenced here; for 
from that time forward, through the whole life 
of her Son, Mary had always before her eyes 
death, and all the pains he was to suffer in his 
death. Hence, the more this Son discovered to 
her how beautiful, graceful, and amiable he was, 
BO much more did the anguish of her heart con 
stantly increase. Ah, afflicted mother ! if thou 
hadst loved thy Son less, or if thy Son had been 
less lovely, and had loved thee less, thy suffering 
would certainly have been less in offering him 
to death. But there never has been, and there 
never will be, a more loving mother than thou, 
because there never has been, and never will be, 
a son more amiable and more loving towards 
his mother than thy Jesus. Oh God ! if we had 
seen the beauty, the majesty of countenance of 
that divine child, could we have had the courage 
to sacrifice his life for our salvation ? And thou, 
oh Mary ! who art his mother, and a mother so 
loving, couldst thou offer thy innocent Son foi 
the salvation of men, to a death more painful 
and more cruel than any criminal had ever enr 
dured on this earth? 


Alas! what a fearful scene from that day for 
ward did love continually place before the eyei 
of Mary, representing to her all the injuries and 
mockeries which were to be offered to her poor 
Son! Behold love already representing him to 
her in his agony in the garden, then torn by 
scourges, and crowned with thorns in the hall of 
Pilate, and finally hanging from the infamous 
wood on Calvary! Behold, oh mother, said love, 
what a lovely and innocent Son thou hast offered 
to such sufferings, and to so dreadful a death! 
And of what avail will it be to thee to rescue 
him from the hands of Herod, in order to reserve 
him for so piteous an end? 

Thus Mary not only offered her Son to death 
in the temple, but was offering him up at every 
moment of her life; for she revealed to St. 
Bridget, that this grief which St. Simeon an 
nounced to her, never left her heart till she was 
assumed into heaven.* Hence St. Anselm says: 
Oh Lady, I cannot believe, that with such a 
sorrow thou wouldst have been able to live one 
moment, if God himself, who gives life, had not 
strengthened thee by his divine power.f And 
St. Bernard affirms, speaking of the great sor 
row that Mary endured on this day, that hence 
forth she suffered a living death, bearing a grief 
more cruel than death. J She lived, dying at 

* Dolor iste, usquedum assumpta f ui corpore et anima in coelum, 
nunquam deficit a corde meo. 

t Pia Domina, non crediderim te nllo puncto potuisse stimulos 
tanti cruciatus, quin vitam emitteree, eustinere, nisi ipse spiritu* 
Titse te conf ortaseet. 

t Moriebatur vivens, dolorem ferens morte crudeliorem. 


every moment, because grief for the death of 
her beloved Jesus, which was more cruel than 
any death, was at every moment assailing her. 

The divine mother then, on account of the 
great merit she acquired in this great sacrifice, 
which she made to God for the salvation of the 
world, was justly called by St. Augustine: The 
restorer of the human race: " Reparatrix generis 
humani."* By St. Epiphanius: The redeemer 
of captives: "Redemptrix captivorum."f By St. 
Ildephonsus: The restorer of the ruined world: 
"Reparatrix perditi orbis."J By St. Germanus: 
The consolation of our miseries: "Restauratio 
ealamitatum nostrarum." By St. Ambrose: 
The mother of all believers: "Mater omnium 
credenti urn. "|| By St. Augustine: The mother 
of the living: " Mater viventium." T By St. 
Andrew of Crete: The mother of life: "Mater vi- 
tse."** For, as St. Arnold Carnotensis says: In 
the death of Jesus, Mary united her will to that 
of her Son in such a manner, that both offered 
the same sacrifice; and therefore the holy ab 
bot says, that thus the Son and the mother effect 
ed human redemption, obtaining salvation for 
men.ff Jesus by satisfying for our sins, Mary 
by obtaining for us that this satisfaction should 
be applied to us. And hence blessed Denis the 

* De Fide, ad Petr. t De Laud. Virg. 

$ Serm. 1, de Ass. In Exc. Virg 

I Ap. S. Bon. Spec. c. 20. ^ Serm. 2, de Ass. 

** Horn. 2, Ass. 

tt Omnino txmc erat una Christi et Mariae voluntas, nnumqm 
holocaustum arabo pariter offerebant; unde communem in mundi 
B&lute cum illo effectual ostendit. Tr. de Laud. Virg. 


Carthusian likewise affirms, that the divina 
mother may be called the salvation of the world, 
eince by the pain she endured in commiserating 
her Son (voluntarily sacrificed by her to divine 
justice), she merited that the merits of the 
Redeemer should be communicated to men.* 

Mary, then, having been made the mother of 
all the redeemed, by the merit of her sufferings, 
and of the offering of her Son; it is just to 
believe that only by her hand may be given 
them the milk of those divine graces, which are 
the fruits of the merits of Jesus Christ, and the 
means to obtain life eternal. And it is to this 
that St. Bernard alludes, when he says that God 
has placed in the hands of Mary the whole 
price of our redemption.! By which the saint 
gives us to understand, that by means of the in 
tercession of the blessed Virgin, the merits of 
the Redeemer are applied to souls, as by her 
hand these graces are dispensed, which are pre 
cisely the price of the merits of Jesus Christ. 

And if the sacrifice of Abraham in offering up 
to him his son Isaac so pleased God that he 
promised, as a reward, to multiply his descend 
ants as the stars of heaven: "Because thou hast 
done this thing, and hast not spared thy only be 
gotten son for my sake, I will bless thee, and I 

* Dici potest Virgo mundi ealvatrix propter meritum suse compas- 
sionis, quse patient! filio acerbissime condolendo excellenter promer- 
uit, ut per preces ejus meritum paseionis Christ! hominibus com- 
municetur. L. 2, de Laud. Virg. art. 23. 

t Redemptions humanum genus, universum pretium contulit U 
Mariani. Serin, de Aqueed. 


will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven;"* 
we must certainly believe that the more remark 
able sacrifice which this great mother made of 
Jesus was much more agreeable to the Lord , 
and, therefore, it has been granted her, that by 
her prayers, the number of the elect should be 
multiplied, that is, the favored succession of her 
children, for she holds and protects as such her 
devoted servants. 

St. Simeon received a promise from God that 
he should not die until he had seen the Messiah 
born: "And he had received an answer from the 
Holy Ghost, that he should not see death 
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord."f 
But he did not receive this grace except by means 
of Mary, for he did not see the Saviour until he 
saw him in the arms of Mary. Hence, whoever 
wishes to find Jesus, will not find him except 
through Mary. Let us, then, go to this divine 
mother if we wish to find Jesus; and let us go 
with great confidence. Mary said to her servant 
Prudentiana Zagnoni,J that every year, on this 
day of the purification, a great mercy would be 
shown to some sinner. Who knows but one of 
us may to-day be that favored sinner? If our 
sins are great, greater is the power of Mary. 
The Son can deny nothing to this mother, says 

* Quia fecieti hanc rem, et non pepercisti fllio tno unigenito propter 
me; benedicam tibi, et multiplicabo semen tuum sicut Stellas cceli. 
Genes, xxii. 16, 17. 

t Responsum aeceperat a Spiritu Sancto non visurum se mortem 
nisi prius videret Christum Dominum. Luc. li. 26. 

t Ap. Marc. 


St. Bernard.* If Jesus is offended with us, 
Mary immediately appeases him. Plutarch re 
lates that Antipater wrote to Alexander the 
Great a long letter of accusations against 
Olympias, the mother of Alexander. Having 
read the letter, he answered: "Does not Anti- 
pater know that one tear of my mother is enough 
to cancel an endless number of letters of ac 
cusation ?" f Thus we may imagine Jesus would 
also answer to the accusations which the devil 
presents him against us when Mary is praying 
him for us: Does not Lucifer know that one 
prayer of my mother, in favor of a sinner, is 
enough to make me forget all the accusations 
of offences committed against me? The follow 
ing example is a proof of this. 


This example is not recorded in any book, but 
a priest, a companion of mine, related it to me, 
as having happened to himself. Whilst this 
priest was hearing confessions in a certain 
church (for sufficient reasons he did not mention 
the place where this occurred, although the peni 
tent gave him leave to publish the fact), a youth 
stood before him, who appeared to wish and not 
to wish to come to confession. The Father, 
after looking at him several times, at length call 
ed him, and asked him if he wished to make his 

* Exandiet utique matrem filius. De Aqueed. 
tlgnorare Antipatrum sexcentas epistolas una deleri matris 
laerymula? Pint, in Alex. 


confession. He answered, yes; but as he requir 
ed a longtime for it, the confessor took him into 
a retired room. There the penitent began by- 
telling him that he was a foreigner, and of noble 
birth, but be could not believe that it was possible 
for God to pardon him after the life he had led. 
Besides innumerable other sins he had committed 
of impurity, homicide, &c., he said, that being en 
tirely in despair of salvation, he had set about com 
mitting sins, not so much for his own gratifica 
tion, as to defy God, and manifest the hatred he 
bore him. He said, that among other things, he 
had with him a crucifix, which he had beaten 
out of contempt. He said that just before, on 
that very morning, he had made a sacrilegious 
communion, and for what object? That he 
might put under his feet the consecrated wafer. 
And that, in fact, he had actually received, and 
was about to put in execution this horrible in 
tention, but was prevented by the people who ob 
served him. He then consigned to the confess 
or the consecrated host, wrapped in a paper, and 
told him that as he was passing by that church 
he had a great desire to enter. He could not 
resist this desire, and had entered. That then 
he felt great remorse of conscience, together 
with a certain confused and irresolute desire to 
make his confession. For this reason he had 
placed himself before the confessional, but 
while standing there he felt so confused and 
timid, that he wished to go away, but it seemed 
as if some one had retained him by force: "Un- 


til," he said, "you, Father, called me; and now 
I find myself hero; I find myself making my 
confession; but I know not how to do it." The 
Father then asked him if he had practised any 
act of devotion during that time; meaning tow 
ards the most holy Mary ; for such sudden con 
versions only come through the powerful hands 
of the Virgin. "None, Father; what devotion 
could I offer," answered the youth, when I be 
lieved myself lost?" "But try to remember more 
carefully," replied the Father. "Father, noth 
ing." But accidentally putting his hand to his 
breast, he remembered that he wore the Scapu 
lar of the Seven Dolors of Mary: "Maria addol- 
orata." "Ah, my son," said the confessor to 
him, "do you not see that our blessed Lady has 
bestowed this grace upon you? And know," he 
added, "that this church is a church of our bless 
ed Lady." Hearing this, the youth was mov 
ed to contrition, and began to weep. He con 
fessed his sins, and his compunction increased 
to such a degree that, bursting into tears, he 
fell, overcome with grief, as it seemed, at the 
feet of the Father, who, having restored him by 
a cordial, finally finished hearing his confession, 
and absolved him with the greatest consolation, 
as he was entirely contrite and resolved to 
amend his life. The Father sent him back to his 
own country after having obtained from him 
full liberty to preach and publish everywhere 
the great mercy exercised by Mary towards 



Oh holy mother of God my mothbi A*jry, didst 
thou then feel so great care of my salvation 
that thou didst even consent to offer up to death 
the object dearest to thy heart, thy beloved Je 
sus? If thou, then, hast so greatly desired to see me 
saved, it is just that next to God I should place 
in thee all my hopes. Oh, blessed Virgin, I do 
indeed confide entirely in thee. Oh, by the 
merit of this great sacrifice of the life of thy 
Son which to-day thou hast offered to God, pray 
him to have pity on my soul, for which this im 
maculate Lamb did not refuse to die upon the 

To-day, oh my queen, I also, in imitation of 
thee wish to offer my poor heart to God; but I 
fear that he will refuse it, seeing it thus filthy 
and loathsome. But if thou wilt offer it to him, 
he will not refuse it. All the offerings made 
him by thy most pure hands he accepts and re 
ceives. To thee, then, oh Mary, I present my 
self to-day, miserable as I am, and to thee I give 
myself entirely. Offer me as thine to the eter 
nal Father and to Jesus, and pray him that 
through the merits of his Son, and by thy favor, 
he may accept me, and take me for his own. 
Ah, my sweetest mother, for the love thou bear- 
est this Son whom thou hast sacrificed, aid me 
always, and do not abandon me. Do not permit 
that I should one day lose, through my sins, 
this my most loving Redeemer, to-day offered 


by thee with so much anguish to die on the cross. 
Say to him that I am thy servant; say to him 
that in thee I have placed all my hope; say to 
him, in a word, that thou dost wish for my 
salvation, and he will certainly graciously hear 
thee. Amen. 



ON this day the Church proposes to us to 
celebrate two solemn observances in honor of 
Mary: one, her happy departure from this earth; 
the other, her glorious assumption into heaven. 
In the present discourse we shall speak of her 
departure from this earth, and in the next of 
her assumption. 

How precious was the death of Mary! 1st, 
On account of the special grace which attended 
it; 2d, On account of the manner of it. 

Death being the punishment of sin, it would 
seem that the divine mother, all holy and ex 
empt from every stain, should not be subject to 
death, nor suffer the same misfortune as the 
children of Adam, who are infected by the poison 
of sin. But God, wishing Mary in all things 
to be like to Jesus, required, as the Son had 
died, that the mother should also die; and be 
cause he wishes to give to the just an example 
of the blessed death prepared for them, he 
decreed that the virgin should die, but bj a 


sweet and happy death. Hence we will enter 
upon the consideration, how precious was the 
death of Mary. 1st. On account of the special 
grace by which it was accompanied. 2d. On 
account of the manner in which it took place. 

Point First. Three things render death bitter, 
namely, attacli merit to earth, remorse for sin, 
and the uncertainty of salvation. But the death 
of Mary was entirely free from any such causes 
of bitterness, and was attended by many circum 
stances which rendered it precious and joyful. 
She died as she had always lived, entirely de 
tached from all earthly things; she died in the 
most perfect peace of conscience; she died in 
the certainty of eternal glory. 

And in the first place, there is no doubt that 
attachment to the goods of earth renders the 
death of the worldly bitter and miserable, as the 
Holy Spirit says: "Oh! death, how bitter is the 
remembrance of thee to a man that hath peace 
in his possessions!"* But because the saints die 
detached from the things of the world, their 
death is not bitter, but sweet, lovely, and pre 
cious; or, as St. Bernard explains, it is worthy 
being purchased at any price. Blessed are the 
dead who die in the Lord: "Beati mortui qui in 
Domino moriuntur."f Who are they that being 
dead, die? Precisely those happy souls that 
pass into eternity, already detached, and, as it 

* O mors, qnam amara st memoria tua homini pacem habentt 
in substantiis suisl Ecc)i. xli. 1. 
t Apoc. xiv. 13. 


were, dead to all affections for terrestrial things, 
having found in God alone there every good; 
as St. Francis of Assisium, who exclaimed: My 
God, and my all: "Deus nieus et ornnia." But 
what soul was ever more detached from the 
things of the world, and more united to God, 
than the beautiful soul of Mary? She was in 
deed entirely detached from her parents, since 
at the age of three years, when children are 
most dependent on their parents, and have the 
greatest need of their assistance, Mary with so 
great resolution left them, and went to shut her 
self up in the temple to attend to the things of 
God. She was detached from riches, contented 
to live always poor, and supporting herself with 
the labor of her hands. She was detached from 
honors, loving an humble and abject life, 
although queenly honor belonged to her, for she 
traced her descent from the kings of Israel. The 
Virgin herself revealed to St. Elizabeth, a Ben 
edictine nun, that when she was left in the tem 
ple by her parents, she resolved in her heart to 
have no other father, and to love no other good 
but God. 

St. John saw Mary represented in that woman 
clothed with the sun, who held the moon under 
her feet. " And there appeared a great wonder 
in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and 
the moon under her feet."* Interpreters ex 
plain the moon to signify the goods of this 
earth, that are uncertain, and change as the 

* Signum magnum apparuit in coelo; mulier amicta sole et luna 
ub pcdibus ejus. Apoc. xii. 1. 


moon does. All these goods Mary never had in 
her heart, but always despised them and kept 
them under her feet; living in this world as a 
solitary turtle-dove in a desert; placing her 
affection on no earthly thing, so that it was 
said of her: The voice of the turtle is heard in 
our land; "Vox turturis audita est in terra nos- 
tra." * And again, "Who is she that goeth up 
by the desert ? "f whence Rupert says: "Thou 
hast gone up by the desert, that is, having a 
solitary soul." J Mary, then, having always 
lived entirely detached from the things of 
earth, and only united to God, not bitter, but 
very sweet and dear to her was death, which 
united her more closely to God, by the eternal 
bonds of paradise. 

Secondly, peace of conscience renders the 
death of the just precious. The sins committed 
in life are those worms that the most torment 
and gnaw the heart of poor dying sinners, who, 
about to be presented at the divine tribunal, see 
themselves at that moment surrounded by their 
sins, which terrify them, and pursue them with 
cries, as St Bernard says: "We are thy works, 
we will not desert thee." Certainly Mary 
could not be afflicted in death by any remorse 
of conscience, for she was always holy, always 
pure, and always free from every shade of 
actual and original sin; hence it was said of her: 

* Vox turturis audita est in terra nostra. Cant. ii. 12. 

t Quae est ieta qute ascendit per deeertum, etc. Cant. iii. 6, 

$ Tails asceudisti per desertum, idest animam habeas golitariam. 

| Opera tua sumus, non te deeeremus. 


Thou art all fair, oh my love, and there is not a 
spot in thee: "Tota pulchra es, arnica mea, et 
macula non est in te."* As soon as she had 
the use of reason, that is, from the first moment 
of her immaculate conception in the womb of 
St. Ann, from that time she began with all her 
powers to love her God; and thus she continued 
to do, ever advancing more in perfection and 
love through her whole life. All her thoughts, 
her desires, her affections, were wholly given to 
God; not a word, not a motion, not a glance of 
the eye, not a breath of hers that was not for 
God and for his glory, never departing one step, 
nor separating herself for one moment from the 
divine love. Ah ! in the happy hour of her 
death how did all the lovely virtues which she 
practised during her life surround her blessed 
bed ! That faith so constant, that affectionate 
confidence in God, that patience so strong in the 
midst of sufferings, that humility in the midst 
of so many privileges, that modesty, that meek 
ness, that compassion for souls, that zeal for the 
divine glory, and above all, that perfect charity 
towards God, with that entire uniformity to the 
divine will all, in a word, thronged around her, 
and consoling her, said; We are thy works, we 
will not desert thee: "Opera tua sumus, non te 
deseremus." Oh Lady and mother, we are all 
children of thy loving heart; now that thou art 
leaving this miserable life, we will not leave 
thee, we also will go to attend thee and honor 
* Cant. ir. T. 


thee in paradise, where, by our means, tbou wilt 
be crowned queen of all men and of all the 

In the third place, the certainty of eternal sal 
vation renders death sweet. Death is called a 
passage, since, through death we pass from this 
short life to life eternal. And, as the dread is 
great of those who die in doubt of their salvation, 
and who approach the solemn moment with just 
fear of passing into an eternal death, thus, on 
the other hand, very great is the joy of the saints 
at the end of life, hoping with some security to 
go and possess God in heaven. A. nun of the or 
der of St. Theresa, when the physician announced 
to her that death was near, was so full of joy 
that she said to him: "And how does it happen, 
sir, that you tell me this good news and ask no 
fee for it?" St. Lawrence Justinian being at 
the point of death, and seeing his friends weep 
ing around him, said to them : "Away, away 
with your tears, this is no time for tears."* Go 
elsewhere to weep; if you will remain with me 
you must rejoice, as I rejoice, in seeing the gate 
of paradise open to unite me with my God. And 
thus, also, a St. Peter of Alcantara, a St. Louis 
of Gonzaga, and so many other saints, on hear 
ing that death was at hand, burst forth into ex 
clamations of joy and gladness. And yet they 
were not certain of the divine favor, nor secure 
of their own sanctity, as Mary was secure of hers. 
But what joy must the divine mother have felt 
* Abito, abite com lacrymis vestris; non est terupus lacrymarum. 


in learning that her death was at hand; she, who 
had the fullest security of enjoying the divine 
favor, especially after the angel Gabriel 
had assured her that she was full of grace, and 
already possessed God! "Hail, full of grace, the 
Lord is with thee .... thou hast found grace."* 
And well did she herself know that her heart 
was burning continually with divine love, for 
that as Bernardine de Bustis says, Mary, by a 
singular grace not granted to any other saint, 
loved, and was always actually occupied in lov 
ing God every moment of her life, and so ar 
dently, that, as St. Bernard says, it required a 
perpetual miracle to preserve her life in the 
midst of such burning flames. 

It was before said to M;iry in the sacred can 
ticles: "Who is she that goeth up by the des 
ert as a pillar of smoke of aromatical spices, of 
myrrh, and frankincense, and of all the powders 
of the perfumer?"! Her entire mortification 
was prefigured in the myrrh, her fervent pray 
ers were signified by the incense, and all her 
holy virtues united to her perfect charity tow 
ards God, kindled in her a flame so great, that 
her holy soul, wholly devoted to, and consumed 
by divine love, arose continually to God as a 
pillar of smoke that on all sides breathed sweet 
odor. As a pillar of smoke, oh blessed Lady, 

* Ave gratia plena; Dominus tecum . . . invenisti gratiam. Luc. 
xxviii. 30. 

t Quae est ista quae ascendit per desertum, sicut virgula fumi, ex 
aromatibus myrshae, et thnris, et universi pulveris pigmentariil 
Cant, ill. . 


wrote Rupert, thou hast breathed forth a sweet 
odor to the Most High.* And Eustachius still 
more strongly expresses it: A pillar of smoke, 
because burning interiorly as a holocaust with 
the flame of divine love, she sent forth a most 
sweet odor.f As the loving Virgin lived, such 
she died. As the divine love gave her life, so it 
gave her death; for she died as the holy Doc 
tors and Fathers of the Church generally affirm, 
of no other infirmity than pure love; for St. II- 
dephonsus says, that Mary either ought not to 
die, or only die of love. 

Second Point. But let us now see what were 
the circumstances of her happy death. After 
the ascension of Jesus Christ, Mary remained on 
earth to attend to the propagation of the faith. 
Hence the disciples of Jesus had recourse to her, 
and she resolved their doubts, comforted them 
in their persecutions, and encouraged them to 
labor for the divine glory and for the salvation 
of the souls redeemed by her Son. She, indeed, 
willingly remained on earth, understanding this 
to be the will of God for the good of the Church; 
but she could not but feel the pain of being far 
from the presence and sight of her beloved Son, 
who had ascended into heaven. "Where your 
treasure is," said the Redeemer, "there will your 
heart be also."| Where any one believes his 

* Tails fumi virgula, beata Maria, euavem odorem epirasti altis- 

t Virgula fumi, quia concremata intus in holocaustum incendio 
divini amoris, ex ea flagrabat Buavissimus odor. 

J TJbi thesaurus vester est ibi et cor vestrum erit. Luc. xii. 34. 


treasure and his happiness to lie, there he always 
holds the love and desire of his heart fixed. If 
Mary then loved no other good than Jesus, he be- 
ingin heaven, in heaven were all her desires. Tau- 
lerns wrote of Mary: The eellof Mary was hea 
ven, "Marise cella fuit co3lum,"* for being in hea 
ven, with her affection, she made it her continual 
abode. Her school was eternity: "Schola aeter- 
nitas," for she was always detached from tern- 
poral possessions. Her teacher, divine truth: 
"Psedagogus divina veritas," for she was always 
guided in her actions by the divine light. Her 
mirror, the Divinity; "Speculum divinitas," for 
she looked upon nothing but God, in order to 
conform always to the divine will. Her orna 
ment, devotion: "Ornatus ejus devotio," for she 
was always ready to fulfil the divine commands. 
Her repose, union with God: "Quies unitas cum 
Deo," for her peace was only in uniting herself 
with God. In a word, the place and treasure 
of her heart was God alone: "Cordis illius locua 
et thesaurus solus Deus erat." The most holy 
Virgin consoled her loving heart during this 
cruel separation, by visiting, as it is narrated, 
the holy places of Palestine, where her Son had 
been in his lifetime: she often visited now the sta 
ble of Bethlehem, where her Son was born; now 
the w*rkshop at Nazareth, where her Son had liv- 
d FO many years poor and despised; now the gar- 
den of Gethsemane, where her Son commenced 
Bis passion: now the hall of Pilate, where he was 

de Nat. V. Mar. 


scourged; the place where he was crowned; but 
more often she visited Calvary, where her Son 
had expired; and the holy sepulchre, where she 
finally had left him. And thus the most loving 
mother used to soothe the pains of her cruel ex 
ile. But this was not enough to satisfy her 
heart, which could not find its perfect rest upon 
this earth; hence her continual sighs were ascend 
ing to her Lord, as she exclaimed with David, 
but with more ardent love: "Who will give me 
wings like a dove, and I will fly and be at rest."* 
Who will give me wings like a dove to fly to 
my God and there to find my rest? "As the 
hart panteth after the fountains of water, so 
my soul panteth after thee, oh God."f As the 
wounded stag pants for the fountain, so my 
soul, wounded by thy love, oh my God, desires 
and sighs for thee. Ah, the sighs of this holy 
turtle-dove could not but reach the heart of her 
God,who loved her so much: "The voice of the 
turtle is heard in our land." Wherefore not be 
ing willing to defer any longer consolation to 
his beloved, behold, he graciously hears her de 
sire and calls her to his kingdom. 

Cedrenus,* Nicephorus, and Metaphrastes,] 
relate, that the Lord, some days before his death, 
sent to her the angel Gabriel, the same who once 
announced to her that she was the blessed woman 

* Quis dabit mihi pennas eicut columbse, et volabo et requiescamf 
Psal. lir. 7. 

t Quemadmodum desiderat cervus ad fontes aquarum, ita desiderat 
anima mea ad te, Deus. Psal. xli. 2. 

% Comp. Hist. L. 2, c. 21. I Orat. de Dorm. Mar. 


chosen to be the mother of God: My Lady and 
Queen, said the angel to her, God has already 
graciously heard thy holy desires, and he has 
sent me to tell thee to prepare to leave the earth, 
for he wishes thee with him in paradise. Come 
then, to take possession of thy kingdom, for I 
and all its holy citizens await and desire thee. 
At this happy annunciation what should our 
most humble and holy Virgin do but conceal her 
self more deeply in the centre of her most pro 
found humility, and reply in those same words 
with which she answered St. Gabriel when he 
announced to her that she was to become moth 
er of God: Behold the handmaid of the Lord: 
"Ecce ancilla Domini ? " Behold, she again an 
swered, the servant of the Lord; he in his pure 
goodness has chosen me and made me his moth 
er; now he calls me to paradise. I neither mer 
ited the one or the other honor; but since he 
wishes to manifest his infinite liberality towards 
me, I am ready to go where he wishes. "Behold 
the handmaid of the Lord; " may the will of my 
God and Lord always bo fulfilled in me. 

After receiving this precious intelligence, she 
imparted it to St. John, and we may imagine 
with what grief and tender emotion he heard 
this news; he who for so many years had been 
near her as a son, and had enjoyed the celestial 
conversation of this most holy mother. She 
then visited anew the holy places of Jerusalem, 
tenderly taking leave of them, especially of Cal 
vary, where her beloved Son had died. And 


then she returned to her poor dwelling to pre* 
pare for death. During this time the angels did 
not cease to come and visit this their beloved 
queen, consoling themselves with the thought 
that they should soon see her crowned in heaven. 
Many authors assert,* that before she died, by 
a divine miracle, the apostles and also some of 
the disciples came from the different places 
where they were dispersed, and all assembled in 
the apartment of Mary, and that when she saw 
all these her dear children united together in 
her presence, she thus addressed them: My dear 
children, for love of you, and to help you, my 
Son left me on this earth. But now the holy 
faith is spread throughout the world, already 
the fruit of the divine seed is grown up; hence 
my divine Son, seeing that my assistance was no 
longer needed upon the earth, and compassion 
ating me for the pain of separation, has gracious 
ly heard my desire to depart from this life, and 
go to see him in glory. If I leave you, my 
heart does not leave you; I will carry with me 
the great love I bear you, and it shall always 
remain with me. I am going to paradise to pray 
for you. At these sad tidings, who can realize 
how great were the tears and lamentations of 
these holy disciples, knowing that they were 
shortly to be separated from their mother ? 
Then, they all in tears exclaimed, then, oh Mary, 
thou wilt leave us ! It is true that this earth is 
not a worthy and fit place for thee, and that we 

* S. Aadr. Cret. Or. de Dorm. Deip., Damasc. de Dorm. Deip 
1. 3, Hist, c. 40. 


are not worthy to enjoy the society of a mother 
of God; but remember that thou art our mother; 
thou hast until now enlightened us in our doubts, 
consoled our sorrows, strengthened us in per- 
eecutions, and how canst thou now abandon us, 
leaving us alone without thy comfort in the 
midst of so many enemies and so many conflicts ? 
We hare already lost on earth Jesus, our master 
and our Father, who has ascended into heaven; 
we have since been consoled by thee, our moth 
er; and now how canst thou leave us orphans, 
without father or mother ? Oh remain with us, 
oh our Lady ! or take us with thee. Thus writes 
St. John Damascene.* "No, my children (thus 
sweetly the loving queen began to speak) this is 
not according to the will of God; content your 
selves to do what lie has appointed for you and 
for me. To you it yet remains to labor on the 
earth for the glory of your Redeemer, and to 
perfect your eternal crown. I do not leave you 
to abandon you, but to help you more by my in 
tercession with God in heaven. Be satisfied. 
I commend to you the holy Church; I commend 
to you the souls redeemed by my Son; let this 
be my last farewell, and the only remembrance 
that I leave you. If you love me, labor for 
souls, and for the glory of my Son; for we shall 
one day meet again in paradise, never more to 
separate throughout eternity." 

Then she begged them to give burial to her 
body after death, blessed them, and directed St. 

* Orat. de Ass. Virg. 


John, as Damascene relates,* that after he! 
death he should give her two garments to two 
virgins who had served her for some time, and 
then she decently composed herself upon her 
poor little bed, where she laid herself to await 
death, and with death the meeting with her 
divine spouse, who shortly was to come and 
take her with him to the kingdom of the blessed. 
Behold, she already feels in her heart a great 
joy, the forerunner of the coming of the spouse, 
which overwhelms her with a great and new 
sweetness. The holy apostles, seeing that Mary 
already was about to depart from this earth, 
burst forth into fresh weeping, and knelt around 
her bed: some kissed her holy feet, others asked 
her special blessing, one recommended to her 
some particular necessity of his, and all wept 
bitterly, for their hearts were pierced with grief 
at being obliged to separate forever in this life 
from their beloved Lady. And she, their most 
loving mother, compassionated all, consoled all, 
promising to some her protection, blessing oth 
ers with peculiar affection, and encouraging 
others to labor for the conversion of the world; 
especially did she call St. Peter to her, and as 
head of the Church, and vicar of her Son, she 
recommended to him in particular the propaga 
tion of the faith, promising him her special pro 
tection from heaven. But in a very special 
manner did she call to her St. John, who felt 

* Nicephorus and Metaphrasles, appr. 1 Ist. di Mar. del P. E> 
Gius.eM. 1. 5,13. 


a greater sorrow than all the others at the 
moment of separation from that holy mother; 
and the most grateful Lady, calling to mind the 
affection and attention with which this holy 
disciple had served her through all the years 
they had passed on earth since the death of her 
Son, said to him with great tenderness: My 
John, I thank thee for all the assistance thou 
hast afforded me; my son, be certain that I 
never will be ungrateful to thee for it. If I 
leave thee now, I am going to pray for thee. 
Remain in peace in this life until we meet iri 
heaven, where I will await thee. Do not forget 
me; in all thy necessities call me to thy aid, for 
I never will forget thee, my beloved son. My 
son, I bless thee, I leave thee my benediction; 
rest in peace adieu. 

But the death of Mary draws near. The di 
vine love, with its blessed and ardent flames, 
have almost entirely consumed the vital spirits, 
the celestial phoenix is going to lose her life in the 
midst of this fire. Then the host of angels come 
lo meet her,as if to be ready for the great triumph 
with which they were to accompany her to par 

Mary was indeed consoled at the sight of 
Ihese holy spirits; but not fully consoled, for 
she did not yet see her beloved Jesus, who was 
the whole love of her heart. Hence she often 
repeated to the angels who descended to salute 
her: "I adjure you, oh daughters of Jerusalem, if 
you find my beloved, that you tell him that I 


languish with love."* Oh holy angels! oh bless 
ed citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem! ye come 
in hosts kindly to console me, and ye all console 
me with your sweet presence; I thank you, but 
ye all do not fully satisfy me, for I do not yet 
gee my Son coming to console me Go, if you 
love me, return to paradise, and tell my be 
loved, from me, that I languish and faint for his 
love. Tell him to come, and come quickly, for 
I am dying with my desire to see him. 

But behold, Jesus himself comes to take his 
mother to the kingdom of the blessed. It was 
revealed to St. Elizabeth, that the Son appeared 
to Mary before she expired, with the cross in 
his hand, to show the special glory he had ob 
tained from the redemption, having by his 
death made the acquisition of this great creat 
ure, who through the ages of eternity was to 
honor him more than all men and all angels. 
St. John of Damascus relates, that he gave 
to her the holy viaticum, saying to her, tenderly: 
Take, oh my mother, from my hands, that same 
body which thou hast given me. And the moth 
er having received with the greatest love 
that final communion, with her last sighs said to 
him: My Son, into thy hands I commend my 
spirit; I recommend to thee this soul that thou, 
in thy goodness didst create even from the be 
ginning, rich in so many graces, and by a peculiar 
privilege hast preserved from every stain of sin. 
I commend to thee my body, from which thou 

* Adjure vos, fili Jerusalem, si inveneritis dileetum meum, ut 
ttuntietis ei, qnia amore langueo. Cant. v. 8. 


hast deigned to take flesh and blood. I com 
mend to thee, also, these my dear children 
(speaking of the holy disciples who were around 
her), they are afflicted at my departure ; do 
thou console them, who lovest them more than 
I do, bless them, and give them strength to do 
great things for thy glory.* 

The end of the life of Mary having now ar 
rived, there was heard, as St. Jerome relates, 
in the apartment where she lay, a great harmony; 
and also, as it was revealed to St. Bridget, a 
great brightness was seen. By this harmony 
and unusual splendor the holy Apostles perceived 
that Mary was then departing, at which they 
broke forth again in tears and prayers, and 
raising their hands, with one voice exclaimed: 
Oh, our mother, now thou art going to heaven, 
and art leaving us, give us thy last benediction, 
and do not forget us in our misery. And Mary, 
turning her eyes around upon them all, as if 
bidding them for the last time farewell, said: 
Adieu, my children: I bless you; do not fear 
that I shall forget you. And now death came, 
not indeed clothed in mourning and sadness, as 
it comes to others, but adorned with light and 
joy. But why death, why death? Rather 
should we say that divine love came to cut the 
thread of that noble life. And as a lamp before 
going out, her life, amid these last flickerings, 
flashed forth more brightly, and then expired. 
Thus, this beautiful soul, her Son inviting her to 
follow him, wrapped in the flame of her charity 

* App. S. gio. Dam. or. de Ass. V. 


and in the midst of her amorous sighs, breathed 
forth a greater sigh of love, expired and died* 
and thus that great soul, that beautiful dove oi 
our Lord, was released from the bonds of thig 
life, and entered into the glory of the blessed, 
where she sits, and will sit, as queen of paradise, 
for all eternity. 

Now Mary has left the earth, now she is in 
heaven. From thence this kind mother looks 
down upon us, who are still in this valley of 
tears, compassionates us, and promises us her sup 
port if we wish for it. Let us pray her always 
that by the merits of her blessed death she may 
obtain for us a happy death; and if it please 
God, that she may obtain for us to die on a Sat 
urday, which is dedicated to her honor, or on a 
day of the Novena, or of the octave of some of 
her feasts, as she has obtained for so many of 
her servants, and especially for St. Stanislas 
Kostka, for whom she obtained to die on the 
day of her glorious Assumption, as Father Bar- 
toli relates in his life of the saint.* 



During the lifetime of this holy youth, who 
was wholly devoted to the love of Mary, it 
happened that on the first day of August, he 
heard a sermon of Father Peter Canisius, in 
which, preaching to the novices of his society, 
he fervently urged upon all, the important ad 
vice, to live every day as if it might be the last 
of their life, after which they were to be pre- 
* Lib. 1, cap. 1, 2. 


sented at the divine tribunal. The sermon being 
finished, St. Stanislas told his companions that 
this counsel had been for him especially the 
voice of God, for that he was to die on that 
very month. He said this either because Go<3 
had expressly revealed it to him, or at least be 
cause he gave him a certain internal presentiment 
of what afterwards happened. Four days after^ 
the blessed youth went with Father Emmanuel 
to St. Mary Major, and beginning to speak of 
the approaching festival of the Assumption, he 
said: "Father, I believe that on that day there is 
seen in paradise a new paradise, the glory being 
seen there of the mother of God crowned queen 
of heaven, and seated so near the Lord above all 
the choirs of angels. And if it is true that 
every year, as I believe it to be certain, this fes 
tival is renewed in heaven, I hope to see the 
next one." The glorious martyr St. Lawrence 
having fallen to the saint by lot as his monthly 
patron, according to the custom of that society, 
it is said that he wrote a letter to his mother 
Mary, in which he prayed her to obtain for him 
that he might be a spectator of this festival of 
hers in paradise. On St. Lawrence s day he 
received communion, and after [it supplicated 
the saint to present that letter to the divine 
mother,by interposing his intercession that the 
most holy Mary might graciously hear his pray 
er. At the close of this very day a fever came 
upon him, and although it was very light, he, 
however, from that hour esteemed it for certain 


that he had obtained the favor asked for film, 
namely, an early death. Indeed, on going to 
bed he said joyfully, with a smiling countenance: 
"From this bed I shall never arise." And 
speaking to Father Cladius Aqua viva, he added: 
"I believe that St. Lawrence has already obtain, 
ed for me the grace from Mary that I should 
be in heaven on the festival of her Assumption." 
But no one thought much of these his words. 
The vigil having arrived, his malady continued 
to appear light, but the saint told a brother that 
he should die the next night, and the brother an 
swered: "Oh, brother, it would be a greater mira 
cle to die of so slight an illness, than to be cured." 
But, behold, after noon he fell into a deadly 
swoon, and then came a cold sweat, and he en 
tirely lost his strength. The superior hastened 
to him, and Stanislas prayed him to order him 
to be placed on the bare floor, that he might die 
as a penitent, which was granted in order to 
satisfy him, and he was laid on the floor on a 
mattress. Then he made his confession, re 
ceived the viaticum, not without the tears of all 
present, for when the divine sacrament was 
brought into the apartment, his eyes kindled 
with celestial joy, and his whole countenance 
was radiant with holy love, so that he seemed a 
seraph. He also received extreme unction, and 
meanwhile did nothing but now raise his eyes to 
heaven, now look upon, kiss, and lovingly press 
to his breast, an image of Mary. A father said 
to him: "Of what use is it to wear that rosary 


around your hand, if you cannot recite it?" 
He answered: "It serves to console me, for it is 
something belonging to my mother." "Oh, 
how much more," said the Father, "will you be 
consoled by seeing her, and kissing, in a short 
time, her hands in heaven ! " Then the saint, 
with his countenance all on fire, raised his hands, 
thus to express his desire of finding himself 
soon in her presence. Then his dear mother ap 
peared to him, as he himself declared to those 
around him, and soon after, at the dawa of day 
on the fifteenth of August, he expired as a saint, 
his eyes fixed on heaven, without a motion, so 
that not until afterwards, when the image of 
the most holy Virgin was presented, and he 
made no movement towards it, it was perceived 
that he had already gone to kiss in paradise the 
feet of his beloved queen. 


Oh, our most sweet Lady and Mother, 
thou hast already left the earth, and hast 
reached the kingdom, where thou sit test as 
queen over all the choirs of angels, as the holy 
Church sings: She was exalted about the choirs 
of angels in the celestial kingdoms : "Exaltata 
est super chores angelorum ad crelestia rcgna." 
We know that we sinners are not worthy of 
having thee with us in the valley of darkness. 
But we know also, that thou in thy grandeur hast 
never forgotten us in our misery, and by being 
exalted to such glory hast never lost compassion 


for us poor children of Adam, but rather that it 
is increased in thee. From the high throne 
then, where thou dost reign, turn, oh Mary, 
even upon us, thy pitying eyes, and take com 
passion upon us. Remember, too, that on leav 
ing this world, thou didst promise not to forget 
us. Look upon us and succor us. See in what 
tempests and in how many dangers we are, and 
always shall be, till the end of our life arrives. 
By the merits of thy holy death, obtain for us 
holy perseverance in the divine friendship, that 
we may finally depart from this life in the grace 
of God, and thus come one day to kiss thy feet 
in paradise, and unite ourselves with the blessed 
spirits in praising thee, and singing thy glories, 
as thou dost merit. Amen. 



1st. Hoiv glorious was the triumph of Mary when she 
ascended to heaven! zd. Hoiv exalted was the throne to 
which she was raised in heaven ! 

IT would seem just that the holy Church, on 
this day of the Assumption of Mary to heaven, 
should rather invite us to weep than to rejoice, 
since our sweet mother has quitted this earth, 
and left us bereft of her sweet presence, as St. 
Bernard says: It seems that we should rather 
weep than exult: Tlangendum nobis, quam 


plandendum inagis ease videtur."* But no, th 
holy Church invites us to rejoice: "Let us all 
rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a festival in 
honor of the blessed Virgin Mary."f And just 
ly, if we love this our mother, we ought to 
congratulate ourselves more upon her glory than 
upon our own particular consolation." What son 
does not rejoice, although separated from hia 
mother, if he knows that she is going to take 
possession of a kingdom? Mary, to-day, is to 
be crowned queen of heaven, and shall we not 
make a feast and rejoice if we truly love her? 
Let us all rejoice, let us rejoice: "Gaudeamus 
omnes, et gaudeamus. " And that we may be 
consoled the more by her exaltation, let us con 
sider, in the first place, how glorious was the 
triumph of Mary ascending to heaven; secondly, 
how exalted was the throne to which she was 
elevated in heaven. 

First Point. After Jesus Christ our Saviour 
had completed the work of our redemption by 
his death, the angels earnestly desired to have 
him with them in their heavenly country; hence 
they were continually supplicating him, re 
peating the words of David : "Arise, oh Lord, 
into thy resting-place, thou and the ark which 
thou hast sanctified."| Come, oh Lord, now 
that thou hast redeemed men, come to thy king 
dom with us, and bring with thee also the liv- 

* Serm. 1, de Ass. 

t Gaudeamus omnes in Domino diem f estum celebrantes sub honore 
B. Mariae Virginis. 

* Surge, Domine, iu requiem tuam, tu et area sanctificationis tuse. 
Psal. cxxxi. 8. 


ing arkofthysanctification, namely, thy mother, 
who was the ark sanctified by thee when thou 
didst inhabit her womb. Thus St. Bernardino 
puts it into the mouth of the angels to say: 
Let thy most holy mother Mary also ascend 
sanctified by thy conception.* At length, then, 
our Lord wished to satisfy this desire of those 
citizens of the heavenly country, by calling 
Mary to paradise. But, if he wished that the 
ark of the covenant should be conducted with 
great pomp into the city of David And David 
and all the house of Israel brought the ark of 
the covenant of the Lord with joyful shouting, 
and with sound of trumpetf with far more 
splendid and glorious pomp he ordained that 
his mother should enter into heaven. The proph 
et ISlias was carried up to heaven in a chariot of 
fire, which, according to the interpreters, was 
but a company of angels who raised him from the 
earth. But, to conduct thee into heaven, oh 
mother of God, as Rupert the Abbot says, a com 
pany of angels was not enough, but the King of 
heaven himself, with all his celestial court, came 
to accompany thee.J 

St. Bernardine of Sienna is of the same opin 
ion, namely: that Jesus Christ, in order to hon- 

* Ascendat etiam Maria tua sanctissima mater, tui conceptione 
eanctificata. Serm. de Ass. 

t-Et David et omnis domus Israel ducebant arcam testament! 
Domini in jubilo, et clangore buccinse. 2 Reg. vi. 16. 

$ Ad transferendum te in coelum non nnus tan turn currus igneus, 
sed totas cum rege BUO fllio tuo venit, atque occurrit exercitus an, 


or the triumph of Mary, came himself from 
paradise to meet and accompany her.* And 
precisely for this object it was, says St. Anselm, 
that the Redeemer wished to ascend before his 
mother, not only to prepare for her a throne in 
that palace, but also to render her entrance into 
heaven more glorious, accompanying her him 
self, with all the blessed spirits.-f Hence St. 
Peter Damian,coutemplating the splendor of this 
assumption of Mary into heaven, says that we 
shall find it more glorious than the ascension of 
Jesus Christ; for the angels only came to meet 
the Redeemer, but the blessed Virgin went to 
glory met and accompanied by the Lord of 
glory himself, and by all the blessed company of 
saints and angels.J Hence Guerric the Abbot 
represents the divine Word speaking thus: I 
descended from heaven upon earth to give glory 
to my Father ; but afterwards, to pay honor to 
my mother, I ascended again into heaven, that 
I might thus be enabled to come to meet her, 
and accompany her by my presence to paradise. 
Let us now consider how the Saviour really 
did come from heaven to meet his mother, and 

Surrexit gloriosus Jesus in occursum gu dulcisBim* matris. 

t Prudentiore consilio illam praecedere volebas, quatenue in regno 
tno ei locum prseparares, et sic comitatus tola curia tua festivus ei 
occurrens sublimins, sicut decebat, tuam matrem ad te exal tares. 
Vid. de Exc. Virg. cap. 8. 

$ Invenies occnrsum ejus pompje digniorem, quam in Christi as- 
censione; soli quippe angeli redemptori occurrere potuerunt, matri 
vero fllius ipse cum tota curia tarn angelorum quam sanctorum oc 
currens, auxit ad beat* consistorium seesionis. Serai, de Ass. 

5 Ego ut patrem honorarem, ad terrain descend!; ut matrem iiou- 
orarern, ad cesium reasoendi. 


at the first interview said, to console her; "Arise, 
make haste, my love, my dove, my beautiful one, 
and come; for winter is now past . . . and gone."* 
Come, my dear mother, my beautiful and pure 
dove, leave that valley of tears where thou hast 
suffered so much for my love; come from Liba- 
nus, my spouse, come from Libanus, come, thou 
shalt be crowned. f Come with soul and body, 
to enjoy the reward of thy holy life. If thou hast 
suffered much upon earth, far greater is the glory 
that I have prepared for thee in heaven. Come 
there to sit near me; come to receive the crown 
that I will give thee as queen of the universe. 
Now, behold, Mary leaves the earth, and 
calling to mind the many graces she had there re 
ceived from her Lord, she looks at it at the same 
time both with affection and compassion, leav 
ing in it so many poor children, in the midst of 
so many miseries and dangers. And now Jesus 
offers her his hand, and the blessed mother ris 
es in the air and passes beyond the clouds and 
spheres. Behold her now arrived at the gates 
of heaven. When monarchs made their entrance 
to take possession of their kingdom, they do not 
pass through the gates of the city, for either 
these are taken off entirely, or they pass over 
them. Hence the angels, when Jesus Christ en 
tered paradise, cried: "Lift up your gates, O ye 
princes, and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates; 

* Surge, propera, arnica mea, columba mea, et veni. Jam hyems 
transiit, imber abiit et reeessit. Cant. ii. 10, 11. 

t Veni de Libano. sponsa mea, veni de Libauo; veni coronaoerii. 
Oant. iv. 8. 


and the King of glory shall enter in."* Thus, 
also, now that Mary is going to take possession 
of the kingdom of the heavens, the angels who 
accompany her cry to the others who are within: 
"Lift up your gates, ye princes, and be ye lifted 
up, O eternal gates, and the queen of glory shall 
enter in."f 

And now Mary enters into the blessed country. 
But on her entrance, the celestial spirits seeing 
her so beautiful and glorious, ask of those who 
are without, as Origen describes it, and exclaim, 
nil rejoicing in heaven in one (voice): Who is 
this that cometh up from the desert, flowing 
with delights, leaning upon her beloved?"^ And 
who is this creature so beautiful, that comes 
from the desert of the earth, a place so full of 
thorns and tribulation? But this one comes so 
pure and so rich in virtue, supported by her belov 
ed Lord, who deigns to accompany her with so 
great honor. Who is she ? The angels who ac 
company her answer: This is the mother of our 
King, she is our queen, and the blessed one 
among women, full of grace, the saint of saints, 
the beloved of God, the immaculate, the dove, 
the most beautiful of all creatures. And then 
all those blessed spirits begin to bless and praise 
her, singing, with more reason than the Hebrews 

* Attollite portas principes vestrae, et elevamini portae eternales, 
t introibit rex glorias. Psal. xxiii. 7. 

t Attollite portas, principes, vestras, et,elevamini portae eternales, 
t introibit regina glorise. 

JTJna omnium in coelo erat laetantium (vox): Quse est ista quae 
ascendit de deserto deliciis affiuens, innixa super dilectum euum? 
Cant. viii. 5. 


said to Judith: "Thou art the glory of Jerns* 
lem, thou art the joy of Israel, them art the hon 
or of our people."* Ah! our Lady and our queen, 
then thou art the glory of paradise, the joy of 
our country, thou art the honor of us all; be ever 
welcome, be ever blessed; behold thy kingdom, 
behold us, we are all thy servants, ready for thy 

Then all the saints who were at that time in 
paradise came to welcome her and salute her as 
their queen. All the holy virgins came: They 

saw her, and declared her most blessed 

and they praised her.f We, they said, oh most 
blessed Lady, are also queens of this kingdom, 
but thou art our queen; for thou wast the first 
to give us the great example of consecrating 
our virginity to God; we all bless and thank 
thee for it. Then came the holy confessors to 
salute her as their mistress, who had taught 
them so many beautiful virtues by her holy life. 
The holy martyrs came also to salute her as 
their queen, because by her great constancy in 
the sorrows of the passion of her Son, she had 
taught them, and also obtained for them by 
her merits, strength to give their life for the 
faith. St. James came also, the only one of the 
apostles who was then in paradise, to thank her 
in the name of all the other apostles, for the 
great comfort and support she had given them 

* Tu gloria Jerusalem, tn Isetitia Israel, tu honorificentia populi 
Hostri. Jud. xv. 10. 

t Yidernnt earn filise, et beatissimam praedicaverunt, . . . 
daverunt earn. Cant. vi. 8. 


while she was upon earth. The prophets next 
came to salute her,and they said to her: Ah, Lady, 
thou wast foreshadowed in our prophecies. The 
holy patriarchs came and said to her: Oh Mary, 
thou hast been our hope, so much and so long 
sighed for by us. And among those came our 
first parents, Adam and Eve, to thank her with 
greater affection. Ah, beloved daughter, they 
said to her, thou hast repaired the injury done 
by us to the human race; thou hast obtained 
for the world that blessing lost by us, on ac 
count of our crime: by thee we are saved, and 
for it be forever blessed. 

Then came holy Simeon to kiss her feet, and 
with joy reminded her of that day on which he 
received from her hands the infant Jesus. St. 
Zachary and St. Elizabeth also came, and thank 
ed her again for that loving visit, that with so 
much humility and charity she made them in 
their dwelling, and through which they received 
so many treasures of grace. St. John the Bap 
tist came with greater affection to thank her for 
having sanctified him by means of her voice. 
But what could her parents, St. Joachim and St. 
Anna, say to her, when they came to salute her? 
Oh God! with what tenderness must they have 
blessed her, saying: Ah! beloved daughter, 
what happiness was ours in having such a child! 
Ah! be thou our queen now, because thou art 
the mother of our God; as such we salute thee 
and adore thee. But who can comprehend the 
affection with which her dear spouse St. Joseph 


came to salute her ? "Who can describe the joy 
that the holy patriarch experienced at seeing hid 
spouse arrive in heaven with so much triumph, 
made queen of all paradise? With what lender* 
ness did he say to her: Ah! my Lady and spouse^ 
how shall I ever be able to thank our God as I 
ought for having made me thy spouse, thou 
who art his true mother? Through thee I merited 
on earth to attend upon the childhood of the 
incarnate Word, to bear him so often in my 
arms, and receive from him so many special 
favors. Blessed be the moments that I spent 
in life serving Jesus and thee, my holy spouse. 
Behold our Jesus; let us console ourselves that 
now he is no more lying in a stable upon hay, 
as we saw him at his birth in Bethlehem; he does 
not now live poor and despised in a shop, as 
once he lived with us in Nazareth; he is not now 
nailed to a shameful cross, as when he died for the 
salvation of the world in Jerusalem; but he sits 
at the right hand of the Father, as king and 
Lord of heaven and of earth. And now, oh my 
queen, we shall never more depart from his 
holy feet, where we shall bless and love him 

Then all the angels came to salute her, and she, 
the great queen, thanked all for the assistance 
they had given her on earth, especially thanking 
the Archangel St. Gabriel, who was the happy 
ambassador of all her glories, when he came to 
announce to her that she was to be made moth 
er of God. Then the humble and holy Vir* 


gin, kneeling, adores the divine majesty, and 
wholly lost in the consciousness of her nothing 
ness, thanks him for all the graces bestowed upon 
her solely by his goodness, and especially 
for having made her mother of the eternal 
Word. Let those who can, comprehend with 
what love the most holy Trinity blessed her. 
Let them comprehend what a welcome the 
eternal Father gave to his daughter, the Son to 
his mother, the Holy Spirit to his spouse. The 
Father crowns her by sharing with her his pow 
er, the Son his wisdom, the Holy spirit his love. 
And all the three divine persons establishing 
her throne at the right hand of Jesus, declare 
her universal queen of heaven and of earth, and 
command angels and all other creatures to rec 
ognize her for their queen, and as queen to 
serve and obey her. And here we pass on to 
the consideration of how exalted was this throne 
to which Mary was elevated in heaven. 

Second Point. If the human mind, says St. 
Bernard, cannot attain to comprehend the im 
mense glory which God has prepared in heaven 
for those who have loved him on earth, as the 
apostle declares, who will ever attain to com 
prehend what he has prepared for her who bore 
him? "Quid praeparavit gignenti se"? What 
glory did he prepare for his beloved mother, he 
who on earth loved her more than all men; who, 
even from the first moment of her creation, lov 
ed her more than all men and angels united! 
Justly, then, does the holy Church sinjy that 


Mary having loved God more than all the angels, 
she has been exalted above all the angels, in hea 
ven.* Yes, she was exalted, says William the 
Abbot, above the angels, so that she sees no one 
above her but her Son, who is the only begot 
ten Son of God.f 

Hence the learned Gerson asserts, that all the 
orders of angels and of saints being divided 
into three hierarchies, as the angelic Doctor de- 
clares,J and St. Dionysius also, Mary consti 
tutes in heaven a hierarchy of herself, the most 
sublime of all, and next to God. And as the mis 
tress, St. Antoninus adds, is incomparably above 
her servants, so is the glory of Mary incompara 
bly greater than that of the an gels. || And in or 
der to understand this, it is enough to know what 
David said, that this queen was seated at the 
right hand of the Son: The queen stood on thy 
right hand: "Astitit regina a dextris tuis. ^ 
Which St. Athanasius exactly explained by say 
ing: Mary is placed at the right hand of God.** 

The works of Mary, as St. ildephonsus says, 
certainly incomparably surpassed in merit the 
works of all the saints, and therefore the reward 
and the glory she merited cannot be conceived. ff 

* Exaltata eet sancta Dei genitrix super chores angelorum ad 
coelestia regna. In Feet. Aee. 

t Matrem dico exaltatam super choros angelorum, ut nihil con- 
templetur super se mater, nibi tiiium tsuuin. Serin. 4, cle Ass. 

\ Quaest. 108. 

Virgo sola constituit hierarchiam secundam sub Deo hierarcha 
pnmo. Sup. Magn. tr. 4. 

I Virgo est domina angelorum; ergo et improportionabiliter eat 
snpra omnem hierarchiam angelorum exaltata. 4, part. tit. 15, c. 20. 

t Psal. xliv. 10. 

** Collocatur Maria a dexteris Dei. De Ass. B. V. 

ft Sicufc est incomparable quod gessit, ita et incompreheneibile 


And if it is certain that God rewards according 
to merit, as the apostle says, "Who will render 
to every man according to his works; * it is also 
certain, says St. Thomas, that the Virgin who 
excelled in merit all, both men and angels, must 
have heen exalted above all the celestial orders. f 
In fine, adds St. Bernard, let us measure the sin* 
gular grace that she acquired on earth, and then 
we may measure the singular glory that she has 
obtained in heaven. J 

The glory of Mary, remarks a. learned author, 
which was a full glory, a complete glory, is dif 
ferent from that which the other saints have in 
heaven. It is true that in heaven all the blessed 
enjoy a perfect peace and full content; yet it 
will always be true that no one of them enjoys 
that glory that he could have merited if he had 
loved and served God with greater fidelity. 
Hence, although the saints in heaven desire noth 
ing more than what they possess, yet, in fact, 
there is something they could yet desire. It is 
also true that the sins which they have commit 
ted, and the time which they have lost, do not 
bring suffering; but it cannot be denied that the 
most good done in life, innocence preserved and 
time well employed, give the greatest content. 

praeminm, et gloria inter omnes eanctos, qnam merait. Serm. de 

* Reddet unicuique secundum opera ejus. Rom. li. 6. 

t Sicut habuit meritnm omnium, et amplius, itafcongrunm fuit, ut 
super omnes ponatur ordines coeleetes. L. de Sol. Sanct. 

j Quantum enim gratise in terris adepta est, tantum et in coelis ob- 
tinet glorite singularis. 

S II. P. la Colombiere, Pred. 18, 28. 


Mary in heaven desires nothing, and has nothing 
to desire. Who of the saints in paradise, says 
St. Augustine, if asked whether he has committed 
eins, can answer no, except Mary ?* It is certain, 
as the holy Council of Trent has defined,f that 
Mary never committed any sin, not even the 
least; not only she has never lost divine grace 
never bedimmed it, but she has never kept it 
unemployed; she never did an action that was 
not meritorius; she never said a word, or had a 
thought, or drew a breath, that was not directed 
to the greatest glory of God; in a word, she never 
relaxed or stopped one moment in her onward 
course to God; she never lost anything through 
negligence, for she always corresponded with 
grace with all her power, and loved God as much 
as she could love him. Oh Lord, she now says 
to him in heaven, if I have not loved thee as 
much as thou dost merit, at least I have loved 
thee as much as I could. 

The graces of the saints were different in each, 
as St. Paul said: There are diversities of graces: 
"Divisiones gratiarum sunt." So that each of 
them corresponding with the grace received, has 
rendered himself excellent in some virtue; one 
in saving souls, one in leading a life of penance, 
one in suffering torments, one in contemplation; 
hence the holy Church, when celebrating their 
festivals, says of each: And there was not found 
the like to him: "Non est inventus similis illi." 
And as in their merits, so are they in heaven 
* De Nat et Qrat. 1. 7, c. 36. t Sesa. 6, Can. 13. 


different in glory: for star differetb from stai 
in glory: " Stella enim a Stella differt."* The 
Apostles differ from the martyrs, confessors 
from virgins, the innocents from penitents. The 
holy Virgin being full of all graces, excelled 
each saint in every kind of virtue; she was the 
apostle of the apostles; she was queen of the 
martyrs, for she suffered more than all of them; 
she was the standard-bearer of the virgins, the 
model of spouses; she united in herself a perfect 
innocence with a perfect mortification; in a 
word, she united in her heart all the most heroic 
virtues which any saint has ever practised. 
Hence it was said of her: "The queen stood on 
thy right hand in gilded clothing, surrounded 
with variety ;"f for all the graces, privileges, 
and merits of the other saints were found united 
in Mary, as the Abbot of Celles says: The 
prerogatives of all the saints, oh Virgin, thou 
hast united in thyself.J 

Thus as the splendor of the sun exceeds the 
splendor of all stars united, so, says St. Basil, 
the glory of the divine mother exceeds that of 
all the blessed. And St. Peter Damian adds, 
that as the light of the stars and of the moon dis 
appears as if they were not, at the rising of the 

* 1 Cor. xv. 41. 

t Astitit regina a dextris tuis in vestitu deaurato circumdata varle- 
tate. Psal. xliv. 10. 

$ Sanctorum omnium privilegia, O Virgo, omnia habes in te con- 

Maria universes tantum excedit, quantum sol reliqua astra. Oc 
to An. 


arm, thus Mary so far obscures in glory the splen 
dor of men and angels, that as it were, these do 
pA appear in heaven.* Whence St. Bernardino of 
Sienna agrees with St. Bernard in asserting that 
the blessed participate in part in the divine 
glory, but that the Virgin, in a certain manner, 
has been so enriched with it, that it seems no 
creature could be more united with God than is 
Mary.f Which is confirmed by the blessed Al- 
bertus Magnus, when he says that our queen con 
templates God very near incomparably more BO 
than all the other celestial spirits.! And the 
above-named St. Bernardine says, moreover, 
that as the other planets are illuminated by the 
sun, so all the blessed receive greater light and 
joy from the sight of Mary. And in another 
place he likewise asserts, that the mother of 
God, ascending to heaven, increased the joy of 
all its inhabitants.! Hence St. Peter Damian 
says,that the blessed have no greater glory in 
heaven, after God, than to enjoy the presence of 

* Sol ita sibi eiderum et lunse rapit poeitionem, ut eint quasi non 
sink Similiter et Virga Jesse utrorumque spirituum habebat digni 
tatem, ut in comparatione v irginis nee possint apparere. Serm. de 

t Divinse gloriae participatio cieteris quodammodo per partes datur, 
sed secundum Bernardum B. Virgo Maria penetravit abyesum, ut 
quantum creaturse conditio patitur, illi luci inaccessibili videatur 
immersa. To. 1, Serai. 61, a. 2, c. 2, 20. 

$ Visio vlrginis mains super omnes creaturas incomparabiliter 
contemplatur majestatem Dei. De Laud. Virg. c. 69. 

Qnodammodo sicut csetera luminaria illuminantnr a sole, aic tot* 
eceleslis curia a gloriosa virgine laetificatur. Loc. cit. art. 3, c. 8. 

I Gloriosa virgo cum coelis ascendit, supernorum gaudia civium 
eomulavit, Sena, de Ass. 


that most beautiful queen: Sim? ma gloria est 
post Deura tevidere."* And St. Bonaventure: 
Next to God, our greatest glory and our greatest 
joy is from Mary.f 

Let us rejoice, then, with Mary, in the exalted 
throne to which God has elevated her in heaven. 
And let us rejoice also for our own sake, since if 
our mother has ceased to be present with us, by 
ascending in glory to heaven, she has not 
ceased to be present with us in her affection. 
Nay, being there nearer and more united to God, 
fihe better knows our miseries, and therefore 
pities them more, and is better able to relieve us. 
And wilt thou, as St. Peter Damian asks, oh 
blessed Virgin, because tbou hast been so exalt 
ed in heaven, be forgetful of us miserable 
creatures ?J No, may God preserve us from 
the thought; a heart so merciful cannot but pity 
our miseries which are so great. If the pity 
of Mary for us was so great when she lived upon 
earth, much greater, says St. Bonaventure, is it 
in heaven, where she reigns.] 

Meanwhile let us dedicate ourselves to the 
service of this queen, to honor and love her as 
much as we can; for she is not, as Richard of St. 

*Serm. l,deNat. 

t Post Deum major noetra gloria et majns nostrum gaudinm ex 

$ Nunquid, O beata Virgo, quia Ita glorificata ea, ideo nostr ha- 
militatis oblita esf Senn. 1, de Nat. V. 

Absit non convenit tantae mieericordise tante miseri oblivisci. 

| Magna fuit erga miseros raisericordia Mariae exnlantia in mundo, 
ad multo major est wgn&ntia in ccslo. Spec. c. 8. 


Lawrence says, like other rulers, who oppress 
their vassals with burdens and taxes, but our 
queen enriches her servants with graces, merits, 
and rewards.* And let us pray her with Guerric 
the Abbot: Oh mother of mercy, thou who sit- 
test so near to God, queen of the world, upon a 
throne so sublime, satiate thyself with the glory 
of thy Jesus, and send to us thy servants the 
fragments that are left. Thou dost now enjoy 
the banquet of the Lord; we who are still on 
earth, like the dogs under the table, ask thy 


Father Silvanus Razzi relates, J that a devout 
ecclesiastic who had a tender love for our Queen 
Mary, had heard her beauty so much extolled 
that he ardently desired once to see his Lady, 
and with humble prayers asked this favor. The 
kind mother sent an angel to tell him that she 
would gratify him by allowing him to see her, 
but on this condition, namely, that after seeing 
her he should become blind. He accepted the 
condition. On a certain day, behold the blessed 
Virgin appeared to him, and that he might not 
become wholly blind, he at first wished to look 

* Kegina Maria non gravattributis, sed largitnr servis suis divitiai, 
dona gratiarum, thesauros merilorum, et magnitudinem pnemiorum. 
De Laud. Virg. 1. 6. 

t O mater misericordise, saturare gloria filii tui, et dimitte reliquiaa 
parvulis tuis. Tu jam ad mensam Domini nos sub mensa catelli. 
8enn. 4, de Ass. Virg. 

% L, 3, Mirac. B. Virg. 


at her with one eye only ; but afterwards be 
coming enamored of the great beauty ot Mary, 
he wished to contemplate her with both, and 
then the mother of God disappeared. Deeply 
grieved at having lost the presence of his queen, 
he could not cease weeping; not indeed for his 
lost eye, but that he had not seen her with both. 
Then he began to supplicate her anew, that she 
would again appear to him, and he would be 
willing to lose the other eye and become entire 
ly blind. "Happy and satisfied," oli my Lady, 
he said, "I will remain, if I become wholly 
blind for so good a cause, which will leave me 
more enamored of thee, and of thy beauty." 
Again Mary was willing to satisfy him, and 
again she consoled him with her presence; but 
because this loving queen can never injure any 
one, when she appeared to him the second time, 
not only she did not take from him the other 
eye, but she even restored to him the one he 
had lost. 


Oh great, excellent, and most glorious Lady, 
prostrate at the foot of thy throne, we adore 
thee from this valley of tears. We rejoice at 
the immense glory with which our Lord has en 
riched thee. Now that thou art really queen 
of heaven and of earth, ah, do not forget us thy 
poor servants. Do not disdain from the lofty 
throne, from which thou dost reign, to turn thy 
pitying eyes towards us miserable sinners. Ag 


thou art so near the source of graces, thou art 
able so much the more to obtain them for us. 
In heaven thou seest more plainly our miseries, 
and therefore thou must pity and relieve us the 
more. Make ua on earth thy faithful servants, 
that we may thus go to bless thee in paradise. 
On this day, when thou hast been made queen 
of the universe, we also consecrate oarselves to 
thy service. In thy great joy console us also 
this day, by accepting us for thy vassals. 
Thou, then, art our mother. Ah, most sweet 
mother! most amiable mother! thy altars are 
surrounded by many people wfeo ask of thee, 
one to be healed of some malady, another to be 
relieved in his necessities, one prays thee for a 
good harvest, and another success in some 
litigation. We ask of thee graces more pleas 
ing to thy heart. Obtain for us that we may be 
humble, detached from earth, resigned to the 
divine will. Obtain for us the holy love of God, 
a good death, and paradise. Oh Lady, change 
us from sinners to saints. Perform this miracle 
that will redound more to thy honor, than if 
thou didst restore sight to a thousand blind 
persons, or raise a thousand from the dead. 
Thou art so powerful with God, it is enough to 
say that thou art his mother, his most beloved, 
full of his grace; what can he then deny thee? 
Oh most lovely queen, we do not pretend to 
behold thee on the earth, but we desire to go 
and see thee in paradise : thou must obtain this 
for us. Thus we certainly hope. Amen, amen. 




Mary teas queen of martyrs, because Tier martyrdom v>a& 
longer and greater than that of all the martyrs. 

WHO can have a heart so hard that it will not 
melt on hearing of a most lamentable event 
which once happened in the world? There was 
a noble and holy mother who had but one only 
Son; and he was the most amiable that could be 
imagined, innocent, virtuous, beautiful, and 
most loving towards his mother; so much so, 
that he never had caused her the least displeas 
ure, but always had showed her all respect, 
obedience, and affection. Hence the mother 
had placed on this Son all her earthly affections. 
Now what happened? It happened that this Son 
through envy, was falsely accused by his enemies 
and the judge, although he knew and confessed 
his innocence, yet, that he might not offend his 
enemies, condemned him to an infamous death, 
precisely as they had requested him to do. 
And this poor mother h ad to suffer the affliction of 
seeing that amiable and beloved Son so unjustly 
taken from her, in the flower of his age, by a bar 
barous death; for he was made to die in torment, 
drained of his blood before her own eyes in a 
public place, upon an infamous gibbet. Devout 


Bouls, what do you say? Is this case and this un 
happy mother worthy of compassion? Already 
you know of whom I speak. This Son so cruelly 
glain was our loving Redeemer, Jesus, and his 
mother was the blessed Virgin Mary, who, for 
love of us, was willing to see him offered up to 
the divine justice by the barbarity of men. This 
great pain, then, which Mary suffered for us 
a pain which was more than a thousand deaths 
merits our compassion and gratitude. And if 
we can return nothing else for so much love, at 
least let us for a little time to-day stop to con 
sider the severity of the suffering by which Mary 
became queen of martyrs; for her great martyr 
dom exceeded in suffering that of all the martyrs, 
being, in the first place the longest martyrdom; 
and in the second place, the greatest martyrdom. 
First Point As Jesus is called King of sor 
rows and King of martyrs, because he suffered in 
his life more than all the other martyrs, so is also 
Mary called, with reason, queen of the martyrs, 
having merited this title by suffering the greatest 
martyrdom that could be suffered, next to that of 
her Son. Hence she was justly named by Richard 
of St. Laurence the martyr of martyrs: "Martyr 
martyrum." And to her may be applied what 
Isaias said: He will crown tliee with the crown of 
tribulation: "Coronans coronabit tetribulatione. 
For that suffering itself which exceeded the suf 
fering of all the other martyrs united, was the 

Cap- xxfi. 18. 


erown by which she was shown to be the queen of 
martyrs. That Mary was a true martyr cannot 
be doubted, as is proved by the Carthusian, 
Pelbart, Catharinus, and others; for it is an 
established opinion that suffering sufficient to 
cause death, constitutes martyrdom, although 
death may not then take place. St. J ohn the 
Evangelist is revered as a martyr, although he 
did not die in the caldron of boiling oil, but 
came out more sound than he went in: "Vege- 
tior exiverit quam intraverit."* It is sufficient 
to procure the glory of martyrdom, says St. 
Thomas, that any one should be obedient even 
to offer himself to death. f Mary was a martyr, 
says St. Bernard, not by the sword of the exe 
cutioner, but by the bitter sorrow of her heart. J 
If her body was not wounded by the hand of the 
executioner, yet her blessed heart was pierced by 
grief at the passion of her Son; a grief sufficient 
to cause her not only one, but a thousand deaths. 
And from this we shall see that Mary was not 
only a true martyr, but that her martyrdom sur 
passed that of all the martyrs, for it was 
a longer martyrdom, and, if I may thus express 
it, all her life was a long death. 

The passion of Jesus commenced with his 
birth, as St. Bernard says ; and Mary also, in 

* Brev. Rom. 6, Maj . 

t Martyrium amplectitur id quod in obedientia summum ewe po- 
test, ut scilicet aliquis sit obediens usque ad mortem. 2, 2, q. 134, 
a. 3, ad 3. 

$ Non ferro carnificis, sed acerbo dolore cordis. Ap. Baldi. torn. 
1, p. 146. 

| A nativitatis sxordio, paeeio erucis eimul ezort*. Serm. 2, tit 


all things like unto her Son, suffered her martyr, 
dom through her whole life. The name ot 
Mary, among its other significations, as the 
blessed Albertus Magnus affirms, signifies a 
bitter sea: "Mare amarurn." Wherefore to her 
is applied the passage of Jeremias: Great as the 
sea is thy destruction : "Magna est enim velut 
mare contritio tua."f For as the sea is all salt 
and bitter, thus the life of Mary was always full 
of bitterness, at the sight of the passion of the 
Redeemer, which was ever present to her. It 
cannot be doubted that being more enlightened 
by the Holy Spirit than all the prophets, she 
better comprehended than they the predictions 
concerning the Messias, which they recorded in 
their holy Scriptures. Precisely this the angel 
revealed to St. Bridget.J Whence, as the 
same angel declared, the Virgin knowing how 
much the incarnate Word was to suffer for the 
salvation of men, even before she became his 
mother, and compassionating this innocent 
Saviour, who was to be so cruelly put to death 
for crimes not his own, she commenced, from 
that time, her great martyrdom. 

Her grief afterwards increased immeasurably 
when she was made mother of this Saviour. So 

* Thr. li. 13. 

* Procnldubio est credendnm, quod Ipsa ex Insplratione Spiritna 
Sftncti perfectius intellexit quicquid Prophetarum eloquia figurabaat. 
Sena. Ang. c. 17. 

$ Bx Scripturis Deum incamari Intelligens, et quod tarn diverahi 
poems deberet crnciari, tribulationem non modicam suatinuti. 
term. An*, c. 16. 


Ibat at the painful thought of all the sufferings 
which her poor Son was to endure, she indeed ex 
perienced, says Rupert the Abbot, a long mar 
tyrdom a martyrdom continued through her 
whole life.* And exactly this was signified by 
the vision which St. Bridget had at Rome, in 
the church of St. Mary Major, where the blessed 
Virgin appeared to her with St. Simeon, and an 
angel, having a sword which was very long and 
red with blood; by which was prefigured the 
long and bitter grief that pierced the heart of 
Mary during her whole life.f Whence the 
above-named Rupert puts into the mouth of 
Mary the following words: Oh redeemed souls 
and my beloved children, do not pity me only 
for that hour in which I saw my dear Jesus 
dying in my presence, for the sword of sorrow, 
predicted to me by Simeon, pierced my soul dur 
ing my whole life; when I was giving suck to 
my Son, when I was warming him in my arms, 
I already saw the bitter death that awaited him; 
consider then what long and cruel sorrows I 
must have endured. \ 

Wherefore Mary might truly say in the words 
of David: My life is wasted with grief and my 

* Tn longum prseeeia future passionie filii tui, pertulieti martyrlam. 
In Cant. c. 4. 

t Bev. 1. 7, c. 2. 

% Nolite solam attendere horam illam qua dilectnm meum ridl 
mori; nam Simeonis gladius, antequam pertransirct, Ionium per me 
transitum fecit. Cum igitur eum lactarem, foverem et prospiceram 
jus mortem, quam prolixam me putatis per tuli sse passionem ? LOG. 


years in sighs.* My sorrow is continually be 
fore me: "Dolor meus in conspectu nieo semper. "f 
My life was wholly passed in grief and tears; 
for my grief, which was compassion for my be- 
loved Son, never departed from before my eyes, 
seeing, as I did, continually the sufferings and 
death that he was one day to endure. The 
divine mother herself revealed to St. Bridget, 
that even after the death- and ascension of her 
Son into heaven, the memory of his passion, 
whether she ate or worked, wa" deeply impress 
ed and ever recent in her ter A er heart. J Tau- 
lerus therefore says, that M ry passed her whole 
life in perpetual sorrow; f A her heart was al 
ways occupied with thou hts of sadness and of 

So that time, which usually mitigates the 
Borrows of the afflicted, did not relieve Mary; 
nay, time itself increased her sorrow, for as 
Jesus increased in years, on the one hand, he 
continually showed himself more lovely and 
amiable; and on the other, the time of his death 
was ever drawing nearer, and grief at having to 
lose him on this earth, continually increased in 
the heart of Mary. As the rose grows up among 
thorns, said the angel to St. Bridget, so the moth- 

* Defecit in dolore vita mea, et anni mei in gemitibus. PsaU 
xxx. 11. 

t Psal. xxxvii. 18. 

$ Tempore quo post ascensionem fllii mei vixi, passio sua in corde 
meo fixa erat, ut eive comedebam, sive laborabam, quasi recens erat 
in memoria mea. Rev. 1. 8, c. 65. 

Beatissima Virgo pro tota vita fecit Drofessionem doloris. Vit, 
ChriBt. & 28. 


er of God advanced in years in the midst of 
sufferings; and as the thorns increase with the 
growth of the rose, thus this rose selected by 
the Lord, Mary, as she increased in age, was so 
much the more pierced by the thorns of ber 
dolors.* Having considered the length of this 
suffering, let us now pass on to the second point, 
namely, the consideration of its greatness. 

Point Second. Ah, Mary was not only queen 
of the martyrs, because ber martyrdom was lon 
ger than that of all others, bnt also because it 
was the greatest of all. But who can measure 
its greatness? Jeremias appears to be unable 
to find any one with whom he may compare this 
mother of sorrows, when considering her great 
suffering at the death of her Son. "To what 
shall I compare thee, or to what shall I liken 
thee, oh daughter of Jerusalem; for great as the 
ffeaisthy destruction; who shall heal thee?"f 
Wherefore Cardinal Hugo, commenting on these 
words, says: Oh blessed Virgin, as the bitterness 
of the sea exceeds all other bitterness, so thy 
grief surpasses all other grief s.J Hence St. Au- 
selm affirms, that if God, by a special miracle, 
had not preserved the life of Mary, her grief 

* Sicut rosa crescere solet inter spinas ita B. Virgo in hoc mundo 
crevit inter tribulationes; et eicnt, crescente rosa, crescunt spinee; sic 
bc electissima rosa Maria, qtianto crescebat setate, tanto tribula. 
tionum spinis pungebatur. Serni. Aug. c. 16. 

t Cui comparabo te? vel cui assimilabo te, fllia Jerusalem? Magna 
it enim velut mare contritio tua. Quis medebitnr tui? Thren. ii. 1. 

$ Quemadmodum mare est in amaritudine excellens, ita tu* con* 
Iritioni nulla calamitas sequari potest. 


would have been sufficient to cause her death at 
each moment of her life.* And St. Bernardino 
of Sienna even says, that the grief of Mary was 
so great, that if it were divided among all men, 
it would be enough to cause their immediate 

But let us consider the reasons why the mar 
tyrdom of Mary was greater than that of all the 
martyrs. In the first place, it must be remem 
bered that the martyrs suffered their martyrdom 
in the body, by means of fire or steel; Mary 
suffered martyrdom in her soul; as St. Simeon 
had before prophesied: and thy own soul a 
sword shall pierce: "Et tuam ipisus animain per- 
transibit gladius:"J as if the holy old man had 
said to her: Oh holy Virgin, the bodies of the 
other martyrs will be torn with iron, but thou 
wilt be pierced and martyred in thy soul, by the 
passion of thy own Son. Now, as the soul is 
more noble than the body, so much greater was 
the suffering of Mary than that of all the mar 
tyrs; as Jesus Christ himself said to St. Cathar 
ine of Sienna: There is no comparison between 
the sufferings of the soul and the body; * Inter 
dolorem animse et corporis nulla est compara- 
tio." Whence the holy Abbot Arnold Carno- 

* Utique, Pomina, non erediderim te potuisse stlmulos tanti cru- 
clatUB, quin vitam amitteres, sustinere; nisi ipse spiritus tui filii te 
confortaret. De EC. Virg. c. 3. 

t Tantua fuit dolor Virginia, quod si inter omnes creaturas, qu 
dolorem pati possunt, divideretur, omnea subito interirent. To. 1, 
germ. 67. 

$ Lue. il 35. 


teasis says, that whoever bad been present on 
Calvary at the great sacrifice of the immaculate 
Lamb, when he was dying on the cross, would 
have there beheld two great altars, one in the 
body of Jesus, the other in the heart of Mary: 
for there, at the same time that the Son sacri 
ficed his body in death, Mary sacrificed her soul 
in compassion.* 

Moreover, while the other martyrs, St. An 
toninus says, f suffered by sacrificing their own 
lives, the blessed Virgin suffered by sacrificing 
the life of her Son, whom she loved far more 
than her own life ; so that she not only suffered 
in spirit all that her Son suffered in body, but, 
moreover, the sight of the sufferings of her Son 
brought more grief to her heart than if she had 
endured them all in her own person. There can 
be BO doubt that Mary suffered in her heart all 
the tortures by which she saw her beloved Jesus 
tormented. Every one knows that the sufferings 
of children are also the sufferings of theirmoth- 
ers, when they are the witnesses of them. St. Au 
gustine, considering the anguish that the mother 
of the Macchabees experienced in witnessing the 
tortures which her sons endured, says: "She suf 
fered in them all, because she loved them all, and 
endured with her eyes what they all endured in 
the flesh."! Thus also was it with Mary ; all those 

* Nlmirmnin tabernaculo illo dno videres altaria, alind in pectora 
matris, aliud in corpore Christ! ; Christus carnem, Maria immolabat 
animam. Tr. de sep. verb. Do. in Cru. 

tP. 1, tit. 15, c. 24. 

$ Ilia videndo in omnibus passa est: quia amabat omnea, ferabat 
IB oculis quod in carae omns. Serra. 109, de Divers . 6. 


Bcourgings, torments, thorns, nails, and the c; oss, 
which tortured the innocent flesh of Jesus, enter- 
ed at the same time into the heart of Mary to com 
plete her martyrdom. He in the flesh, she in the 
heart suffered, writes St., Amadeus: u llle carne,illa 
corde passa est."* So that as St. Lawrence Jus 
tinian says, the heart of Mary became as it were, a 
mirror of the agonies of her Son, in which were 
Been the spitting, the scourging, the wounds, and 
all that Jesus suffered. f And St. Bonaventure re 
marks, that these wounds which were scattered 
all over the body of Jesus, were all united in one 
heart of Mary. J 

The Virgin, then through compassion for her 
Son, was scourged, crowned with thorns, in 
sulted, and nailed to the cross. Whence the 
same saint considering Mary on Mt. Calvary, 
where she was present with her dying Son, 
asks of her: Oh Lady, tell me where you then 
stood ? Perhaps only at the foot of the cross ! 
Might I not rather say: thou wast on the cross 
itself crucified with thy Son ? And Richard, 
remarking on the words of the Redeemer, which 
he spoke by the mouth of Isaias : " I have trod 
den the wine-press alone, and of the Gentiles 

* Horn. 5. 

t Passionis Christ! speculum effectum erat cor Virginia, in illo ag- 
noscebantur sputa, convicia, verbera, vulnera. De Agon. Chri. c. 11. 

% Singula vulnera per ejus corpus dispersa, in uno corde sunt unita, 
De Planctu. Virg. in Stim. Am. 

O Domina mea ubi stabas? Nunquid tantum juxta cruceml 
Imo in cruce cum filio crucifixa eras. Loc. cit. 


there is not a man with me,"* adds: Oh Lord, 
thou dost rightly say that in the work of human 
redemption thou didst suffer alone, and there was 
no man that could pity thee sufficiently ; but 
there was a woman with thee, thy own mother, 
who suffered in her heart whatever thou didst 
suffer in thy body.f 

But all this is saying only too little of the 
sorrows of Mary; for, as I have before said, she 
suffered more in seeing her beloved Jesus suffer, 
than if in her own person she had endured all 
the tortures and the death of her Son. Erasmus 
has written, speaking of parents, generally, that 
they feel the sufferings of their children more 
than their own.J But this is not always true. 
It was no doubt true of Mary, for she certainly 
loved her Son and his life far more than herself, 
and a thousand lives of her own. Therefore St. 
Amadeus well declares, that the afflicted mother, 
at the sorrowful sight of the agony of her be 
loved Jesus, suffered much more than if she 
herself had endured his whole passion. The 
reason is plain, since, as St. Bernard says: The 
soul is more where it loves, than where it lives: 

* Torcular calcavi solus, et de gentibus non est vir mecum. Isa. 
Ixiii. 3. 

t Verum est, Domine, quod non est vir tecum, sed mulier una eat 
tecum, qute omnia vulnera quse tu suscepisti in corpore, suscepit in 

$ Parentes atrocius torquentur in liberis, quamin eeipsis. Libell. 
de Machab. 

Maria torquebatur magis, quam si torqueretur ex se; qnoniara 
supra se incomparabiliter diligebat id unde dolcbat. Cit. Horn, S. 


"Anima magis est ubi amat, quara ubi aniinat." 
And the Saviour himself had before said, that 
eur heart is where our treasure is.* If Mary, 
then, through love, lived more in her Son than 
in herself, a much greater grief did she suffer 
at the death of her Son, than if the most cruel 
death in the world had been inflicted on her. 

And here is to be considered the other circum 
stance that rendered the martyrdom of Mary- 
far greater than the sufferings of all the mar 
tyrs, for in the passion of Jesus she suffered 
much, and she suffered without alleviation. 
The martyrs suffered under the torments which 
their tyrants inflicted upon them, but love to 
Jesus rendered their pains sweet and delightful. 
A St. Vincent suffered in his martyrdom; he 
was tortured on the rack, torn with hooks, 
burnt with red-hot iron plates; but St. Augus 
tine says: One seemed to suffer, and another to 
speak: "Alius videbatur pati, alias loqui." The 
saint addressed the tyrant with such power, and 
with such contempt of his torments, that it 
seemed as if one Vincent suffered and another 
Vincent spoke, so greatly did his God, with the 
sweetness of his love, comfort him in the midst 
of his sufferings. A St. Boniface suffered; his 
body was torn with irons, sharp-pointed reeds 
were thrust between his nails and flesh, melted 
lead was poured into his mouth, and at the same 
time he could not often enough repeat: I give 
thanks to thee, oh Jesus Christ: "Gratias tibi 
ago, Domine Jesu Christe." A St. Mark and a 

* Ubi thesaurus vester est, ibi et cor vestrum erit, Luc. xii. 34. 


St. Marcellinus suffered; they were bound to a 
stake, their feet pierced by nails, and the tyrant 
appealed to them, saying: " Miserable beings, 
look at your condition, and save yourselves 
from these torments." And they answered: 
"What torments, what pain do you speak of? 
We have never feasted with more joy than now, 
when we are suffering with pleasure for the 
love of Jesus Christ."* A St. Lawrence 
suffered, but while he was burning on the grid 
iron, the interior flames of love, as St. Leo says, 
was more powerful to cheer his soul, than the 
flames without were to torture his body.f 
Hence love made him so strong, that he even 
braved the tyrant by saying to him: Tyrant, if 
you wish to feed on ray flesh, a part is sufficient 
ly cooked, turn and eat: * Assatum est jam, 
versa et manduca." But in such torture and 
lingering death, how could the saint thus 
exult? Ah, St. Augustine answers, because, 
intoxicated with the wine of divine love, he felt 
neither torments nor death. { 

For the holy martyrs, the more they loved 
Jesus, the less they felt torments and death, 
and the sight alone of the sufferings of a cruci 
fied God was sufficient to console them. But 
was not our afflicted mother, also, thus consoled 
by love for her Son, and the sight of his suffer 
ings? No, for this very Son who suffered, was 

* Nunquam tarn jncunde epulati sumus, quam com hoc libentei 
Jesu Christ! amore perferimns. 

t Segnior fait ignis qui foris ussit, quam qui intus accendit. In. 
Nat. S. Lanr. 

t la ilia longa naorte, iu illis tormentis illo calice ebriua torment* 
noa seiitit. Tract. 27. 


the whole cause of her grief; and the love shi 
bore him was her only, and too cruel executionerj 
for the whole martyrdom of Mary consisted in 
seeing and pitying her innocent and beloved Son s 
who suffered so much. Therefore, the more 
ehe loved him, the more bitter and inconsolable 
was her sorrow. "Great as the sea is thy de 
struction, who shall heal thee?"* Ah, queen of 
Leaven, love hath alleviated the sufferings of 
other martyrs, and has healed their wounds; but 
who has ever soothed thy great sorrow? Who 
has ever healed the cruel wounds of thy heart? 
Who will heal thee? "Quis medebitur tui ?" if 
that same Son, who could give thee consolation, 
was by his sufferings the sole cause of thy sor 
rows, and the love that thou didst bear him, 
caused all thy martyrdom? Therefore, whilst the 
other martyrs, as Diez remarks, are all represent 
ed with the instrument of their passion St. 
Paul with the sword, St Andrew with the cross, 
St. Lawrene with the gridiron Mary is repre 
sented with her dead Son in her arms, because 
Jesus himself alone was the instrument of her 
martyrdom^ by reason of the love which she bore 
him. In a few words St. Bernard confirms all I 
have said: With the other martyrs their great 
love soothed the anguish of their martyrdom; 
but the more the blessed Virgin loved, go much 
the more she suffered, and so much more cruel 
was her martyrdom.f 

* Magna eet velnt mare contritio tua; quis medebitur tni? 

t In aliis martyribua magaitucLo amoris dolorem. lenivii passion!*; 


It is certain that the greater is our love for a 
thing, the greater pain we feel in losing it. The 
loss of a brother certainly afflicts us more than 
the loss of a beast of burden ; and the death of 
a son, more than that of a friend. Now Cor 
nelius a Lapide says, that to comprehend how 
great was the grief of Mary at the death of her 
Son, we should comprehend how great was the 
love she bore him.* But who can measure thafc 
love? The blessed Amadeus says, that in the 
heart of Mary two kinds of love to her Jesus were 
united: the supernatural love with which she 
loved him as her God, and the natural love with 
which she loved him as her son;f so that, of these 
two loves, one only \vas formed, but a love so im 
mense that William of Paris even said, that the 
blessed Virgin loved Jesus to such a degree that 
a pure creature could not love him more. J And 
Richard of St. Laurence says, as there was no 
love like her love, so there was no grief like her 
grief. If, therefore, the love of Mary for her 
SOD was immense, immense, also, must have been 
her grief in losing him by death. Where love 

eed beata Virgo qnanto plus amavit, tanto plus dolnit tan toque tpsiua 
martyrium gravius f uit. Ap. Crois. Vit. Mar. s. 23. 

* Ut scias quantus f nerit dolor B . Virginia, cogita quantus f uerit 

t Dnae dilectiones in unam convenerant et ex duobus amoribus 
factus est amor unus, cum Virgo mater filio divinitatis amorem im. 
penderet, et in Deo amorem nato exhi beret. Horn. 5, de Laud. V. 

$ Quantum capere potuit puri hominis modus. 

Unde eicut non fuit amor sicut amor ejus, ita non fuit dolor iicul 
dolor ejuB, 


is greatest, says blessed Albertus Magnus, ther 
grief is greatest: "Ubi summus amor, ibi sum- 
mus dolor." 

Let us imagine, then, that the divine mother, 
standing near her Son dying upon the cross, 
and justly applying to herself the words of Jere- 
mias, says to us: "Oh, all ye that pass by the 
way attend, and see if there be any sorrow like 
to my sorrow."* Oh ye that are passing your 
lives upon this earth, and have no pity for me, 
stop a while to look upon me, now that I be 
hold that beloved Son dying before my eyes: 
and then see if among all who are afflicted and 
tormented, there be sorrow like to my sorrow." 
No, answers St. Bonaventure, there can be found 
no sorrow, oh afflicted mother, more bitter than 
thine, for no son can be found more dear than 
thine f Ah, there has never been in the world, 
says St. Lawrence Justinian, a son more worthy 
of love than Jesus, nor a mother who loved her 
son more than Mary; if, then, there has never 
been in the world a love like the love of Mary, 
how can there be a grief like the grief of 

Therefore, St. Ildephonsus did not hesitate to 
affirm, that it was little to say that the sufferings 

* O vos omnes qui transitis per viam attendite . et videte, si eat 
dolor skat dolor metis. Thren. i. 12. 

f Nullus dolor amarior, qui a nuila proles charior. De Compas. 
Virg. c. 2. 

$ Non fuit talis flliue, non fait tails mater; non f uit tanta charitas, 
non fult dolor tantus. Ideo quanto dilexit tenerius, tanta vulncrata 
est prof undius. Lib. 8, de Laud. Virg. 


of the Virgin exceeded all the torments of the 
martyrs, even were they united together.* And 
St. Anselm adds, that the most cruel tortures in 
flicted upon the holy martyrs were light or noth 
ing, in comparison with the martyrdom of 
Mary.f St. Basil likewise writes, that as the 
sun surpasses in splendor all the other planets, 
so Mary in her sufferings exceeded the sufferings 
of all the other martyrs.J A certain learned 
author concludes with an admirable sentiment, 
saying, that so great was the sorrow which this 
tender mother suffered in the passion of Jesus, 
that she alone could worthily compassionate the 
death of a God made man. 

But St. Bonaventura, addressing the blessed 
Virgin, says: Oh Lady, why hast thou wished to 
go and sacrifice thyself also on Calvary? Was 
not a crucified God sufficient to redeem us, that 
thou his mother wouldst be crucified also ? J 
Indeed, the death of Jesus was more than enough 
to save the world, and also an infinity of worlds; 
but this good mother wished, for the love she 
bore us, likewise to aid the cause of our salvation 

* Parum et Miriam in paasione fllll tarn acerbos pertulisee dolores, 
nt omnium martyrum collective tormenta euperaret. Ap. Sinisc. 
Mart de Mar. Cons. 36. 

t Quicquid crudelitatis inflictnm est corporibus martyrum, lere 
fuit, aut potius nihil comparatione tute paesionis. De Exc. Virg. c. 5. 

* Virgo universes martyres tantum excedit, quantum sol reliqua 

$ P. Pinam. 

| O Domina, cur ivisti immolari pro nobis? Non sufficient fllif 
paesio, nisi crucifigeretur et irater? Ap. Pac. JBxc. 10, in gaL Aug. 


with the merits of the sorrows which she offered 
for us on Calvary. And, therefore, says the 
blessed Albertus Magnus, as we are indebted to 
Jesus for what he suffered for love of us, we are 
also to Mary for the martyrdom which she, in 
the death of her Son, voluntarily suffered for our 
salvation.* I have added voluntarily, since, as 
the angel revealed to St. Bridget, this our so 
merciful and kind mother was willing to suffef 
any pain, rather than to see souls unredeemed or 
left in their former perdiiion.f It may be said 
that this was the only consolation of Mary in the 
midst of her great sorrow at the passion of her 
Son, to see the lost world redeemed by his death, 
and men, who were his enemies, reconciled with 
God. Grieving, she rejoiced, says Simon da 
Cassia, because the sacrifice was offered for the 
redemption of all, by which wrath was appeas- 

Such love as that of Mary merits our grati 
tude, and let us show our gratitude by meditating 
upon and compassionating her sorrows. But of 
this she complained to St. Bridget, that very 
few pitied her, and most lived forgetful of her 
Borrows. "I look around upon all who are in 
the world, if perchance there may be any to pity 

* Sicut totus mundus obligatur Deo propter passionem, sic oblige 
tar Dominae propter compassionem. Sup. Miss. cap. 20. 

t Sic pia et misericors est, et fuit, quod maluit omnes tribulationea 
enfferre, quam quod animse non redimerentur. Rev. 1. 3, c. 30. 

J Laetabatur dolens quod offerebatur sacrificium in redemptionem 
omnium quo placabatur. Be Gest. D. 1. 2. c. 27. 


me, and meditate upon my sorrows, and truly I 
find very few. Therefore, my daughter, though 
I am forgotten by many, at least do not thou 
forget me; behold my anguish, and imitate, aa 
far as thou canst, my grief."* In order to un 
derstand how much the Virgin is pleased by our 
remembrance of her dolors, it is sufficient to re 
late, that in the year 1239, she appeared to 
seven of her servants, who then became the 
founders of the order of the Servants of Mary, 
with a black garment in her hand, and told them 
that if they wished to please her, they should 
often meditate upon her dolors; and therefore 
fibe wished, in memory of them, that they 
would hereafter wear that garment of mourning.f 
And Jesus Christ himself revealed to the blessed 
Veronica Binasco, that he takes more pleasure, 
as it were, in seeing his mother compassionated 
than himself; for thus he addressed her: "My 
daughter, the tears shed for ray passion are dear 
to me; but loving with so great love my mother 
Mary, the meditation of the dolors which she 
suffered at my death is more dear to me." J 

Wherefore the graces are very great which 
Jesus promises to those who are devoted to the 
dolors of Mary. Pelbart relates, that it was 

* Reppicio ad omnes qui in mnndo sunt, si forte sint aliqui qui 
compatiantur mihi, et recogitent dolorem meum; et valde paucos in. 
venio. Ideo filia mea, licet a multis oblita sim, tu tamen non ob- 
Jiviscaris mei, vide dolorem meum, et imitare quam turn potes, et 
dole. Rev. 1.2, c. 24. 

i Gian. Cent. Serv. 1. 1, c. 14. $ Ap . Bolland. 13, Jan 

$ Stellar. 1. 3, p. 3, a. 3. 


revealed to St. Elizabeth, that St. John the 
Evangelist, after the blessed Virgin was assumed 
into heaven, desired to see her again. This 
favor was granted him; his dear mot her appear 
ed to him, and Jesus Christ with her; and he 
then heard Mary asking of her Son some pecu 
liar grace for those who were devoted to her 
dolors; and Jesus promised her for them the 
four following special graces: 1st. That those 
who invoke the divine mother by her sorrows, 
before death will merit to obtain true repentance 
of all their sins. 2d. That he will protect such 
in their tribulations, especially at the hour of 
death. 3d. That he willimpress upon them the 
memory of his passion, and that they shall 
have their reward for it in heaven. 4th. That 
he will commit such devout servants to the 
hands of Mary, that she may dispose of them 
according to her pleasure, and obtain for them 
all the graces she desires. In proof of this, let 
us see in the following example how devotion to 
the dolors of Mary may aid our eternal salva 


We read in the revelations of St. Bridget,* 
that there was once a lord as noble by birth 
as he was low and sinful in his habits. He had 
given himself by an express compact as a slave 
to the devil, and had served him for sixty 
years, leading such a life as may 

* L. 6, c. 97. 


aasily be imagined, and never approaching the 
sacraments. Now, this prince was about to die 
and Jesus Christ, in his compassion, command 
ed St. Bridget to tell his confessor to visit him, 
and exhort him, to make his confession. The 
confessor went, and the sick man told him that 
he had no need of a confessor, for that he had 
often made his confession. The confessor 
visited him a second time, and that poor slave 
of hell persevered in his obstinate determination 
not to make his confession. Jesus again 
directed the saint to tell the confessor to go to 
him again. He obeyed, and this third time 
related to him the revelation made to the saint, 
and that he had returned so many times because 
the Lord, who desired to show him mercy, had 
directed him to do so. On hearing this the 
dying man was moved, and began to weep. 
But how, he exclaimed, can I be pardoned, 
when for sixty years I have served the devil, 
made myself his slave, and have laden my soul 
with innumerable sins?" "Son," answered the 
father, encouraging him, "do not doubt: if you 
repent of them, in the name of God I promise you 
pardon / Then beginning to gain confidence, 
he said to the confessor: "Father, I believed 
myself lost, and despaired of salvation ; but new 
I feel a sorrow for my sins, which encourages 
me to trust; and as God has not yet abandoned 
me, I wish to make my confession." And in 
fact on that day he made his confession four 
times with great sorrow; the next day he re- 


ceived communion, and on the sixth he dieu, 
contrite and entirely resigned. After his death, 
Jesus Christ further revealed to St. Bridget, 
that this sinner wa saved, and was in purgatory, 
and that he had been saved by the intercession 
of the Virgin, his mother; for the deceased, al 
though he had led so sinful a life, yet had al 
ways preserved devotion to her dolors, when* 
ever he remembered them he pitied her. 


Oh my afflicted mother! queen of martyrs 
and of sorrows, thou hast shed so many tears 
for thy Son, who died for my salvation, and 
yet what will thy tears avail me, if I am lost? 
By the merits, then, of thy dolors, obtain for 
me a true sorrow for my sins, and a true amend 
ment of life, with a perpetual and tender com 
passion for the passion of Jesus and thy own 
sufferings. And if Jesus and thou, being so in 
nocent, have suffered so much for me, obtain for 
me that I, who am deserving of hell, may also 
suffer something for love of you. O Lady, I will 
say to thee with St. Bonaventure, if I have 
offended thee, wound my heart in punishment ; 
if I have served thee, now I beg to be wounded 
as a reward. It is a shameful thing to see our 
Lord Jesus wounded, and thee wounded with 
him, and I uninjured.* Finally, oh my mother, 

* O Domina, si te offendi pro juetitia cor meum vulnera; si tibt 
ervivi, nunc pro mercede, peto, vulnera. Opprobriosum est vider* 
Etominum Jesum vulueratuin, te convulneratum, et me illaeaum. 


by the grief thou didst experience on seeing thy 
Son before thy eyes bow his head and expire 
upon the cross, I entreat of thee to obtain for 
ine a good death. Ah, do not cease, oh advo 
cate of sinn. rs, to assist my afflicted and strug 
gling soul in that great passage that it has to 
make into eternity. And, because at that time 
it may easily be the case that I shall have lost 
the use of speech with which to invoke thy 
name, and that of Jesus, who are all my hope, 
therefore I now invoke thy Son and thee to suc 
cor me at that last moment, and I say: Jesus 
nd Mary, to you I commend my soul. Amen. 




IN this valley of tears, every man is born to 
weep, and every one must suffer those afflictions 
that daily befall him. But how much more mis 
erable would life be, if every one knew also the 
future evils which are to afflict him! Too un 
happy would he be, says Seneca, whose fate was 
such.* The Lord exercises his compassion 
towards us, namely, that he does not make 

* Calamitosus esset animus futuri prseecius et ante miserias miser 
Ep. 98. 


known to us the crosses that await ns; that if 
we are to suffer them, at least we may suffer 
them only once. But he did not exercise this 
compassion with Mary, who, because God wish 
ed her to be the queen of dolors, and in all 
things like his Son, and to see always before her 
eyes, and to suffer continually all the sorrows 
that awaited her; and those were the sufferings 
of the passion and death of her beloved Jesus. 
For St. Simeon in the temple, after having re 
ceived the divine child in his arms, predicted to 
her that this child was to be the mark for all the 
opposition and persecution of men; "Set for a 
sign which shall be contradicted;" and that 
therefore the sword of sorrow should pierce her 
soul: "And thy own soul a sword shall pierce."* 
The holy Virgin herself said to St. Matilda, 
that at the announcement of St. Simeon all her 
joy was changed into sorrow. f For, as it 
revealed to St. Theresa, the blessed mother, al 
though she knew before this that the life of her 
Son would be sacrificed for the salvation of the 
world, yet she then learned more particularly 
and distinctly the sufferings and cruel death 
that awaited her poor Son. She knew that he 
would be contradicted in all things. Contradict 
ed in doctrine; for instead of being believed, he 
would be esteemed a blasphemer for teaching 
that he was the Son of God, as the impious Cai- 

* Positus est hie in signum cui contradicetur. Et tuam ipsiua anV 
loam doloris gladius pertransibit. Luc. ii. 35. 

* Omnis IsUitia mea ad ilia verba in moerore conversa & 


aphas declared him to be, saying: "He hath blas 
phemed, he is guilty of death."* Contradicted 
in his reputation, for he was noble, of royal lin 
eage, and was despised as a peasant: "Is not 
this the carpenter s son?"f "Is not this the car 
penter, the son of Mary?"J He was wisdom it 
self, and was treated as an ignorant man: "How 
doth this man know letters, having never learn 
ed? ^ As a false prophet: "And they blind 
folded him and smote his face .... saying: 
Prophesy who is this that struck thee."| He 
was treated as a madman: "He is mad, why hear 
youhim?"^T As a wine-bibber, a glutton, and a 
friend of sinners: "Behold a man that is a glut 
ton, and a drinker of wine, a friend of publicans 
and sinners."** As a sorcerer: "By the prince 
of devils he casteth out devils."ff As a heretic 
and possessed person: "Do we not say well of 
thee, that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a dev 
il ?"JJ In a word, Jesus was considered as so 
bad and notorious a man, that no trial was nec 
essary to condemn him, as the Jews said to Pilate: 
"If he were not a malefactor, we would not have 

* Blasphemavlt, reus est mortis. Matt. xxvi. 65, 66. 

t Nen hie fabri filius? Matt xiii. 55. 

$ Nonne hie est faber, fllius Mariae? Matt. vi. 3. 

Qsomodo hie literas scit, cum non didicerit. Joan. vil. 15. 

1 Et velaverunt eum, et percntiebant faciem ejns .... dicentes; 
Prophetiza, quis est qui te percussit. Luc. xxii. 64. 

T Insanit, quid eum auditis? Joan. x. 20. 

** Kcce homo devorator, et bibens vinum, amicus publicanorum 
et peccatorum. Luc. vii. 34. 

tt In principe dsemoniorum ejicit daemonia. Matt. ix. 84. 

$$ Nonne bene dicimus nos, quia Samaritauus es to, et 
bai*a? Joan.viii. 48. 


delivered him up to thee."* He was contradict 
ed in his eoul, for even his eternal Father, in or- 
der to give place to the divine justice, contra 
dicted him by not wishing to hear him when he 
prayed to him, saying: "Father, if it be possi 
ble, let this chalice pass from me;"f and aban 
doned him to fear, weariness, and sadness, so 
that our afflicted Lord said: "My soul is sorrow 
ful even unto death."J His interior suffering 
even caused him to sweat blood. Contradicted 
and persecuted, in a word, in his body and in his 
life, for he was tortured in all his sacred mem 
bers: in his hands, in his feet, in his face, and in 
his head, in his whole body, till, drained to the 
last drop of his blood, he died an ignominious 
death on the cross. 

When David, in the midst of all his pleasures 
and royal grandeur^ heard from Nathan the 
prophet, that his son should die "The child 
that is born to thee shall surely die" he 
could find no peace, but wept, fasted, and slept 
upon the ground. Mary received with the 
greatest calmness the announcement that her 
Son should die, and peacefully continued to sub 
mit to it; but what grief she must have con 
tinually suffered, seeing this amiable Son always 
near her, hearing from him words of eternal Iife 9 

* Si non esset hie malefactor, non tibi tradidissemus eum. Joan, 
xviii. 30. 
t Pater mi, si possibile est, transeat a me calix iste. Matt, xxri, 


$ Tristis es anima mea usque ad mortem. Matt. xxvi. 88. 
$ Filiue qui natus eat tibi, morte morietur. 2 Reg. xii. 14. 


and beholding his holy demeanor. Abraham 
suffered great affliction during the three days he 
passed with his beloved Isaac, after he knew 
that he was to lose him. Oh God ! not for three 
days, but for thirty three years, Mary had to en 
dure a like sorrow. Like, do I say ? A sorrow 
as much greater as the Son of Mary was more 
lovely than the son of Abraham. The blessed 
Virgin herself revealed to St. Bridget,* that 
while she lived on the earth there was not an 
hour when this grief did not pierce her soul: 
As often, she continued, as I looked upon my 
Son, as often as I wrapped him in his swaddling 
clothes, as often as I saw his hands and his feet, so 
often was my soul overwhelmed as it were with 
a fresh sorrow, because I considered how he 
would be crucified. f Rupert the Abbot, con 
templating Mary, while she was suckling her 
Son, imagines her addressing him in these words: 
"A bundle of myrrh is my beloved to me, ha 
shall abide between my breasts. ^ Ah, my Son, 
I clasp the in my arms, because thou art so dear 
to me; but the dearer thou art to me, the more 
thou dost become to me a bundle of myrrh and 
of sorro w, when I think of thy sufferings. Mary, 
says St. Bernardino of Sienna, considered that 

* Lib. 6, Eev. c. 9. 

t Quoties aspiciebam filium meum, quoties involvebam eum pan- 
nis, quoties videbam ejus manus et pedes; toties animus raens quasi 
novo dolore absorptus est; quiacogitabam, quomodo crncifigeretur. 
Lib. 6, c. 57. 

$ Fasciculus mirrhae dilectus meus mihi, inter ubera mea eommo 
rabitur. Cant. i. 12. 

Tom. 3, Serm. 2, a 3, c. 1. 


the strength of the saints was to pass through 
death; the beauty of paradise to be deformed; 
the Lord of the universe to be bound as a crim 
inal; the Creator of all things to be livid witk 
stripes; the Judge of all to be condemned; the 
glory of heaven despised; the King of kings 
to be crowned with thorns, and treated as a 
mock king. 

Father Engelgrave writes, that it was revealed 
to the same St. Bridget, that the afflicted moth 
er, knowing all that her Son would have to 
suffer, suckling him, thought of the gall and 
vinegar; when she swathed him, of the cords 
with which he was to be bound; when she 
bore him in her arms, she thought of him being 
nailed to the cross ; and when he slept, she thought 
of his death.* As often as she put on him his 
clothes, she reflected that they would one day be 
torn from him, that he might be crucified; and 
when she beheld his sacred hands and feet, and 
thought of the nails that were to pierce them, 
as Mary said to St. Bridget: "My eyes filled 
with tears, and my heart was tortured with 

The evangelist says, that as Jesus Christ ad* 
vanced in years, so also he advanced in wisdom 

* Euro lactans cogitabat de felle et aceto; quando fasciia Involve- 
bat, funes cogitabat quibus ligandus erat; quando gestabat, cogita- 
bat in cruceconflznm; quando dormiebat, cogitabat mortuum. Tom. 
1, Bv. Ln. Dom. infr. Oct. Nat. s. 1. 

t Otali mei replebantur lacrymis, et cor xnenm torqnebatur dolor* 
Lib. 6, c. 57. et 1. 7, c. 7. 

and in grace with God and men.* That is, he 
advanced in wisdom and in grace before men 
or in their estimation; and before God, accord 
ing to St. Thomas, f inasmuch as all his works 
would continually have availed to increase his 
merit, if from the beginning grace in its com 
plete fulness had not been conferred on him by 
virtue of the hypostatic union. But if Jesus ad 
vanced in the esteem and love of others, how 
much more did he advance in Mary s love! But 
oh God, as love increased in her, the more in 
creased in her the grief of having to lose him by 
a death so cruel. And the nearer the time of 
the passion of her Son approached, with so much 
greater pain did that sword of sorrow, predict 
ed by St. Simeon, pierce the heart of the moth 
er; precisely this the angel revealed to St. ^Brid 
get, saying: "That sword of sorrow was every 
hour drawing nearer to the Virgin as the time for 
the passion of her Son drew nearer. "J 

If, then, Jesus our King and his most holy 
mother did not refuse, for love of us, to suffer 
during their whole life such cruel pains, there is 
BO reason that we should complain if we suffer 
a little. Jesus cruciiied once appeared to sister 
Magdalene Orsini, a Dominican nun, when she 
had been long suffering a great trial, and en- 

Et Jesus profieiebat eapientia et tetate, et gratia apnd Deum, et 
homines. Luc. ii. 23. 

t8, p. q. 7, art. 12 

t Hie doloris gladius Virgin! omnl hora tanto e propios approx- 
kaabat, quanto Flllus paesionis tempori magis appropinquabat. 
Ftr. 6, lct. 3, c. 1&, 


couraged her to remain with him on the cross 
with that sorrow that was afflicting her. Sister 
Magdalene answered him complainingly: "Oh 
Lord, thou didst suffer on the cross only three 
hours, but it is more than three years that I have 
been suffering this cross." Then the Redeemer 
replied: "Ah! ignorant soul, what dost thou say? 
I, from the first moment I was conceived, suf 
fered in heart what I afterwards suffered on the 
cross. " If, then, we too suffer any affliction 
and complain, let us imagine that Jesus and his 
mother Mary are saying to us the same words. 


Father Roviglione, of the Company of Jesus, 
relates,* that a certain youth practised the de 
votion of visiting every day an image of the sor 
rowful Mary, in which she was represented with 
seven swords piercing her heart. One night the 
unhappy youth fell into mortal sin. Going next 
morning to visit the image, he saw in the heart 
of the blessed Virgin not only seven, but eight 
swords. As he stood gazing at this, he heard a 
voice saying to him, that this sin had added the 
eighth sword to the heart of Mary. This soften 
ed his hard heart; he went immediately to con 
fession, and through the intercession of his ad 
Tocate, recovered the divine grace. 


Oh my blessed mother, not one sword only, but 
as many swords as I have committed sins have I 

* Fase. di Hose, p. 2, c. & 


added to those seven in thy heart. Ah, my Lady, 
thy sorrows are not due to thee who art inno 
cent, but to me who am guilty. But since thou 
hast wished to suffer so much for me, ah, by thy 
merits obtain for me great sorrow for my sins, 
and patience under the trials of this life, which 
will always be light in comparison with 
my demerits, for I have often merited hell. 



As the stag, wounded by an arrow, carries the 
pain with him wherever he goes, because he car 
ries with him the arrow that has wounded him; 
thus the divine mother, after the prophecy of 
St. Simeon, as we saw in our consideration of 
the first grief, always carried her sorrow with 
her by the continual remembrance of the passion 
of her Son. Ailgrin, explaining this passage of 
the Canticles, "The hairs of thy head as the 
purple of the king bound in the channel," * says: 
These hairs of Mary were her continual thoughts 
of the passion of Jesus, which kept always be 
fore her eyes the blood which was one day to 
flow from his wounds. Thy mind, oh Mary, and 
thy thoughts tinged in the blood of the passion 
of our Lord, were always moved with sorrow as 
if ihey actually saw the blood flowing from his 

* Bt comae capitie tui eicut purpura regis vincta canalibus. C. 
f, v. & 


wounds.* Thus her Son himself was that arrow 
in the heart of Mary, who, the more worthy of 
love he showed himself to her, always wounded 
her the more with the sorrowful thoughi that 
she should lose him by so cruel a death. Let us 
now pass to the consideration of the second 
sword of sorrow which wounded Mary, in the 
flight of her infant Jesus into Egypt from the 
persecution of Herod. 

Herod having heard that the expected Messiah 
was born, foolishly feared that the new-born 
King would deprive him of his kingdom. Hence 
St. Fulgentius, reproving him for his folly, thus 
says: "Why, oh Herod, art thou thu^t disturbed ? 
This King who is born has not come to conquer 
kings by arms, but to subjugate ti.em, in a 
wonderful manner, by his death." f The ^mpious 
Herod, therefore, waited to learn from tho holy 
magi where the King was born, that he ra/ght 
take from him his life; but finding himself de 
ceived by the magi, he ordered all the infants 
that could be found in the neighborhood of 
Bethlehem to be put to death. But an angel 
appeared in a dream to St. Joseph, and said to 
him:" Arise, and take the child and his mother, 
and fly into Egypt." J According to Gerson, 

* Mens tua, O Maria, et cogitationes tuse tinctte In sanguine dor- 
rninicae passionis, sic affecwe semper fuere, quasi recenter viderenfc 
aanguinem de vulneribus profluentem. In Cant. c. 7, v. 5. 

t Quid est quod fie turbaris Herodes? Rex iste qui natns est non 
Yenit reges pugnando superare sed moriendo mirabiliter subjugate. 
Serm. 5, de Epiph. 

$ Surge et accipe puerum, et matrem ejus et foge in Egyptum/ 
Matth. ii. 13. 


immediately, on that very night, Joseph made 
this command known to Mary; and taking the 
infant Jesus, they commenced their journey, as 
it seems clearly from the Gospel itself: <c Who 
arose and took the child and his mother by night, 
and retired into Egypt." Oh God, as blessed 
Albertus Magnus says in the name of Mary, 
must he, then, who came to save men flee from 
men? " Debet fugere qui salvator est mundi?"* 
And then the afflicted Mary knew that already 
the prophecy of Simeon, regarding her Son, was 
beginning to be verified: " He is set for a sign 
which shall be contradicted." f Seeing that 
scarcely is he born,when he is persecuted to death. 
What suffering it must have been to the heart 
of Mary, writes St. John Chrysostom, to hear 
the tidings of that cruel exile of herself with her 
Son! Flee from thy friends to strangers, from 
the holy temple of the only true God, to the 
temples of demons. What greater tribulation 
than that a new-born child, clinging to its moth 
er s bosom, should be forced to fly with the 
mother herself ! J 

Every one can imagine how much Mary must 
have suffered on this journey. It was a long 
distance to Egypt. Authors generally agree 
with Barrada that it was four hundred miles; 

* Qni consurgens accepit puerum et matrem ejus nocte, et secesait 
inEgyptum. Matth. ii. 34. 

t Positus est hie in signum cui contradicetur. 

$ Page a tuis ad extraneoa, a templo ad daemonum fans. Qu 
major tribulatio, quam quod recens natus a collo matriv pendeus 
eam ipsa rnatr* paupercula fugere cogatur? 

5, Lib. 10, c. 8. 


so that at least it was a journey of thirty days. 
The way, as St. Bonaventure describes it, was 
rough, unknown, through woods, and little 
frequented.* The season was winter, and 
therefore they had to travel in snow, rain, wind, 
and storms, and through bad and difficult roads. 
Mary was then fifteen years of age, a delicate 
virgin, unaccustomed to such journeys. They 
had no servant to attend them. Joseph and 
Mary, said St. Peter Chrysologus, had no man 
servant nor maid-servant; they were themselves 
both masters and servants.f Oh God, how 
piteous a spectacle it was to see that tender 
Virgin, with that newly born infant in her 
arms wandering through this world! St. Bona- 
venture asks, Where did they obtain food? 
Where did they rest at night? How were they 
lodged ?J What other food could they have, 
than a piece of hard bread which Joseph 
brought with him or begged in charity? Where 
could they have slept (particularly in the two 
hundred miles of desert through which they 
travelled, where, as authors relate, there were 
neither houses nor inns) except on the sand, or 
under some tree in the wood, in the open air, 
exposed to robbers, or those wild beasts with 
which Egypt abounded ? Ah, if any one had 
met these three greatest personages of the world, 

* Viam eilyeetrem, obscuram, asperam, et inhabitant. 

+ Joseph et Maria non habent famulum, non ancillam; ipsi dominl 
t famuli. 

t Quomodo faciebant de victu? Ubi nocte quiescebant? 
mode hospitabantur. De Vit, Cbr. 


what would he have believed them to be but 
three poor, roving beggars? 

They lived in Egypt, according to Brocard 
and Jansenius, in a district called Matures, 
though, according to St. Anselm, they dwelt in 
Heliopolis, first called Memphis, and now Cairo. 
And here let us consider the great poverty they 
must have suffered for the seven years they 
were there, as St. Antoninus, St. Thomas, and 
others assert, They were foreigners, unknown, 
without revenues, without money, without kin 
dred; hardly were they able to support them 
selves by their humble labors. As they were 
destitute, says St. Basil, it is manifest what ef 
fort they must have made to obtain there the 
necessaries of life.* Moreover, Landolph of 
Saxony has written, and let it be repeated for 
the consolation of the poor, that so great was 
the poverty of Mary there, that sometimes she 
had not so much as a morsel of bread, when her 
Son, forced by hunger, asked it of her.f 

St. Matthew also relates that when Herod waa 
dead, the angel again appeared, in a dream, to 
St. Joseph, and directed him to return to Ju- 
dea. St. Bonaventure, speaking of his return, 
considers the greater pain of the blessed Virgin, 
on account of the sufferings which Jesus must 
have endured in that journey, having arrived at 
about the age of seven years an age, says the 
saint, when he was so large that he could not be 

* Cum enim essent egeni, manifestnm est qnod sudores freqnenta- 
bant necesearia vitae inde sibi quserentes. 

t Aliquando filius famem patiens panem petit, nee undo dar 
mater habuit. In Vit. Christi. c. 13. 




carried, and so small that he could not go with 
out assistance.* 

The sight, then, of Jesus and Mary wander 
ing like fugitives through this world, teaches us 
that we should also live as pilgrims on the earth, 
detached from the goods which the world offers 
us, as having soon to leave them and go to eter 
nity. "We have not here a lasting city, but seek 
one that is to come."f To which St. Augustine 
adds: Thou art a stranger, thou givest a look, 
and then passest on: "Hospes es, vides et tran- 
sis." It also teaches us to embrace crosses, for 
ire cannot live in this world without a cross. 
The blessed Veronica da Binasco, an Augustinian 
nun, was carried in spirit to accompany Mary 
and the infant Jesus in this journey to Egypt, 
and at the end of it the divine mother said to her: 
"Child, hast thou seen through what difficulties 
we have reached this place? Now learn that 
no one receives graces without suffering." He 
who wishes to feel least the sufferings of this 
life, must take Jesus and Mary with him: "Ac- 
cipe puerum et matrem ejus." For him who 
lovingly bears in his heart this Son and this 
mother, all sufferings become light, and even 
sweet and dear. Let us then love them, let us 
console Mary by receiving her Son within our 
hearts, whom, even now, men continue to perse 
cute with their sins. 

* Sic magnus est, at portari non valeat; et sic parvus quod per 
e ire non potest. 

t Non habemus hie manentem civit&tem, sed futuram inquirinmi. 
Heb. xiii. 14. 


One day the most holy Mary appeared to tht 
blessed Colletta, a Franciscan nun, and showed 
her the infant Jesus in a basin, torn in pieces, 
and then said to her: "Thus sinners continually 
treat my Son, renewing his death and my sor 
rows ; oh, my daughter, pray for them that they 
may be converted."* Similar to this is that other 
vision which appeared to the venerable sister 
Jane, of Jesus and Mary, also a Franciscan nun. 
As she was one day meditating on the infant 
Jesus, persecuted by Herod, she heard a great 
noise, as of armed people, who were pursuing 
some one; and then appeared before her a most 
beautiful child, who was fleeing in great distress, 
and cried to her: "My Jane, help me, hide me; I am 
Jesus of Nazareth, I am flying from sinners who 
wish to kill me, and who persecute me as Herod 
did: do thou save me."f 


Then, oh Mary, even after thy Son hath died 
by the hands of men who persecuted him unto 
death, have not these ungrateful men yet ceas 
ed from persecuting him with their sins, and con 
tinuing to afflict thee, oh mother of sorrows ? 
And I also, oh God, have been one of these. 
Ah, my most sweet mother, obtain for me 
tears to weep for such ingratitude. And then, by 
the sufferings thou didst experience in the jour 
ney to Egypt, assist me in the journey that I am 
* Ap. P. Genev. Serv. DoL di Mar. t Loc. ctt. 


making to eternity, that at length I may go to 
unite with thee in loving my persecuted Saviour, 
in the country of the blessed. Amen. 



ST. JAMES the Apostle has said, that our per 
fection consists in the virtue of patience. "And 
patience hath a perfect work, that you may be 
perfect and entire, failing in nothing."* The 
Lord having then given us the Virgin Mary as 
an example of perfection, it was necessary that 
she should be laden with sorrows, that in her 
we might admire and imitate her heroic patience. 
The dolor that we are this day to consider is 
one of the greatest which our divine mother 
Buffered during her life, namely, the loss of her 
Son in the temple. He who is born blind is lit 
tle sensible of the pain of being deprived of the 
light of day; but to him who has once had sight 
and enjoyed the light, it is a great sorrow to 
find himself deprived of it by blindness. And 
thus it is with those unhappy souls who, being 
blinded by the mire of this earth, have but little 
knowledge of God, and therefore scarcely feel 
pain at not finding him. On the contrary, the 
man who, illuminated with celestial light, has 
been made worthy to find by love the sweet 

* Patientia autem opus perf ectum habet, ut sitis perfect! et integr% 
in nullo deficientea. Jac. i. 4. 


presence of the highest good, oh God, how he 
mourns when he finds himself deprived of it ! 

From this we can judge how painful must 
have been to Mary, who was accustomed to en- 
joy constantly the sweet presence of Jesus, that 
third sword which wounded her, when she lost 
him in Jerusalem, and was separated from him 
for three days. 

In the second chapter of St. Luke we read 
that the blessed Virgin, being accustomed to 
visit the temple every year at the paschal sea 
son, with Joseph her spouse and Jesus, once 
went when he was about twelve years old, and 
Jesus remained in Jerusalem, though she was not 
aware of it for she thought he was in company 
with others. When she reached Nazareth she 
inquired for her Son, and not finding him there, 
she returned immediately to Jerusalem to seek 
him, but did not succeed until after three days. 
Now let us imagine what distress that afflicted 
mother must have experienced in those three days 
in which she was searching everywhere for her 
Son, with the spouse in the Canticles : "Have 
you seen him whom my soul loveth?"* But she 
could hear no tidings of him. Oh, with how 
much greater tenderness must Mary, overcome 
with fatigue, and yet not having found her be 
loved Son, have repeated those words of Ruben, 
concerning his brother Joseph: The boy doth 
not appear, and whither shall I go? "Puer non 
comparet, et ego quo ibo ?" My Jesus doth not 
appear, and I know not what to do that I may 
* Wum quern diligit anima mea vidietis? Cant. iii. 8. 


find him; but where shall I go without my treas 
ure? Weeping continually, she repeated during 
these three days with David: "My tears have 
been my bread day and night, whilst it is said 
to me daily, Where is thy God ?* Wherefore 
Pelbart with reason says, that during those 
nights the afflicted mother had no rest, but wept 
and prayed without ceasing to God, that he 
would enable her to find her Son.f And, accord 
ing to St. Bernard, often during that time did 
she repeat to her Son himself the words of the 
spouse: "Show me where thou feedest, where 
thou liest in the mid-day, lest I begin to wan 
der. ^ My Son, tell me where thou art, that I 
may no longer wander, seeking thee in vain. 

Some writers assert, and not without reason, 
that this dolor was not only one of the greatest, 
but that it was the greatest and most painful of 
all. For in the first place, Mary in her other 
dolors had Jesus with her; she suffered when 
St. Simeon uttered the prophecy in the temple; 
she suffered in the flight to Egypt, but always 
with Jesus; but in this dolor she suffered at a 
distance from Jesus, without knowing where he 
was: "And the light of my eyes itself is not 
with me." Thus, with tears, she then ex 
claimed: Ah, the light of my eyes, my dear 

* Fuerunt mihi lacrymw mese panes die ac nocte, dam dicitur mihj 
quotidie, ubi est Deus tuus? Psal. xli. 4. 

t Illas noctes insomnes duxit in lacrymis, Deum deprecando, u 
daret illi reperire fllium. 

$ Indica, mini ubi cubes, ubi pascas in meridie, ne vagari incipiam. 
Cant. i. 6. 

Lumen oculorum meorum, et ipse non est rnecura. PsL 
xxrii. 11. 


Jesus, is no more with me; he is far from me, I 
know not where he ?.s! Origen says, that though 
the love which this holy mother bore her Son, 
she suffered more at this loss of Jesus than any 
martyr ever suffered at death.* Ah, how long: 
were these three days for Mary! they appeared 
three ages. Very bitter days, for there was 
none to comfort her. And who, she exclaimed 
with Jeremias, who can console me if he who 
could console me is far from me? and therefore 
my eyes are not satisfied with weeping : "There 
fore do I weep, and my eyes run down with 
water, because the comforter is far from me."f- 
And with Tobias she repeated: "What manner 
of joy shall be to me who sit in darkness, and 
see not the light of heaven?"J 

Secondly. Mary well understood the cause 
and end of the other dolors, namely, the redemp 
tion of the world, the divine will ; but in this she 
did not know the cause of the absence of her Son. 
The sorrowful mother was grieved to find Jesus 
withdrawn from her, for her humility, says 
Lanspergius, made her consider herself unwor 
thy to remain with him any longer, and attend 
upon him on earth, and have the care of such a 
treasure. And perhaps, she may have thought 

* Vehementw doluit, qula vehementer ama hat. Plus doluit de 
ejus amissione, quarn aliquis martyr dolorem sentiat de anime a 
corpore separatione. Horn. infr. Oct. Ep. 

t Idcirco ego plorans, et oculus meus deducens aquas, quia looge 
cst a me consolator meus. Thren. i. 16. 

J Quale gaudium erit mini, qui in tenebris sedeo, et lumen ccelt 
non video. Tob. vi. 11. 

Tristabatnr ex humili tate, quia arbitrabatur ee indignam coi tarn 
pretioeus commissus esset thesaurus. 


within herself, I have not served him as I ought. 
Perhaps I have been guilty of some neglect, and 
therefore he has left me. They sought him, lest 
he perchance had left them, as Origen has said.* 
Certainly there is no greater grief for a soul that 
loves God than the fear of having displeased him. 
And therefore Mary never complained in any 
other sorrow but this, lovingly expostulating 
with Jesus after she found him : "Son, why hast 
thou done so to us? Thy father and I have 
sought thee sorrowing."! By these words she 
did not wish to reprove Jesus, as the heretics 
blasphemously assert, but only to make known 
to kim the grief she had experienced during his 
absence from her, on account of the love she bore 
him. It was not a rebuke, says blessed Denis 
the Carthusian, but a loving complaint : "Non 
erat increpatio, sed amorosa conquestio." Fi 
nally, this sword so cruelly pierced the heart of 
the Virgin, that the blessed Benvenuta, desiring 
one day to share tho pain of the holy mother in 
this dolor, and praying her to obtain for her this 
grace, Mary appeared to her with the infant 
Jesus in her arms; but while Benvenuta was 
enjoying the sight of that most beautiful child, 
in one moment she was deprived of it. So 
great was her sorrow that she had recourse to 
Mary, to implore her pity that it should not 
make her die of grief. The holy Virgin ap- 

* Quaerebant eum, ne forte reliquisset eos. Ap. Corn, a Lap. in 
Luc. 2. 

t Fill, quid fecisti nobis sis? Pater tuus et ego dolentes quaere- 
banaus te. Lac. ii. 48. 


peared to her again three days after, and said to 
her: "Now learn, oh my daughter, that thy sor^ 
row is but a small part of that which I suffered 
when I lost my Son."* 

This sorrow of Mary ought, in the first place, 
to serve as a comfort to those souls who are des 
olate and do not enjoy the sweet presence they 
once enjoyed of their Lord. They may weep, 
but let them weep in peace, as Mary wept in the 
absence of her Son. Let them take courage, and 
not fear that on this account they have lost the 
divine favor, for God himself said to St. Theresa: 
"No one is lost without knowing it; and no one 
is deceived without wishing to be deceived." If 
the Lord departs from the sight of that soul who 
loves him, he does not therefore depart from the 
heart. He often hides himself that she may seek 
him with greater desire and love. But those 
who would find Jesus must seek him, not amid 
the delights and pleasures of the world, but 
amid crosses and mortifications, as Mary sought 
him: We sought thee sorrowing, as she said to 
her Son: "Dolentes quasrebamus te. 5? Learn 
from Mary to seek Jesus, says Origen "Disce 
a Maria quaerere Jesum." 

Moreover, in this world we should seek no 
other good than Jesus. Job was not unhappy 
when he lost all that he possessed on earth; 
riches, children, health, and honors, and even de 
scended from a throne to a dunghill; but because 
lie had God with him, even then he was happy. 

* March. Diar. 30, Ott. 


St. Augustine, speaking of him, says: He had 
lost all that God had given him, but he had God 
himself: "Perdiderat ilia quse dederat Deus, sed 
habebat ipsum Deum." Unhappy and truly 
wretched are those souls who have lost God. If 
Mary wept for the absence of her Son for three 
days, how ought sinners to weep who have lost 
divine grace, to whom God says: "You are not 
my people, and I will not be yours." * For sin 
does this, namely, it separates the soul from 
God: "Your iniquities have divided between 
you and your God." f Hence, if even sinners 
possess all the goods of earth and have lost God, 
every thing on earth becomes vanity and affliction 
to them, as Solomon confessed: * Behold, all is 
vanity and vexation of spirit." J But as St. 
Augustine says: The greatest misfortune of 
these poor blind souls is, that if they lose an ox, 
they do not fail to go in search of it; if they 
lose a sheep, they use all diligence to find it; if 
they lose a beast of burden, they cannot rest?, 
but they lose the highest good, which is God, and 
yet they eat and drink, and take their rest. 


We read in the Annual Letters of the Society 
of Jesus, that in India, a young man who was 

* Vos non populus meus, et ego non ero vester. Os. i. 19. 

t Peccata vestra diviserunt inter vos et Deum vestrum. lea. 
Ixix. 2. 

$ Ecce universa vanitas, et afflictio spirituc. Eccli. i. 14. 

Perdit homo boveni, et post eum vadit: perdit ovem et sollicite 
cam quaerit; perdit asinum, et non quiescit. Perdit homo Beam, et 
aomedit, et bibit, et quiescit. 


just leaving his apartment in order to commit 
sin, heard a voice saying: "Stop, where are you 
going ? He turned round and saw an image, ia 
relief, of the sorrowful Mary, who drew out the 
sword which was in her breast, and said to him: 
"Take this dagger and pierce my heart rather 
than wound my Son with this sin." At the 
sound of these words the youth prostrated him 
self on the ground, and with deep contrition, 
bursting into tears, he asked and obtained from 
God and the Virgin pardon of his sin. 


Oh blessed Virgin, why art thou afflicted, 
seeking thy lost Son? Is it because thou dost 
not know where he is? But dost thou not know 
that he is in thy heart? Dost thou not see that 
he is feeding among the lilies? Thou thyself 
hast said it: "My beloved to me and I to him 
who feedeth among the lilies."* These, thy 
humble, pure, and holy thoughts and affections, 
are all lilies, that invite the divine spouse to 
dwell with thee. Ah, Mary, dost thou sigh after 
Jesus, thou who lovest none but Jesus? Leave 
sighing to me and so many other sinners who do 
not love him, and who have lost him by offend 
ing him. My most amiable mother, if through 
my fault thy Son hast not yet returned to my 
soul, wilt thou obtain for me that I may find 
him. I know well that he allows himself to be 
found by all who seek him: The Lord is good 

* Dilectne mens mihi, et ego illi, qui pascitur inter lilia. Cant- 


to the soul that seeketh him: " Bonus est Dom- 
inus . . . animse quaerenti ilium."* Make me to 
seek him as I ought to seek him. Thou art the 
gate through which all find Jesus; through the 
I too hope to find him. 



ST. BERNARDINE says, that to form an idea of 
the grief of Mary in losing her Jesus by death, 
it is necessary to consider the love that this 
mother bore to this her Son. All mothers feel 
the sufferings of their children as their own. 
Hence the woman of Chanaan, when she prayed 
the Saviour to deliver her daughter from the 
devil that tormented her, said to him, that he 
should have pity on the mother rather than on 
the daughter: "Have mercy on me, oh Lord, 
thou son of David, my daughter is grievously 
troubled by a devil."f But v/hat mother ever 
loved a child so much as Mary loved Jesus? 
He was her only child, reared amidst so many 
troubles and pains; a most amiable child, and 
most loving to his mother; a Son, who was at 
the same time her Son and her God; who came 
on earth to kindle in the hearts of all the holy 
fire of divine love, as he himself declared: "I 

* Thren. iii. 25. 

t Miserere mei, Domine fill David, filia mea male a dwmeroo ver- 
atur. Mattk. xv. 22. 


um come to cast fire on the earth, and what will 
I but that it be kindled?"* Let us consider 
how he must have inflamed that pure heart of 
his holy mother, so free from every earthly affec 
tion. In a word, the blessed Virgin herself said 
to St. Bridget, that through love her heart and 
tie heart of her Son was one: "Urmm erat cor 
meum, et cor filii mei." That blending of hand 
maid and mother, of Son and God, kindled in the 
heart of Mary afire composed of a thousand flames. 
But afterwards, at the time of the passion, this 
flame of love was changed into a sea of sorrow. 
Hence St. Bernardino says: All the sorrows of 
the world united would not be equal to the sor 
row of the glorious Mary.f Yes, because this 
mother, as St. Lawrence Justinian writes: The 
more tenderly she loved, was the more deeply 
wounded. J The greater the tenderness with 
which she loved him, the greater was her grief 
at the sight of his sufferings, especially when 
she met her Son, after he had already been con 
demned, going to death at the place of punish 
ment, bearing the cross. And this is the fourth 
sword of sorrow which to-day we have to con 

The blessed Virgin revealed to St. Bridget that 
at the time when the passion of our Lord was 
drawing nigh, her eyes were always filled with 

* Tgnem veni mittere in terrain, et quid volo, nisi ut accendatur. 
Luc. xii. 49. 

t Omnes dolores mundi, si essent siinul conjunct!, non esscnt tant 
inantus dolor gloriosse Mariae. Tom. iii. 5, 45. 

J Quanto dilexit tenerius. tanto est vulnerata profundius. 


tears, as she thought of her beloved Son whom 
Fhe was about to lose on this earth. There- 
fore, as she also said, a cold sweat covered her 
body from the fear that seized her at that pros 
pect of approaching suffering.* Behold, the ap< 
pointed day at length arrived, and Jesus cams 
in tears to take leave of his mother before ha 
went to death. St. Bonaventure, contemplating 
Mary on that night, says: Thou didst spend it 
without sleep, and while others slept, thou didst 
remain watching.f Morning having arrived the 
disciples of Jesus Christ came to this afflicted 
mother, one, to bring her this tidings, another, 
that; but all tidings of sorrow, for in her 
were then verified the words of Jeremias: 
"Weeping, she hath wept in the night, and her 
tears are on her cheeks; there is none to comfort 
her of all them that were dear to her."J One 
came to relate to her the cruel treatment of her 
Son in the house of Caiphas; another, the insulta 
received by him from Herod. Finally, for I omit 
the rest to come to my point, St. John came and 
announced to Mary that the most unjust Pilate 
had already condemned him to death upon the 
cross. I say the most unjust, for, as St. Leo re 
marks, this unjust judge condemned him to death 
with the same lips with which he had pronounc- 

* Imminente passione filii mei, lacrymse erant in oculis meis, et 
ndor in corpore pne timore. L. 1, Eev. c. 10. 

t Sine somno duxisti, et eoporatis casteris, vigil permansisti. 

J Plorans ploravit in nocte, et lacrymse in maxillis ejus; non eft 
qi console tur earn, x omnibus charis ejus. Thren. L 12. 


ed him innocent.* Ah, sorrowful mother; said St. 
John to her, thy Son has already been condemned 
to death, lie is already on his way, bearing himself 
kis cross on his way to Calvary, as he afterwards 
related in his Gospel: "And bearing his own 
cross he went forth to that place which is called 
Calvary."f Come, if thou dost desire to see him^ 
and bid him a last farewell in some of the streets 
through which he is to pass. 

Mary goes with St. John, and she perceives 
by the blood with which the way was sprinkled, 
that her Son had already passed there. This 
she revealed to St. Bridget: "By the footsteps 
of my Son I traced his course, for along the way 
by which he had passed, the ground was sprink 
led with blood."| St. Bonaventure imagines 
the afflicted mother taking a shorter way, and 
placing herself at the corner of the street to 
meet her afflicted Son as he passed by. This 
most afflicted mother met her most afflicted Son: 
Mcestissima mater mcestissimo filio occurrit, said 
St. Bernard. While Mary stopped in that place 
how much she must have heard said against her 
Son by the Jews who knew her, and perhaps also 
words in mockery of herself! Alas ! what a 
commencement of sorrows was then before her 
eyes, when she saw the nails, the hammers, the 

* lisdem labiis mittit ad mortem qnibns eum pronuntiaverunt In- 

t Et bajulanis snbi crucem exivit in earn qui dicitur Calrarisc locum* 
Joan. xix. 17. 

$ Ex vestigiis filii mei cognoscebam incesenm ejus; queeenim p*o> 
Mdebat, apparebat terra infusa sanguine. L. 4, c. 77. 

filed. 6. 


cords, the fatal instruments of the death of her 
Son borne before him! And what a sword pierc 
ed her heart when she heard the trumpet pro 
claiming along the way the sentence pronounced 
against her Son ! But behold, now, after the in 
struments, the trumpet, and the ministers of jus 
tice had passed, she raises her eyes and sees; she 
sees, oh God, a young man covered with blood 
and wounds from head to foot, with a crown of 
thorns on his head, and two heavy beams on his 
shoulders; she looks at him and hardly knows 
him, saying, then, with Isaias: " And we have 
seen him, and there was no sightliness. "*Yes, for 
the wounds, the bruises, and clotted blood, made 
him look like a leper; "We have thought him, as 
it were, a leper ;"f so that he could no longer 
be recognized. "And his look was, as it were, 
hidden and despised, whereupon we esteemed 
him not."J But at length love recognizes him, 
and as soon as she knows him, ah, what was then, 
as St. Peter of Alcantara says in his meditations, 
the love and fear of the heart of Mary! On 
the one hand, she desired to see him ; on the 
other, she could not endure to look upon so pit 
iable a sight. But at length they look at each 
other. The Son wipes from his eyes the clotted 
blood, which prevented him from seeing ( as was 
revealed to St. Bridget), and looks upon the 
mother; the mother looks upon the Son. Ah, 

* Et vidimus eum, et non erat aepectus. lea. liii. 2. 
t Putavimus eum quasi leprosum. Isa. liii. 4. 
$ Et quasi abeconditua vultus ejus, et deepectus, undo nee * 
putavimus eum. Isa. liii. 3. 


looks of sorrow, which pierced, as with so many 
arrows, those two holy and loving souls. When 
Margaret, the daughter of Sir Thomas More, 
met her father on his way to the scaffold, she could 
utter only two words, oh,father! oh, father! arid 
fell fainting at his feet. At the sight of her 
Son going to Calvary, Mary fainted not; no, be 
cause it was not fitting that his mother should 
lose the use of her reason, as Father Suarez re 
marks, neither did she die, for God reserved her 
for a greater grief; but if she did not die, she 
suffered sorrow enough to cause h^r a thousand 

The mother wished to embrace him, as St. 
Anselm says, but the officers of justice thrust 
her aside, loading her with insults, and urge on 
ward our afflicted Lord. Mary follows. Ah, 
holy Virgin, where art thou going? To Cal 
vary ! And canst thou trust thyself to see him 
who is thy life hanging from a cross? And thy 
life shall be as it were hanging before thee: "Et 
erit vita tua quasi pendens ante te." * Ah! my 
mother, stop, says St. Lawrence Justinian, as if 
the Son himself had then spoken to her; where 
dost thou hasten? Where art thou going? 
If thou comest where I go, thou wilt be tor 
tured with my sufferings, and I with thine.f 
But although the sight of her dying Jesus 
must cost her such cruel anguish, the loving 

* Dent, xxviii. 66. 

t Heu quo properas, quo vnis mater! Cruciatu meo cruciaberi* 
t ego tuo. 


Mary will not leave him. The Son goes before, 
and the mother follows, that she may be cru 
cified with her Son, as William the Abbot says: 
The mother took up her cross, and followed him, 
that she might be crucified with him.* We 
even pity the wild beasts: "Ferarum etiam 
miseremur;" as St. John Chrysostom has said. 
If we should see a lioness following her whelp 
as he was led to death, even this wild beast would 
call forth our compassion. And shall we not 
feel compassion to see Mary following her im 
maculate Lamb, as they are leading him to 
death ? Let us then pity her, and endeavor also 
ourselves to accompany her Son and herself, 
bearing with patience the cross which the Lord 
imposes upon us. Why did Jesus Christ, asks 
St. John Chrysostom, desire to be alone in his 
other sufferings, but in bearing the cross wished 
to be helped by the Cyrenean ? And he answers: 
That thou mayest understand that the cross of 
Christ is not sufficient without thine.f The 
cross alone of Jesus is not enough to save us, if 
we do not bear with resignation also our own, 
even unto death. 


The Saviour appeared one day to sister 
Diomira, a nun, in Florence, and said to her: 
" Think of me, and love me, and I will think of 
thee, and love thee:" and at the same time he 

* ToHebat et mater crucem euam, et seqnebatur eum, erucifigend* 
cm ipgo. In Cant. 7. 
t Ut inUlligaa Christ! crucem non sufficere Bine tua. 


presented her with a bunch of flowers and * 
cross, signifying to her by this, that the con 
solations of the saints on this earth are always 
to be accompanied by the cross. The crofli 
unites souls to God. Blessed Jerome Emilian, 
when he was a soldier, and leading a very sinful 
life, was shut up by his enemies in a tower. 
There, feeling deeply his misfortune, and en 
lightened by God to amend his life, he had re 
course to the most holy Mary, and then with 
the help of this divine mother, he began to live 
the life of a saint. By this he merited to see 
once in heaven the high place which God had 
prepared for him. He became founder of the or 
der of Sommaschi, died a saint, and has been late 
ly beatified by the holy Church. 


My sorrowful mother, by the merit of that 
grief which thou didst feel at seeing thy beloved 
Jesus led to death, obtain for me the grace also 
to bear with patience those crosses which God 
sends me. Happy me, if I also shall know how 
to accompany thee with my cross until death. 
Thou and Jesus, both innocent, have v orne a 
heavy cross; and shall I a sinner, who have mer 
ited hell, refuse mine ? All, immaculate Virgin, 
I hope that thou wilt help me to bear my crosses 
with patience. Amen. 




AND now we have to admire a new sort of 
martyrdom, a mother condemned to see an in 
nocent son, whom she loved with all the affec 
tion of her heart, put to death before her eyes, 
by the most barbarous tortures. There stood by 
the cross of Jesus his mother: "Stabat autem 
juxta crucem mater ejus." There is nothing 
more to be said, says St. John, of the martyrdom 
of Mary: behold her at the foot of the cross, 
looking on her dying Son, and then see if there 
is grief like her grief. Let us stop then also to 
day on Calvary, to consider this fifth sword that 
pierced the heart of Mary, namely, the death of 

As soon as our afflicted Redeemer had ascend 
ed the hill of Calvary, the executioners stripped 
him of his garments, and piercing his sacred hands 
and feet with nails, not sharp, but blunt: "Non 
acutis, sed obtusis;" as St. Bernard says,* and to 
torture him more, they fastened him to the cross. 
When they had crucified him, they planted the 
cross, and thus left him to die. The execution 
ers abandon him, but Mary does not abandon 
him. She then draws nearer to the cross, in 
order to assist at his death. "I did not leave 
him," thus the blessed Virgin revealed to St. 

* Serm, 2, de Pass. 


Bridget, "and stood nearer to his cross. "* But 
what did it avail, oh Lady, says St. Bonaventurc, 
to go to Calvary to witness there the death of 
this Son? Shame should have prevented thee, for 
his disgrace was also thine, because thou wast 
his mother; or, at least, the horror of such a 
crime as that of seeing a God crucified by his 
own creatures, should have prevented thee.f 
But the saint himself answers: Thy heart did 
not consider the horror, but the suffering: "Non 
considerabat cor tuum horrorem, sed dolorem." 
Ah, thy heart did not then care for its own sor 
row, but for the suffering and death of thy dear 
Son; and therefore thou thyself didst wish to be 
near him, at least to compassionate him. Ah, 
true mother! says William the Abbot, loving 
mother! for not even the terror of death could 
separate thee from thy beloved Son.J But, oh 
God, what a spectacle of sorrow, to see this Son 
then in agony upon the cross, and under the crosi 
this mother in agony, who was suffering all the 
pain that her Son was suffering! Behold the 
words in which Mary revealed to St. Bridget 
the pitiable state of her dying Son, as she saw 
him on the cross: "My dear Jesus was on the 
cross in grief and in agony; his eyes were sunk 
en, half closed, and lifeless; the lips hanging, 
and the mouth open; the cheeks hollow, and 

Ego non separabar ab eo, et etabam vicinlor cruci ejus. L. 1, c. 6. 

t Curivisti, O Domina, ad Calvarite locum? cur te non retinuit 
pudor, horror facinoris? 

$ Plane mater, quae nee in terrore mortis filium deserebat. Sena. 
, de Ass. 


attached to the teeth; the face lengthened, the 
nose sharp, the countenance sad; the head had 
fallen upon his breast, the hair black with blood, 
the stomach collapsed, the arms and legs stiff, 
and the whole body covered with wounds and 

Mary also suffered all these pains of Jesus. 
Every torture inflicted on the body of Jesus, 
says St. Jerome, was a wound in the heart of 
the mother.f Any one of us who should then 
have been on Mount Calvary, would have seen 
two altars, says St. John Chrysostom, on which 
two great sacrifices were consummating, one in the 
body of Jesus, the other in the heart of Mary. 
But rather would I see there, with St. Bonaven- 
ture, one altar only, namely, the cross alone of 
the Son, on which, with the victim, this di 
vine Lamb, the mother also was sacrificed. 
Therefore the saint interrogates her in these 
words: Oh Lady, where art thou? Near the 
cross? Nay, on the cross, thou art crucified 
with thy Son.J St. Augustine also says the 
same thing: The cross and nails of the Son were 
also the cross and nails of the mother; Christ 
being crucified, the mother was also crucified. 
Yes, because, as St. Bernard says, love inflicted 

* L. 1, Rev. c. 10, et 1. 4, c. 70. 

t Quot laesiones in corpore Christ!, tot vulnera in corde matrig. 
Ap. Bald. to. 1, p. 499. 

t O Domina, ubi stas ? Numquid juxta crucera ? Imo in cruc 
cum filio cruciaria ? Ap. Bald. torn. 1, p. 452. 

Crux et clavi filii fuerunt et matris; Christo cruciflxo cruoiflge. 
et mater. 


on the heart of Mary the same suffering that the 
nails caused in the body of Jesus.* Therefore, 
at the same time that the Son was sacrificing hia 
body, the mother, as St. Bernardino says, wat 
sacrificing her soul.f 1 

Mothers fly from the presence of their dying 
children; but if a mother is ever obliged to wit 
ness the death of a child, she procures for him 
all possible relief; she arranges the bed, that 
his posture may be more easy; she administers 
refreshments to him; and thus the poor mother 
relieves her own sorrows. Ah, mother, the most 
afflicted of all mothers! oh Mary, it was decreed 
that thou shouldst be present at the death of 
Jesus, but it was not given to thee to afford him 
any relief. Mary heard her Son say: I thirst: 
Sitio;" but it was not permitted her to give 
him a little water to quench his great thirst. 
She could only say to him, as St. Vincent Ferrer 
remarks; My Son, I have only the water of my 
tears: "Fili, non habeo nisi aquara lacry- 
marum."J She saw that her Son, suspended by 
three nails to that bed of sorrow, could find no 
rest. She wished to clasp him to her heart, 
that she might give him relief, or at least that 
he might expire in her arms, but she could not. 
She only saw that poor Son in a sea of sorrow, 

* Q,uod in carne Christ! agebant clavi, in Virginia mente affectus 

t Bum illi corpus, ista epiritum irnmolabat. To. 1, Serm. 31. 

* Ap. Bald. p. 456. 

Volebat eum amplecti sed manus frustra protersae in se complex* 
redibant Ap. Bald. 463. 


eeking one who could console him as he had pre* 
dieted by the mouth of the prophet: "I have 
trodden the winepress alone; I looked about and 
there was none to help; I sought and there 
was none to give aid."* But who was there 
among men to console him, if all were his 
enemies? Even on the cross they cursed and 
mocked him on every side: "And they that 
passed by blasphemed him, wagging their 
heads."f Some said to him: "If thou be the Son 
of God, come down from the cross."J Some ex 
claimed: "He saved others, himself he cannot 
save." Others said: "If he be the King of 
Israel, let him corne down from the cross." || 
The blessed Virgin herself said to St. Bridget: 
"I heard some call my Son a thief; I heard others 
call him an impostor; others said that no one de 
served death more than he; and every word was 
to me a new sword of sorrow. "T 

But what increased most the sorrows which 
Mary suffered through compassion for her Son, 
was to hear him complain on the cross that even 
the eternal Father had abandoned him: "My 
God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"** 
Words which, as the divine mother herself said 

* Torcular calcavi solus . . . Circumspexl, et non est auxiliator; 
qnsesivi, et non fuit qui adjuvaret. Isa. Ixiii. 3, 5. 

t Prsetereuntes autein blasphemabant eum moventes capita sua. 
Matt, xxvii. 39. 

$ Si filius Dei es, descende de crnce. 

Alios salvos fecit, seipsum non potest salvum facere, 

I Si rex Israel est, descendat nunc de cruce. Loc. cit. 

1 Kev. ]. 4, c. 70. 

** Deus, Deus meus, ut quid dereliquisti de? Matth. xxvii. 48. 


to St. Bridget, could never depart from her mind 
during her whole life.* Thus the afflicted 
mother saw her Jesus suffering on every side ; 
she desired to comfort him, but could not. And 
what caused her the greatest sorrow was to see 
that, by her presence and her grief, she increased 
the sufferings of her Son. The sorrow itself, saya 
St. Bernard, that filled the heart of Mary, in 
creased the bitterness of sorrow in the heart of 
Jesus. f St. Bernard also says, that Jesus on the 
cross suffered more from compassion for his moth 
er than from his own pains: he thus speaks in the 
name of the Virgin: I stood and looked upon 
him, and he looked upon me; and he suffered 
more for me than for himself.]; The same saint 
also, speaking of Mary beside her dying Son, 
says, that she lived dying without being able to 
die: Near the cross stood his mother, speechless; 
living she died, dying she lived; neither could 
she die, because she was dead, being yet alive. 
Passino writes that Jesus Christ himself, speak 
ing one day to the blessed Baptista Varana, of 
Camerino, said to her, that he was so afflicted on 
the cross at the sight of his mother in such an 
guish at his feet, that compassion for his mother 

* Rev. 1. 4, c. 70. 

t Repleta matre, ad filinm redundaret inundatio amaritudims, 
Horn, in Ev. Stabat. 

Stabam ego videns eum, ipse videns me, et plus dolebat de me 
quam de se. Ap. Simisc. Cons. 28. 

Juxta crticem stabat mater, vox illi non erat; moriebatur vivens, 
vivebat moriens ; nee mor; poterat, quia vivens mortua erat. De. 
Lament. Virg. 


caused him to die without consolation. So that 
the blessed Baptista, being enlightened to know 
this suffering of Jesus, exclaimed: Oh my Lord, 
tell me no more of this thy sorrow, for I can 
not bear it. 

Men were astonished, says Simon of Cassia, 
when they saw this mother then keep silence, 
without uttering a complaint in this great suf 
fering.* But if the lips of Mary were silent, 
her heart was not so; for she did not cease offering 
to divine justice the life of her Son for our sal 
vation. Therefore we know thai by the merits 
of her dolors she co-operated with Christ in 
bringing us forth to the life of grace, and there 
fore we are children of her sorrows: Christ, says 
Lanspergius, wished her whom he had appointed 
for our mother to co-operate with him in our re 
demption; for she herself at the foot of the cross 
was to bring us forth as her children.! And if 
ever any consolation entered into that sea of bit 
terness, namely, the heart of Mary, it was this 
only one; namely, the knowledge that by means 
of her sorrows, she was bringing us to eternal 
salvation; as Jesus himself revealed to St. Brid 
get: "My mother Mary, on account of her com 
passion and charity, was made mother of all in 
heaven and on earth. "J And, indeed, these were 

* Stnpebant omnes qui noverant hujus hominis matrem, quod 
etiam in tan tie angustiae pressura silentiura servabat. 

t Voluit earn Christus cooperatricem nostrae redemptionis adstare, 
quam nobis constituent dare matrem; debebat enim ipsa sub cruc 
Dos parere filios. Horn. 44, de Pass. Dom. 

$ Maria mater mea, propter compassionem et chantatem facta eat 
mater omnium in ccelis et in terra. L. 1, c. 31. 

GLORIES 05 2*Z. 76 

the last words with which Jesus took leave of 
her before his death; this was his last remem 
brance, leaving us to her for her children in the 
person of John, when he said to her: Woman, 
behold thy Son: "Mulier ecce filius tuus."* And 
from that time Mary began to perform for us 
this office of a good mother; for, as St. Peter Da- 
inian declares, the penitent thief, through the 
prayers of Mary, was then converted and saved: 
Therefore the good thief repented, because the 
blessed Virgin, standing between the cross of 
her Son and that of the thief, prayed her Son 
for him; thus rewarding, by this favor, his form 
er service. f For as other authors also relate, this 
thief, in the journey to Egypt with the infant 
Jesus, showed them kindness; and this same of 
fice the blessed Virgin has ever continued, and 
still continues to perform. 


A young man in Perugia once promised the 
devil that if he would help him to commit a sin 
ful act which he desired to do, he would give 
him his soul; and he gave him a writing to that 
effect, signed with his blood. The evil deed was 
committed, and the devil demanded the perfor 
mance of the promise. He led the young man to 
a well, and threatened to take him body and soul 

* Joan. xix. 26. 

t Idcirco resipult bonus latro, quia B. Virgo inter cruces fltti et 
latroms poeita, fllium pro latrone deprecabatur; hoc suo beneflcio, 
ftntiquum latrouia obeequiumrecompeuearis. Ap. Salm. to. 1, tr. 47* 


to hell if he would not cast himself into it. The 
wretched youth, thinking that it would be impos 
sible for him to escape from his enemy, climbed the 
well-side in order to cast himself into it, but terri 
fied at the thought of death, he said to the devil 
that he had not the courage to throw himself in, 
and that, if he wished to see him dead, he himself 
should thrust him in. The young man wore 
about his neck the scapular of the sorrowing 
Mary; and the devil said to him: Take off that 
Bcapular,and I will thrust you in." But the youth, 
seeing the protection which the divine mother 
still gave him through that scapular, refused to 
take it off, and after a great deal of altercation, 
the devil departed in confusion. The sinner re 
pented, and grateful to his sorrowful mother, 
went to thank her, and presented a picture of 
this case, as an offering, at her altar in the new 
church of Santa Maria, in Perugia.* 


Ah, mother, the most afflicted of all mothers, 
thy Son, then, is dead; thy Son so amiable, and 
who loved thee so much! Weep, for thou hast 
reason to weep. Who can ever console thee? 
Nothing can console thee but the thought that Je 
sus, by his death, hath conquered hell, hath open 
ed paradise which was closed to men, and hath 
gained so many souls. From that throne of the 
cross he was to reign over so many hearts, which, 
conquered by his love, would serve him with 

* Monum. Conv. Pec. ap. P. Sinisch. Sans. KJ. 


love. Do not disdain, oh my mother, to keep me 
near to weep with thee, for I have more reason 
than thou to weep for the offences that I have 
committed against thy Son. Ah, mother of 
mercy, I hope for pardon and my eternal salva* 
tion, first through the death of my Redeemer, and 
then through the merits of thy dolors. Amen. 



"Oh, all ye that pass by the way attend, and 
see if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow." * 
Devout souls, listen to what the sorrowful 
Mary says to you to-day: My beloved children, 
I do not wish you to console me; no, for my 
heart can never again be consoled on this earth 
after the death of my dear Jesus. If you wish 
to please me, this I ask of you, turn to me and 
see if there has ever been in the world a grief 
like mine, when I saw him who was all my love 
torn from me so cruelly. But, oh Lady, since 
thou dost not wish to be consoled, and hast such 
a thirst for suffering, I must say to thee that 
thy sorrows have not ended with the death of 
thy Son. To-day thou wilt be pierced by 
another sword of sorrow, when thou shalt see a 
cruel lance piercing the side of this thy Son, al 
ready dead, and shalt receive him in thy arms 
after he is taken from the cross. And now we 

* O voe omnes qui transitis per viam, attendite et videte, ei ert 
totor aicut dolor meus. Thren. i. 12, 


are to consider to-day the sixth dolor which 
afflicted this sorrowful mother. Attend and 
weep. Hitherto the dolors of Mary tortured 
her one by one, but to-day they are all united to 
assail her. 

To make known to a mother that her child is 
dead, is sufficient to kindle her whole soul with 
love for the lost one. Some persons, in order 
to lighten their grief, will remind mothers whose 
children have died, of the displeasure they had 
once caused them. But if I, oh my queen, 
should wish to lighten thy sorrow for the death 
of Jesus in this way, what displeasure has he 
ever caused thee, that I could recall to thy 
mind? Ah, no; he always loved thee, obeyed 
thee and respected thee. Now thou hast lost 
him, and who can describe thy sorrow ? Do 
thou who hast felt it explain it. A devout 
author says, that when our Redeemer was dead, 
the heart of the great mother was first engaged 
in accompanying the most holy soul of the Son, 
and presenting it to the eternal father. I pre 
sent thee, oh my God, Mary must then have 
said, the immaculate soul of thy and my Son, 
which has been obedient to thee even unto death : 
receive it, then, in thy arms. Thy justice is 
now satisfied, thy will accomplished; behold, 
the great sacrifice to thy eternal glory is con- 
gummated. And then turning to the lifeless 
members of her Jesus: Oh wounds, she said, oh 
loving wounds, I adore you, I rejoice with you, 
since through you salvation has been given to 


the world. You shall remain open in the body 
of my Son, to be the refuge of those who will 
have recourse to you. Oh how many, through 
you, shall receive the pardon of their sins, and 
then through you shall be inflamed to love the 
Sovereign Good! 

That the joy of the following Paschal Sabbath 
should not be disturbed, the Jews wished the 
body of Jesus to be taken down from the cross; 
but because they could not take down a criminal 
until he was dead, they came with iron mallets 
to break his legs, as they had already done to 
the two thieves crucified with him. And Mary, 
while she remains weeping at the death of her 
Son, sees those armed men coming towards her 
Jesus. At this sight she first trembled with fear, 
then she said : Ah, my Son is already dead, cease 
to maltreat him, and cease to torture me a poor 
mother longer. She implored them not to break 
his legs : "Oravit eos, ne frangerent crura," as 
St. Bonaventure writes. But while she is thus 
speaking, oh, God ! she sees a soldier with vio 
lence brandishing a spear, and piercing the side 
of Jesus : "One of the soldiers with a spear open 
ed his side, and immediately there came out 
blood and water."* The cross shook at the 
stroke of the spear, and, as was revealed to St. 
Bridget, the heart of Jesus was divided : "Ita 
ut ambae paries essent divisse."f There came out 
blood and water, for only a few drops of blood 
remained, and those also the Saviour wished to 

* Unus militum lancea latus ejus aperuit, et continue exivit san. 
guis, et aqua. Joan. six. 34. t Rev. 1. 2, c. 21. 


shed, in order to show that he had no more blood 
to give us. The injury of that stroke was of- 
ered to Jesus, but the pain was inflicted on Mary: 
Christ, says the devout Lanspergius, shared with 
his mother the infliction of that wound, for here- 
ceived the insult and his mother the pain.* The 
holy Fathers explain this to be the very sword 
predicted to the Virgin by St. Simeon ; a sword, 
not of iron, but of grief,which pierced through 
her blessed soul in the heart of Jesus, where it 
always dwelt. Thus, among others, Si. Bernard 
says: The spear which opened his side passed 
through the soul of the Virgin, which could not 
be torn from the heart of Jesus.f And the di 
vine mother herself revealed the same to St. 
Bridget, saying: When the spear was drawn out, 
the point appeared red with blood; then I felt 
as if my heart were pierced when I saw the 
heart of my most dear Son pierced."J The 
angel told St. Bridget, that such were the suffer 
ings of Mary, that she was saved from death 
only by the miraculous power of God. In her 
other dolors she at least had her Son to com 
passionate her; and now she had not even him 
to take pity on her. 

The afflicted mother, still fearing that other 

* Divisit Christus cum matre sua hujus vnlneris poenam, ut ipse 
mjuriam acciperet, mater dolorem. 

t Lancea quse ipsius latus aperuit, animam Virginia pertransivit, 
quae inde nequibat avelli. De Lament. Virg. 

%. Cum retraheretur hasta, apparuit cuspia rubea sanguine. Tune 
mihi videbatur quod quasi cor meum perforaretur, cum vidissem cor 
filii mei charissimi perforatum. Rev. c. 10. 

| Non parvum miraculum a Deo factum est, quod B. Vitf o tot 
ioloribus eauciata spiritum non exhalarit. 


injuries might be inflicted on her Son, entreats 
Joseph of Arimathea to obtain from Pilate the 
body of her Jesus, that at least after his death 
she may be able to guard it and protect it from 
injuries. Joseph went to Pilate, and made 
known to him the sorrow and the wish of this 
afflicted mother; and St. Anselrn thinks that com 
passion for the mother softened the heart of Pi 
late, and moved him to grant her the body. of the 
Saviour. And now Jesus is taken from the 
cross. Oh most holy Virgin, after thou with so 
great love hadst given thy Son to the world for 
our salvation, behold the world returns him to 
thee again! But oh, my God, ho\v dost thou re 
turn him to me? said Mary to the world. My 
Son was white and ruddy: "Dilectus meus can- 
didus et rubicundus:" but thou hast returned him 
to me blackened with bruises, and red, not with 
a ruddy color, but with the wounds thou hast 
inflicted upon him; he was beautiful, now there 
is no more beauty in him; he is all deformity. 
All were enamored with his aspect, now he ex 
cites horror in all who look upon him. Oh, how 
many swords, says St. Bonaventure, pierced the 
soul of this mother, when she received the body 
of her Son after it was taken from the cross: 
" O quot gladii animam matris pertransierunt!" 
Let us consider what anguish it would cause any 
mother to receive the lifeless body of a son! it 
was revealed to St. Bridget, that to take down 
the body of Jesus, three ladders were placed 
against the cross. Those holy disciples first 


drew out the nails from the hands and feet, and 
according to Metaphrastes, gave them in charge 
to Mary. Then one supported the upper part of 
the body of Jesus, the other the lower, and thus 
took it down from the cross. Bernardino de 
Bustis describes the afflicted mother as raising 
herself, and extending her arms to meet her 
dear Son; she embraces him, and then sits down 
at the foot of the cross. She sees his mouth 
open, his eye shut, she examines the lacerated 
flesh, and those exposed bones; she takes off the 
crown, and sees the cruel injury made by those 
thorns, in that sacred head; she looks upon 
those pierced hands and feet, and says: Ah, my 
Son, to what has the love thou didst bear to men 
reduced thee ! But what evil ha? t thou done to 
them, that they have treated thee so cruelly? 
Thou wast my Father, Bernardino de Bustis im 
agines her to say, my brother, my spouse, my de 
light, my glory, my all.* Oh, my Son, behold how 
I am afflicted, look upon me and console me; but 
thou dost look upon me no more. Speak, speak 
to me but one word, and console me; but thou 
dost speak no more, for thou art dead. Then 
turning to those barbarous instruments, she said: 
Oh cruel thorns, oh nails, oh merciless spear, how 
could you thus torture your Creator? But what 
thorns, what nails? Alas! sinners, she exclaimed, 
it is you who have thus cruelly treated my Son. 
Thus Mary spoke and complained of us. But 

* Tu mihi pater eras, tu frater, sponsus, mesa delici, mea gloria, 
tu mihi omnia eras. 


if now she were capable of suffering, what would 
she say? What grief would she feel to see 
that men after the death of her Son, continue 
to torment and crucify him by their sins? Let 
us no longer give pain to this sorrowful mother; 
and if we also have hither to grieved her by our 
sins, let us now do what she directs. She says to 
us * Return, ye transgressors, to the heart: "Re- 
dite, prsevaricatores, ad cor."* Sinners, return to 
the wounded heart of my Jesus; return as peni 
tents, for he will receive you. Flee from him 
to him, she continues to say with Guerric the 
Abbot; from the Judge to the Redeemer, from 
the tribunal to the cross.f The Virgin herself 
revealed to St. Bridget that she closed the eyes 
of her Son, when he was taken down from the 
cross, but she could not close his arms: "Ejus 
brachia flectere non potui." Jesus Christ giv 
ing us to understand by this, that he desired to 
remain with open arms to receive all penitent 
sinners who return to him. Oh world, contin 
ues Mary, behold, then, thy time is the time of 
levers: "Et ecce, tempus tuum, tempus aman 
din."! Now that ray Son, oh world, has died 
to save thee, this is no longer for thee a time of 
fear, but of love: a time to love him who has de 
sired to suffer so much in order to show thee the 
love he bore thee. Therefore, says St. Bernard, 
is the heart of Jesus wounded that, through the 

* Isa. xlvi 

t Ab ipso fnge ad ipsnm, a Judice ad redemptorem, a tribunal! ad 


visible wound, the invisible wound of love may 
be seen.* If then, concludes Mary, in the 
words of the Abbot of Celles, my Son had wish 
ed his side to be opened that he might give thee 
his heart,f it is right, oh man, that thou shouldst 
give him thy heart. And if you wish, oh 
children of Mary, to find a place in the heart of 
Jesus without fear of being cast out, go, says 
Ubertino of Casale, go with Mary, for she will 
obtain grace for you;J and in the following ex 
ample we have a beautiful proof of this. 


The Disciple relates^ that there was once a 
poor sinner who, among other crimes, had kill 
ed his father and a brother, and therefore be 
came a fugitive. Happening to hear one day 
during Lent, a sermon upon the divine mercy, 
he went to the preacher himself to make his con 
fession. The confessor having heard his crimes, 
sent him to an altar of the sorrowful mother to 
pray that she might obtain for him compunction 
and pardon of his sins. The sinner obeyed, and 
began to pray, when behold, suddenly over 
powered by contrition, he falls down dead. On 
the following day when the priest recommended 
to the people to pray for the deceased, a white 
dove appeared in the church and let fall a card at 

* Propterea vulneratum est cor Christ!, ut per vulnus visibile vul- 
nus amoris invisibilis rideatur. Serm. de pass. Dom. 
t Prse nimio amore aperuit sibi latus, ut prseberet cor Biium. 
% Filii hujus matris, ingredite urn ipsa intra penetralia cordii Jesn 
S Promt. Ex. V. Miser. 


the feet of the priest. He took it up, and found 
these words written on it: "The soul of the 
dead, when it left the body, immediately 
went to paradise; and do you continue to praacb 
the infinite mercy of God." 


Oh afflicted Virgin! oh soul, great in virtues 
and great also in sorrows! for both arise from 
that great fire of love thou hast for God; thou 
"whose heart can love nothing but God; ah moth 
er, have pity on me, for I have not loved God, and 
I have so much offended him. Thy sorrows 
give me great confidence to hope for pardon. 
But this is not enough; I wish to love my 
Lord, and who can better obtain this for me 
than thou thou who art the mother of fair 
love? Ah Mary, thou dost console all, comfort 
me also. Amen. 



WHEN a mother is by the side of a suffering 
and dying child, she no doubt then feels and suf 
fers all his pains; but when the afflicted child is 
really dead and about to be buried, and the sor 
rowful mother takes her last leave of him, oh 
God ! the thought that she is to see him no more is 
a sorrow that exceeds all other sorrows. Behold, 


the last sword of sorrow which we are to consicU 
er, when Mary, after being present at the death 
of her Son upon the cross, after having embrao 
ed his lifeless body, was finally to leave him in 
the sepulchre, never more to enjoy his beloved 

But that we may better understand this last 
dolor, let us return to Calvary, again to look 
upon the afflicted mother, who still holds, clasped 
in her arms, the lifeless body of her Son. Oh my 
Son, she seems then to continue to say in the 
words of Job, my Son, thou art changed to be 
cruel towards me: "Mutatus es mihi in crude- 
lem."* Yes, for all thy beauty, grace, virtue, 
and loveliness, all the signs of special love thou 
hast shown me, the peculiar favors thou hast 
bestowed on me, are all changed into so many 
darts of sorrow, which the more they have in 
flamed my love for thee, so much the more cause 
me cruelly to feel the pain of having lost thee. 
Ah, my beloved Son, in losing thee I have lost 
all. Thus St. Bernard speaks in her name: Oh 
truly begotten of God, thou wast to me a father, 
a son, a spouse; thou wast my life! Now I am 
deprived of my father, my spouse, and my Son, 
for with my Son whom I have lost, I lose all 
things, f 

Thus Mary, clinging to her Son, was dissolved 
in grief; but those holy disciples, fearing lest 
this poor mother would expire there through 

* c. xxx. 21. 

t O vere Dei nate, tu nihi pater, tu mihi filius, tu mihi eponsus, ta 
mihi anima eras! Nuuc orbor patre, viduor sponso, desolor filiofc 
too perdito fllio omnia perdo. De Lam. V. Mar. 


agony, went to take the body of her Son from 
her arms, to bear it away for burial. Therefore, 
with reverential force they took him from her 
arms, and having embalmed him, wrapped him 
in a linen cloth already prepared, upon which 
our Lord wished to leave to the world his image 
impressed, as may be seen at the present day in 
Turin. And now they bear him to the sepul 
chre. The sorrowful funeral train sets forth; 
the disciples place him on their shoulders; 
hosts of angels from heaven accompany him; 
those holy women follow him; and the afflicted 
mother follows in their company her Son to the 
grave. When they had reached the appointed 
place, how gladly would Mary have buried her 
self there alive with her Son! "Oh how will 
ingly," said the Virgin to St. Bridget, "would I 
have remained there alive with my Son, if it had 
been his will!"* But since this was not the 
divine will, the authors relate that she herself 
accompanied the sacred body of Jesus into the 
sepulchre, where, as Baronius narrates, they 
deposited the nails and the crown of thorns. 
In raising the stone to close the sepulchre, the 
disciples of the Saviour had to turn to the 
Virgin, and say to her: Now, oh Lady, we must 
close the sepulchre; have patience, look upon 
thy Son, and take leave of him for the last time. 
Then, oh my beloved Son, must the afflicted 
mother have said, then shall I see thee no more? 
Receive then, this last time that I look upon 

* O quam libenter tune posita f uissem viva cum filio meo, si f uissej 
voluntaa ejns! Key. 1. 1. 


thee, receive the last farewell from me tny deaf 
mother, and receive my heart which I leave bur 
ied with thee. The Virgin, says St. Fulgentius, 
earnestly desired that her soul should be buried 
with the body of Christ.* And Mary herself 
made this revelation to St, Bridget: "I can 
truly say, that at the burial of my Son, one 
sepulchre contained as it were two hearts."f 

Finally, they take the stone and close up in 
the holy sepulchre the body of Jesus, that 
great treasure, greater than any in heaven and 
on earth. And here let us remark, that Mary 
left her heart buried with Jesus, because Jesus 
was all her treasure: "Where your treasure is, 
there will your heart be also." J And where 
shall we keep our hearts buried ? With creat 
ures ? In the mire ? And why not with Jesus, 
who, although he has ascended to heaven, has 
wished to remain, not dead but alive, in the 
most holy sacrament of the altar, precisely in 
order that he may have with him and possess 
our hearts ? But let us return to Mary. Before 
quitting the sepulchre, according to St. Bonaven- 
ture, she blessed that sacred stone, saying: Oh 
happy stone, that doth now inclose that body 
which was contained nine months in my womb, 
I bless thee, and envy thee; I leave thee to 
guard my Son for me, who is my only good, my 
only love. And then turning to the eternal 

* Animam cum corpore Christ! contumulari Virgo vehementer 

t Vere dicere possum quod sepulto filio meo quasi duo corda in 
ano sepulchre fuerunt. Rev. 1. 2, c. 21. 

$ Ubi thesaurus vester esU ibi et cor vestrum erit Luc. xii. 34. 


Father, she said: Oh Father, to thee I recom 
mend him, who is thy Son and mine; and thus 
bidding a last farewell to her Son, and to the 
sepulchre, she returned to her own house. This 
poor mother went away so afflicted and sad, ac 
cording to St. Bernard, that she moved many to 
tears even against their will: "Multos etiam in- 
vitos ad lacrymas provocabat;" so that wherever 
she passed, all wept who met her: "Omnes 
plorabant qui obviabant ei," and could not re- 
strain their tears. And he adds, that those holy 
disciples, and the women who accompanied 
her, mourned for her even more than for their 

St. Bonaventure says, that her two sis 
ters covered her with a mourning cloak: The sis 
ters of our Lady wrapped her in a veil as a wid 
ow, covering as it were her whole countenance.f 
And he also says, that passing, on her return, 
before the cross, still wet with the blood of her 
Jesus, she was the first to adore it : Oh holy 
cross, she exclaimed, I kiss thee arid adore thee; 
for thou art no longer an infamous wood, but a 
throne of love, and an altar of mercy, consecrated 
by the blood of the divine Lamb, who has been 
sacrificed upon thee, for the salvation of the world. 
She then leaves the cross and returns to her 
house ; there the afflicted mother casts her eyes 
around, and no longer sees her Jesus ; but instead 

* Snper ipsam potius, quam super Dominum plangebant. 
t Sorores Domime velaverunt earn tamquam viduam; cooperientei 
tuai totum vuJtum. 


of the presence of her dear Son, all the memorials 
of his holy life and cruel death are hefore her. 
There she is reminded of the embraces she gave 
her Son in the stable of Bethlehem, of the conver 
sations held with him for so many years in the shop 
of Nazareth: she is reminded of their mutual af 
fection, of his loving looks, of the words of eternal 
life that came forth from that divine mouth. 
And then comes before her the fatal scene of 
that very day ; she sees those nails, those thorns, 
that lacerated flesh of her Son, those deep 
wounds, those uncovered bones, that open mouth, 
those closed eyes. Alas ! what a night of sor 
row was that night for Mary ! The sorrowful 
mother turned to St. John, and said mournfully: 
Ah, John, where is thy master? Then she asked 
of Magdalen: Daughter, tell me where is thy 
beloved ? Oh God ! who has taken him from 
us ? Mary weeps, and all those who are with her 
weep. And thou, oh my soul, dost thou not weep! 
Ah, turn to Mary, and say to her with St. 
Bonaventure : Let me, oh my Lady, let me 
weep ; thou art innocent, I am guilty.* At 
least entreat her to permit thee to weep with her: 
"Fac ut tecum lugeam." She weeps for love, 
and thou dost weep through sorrow for thy gins. 
And thus weeping, thou mayest have the hap 
py lot of him of whom we read in the following 

* Sine, Dom**" niea, sine me flere; tu hmocena es, ego aum reu* 



Father Engelgrave relates,* that a certain re 
ligious was so tormented by scruples, that some 
times he was almost driven to despair, but hav 
ing great devotion to Mary, the mother of sor- 
sows, he had recourse to her in the agony of his 
spirit, and was much comforted by contemplat 
ing her dolors. Death came, and the devil 
tormented him more than ever with scruples, 
and tempted him to despair. When, behold 
our merciful mother, seeing her poor son so afflict 
ed, appeared to him, and said to him: "And 
why, oh my son, art thou so overcome with sor 
row, thou who hast so often consoled me by thy 
compassion for my sorrows ?f Be comforted," 
she said to him; " Jesus sends me to thee to con 
sole thee; be comforted, rejoice, and come with 
me to paradise." And at these words the de 
vout religious tranquilly expired, full of conso 
lation and confidence. 


My afflicted mother, I will not leave thee alone 
to weep; no, I wish to keep thee company with 
my tears. This grace I ask of thee to-day: ob 
tain for me a continual remembrance of the 
passion of Jesus, and of thine also, and a tender 
devotion to them, that all the remaining days of 
my life may be spent in weeping for thy sorrows, 
oh my mother, and for those of my Redeemer, 

* Dom infra oct Nat. s. 2. 

+ Et t u , fill mi, cur mcerore conficeiis, <iui in monoM meo totto m 

soaaolatus es? 


I hope that these dolors will give me the con* 
fidence and strength not to despair at the hour 
of my death, at the sight of the offences I have 
committed against my Lord. By these must I 
obtain pardon, perseverance, paradise, where I 
hope to rejoice with thee, and sing the infinite 
mercy of my God through all eternity: thus I 
hope, thus may it be. Arnen, amen. 

Whoever wishes to practise the devotion of 
reciting the chaplet of the dolors of Mary, will 
fin d it at the end of the book. I composed thja 
many years since, and insert it anew here for the 
convenience of the servants of Mary, whom I 
pray in their charity to recommend me to her 
when they meditate upon her dolors. 

Oh Lady, who dost ravish the heart of men 
with thy sweetness, hast thou not ravished mine? 
Oh, ravisher of hearts, when wilt thou restore to 
me my heart? Do w in it as with thine own, and 
place it in the side of thy Son. Then I shall 
possess what I hope for, because thou art our 


St. Augustine says, that in order to obtain 
more certainly and abundantly the favors of the 

* O Domina, quae rapis corda hominum dulcore, nonnecor meum 
puif*ti ? O raptrix cordium, quando mihi restitues cor meumf 
Guberna illud cum tuo, et in latere fill! colloca. Tune possidebo 
Quod spero, quia tu es spes nostra. 8. Bernard. Med. in Salv. Beg. 
ap. s. Bon. Stim. c. 19, part. 3. 


saints, it is necessary to imitate them, for when 
they see us practising the virtues which 
they practised, then they are more moved to 
pray for us. The queen of saints, and our first 
advocate, Mary, after she has rescued a soul 
from the grasp of Lucifer, and has united her 
to God, wishes her to begin to imitate her ex 
ample, otherwise she will not be able to enrich 
her, as she would wish, with her graces, seeing 
her so opposed to her in conduct. Therefore 
Mary calls those blessed who diligently imitate 
her life; "Now, therefore, children, hear me ; 
blessed are they that keep my ways."* He who 
loves, is like, or seeks to make himself like, the 
person beloved, according to the celebrated prov 
erb: Love either finds or makes like: "Amor aut 
pares invenit aut facit." Hence St. Jerome tells 
us, that if we love Mary, we must seek to imitate 
her, for this is the greatest honor we can pay hcr.f 
Richard says, those are and may call themselves 
true children of Mary, who strive to imitate her 
life: "Filii Mariae imitatores ejus." Let the 
child then endeavor, concludes St. Bernard, to 
imitate the mother, if he desires her favor; for 
when Mary sees that he honors her as a mother 
she will treat and favor him as a child. 

Although there is little recorded in the Gos 
pels of the virtues of Mary in particular, yet, 
when they tell us that she was full of grace, it 

* Nunc, ergo filii, auditeme; beat! qui custoditmt vias meas. Prov. 
viii. 33. 

t Dilectissimi Mariam colite quam amatis, quia tune rere amatii 
i imitari volueritis quam amatia. S. Hier. Serin, de Ass. ap. Lohn. 


is given us to understand that she had all the 
virtues, and all in the heroic degree. So much 
BO, that, as St. Thomas says, where as the other 
saints have excelled, each in some one particu 
lar virtue, the blessed Virgin has excelled in all, 
and in all the virtues has been given us for an 
example.* And St. Ambrose also says: Such 
was Mary, that her life alone is the example for 
all.f And he afterwards adds: Let the virginity 
and life of Mary be to you as an image, in which 
the form of virtue shines forth. From thence 
obtain the model of your life . . . what you 
should correct, what avoid, what retain. J And 
because, as the holy Fathers teach, humility is 
the foundation of all the virtues, let us in the 
first place consider how great was the humility 
of the mother of God. 



Humility, says St. Bernard, is the foundation 
and guardian of the virtues ; and with reason, 
for without humility a soul can possess no other 
virtue. Let her possess all the virtues, they 

* Alii sanctorum spedalia opera exercuerunt ; alius fuit castns, 
alias humilis, alius misericors; sed B. Virgo datur hi exemplum om- 
nium virtutum. Opusc. 8. 

t Talis fuit Maria ut ejus unius vitfe omnium disciplina sit. L. 2, 
de Virg. 

\ Sit vobis tanquam in imagine descripta virginitas vitaque Mari t 
in qua refulget forma virtutis. Hinc sumatis exempla vivendi . . 
quid corrigere, quid fugere, qui tenere debeatis. Loc. clt. 

Humililas est f nndamentum cuetosque virtutero. 


will all depart when humility departs. On the 
other hand, said St. Francis of Sales, in a letter 
to St. Jane de Chantal, God so loves humility 
that he instantly hastens to the soul in which 
he sees it.* This virtue, so lovely and so nec 
essary, was unknown in the world; but the Son 
of God himself came on earth to teach it by his 
example, and he desired that in this we should 
especially strive to imitate him: "Learn of me, 
because I am meek and humble of heart." f 
And Mary, as she was the first and most perfect 
disciple of Jesus Christ in all the virtues, was so 
in that of humility, by which she merited to be 
exalted above all creatures. It was revealed to 
St. Matilda that the first virtue which the 
blessed mother especially practised from child 
hood, was humility.J 

The first act of humility of heart is to have an 
humble opinion of ourselves; and Mary always 
thought so lowly of herself, as was revealed to 
the same St. Matilda, that although she saw so 
many more graces bestowed upon her than upon 
others, she preferred all others before herself. 
Rupert the Abbot, explaining that passage, 
"Thou hast wounded my heart, my sister, my 
spouse .... with one hair of thy neck," | says, 

*Vit.l. 6, c. 2, s. 11. 

t Et discite a me, quia mitis sum, et humilis corde. Matth. xi. 

t Prima virtus in qua Virgo nata, et infans ee eingulariter exer- 
euit, fnit humilitas. 

Ita modeste de se sentiebat, ut cum tot gratiaa haberet, nulli s 

I Vnlnerasti cor meum, eoror mea sponsa ... in uno crine colM 
tol Cant.iv.9. 


that this hair of the neck of the spouse was pre 
cisely that humble opinion which Mary had of 
herself, with which she wounded the heart of 
God.* Not that the holy Virgin esteemed her 
self a sinner, for humility is truth, as St. 
Theresa says, and Mary knew that she had never 
offended God; nor that she did not confess hav 
ing received greater graces from God than any 
other creature, for an humble heart always ac 
knowledges the special favors of the Lord, that 
it may humble itself the more; but the divine 
mother, by the greater light she had to see the 
infinite greatness and goodness of her God, saw 
still more her own littleness, and therefore more 
than all others did she humiliate herself, and 
say with the spouse of the Canticles: "Do not 
consider that I am brown because the sun hath 
altered my color." f Approaching him, I find 
myself black, as St. Bernard explains it: "Ap- 
propinquans illi me nigrarn invenio."J Yes, 
adds St. Bernardine, for the Virgin had always 
present before her eyes the divine majesty, and 
her own nothiiigness. As a beggar, when she 
is clothed with a costly garment which has been 
given her, is not made proud by it, but humbles 
herself more before the giver, because she is re- 

* In uno crine, idest in nimia humilitate cordis tui. Iste est crinii 
colli, humilis cogitatus .... Quid uno crine gracilius ? In d. 1. 
Cant. 4. 

t Nolite, me considerare quod fusca sim, quia decoloravit me soL 
Dant. i. 6. 

t Appropinquans illi me nigram invenlo. 

Virgo continue habebat actualem relationem ad divinam rnaja* 
latm. et ad sui nihilitatem. 


ininded then more of her poverty; thus, Mary, 
the more she saw herself enriched, the more 
humble she became, remembering that all was the 
gift of God; whence she herself said to St. Eliza 
beth, a Benedictine nun: "Know for certain that 
I esteemed myself most abject, and unworthy of 
the grace of God." * And therefore, says St. 
Bernardine, no creature in the world has been 
more exalted, because no creature has ever 
humbled herself more than Mary.f X 

Moreover, it is an act of humility to conceal 
the gifts of heaven. Mary wished to conceal 
from St. Joseph the grace of having been made 
the mother of God, although it seemed necessary 
to make it known to him, in order, at least, to re 
move from the mind of her poor spouse the sus 
picions he might have of her virtue, when he 
saw her pregnant; or at least his perplexity, for 
in fact St. Joseph, on the one side, unwilling to 
doubt the chastity of Mary, and, on the other, 
ignorant of the mystery, in order to free himself 
from perplexity, was minded to put her away 
privately: "Voluit occulte dimittere eam."J 
And if the angel had not revealed to him that 
his spouse was pregnant by the operation of the 
Holy Spirit, he would really have left her. 
Moreover, an humble soul also refuses praise, 
and gives it all to God. Behold, Mary is dis- 

* Pro firmo scias, quod me reputabam vihssimam et gratis Dei 
itdignam. Ap. S. Bon. de Vit. Christi 

t Sictit nulla post filium Dei creatura tantum ascendit in gratise 
dignitatem, sic uoc tantum descendit in abyssum humilitatis. Ta 
*, Serm. 51, c. 3. * Matth. i. 19. 


fcurbed at hearing herself praised by St. Gabriel 
And when St. Elizabeth said to her, "Blessed art 
thou among women . . . and whence is this to 
me, that the mother of my Lord should come to 
me . . . .Blessed art thou that hast believ 
ed, &c.,"* Mary, referring all these praises to 
God, answered with that humble Canticle: My 
soul doth magnify the Lord: "Magnificat anima 
mea Dorainum," as if she had said: You praise 
me, oh Elizabeth, but I praise the Lord, to whom 
alone honor is due; you wonder that I come to 
you, and I wonder at the divine goodness in. 
which alone my spirit exults. And my spirit 
hath rejoiced in God my Saviour: "Et exultavit 
spiritus meus in Deo salutari meo." You praise 
me because I have believed; I praise my God, 
because he has wished to exalt my nothingness; 
because he hath regarded the humility of his 
handmaid: "Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae 
suae." Hence Mary said to St. Bridget: "Why 
did I humble myself so far, or why have I mer 
ited so much grace, unless because I thought 
and knew that of and from myself I was nothing, 
and had nothing? therefore I would have no 
praise for myself, but only for the Giver and 
Oeator."f Wherefore, speaking of the humility 
of Mary, St. Augustine says: Oh truly blessed 

* Benedicta tn In mulieres . . . Et unde hoc mihi ut veniat mater 
Domini mei ad me? Et beata quae credidisti, &c. Luc. i. 42, 43, 44. 

t TJbi quid enim ego me tantum humiliabam, aut promerui tan- 
tarn gratiam, nisi quia cogitavi et scivi nihil a me esse vel habere. 
Ideo nolui laudem meam, sed solum datoris et creatoris. Rev. 1. 2, 
. 23. 


hnmility, which has brought forth God to men, 
opened paradise, and liberated souls from hell!* 
It is also a part of humility to save others; 
and Mary did not refuse to go and serve Eliza 
beth for three months. Wherefore St. Bernard 
has said: Elizabeth wondered that Mary should 
come to visit her, but she should wonder still 
more that she did not come to be ministered unto, 
but to minister.f The humble retire and choose 
the lowest place; and therefore, as St. Bernard 
remarks, Mary, when her Son was preaching in 
a certain house, as St. Matthew relates, J wished 
to speak with him, but would not enter the 
house unbidden. Therefore, when she was in 
the "upper room" with the apostles, she wished 
to take the lowest place, as St. Luke has related: 
"All these were persevering with one mind in 
prayer, with the woman and Mary the mother 
of Jesus.") Not that St. Luke did not know 
the merit of the divine mother, on account of 
which he should have given her the first place; 
but because she had taken the lowest, after the 
apostles and the other women, therefore St. 
Luke described all, as a certain author remarks, 

* O vere beata hnmilitas, quse Deum hominibus peperit, para- 
disum aperuit, et animas ab inferls liberavit. Serm. 35, de Sauctis. 

t Venisse Mariam mirabatur Elisabeth, sed magis miretur quod 
ipsa non ministrari veneril, sed ministrare. Serm. de Nat Virg. 

t C. 12. 

Foris stabat, nee materna auctoritate sermonem interrupt!;, nee 
In domum intravit ubi filius loquebatur. 

I Hi omnes erant perseverantes unanimitur in oratione cum mu. 
lieribue, t Maria matre Josu. Act. i. 14. 


just in the order of their places. Hence St Ber 
nard says: Justly has the last become first, who, 
when she was first of all, became last.* Final 
ly, the humble love contempt; therefore we do 
not find that Mary appeared in Jerusalem on 
Palm Sunday, when her Son was received with 
BO much honor by the people; but, on the other 
hand, at the time of the death of her Son, she 
did not shrink from appearing in public on Cal 
vary, through fear of the disgrace of being 
known as the mother of one who was condemn 
ed as a criminal to die by an infamous death. 
Therefore she said to St Bridget: "What more 
contemptible than to be called a fool, to be in 
want of all things, to believe one s self the most 
unworthy of all? Such, oh daughter, was my 
humility, this was my joy, this my entire will, 
with which I thought of nothing but to please 
my Son."f ^ 

The venerable sister Paula of Foligno was 
given to understand in an ecstasy how great was 
the humility of the holy Virgin. In relating 
what she had seen to her confessor, she said, 
scarcely able to utter the words through aston 
ishment: "Oh the humility of the blessed Virgin! 
Oh father! oh the humility of our blessed 
Lady! In the world there is no humility, not even 

* Merito facta novissima prlma, qtise cum prima esset omnium, de 
novissimam f aciebat. Serm. Sup. Si. Mar. 

t Quid contemtibilius quam vocari fatua, omnibus indigere, om 
nibus indigniorem se credere? Tails O fllia, fuit humilitas mei hoc 
gaudium meum, haec voluntas tota, qua nulli nisi filio mendlacara 


the lowest degree of humility, to be compared 
with the humility of Mary." And our Lord, at 
another time, showed St. Bridget two females, 
one all pomp and vanity: This one," he said, 
"is Pride; b lt the other whom you see with her 
head bent down, respectful- to all, having God 
alone in her mind, and having no esteem for her 
self, is Humility, arid is called Mary."* By 
this God wished to make known to us that his 
blessed mother was so humble that she was hu 
mility itself. 

It is not to be doubted, as St. Gregory of Nyssa 
says, that for our nature, corrupted by sin, there 
is perhaps no virtue more difficult to practise than 
humility. But there is no escape ; we can never 
be true children of Mary if we are not humble. 
If, says St. Bernard, you cnmiot imitate the 
virginity, imitate the humility of the humble 
Virgin. f She abhors the proud, she invites none 
to come to her but the humble : Whosoever is a 
little one, let him come to me : " Si quis est par- 
vulus, veniat ad me." Mary, says Richard, pro 
tects us under the mantle of humility : " Maria 
protegit nos sub pallio humilitatis." The mother 
of God herself explained this to St. Bridget, say 
ing : "Come, then, oh my daughters, and hide 
thyself under my mantle; this mantle is my hu- 
mility."J And she then added, that the con- 

* Rev. 1. 1, c. 29. 

t Si non potes virginitatem, humilis. imitare humilitatem Virginia. 
Ho. 1, Sup. Mies. 

$ Ergo et tu, filia mea veni, et absconde te sub mautello meo; Ul 
mautellug humilitas mea est. 


templation of her humility was a good mantl^ 
that keeps us warm ; but, as she afterwards said: 
"The mantle only warms him who wears it, not 
only in thought but in fact ; thus my humility 
does not profit unless every one strives to imitate 
it. Therefore, my daughter," she concludes, 
"clothe thyself with this humility."* Oh, how 
dear to Mary is the humble soul! St. Bernard 
writes: The Virgin recognizes and loves those who 
love her, and she is near to all who invoke her, 
especially to those whom she sees like herself in 
chastity and humility, f Wherefore the saint the 
exhorts all those who love Mary, to be humble : 
Emulate this virtue if you love Mary.J Marino, 
or Martino d Alberto, of the Society of Jesus, 
through love of the Virgin, was accustomed to 
sweep the house and collect the filth. The divine 
mother once appeared to him, as Father Nierem- 
bergh relates in his Life, and as if thanking him, 
gaid : "How dear to me is this humble action 
done for love of me !" Then, oh my queen, I shall 
never be a true child of thine, if I am not humble. 
But do you not see that my sins, after having 
rendered me ungrateful to my Lord, have also 
made me proud ? Oh, my mother, cure me; by 
thy merits obtain for me that I may be humble, 
and thus become a child of thine. Amen. 

* Nee humilitas mea proficit, nisi unnsquisque studuerit earn imi- 
tari Ergo, filia mea, induere hac huinilitate. 

t Agnoscit Virgo et diligit diligentes se, et prope est invocantibus 
e; prtesertim iis quos videt conformes eibi factos in castitate d 
bunilitate. In Salv. Reg. 

$ Jbnolamini hanc virtu tern, si Mariam diligitia. Loe. cit. 




St. ANSELM says, that where there is the 
greatest purity, there is the greatest charity: 
"Ubi major puritas, ibi major charitas." The 
purer and more emptied of self is a heart, the 
more it will be filled with charity towards God. 
Most holy Mary, because she was all humility, 
and entirely emptied of self, was entirely filled 
with the divine love, so that she surpassed all 
men and all angels in love to God, as St. Ber- 
nardine teaches.* Therefore St. Francis of 
Sales has justly called her: The queen of love. 
The Lord indeed has given to men the precept 
to love him with their whole heart: "Thou shalt 
love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart;" f 
but, as St. Thomas declares, this precept will 
never be perfectly fulfilled by men on this earth, 
but in heaven.J And here the blessed Albertus 
Magnus remarks, that in a certain sense, it 
would be unbecoming for God to give a com 
mandment which none could perfectly fulfil, if 

* Superat omnium creaturarum amores In fillum guum. 
t Diligee Dominum Deum tuum ex toto corde tuo. Matt. xxii. 37. 
JPleneet perfecte in patria implebitur hoc prseceptum; in ri 
autem impletur, sed imperfecte. 2, 2. q. 21, vid. a. 6, 8. 


the divine mother had not perfectly fulfilled it; 
These are the words of Albertus: Either some 
one fulfils this precept or no one; if any one, it 
is the most blessed Virgin.* And this is con 
firmed by Richard of St. Victor, who says: The 
mother of our Emmanuel was perfect in all vir 
tues. Who has ever fulfilled as she did that 
first commandment: "Thou shalt love the Lord 
thy God with thy whole heart?" In her the 
divine love was so ardent, that there could be 
no defect of any-kind in her.f Divine love, says 
St. Bernard, so penetrated and pervaded the 
soul of Mary, that no part was left untouched 
by it, so that she loved with her whole heart, 
her whole soul, and her whole strength, and was 
full of grace. J Wherefore Mary might well 
have said: My beloved has given himself wholly 
to me, and I have given myself wholly to him: 
My beloved to me, and I to him: "Dilectus 
meus mihi, et ego illi." Ah, says Richard, 
well might even the seraphim descend from 

* Aut aliquis implet hoc preceptum, aut nullus; si aliquis, ergo 
beatissima Virgo. Super. Miss. c. 76. 

t Emraanuelis nostri puerpera in onvni fult virtutum consnmma- 
tione perfecta . Quis illud primum mandatum sic unquam implevit: 
Diliges Dominum Deum tuumextoto corde tuo? In ea divinus amor 
adeo concaluit, ut qualiscumque defectus in earn incidere non posset. 
L. 2, de Em. c. 26. 

J Amor Christi Mariae animam non modo confixit, sed etiam 
pertransivit ; ut nullam in pectore virginal! particularn vacuam 
relinqueret, sed toto corde, tota anima, tota Yirtute diligerett 
wet gratia plena. Serm. 29, in Cant. 

| Cant. ii. 10, 


heaven to learn from the heart of the Virgin 
how to love God.* 

God, who is love: "Deus charitas est,"f came 
on earth to kindle in all men the flames of his 
holy love; but he inflamed no heart so much as 
,the heart of his mother, who, being entirely 
pure from every earthly affection, was perfectly 
ready to be enkindled by this blessed flame. 
Thus St. Jerome teaches.J Hence the heart of 
Mary became all fire and flames, as we read of 
her in the sacred Canticles: The lamps thereof 
are fire and flames: " Lampades ejus, lampades 
ignis, atque flammarum." Fire burning within, 
through love, as St. Anselm explains,] and flames 
shining forth upon all, by the practice of virtue. 
Mary, therefore, when she bore Jesus in her 
arms, might indeed have called herself: Fire 
carrying fire: "Ignis gestans ignem," more prop 
erly than a certain woman who was carrying 
fire in her hand was so called by Hippocrates. 
Yes, for St. Ildephonsussaid: As fire heats iron, 
the Holy Spirit so wholly inflamed Mary that 
nothing was seen in her but the flame of the 
Holy Ghost, nothing was felt but the fire of the 
love of God.T St. Thomas of Villanova says 

* Seraphim e coelo descendere poterant, ut amorem discerent in 
corde Virginia. 

t Joan. iv. 16. 

$ Totam earn incanduerat divinus amor, ita nt nihil esset munda- 
num quod ejus violaret affectum, sed ardor continuus, et ebrietas pro- 
fusi amoris. Hier. aut. Sofron. Serm. de Ass. 

Cant. viii. 6. I Ap. a Lap. 

1 Mariana, velut ignis ferrum, Spiritus Sanctas totam ignivit; ita 
fit in ea Spiritue Sancti flamma tantum videatur, nee seiitiatur nisi 
Untuiu j"-nis amoris Dei. De. Ass. Or. 1. 


that the bush which Moses saw entirely in flames 
without being consumed, was really a symbol 
of the heart of the Virgin. Wherefore with 
reason, as St. Bernard says, was she seen by St. 
John clothed with the sun: And there appeared 
a great wonder in heaven, a woman clothed with 
the sun: "Et signum apparuit in coelo, mulier 
amicta sole."* For, says the saint, she was so 
united to God by love that it seems as if no creat 
ure could be more united to him. Mary, then, is 
justly described as clothed with the sun, for she 
has penetrated to an incredible depth the abys* 
of divine wisdom, so that, as far as it is per 
mitted to a creature not personally united with 
God, she appears immersed in that inaccessible 
light.f * 

Therefore St. Bonaventure asserts, that the 
holy Virgin was never tempted by the spirits of 
hell: For as flies, he says, are driven away by a 
great fire, so from the heart of Mary, which 
was one flame of love, the devils fled, and did 
not even dare to approach her.J And Richard 
also says: The Virgin was terrible to the princes 
of darkness, so that they did not presume to ap 
proach and tempt her, for the flame of charity 

* Apoc. xil. 1. 

t Jure ergo Maria sole perhibetur amicta, quee prof undissimain 
divinte eapientiae, ultra quam credi valeat, penetravit abyssum; ut 
quantum sine personal! unione creaturae conditio patitur, luci illi in- 
accessibili videatur immersa. Serm. in Sign Afagn. 

J Sicut magnus ignis effugat muecae, sic a sua inflammata charitata 
deemones pellebantur, quod non ausi Bint illi appropinquare. To. 2, 
sou. 61, a. 3. 


deterred them.* Mary herself revealed to St. 
Bridget, that in this world she had no other 
thought, no other desire, no other joy, than God: 
I thought of nothing but God; nothing pleased 
me but God: "Nihil nisi Deum cogitabam, nulla 
mihi nisi Deus placuerunt." So that her blessed 
soul being, as it were, on this earth in a contin- 
ual contemplation of God, the acts of love she 
made were innumerable; as Father Suarez has 
declared: The acts of perfect love which the 
blessed Virgin made in this life were innumer. 
able, for she passed almost her whole life in 
contemplation, and was very frequently repeat 
ing an act of love.f But Bernard de Bustis 
pleases me more when he says, that Mary did 
not so much repeat the acts of love in order, as 
other saints do, but, by a singular privilege, al 
ways actually loved God with one continued 
act.J Like the royal eagle she kept her eyes al 
ways fixed upon the divine Sun, so that, as St. 
Peter Damian says, neither did the actions of life 
prevent her from loving, nor love prevent her 
from acting. Thus, says St. Germanus, Mary 

* Virgo principibus tenebrarum terribilis fuit, ut ad earn accedere, 
eamque tentare non prsesumserint, deterrebat eos flamma charitatis. 
P. c. 26, in Cant. 

t Actus perfectse charitatie, qnos B. Virgo habuit in hac vita, in- 
sumerabiles fuerunt, quae fere totam vitam in contemplatione trans- 
egit, et tune amoris actum frequentissime repetebat. To. 2, in 3, p. 
D. 18, S. 4. 

t Tamen ipsa gloriosissima Virgo de privilegio singular! continue 
et semper Deum amabat actualiter. P. 2, Serm. 4, de Nat. Virg. 

Adeo ut nee actio contemplationem minuerct, et contemplate 
Ma desereret actioneni. Serm. 1, de Nat. Virg. 


was prefigured by the altar of propitiation on 
which the fire was never extinguished by day of 
by night. 

Neither did sleep interrupt the love of Mary 
for her God. For if such a privilege was given 
to our first parents in the state of innocence, as 
St. Augustine asserts, saying: Their dreama 
when sleeping were as happy as their life when 
waking: "Tarn f elicia erant somnia dormientium, 
quam vita vigilantium,"* it certainly could not 
be denied to the divine mother, as Suarez and 
Rupert the Abbot believe, with St. Bernardine 
and St. Ambrose, who has written concerning 
Mary: While her body rested, her soul watched: 
"Cum quiesceret corpus, vigilaret animus." f 
Thus were verified in her the words of the wise 
man: Her lamp shall not be put out in the 
night: "Non cxtingueturinnocte lucernaejus." J 
Yes, for while her blessed bod}% with a light 
sleep, took its needed rest, her soul, says St. 
Bernardine, freely rose to God, so at that time 
her contemplation was more perfect than is that 
of any other person when awake. Therefore 
could she well say with the spouse in the Can 
ticles: I sleep and my heart watcheth: "Ego 
dormio et cor meum vigilat." |j Happy in sleep 
as in waking: "Tarn felix dormiendo, quam 
vigilando," as Suarez says. In a word, St. Ber- 

* L. 5, in Jul. c. 9. t L. 2, de Virg. $ Prov. xxxi. 18. 

Anima ejus libere tune tendebat in Deum; unde illo temporeerat 
ferfectior conttmplatrix, quam unquam furit aliua dum rigilavit. 


nardine asserts, that Mary, while she lived on 
earth, was continually loving God: "Hens Vir- 
ginis in ardore dilectionis continue tenebatur."* 
And he adds further, that she never did any 
thing that she did not know was pleasing to 
God; and that she loved him as much as she 
knew he ought to be loved. \ Hence, according 
to blessed Albertus Magnus, it may be said that 
Mary was filled with so great charity that a 
greater was not possible in any pure creature on 
this earth. J For this reason St. Thomas of 
Villanova has said, that the Virgin, by her ar 
dent charity, was made so beautiful and so en 
amored her God, that captivated as it were, by 
love of her, he descended into her womb to be 
come man. Wherefore St. Bernardine ex< 
claims: Behold a Virgin who by her virtue has 
wounded and taken captive the heart of God.| 

But since Mary loves her God so much, she 
certainly requires from her servants nothing 
else so much as that they should love God as 

* To. 2, Serm. 51, a. 3, c. 3. 

t Nihil unquam elegit nisi quod divina sapientia demonstrabat; 
tantumque dilexit Deum, quantum a se diligendum existimabat. 
Loc. cit. 

$ Credimus etiam sine prsejudicio melioris sententiae, B. Virginem 
in conceptione filii Dei charitatem talem accepisse qualis et quanta 
percipi poterat a pura creatura in statu vise. L. de Laud. Virg c. 96. 

Hsec Virgo sua pulchritudine Deum a coelis allexit, qui amors 
illius captus est, et humanitatis nostrse nexibus irretitus. Cone. 5, 
in Nat, Dom. 

I O virtos Virginia matris! Una puella vulneravit et rapnit dW 
tioum corl To. 2, Serm. 61, a. 1 , c. 4, 


much as they can. And precisely this she 
to the blessed Angela de Foligno one day after 
communion : "Angela, may you be blessed by 
my Son; seek to love him as much as you can." 
And the blessed Virgin herself said to St. Brid 
get: Daughter, if you wish to bind me to you, love 
my Son; "Si vis me tecum devincire, ama filium 
meum." Mary desires nothing more than to see 
her beloved, who is God, loved by all. ISTova- 
rino asks why the holy Virgin, with the spouse 
of the Canticles, begged the angels to make 
known to her Lord the great love she bore him, 
saying : "I ad jure you, oh daughters of Jerusalem, 
if you find my beloved, that you tell him that I 
languish Avith love."* Did not God know how 
much she loved him ? Why does she desire to 
show the wound to her beloved who gave the 
wound ? "Cur vulnus ostendi quserit dilecto qui 
vulnus fecit ?" The same author answers, that 
the divine mother did not wish by this to make 
known her love to God, but to us ; that, as she 
was wounded, she might be able to wound us 
also with divine love : "Ut vulnerata vulneret."f 
And because she was wholly inflamed with the 
love of God, she inflames all those who love and 
approach her, and renders them like herself.J 
For this reason St. Catharine of Sienna called 
Mary : The bearer of the flame of divine love 

* Adjuro vos, filite Jerusalem, si inveneritis dilectum meum, ut 
nuncietis ei, quia amore langueo. Cant. v. 8. 

t L. 4, n. 306. 

t Quia tota ardens fuit, omnes se amantes eamque tangentes i 
cendit, et sibi assimilat. 


"Portatrix ignis." If we also wish to burn with 
this blessed flame, let us always endeavor to draw 
near to our mother with prayers and affections. 
Oh queen of love, Mary, the most lovely, tha 
most beloved, and the most loving of all creat 
ures, as St. Francis de Sales said to thee: Ah, 
my mother, thou wert always wholly inflamed 
with love to God; ah, deign to bestow on me at 
least one spark of it. Thou G. dst pray thy Son 
for that family whose wine had failed: They 
have no wine: "Vinum non habent," and wilt 
thou not pray for us, who are wanting in love 
to God, whom we are under such obligations to 
love? Say to Jesus: They have no love: "Amor- 
em non habent." Do thou obtain for us this 
love. We ask of thee no other favor than this. 
Oh mother, by the great love thou hast for Je- 
BUS, graciously hear us and pray for us. Amen. 



LOVE to God and our neighbor is commanded 
by the same precept: "And this commandment 
we have from God, that he who loyeth God, love 
also his neighbor."* And St. Thomas gives 
it as a reason for this, that he who loves God, 
loves all things which God loves. St. Catherine 

* Et hoc mandatmn habemus a Deo, at qai dilieit Beam, diligat eg 
fratrem enum. 1 Joan. iv. 21. 


of Genoa one day said to God: "Oh Lord, it ii 
thy will that I love my neighbor, and I can love 
none but thee." God answered her in these 
words: "He who loves me, loves all things loved 
by me." But as there never has been and never 
will be one who loves God more than Mary; so 
there never has been and never will be one who 
loves his neighbor more than Mary. Cornelius 
a Lapide, remarking on these words: "King Sol 
omon hath made him a litter of the wood of Li- 
banus . . . the midst he covered with charity for 
the daughters of Jerusalem,"* says, that this lit 
ter was the womb of Mary, in which the incar 
nate Word dwelt, filling the mother with char 
ity, that she might succor all who had recourse 
to her.f Mary was so full of charity when she 
was on earth, that she assisted unasked, those 
who were in need, just as she did at the mar 
riage of Cana, when she told her Son of the 
trouble of the family: They have no wine: "Vin- 
ura non habent,"J and begged him to give them 
wine by a miracle. Oh! how she hastened to 
the relief of her neighbor, when she went to the 
house of Elizabeth on an errand of charity: 
She went into the hill country in haste: "Abiit 
in montana cum festinatione." She could in 
no way show greater charity than by offering 

* Ferculum fecit sibi rex Salomon .... media charitate con- 
travit propter filias Jerusalem. Cant. iii. 9. 

t B. Virginia sinus fuit ferculum ferens verbum; ideoque media 
charitate constratum propter filias Jerusalem quia Christus qui eat 
ipsa charitas, maximam charitatem B. Virgin! aspiravit, ut ipsa ad 
illam recurrentibus opem ferret. 

$ Joan. ii. 3. { Lac. i. 30. 


her Son for our salvation; so that St. Bonaven- 
ture says: Mary so loved the world as to give 
her only-begotten Son.* Therefore St. Anselm 
addresses her in these words: Oh, blessed among 
women, who dost excel the angels in purity, and 
the saints in pity!f Neither does the charity 
of Mary for us fail, says St. Bonaventure, now she 
is in heaven; but is much increased there. Be 
cause now she sees more clearly the miseries of 
men.J Hence the saint said: Great was the 
mercy of Mary towards the wretched when she 
was still an exile on earth; but* it is far greater 
now that she is reigning in heaven. And the 
angel said to St. Bridget, that there is no one 
who prays that does not receive graces through 
the charity of theVirgin.|| Miserable should we 
be were Mary not to pray for us. Jesus Christ 
himself also said to the same saint: "If the 
prayers of my mother did not interpose, there 
would be no hope of mercy. "^ 

Blessed is he, says the divine mother, who 
hears my teachings and considers my charity, in 
order to practise it towards others in imitation of 
me: "Blessed is the man that heareth me, and 

* Sic Maria dilexit mundnm, nt fllinm suura unigenitam daret. 

t O benedicta inter muiieres, quae angelos vincit puritate et sanctoe 
superas pietate. 

$ Quia magis nunc videt hominum miserias. Spec. c. 8. 

Magna fuit erga miseros misericordia Marise adhuc exulantia 
la mundo, sed multo major est regnantis in coelo. Luc. cit. 

I Ex dukedine Mariae nullus est, qui non per earn, si petitur 
nentiat pietatem. Rev. 1. c. 3, 30. 

1 Nisi preces matris me* iutervenirent, non eeeet spes misericordki 
L. 6, c. 3d. 


that watch eth daily at my gates, and waiteth at 
the posts of my doors."* St. Gregory ISTazianzen 
says, that there is nothing by which we may 
more surely gain the love of Mary, than by the 
practice of charity towards our neighbor.}- 
Hence, as God commands us, saying, "Be ye 
merciful, as your Father also is merciful;" J so 
Mary appears to say to all her children: Be ye 
merciful, as your mother also is merciful. It is 
certain that God and Mary will show mercy to 
us, according to the charity we practise towards 
our neighbor. "Give, and it shall be given to 
you." "For with the same measure that you 
ehall mete withal, it shall be measured to you 
again."] St. Methodius said: Give to the poor 
and receive paradise: "Da pauperi et accipe Pa- 
radisum:" for, according to the apostle, charity 
towards our neighbor renders us happy in this 
life and the next: "But piety is profitable to all 
things, having promise of the life that now is, 
and of that which is to come." 1 !" St. John Chry- 
sostom, remarking on the words of Proverbs, 
He that hath mercy on the poor, lendeth to the 

* Beatns homo qul audit me, et qu! vigilat ad fores meas quotidie, 
t observat ad postes ostii mei. Prov. viii. 34. 

t Nulla res est quae Virginia benevolentiam conciliat, ac misri. 

$ Estote misericordes, sicut et pater vester misericors est. Luc. 
viii. 36. 

Estote misericordes sicut et mater vestra misericors est. 

I Date et dabitur vobis; eadem quippe mensura qua mensi fueritii, 
iwnetietur vobie. Luc. vi. 38. 

5 Pletas autem ad omnia utilis ett, promieaionem habeas vft, fua 
et, et f uUree. 1 Tim. ir. 8. 


Lord,"* says, that he who assists the needy, 
makes God his debtor.f Oh mother of mercy, 
thou art full of charity for all. Do not forget 
my miseries. Thou dost even now see them. Re 
commend me to that God who denies thee noth 
ing . Obtain for me the grace of being able to 
imitate thee in holy charity towards God and 
towards my neighbor. Amen.** 



As the blessed Virgin is the mother of love 
and of hope, thus, also, is she the mother of 
faith. "I am the mother of fair love, and of 
fear, and knowledge, and of holy hope." { And 
justly, says St. Irenaeus, since Mary repaired by 
her faith that loss which Eve caused by her in- 
credulity.g Eve, Tertullian also says, because 
she chose to believe the serpent rather than the 
Word of God, brought death into the world, 
but our queen, believing the words of the angel, 
that she, remaining a virgin, was to become the 
mother of the Lord, brought salvation to the 
world.] For St. Augustine says that Mary, 
giving her consent to the incarnation of the 
Word, by means of her faith opened paradise to 

* Fceneratnr Domino qul mieeretur panperl. 

t Si Deo fceneratur is ergo nobis debitor est. 

t Ego mater pulchrre dilectionis, et timorie, et agnitionis, et sanctw 
epei. Eccli. xxiv. 24. 

Quod Heva ligavit per incredulitatem, Maria solvit per fldem. 

II Crediderat Heva serpenti, Maria Gabrieli; quod ilia credende d*- 
fiquit, h#c credendo delevit 


men.* Also Richard, commenting on tne wordg 
of St. Paul: "For the unbelieving husband is 
sanctified by the believing wife," f says: This 
is the believing woman by whose faith the un 
believing Adam and all his posterity are saved. J 
Hence, on account of her faith, Elizabeth pro 
nounced the Virgin blessed: Blessed art thou 
that hast believed, because those things shall be 
accomplished in thee that were spoken by the 
Lord. And St. Augustine added: Mary is 
more blessed by receiving the faith of Christ 
than by conceiving the flesh of Christ.] 

Father Suarez says that the holy Virgin had 
more faith than all men and all the angels. 
She saw her Son in the stable of Bethlehem, and 
believed him the Creator of the world. She saw 
him flying from Herod, and yet believed that 
he was the King of kings. She saw him born, 
and believed him to be eternal. She saw him 
poor and in need of food, and believed him to 
be Lord of the universe, laid on straw, and she 
believed him omnipotent. She observed that 
he did not speak, and she believed him to be the 
infinite Wisdom. She heard him weeping, and 
she believed him to be the joy of paradise. 

* Fides Mnrise ccelnm apernit, cnm angelo nuncianti consensit. 

t Sanctificatus est enim vir infidelis per mulierem fidelem. 1 Cor. 
Tii. 14. 

t Haec est mulier fidelis, per cujus fldem salvatus est Adam vir in, 
fldelis et tota posteritas. 

Beata quse credidisti quoniam perficientur ea, quse dicta sunt tibi 
a Domino. Luc. i. 45. 

[ Beatior Maria percipiendo fidem Christi, quam coiicipieod* 
earnem Christi. 


Finally, she saw him in death, despised and 
crucified, but although the faith of others might 
have wavered, Mary remained firm in th belief 
that he was God. St. Antoninus says, remark 
ing on the words: There stood by the cross of 
Jesus his mother: "Stabat juxta crucem Jesu 
mater ejus," Mary stood supported by her 
faith, which she retained firm in the divinity of 
Christ.* And it is for this reason, says the 
saint, that in the office of Tenebrse, only one 
candle is left lighted. St. Leo, when treating 
of this subject, applies to the Virgin this pas 
sage of Proverbs: "Her lamp shall not be put 
out in the night." f On the words of Isaias, 
"I have trodden the wine-press alone, and of the 
Gentiles, there is not a man with me," J St. 
Thomas remarks: He says a man, on account of 
the Virgin, in whom faith never failed. 
Whence the blessed Albertus Magnus says, that 
Mary practised then a most perfect faith. She 
had faith in a most excellent degree; who, even 
when the disciples were doubting, did not doubt. 
Mary, therefore, by her great faith merited to 
become the light of all the faithful, as St. 
Methodius calls her: "Fidelium fax." And by 
St. Cyril of Alexandria: The queen of the true 
faith: "Sceptrum orthodoxae fidei." And the 

* Stabat mater fide elevata, quam de Christ! divinitate fixa re- 

t Non extinguetur in nocte lucerna ejue. xxxi. 18. 
$ Torcular calcavi solus, et de gentibus non est vir mecum. Ixiii. & 
Dicit vir propter Virginem, in qua nunquam fides defecit. 


holy Church herself attributes to the Virgin, by 
the merit of her faith, the destruction of all 
heresies: "Rejoice, oh Virgin Mary, for thou 
alone hast destroyed all heresies throughout the 
world."* St. Thomas of Villanova also says, 
explaining the words of the Holy Spirit, "Thou 
hast wounded my heart, my sister, my spouse 
. . . with one of thy eyes," f that the eyes 
signify faith, by which the Virgin gave the 
greatest pleasure to the Son of God.J ^ 

St. Ildephonsus exhorts us to imitate the faith 
of Mary: "Imitamini signaculum fidei Mariae." 
But how are we to imitate this faith of Mary? 
Faith is at the same time a gift and a virtue. It 
is a gift of God, in so far as it is a light which 
God infuses into the soul, and it is also a virtue 
in so far as it is exercised by the soul. Hence 
faith is given us not only to serve as a rule of 
belief, but also of action. Therefore St. Gregory 
eays: He truly believes who, by his works, 
practises what he believes. And St. Augustine: 
Thou sayest," I believe," do what you say, and 
it is faith. || And this is to have a lively faith, 
namely, to live according to our belief. "My just 

* Gaude, Maria Virgo, cunctas haereses sola interemisti inuniverso 
mundo. Ant. 1, Noct. 3. 

t Vulnerasti cor meum, soror mea, sponea ... in tmo oculorum 
tuorum. Cant. iv. 9. 

t Per oculos fldem designat, qua Dei fllio Virgo maxime com- 

Ille vero credit, qui exercet operando quod credit. 

8 Dicis, credo, fac quod dicis, et fides eat. 


man livetb by faith."* It was thus the blessed 
Virgin lived, very differently from those who do 
not live according to what they believe, whose 
faith is dead, as St. James says: Faith without 
good works is dead: " Fide sine operibus mortua 
est."f Diogenes went about seeking a man upon 
earth: "Hominem quaero;" but God seems seek 
ing a Christian among the many faithful: "Chris- 
tianum qusero." For very few are they who have 
the works, the greater part have only the namej 
but to these should be said what Alexander said 
to that cowardly soldier who was also named 
Alexander; Change either your name or your con 
duct: "Aut nomeu, aut mores muta." But, as 
Father Avila used to say: It would be better if 
these miserable creatures were put in confinement 
as madmen, believing as they do, that a happy 
eternity is prepared for him who lives well, and 
an unhappy eternity for him who lives ill, and yet 
living as if they did not believe this. St. Augus 
tine therefore exhorts us to see things with Chris, 
tian eyes, that is, to see according to faith: "Ocu- 
los Christianorum habete." For St. Theresa was 
accustomed to say, that all sins arise from a want 
of faith. Let us therefore implore the holy Vir 
gin, that by the merit of her faith she may obtain 
for us a lively faith. Oh Lady, increase our faith: 
Domina adauge nobis fidem. 

* Justus autem meus ex fide vidit, Hebr. x. 38. 1 11.10. 




FROM faith springs hope, for God enlighten! 
us by faith with a knowledge of his goodness 
and his promises, that we may raise by hope to 
the desire of possessing him. Mary, then, having 
the virtue of an extraordinary faith, had also 
the virtue of an extraordinary hope, which made 
her say with David: "But it is good for me to 
adhere to my God, and to put my hope in the 
Lord God."* Mary was, indeed, that faithful, 
spouse of the Holy Spirit, of whom it was said; 
"Who is this that coineth up from the desert, 
flowing with delights, leaning on her beloved?"f 
For she was always perfectly detached from 
affection to the world, which to her appeared a 
desert; and placing no confidence either in creat 
ures or her own merits, but relying entirely ou 
divine grace, in which alone she trusted, she 
always advanced in the divine love; and thus 
Ailgrin said of her: She ascended from the 
desert, that is, from the world, which she de 
serted and esteemed such a desert, that she 
turned away from it all her affection. Leaning 
upon her beloved; for she trusted not in her own 
merits, but in the grace of him who bestows 
grace.J ^ 

* Mihi autem adhaerere Deo bonum est; ponere in Domino Deo 
epem meam. Psal. Ixxii. 28. 

t Quae est ista quae ascendit de deserto, deliciis affluens innixa 
uper dilectum suum? Cant. viii. 5. 

$ Ascendit de deserto, scilicet de mundo, quern sic deseruit, el 


And the holy Virgin plainly showed how 
great was her confidence in God: first, when 
she saw the trouble of her holy spouse, Joseph, 
because he knew not the mode of her miraculous 
pregnancy, and thought of leaving her : But 
Joseph .... minded to put her away private 
ly : "Joseph autem. . . . voluit occulte dimittere- 
earn."* It appeared then necessary, as we have 
already said, that she should discover to Joseph 
the hidden mystery; but no, she would not her 
self reveal the grace she had received; she 
thought it better to abandon herself to divine 
providence, trusting that God himself would 
protect her innocence and her reputation. Cor 
nelius a Lapide makes precisely the same remark, 
commenting upon these very words of the 
Gospel: The blessed Virgin was unwilling to 
make known this secret to Joseph, lest she 
should seem to boast of her gifts, but resigned 
herself in perfect confidence to the care of God, 
trusting that he would protect her innocence 
and reputation.f Moreover, she showed her 
confidence in God, when, as the time for the 
birth of Christ approached, she saw herself in 
Bethlehem shut out from the lodgings even of the 

tamquam desertum reputavit, ut ab ipso omnem suum averterit af- 
fectum. Innixa super dilectum suum, nara non suis meritis, sed 
ipsius innitebatur gratiae, qui gratiam tribuit. Ap. Cornel, in Cant. 

* Matth. 1. 19. 

t B. Virgo autem noduit ultro secretum hoc Josepho pandere, n 
BOA dona jactare videretur, sed ^Dei curse idipsum resigtiavit certis- 
un* confideas, Deum euam innocentiam et famam tutaturam. 


poor, and obliged to bring forth her So 
in a stable. "And she laid him in a manger, be 
cause there was no room for him in the inn."* 
She did not then utter a single word of complaint, 
but abandoning herself to God, trusted that he 
would assist her in her need. The divine mother 
also showed how much she trusted in the divine 
providence, when warned by Joseph that they 
were obliged to fly into Egypt, she set out the 
same night on so long a journey to a foreign and 
unknown country, without preparation, with 
out money, without other company than that of 
her infant Jesus and her poor spouse: "Who 
arose and took the child and his mother by 
night, and retired into Egypt."f But much 
more did Mary make known her confidence t 
when she asked from her Son the favor of the 
miracle of wine at the marriage of Cana; for 
having said: They have no wine: "Vinum non 
habent;" Jesus answered her: Woman, what is 
it to thee and to me ? my hour has not yet come."J 
But after this answer, by which it seemed 
clearly that he refused her request, she, trusting 
in the divine goodness, directed the people of 
the house to do as the Son should order, because 
the grace was secure: Whatsoever he shall say 
to you, do ye: "Quodcumque dixerit vobig 
raeite." And Jesus Christ did, indeed, order 

* Et reclinavit eum in prsesepio, qua non erat eis locus in diversorio, 
Luc. ii. 7. 

t Qui consurgens acceplt puerum, et matrem ejus nocte, et secesait 
In JEgyptum. Matth. ii. 14. 

) Quid mihi et tibi eat mulier, nondum venit horamea. Joan. ii. 4L 


that the vessels should be filled with water, and 
then changed it into wine. 

Let us learn then from Mary to trust inGodai 
we ought, but principally as to what concerns 
our eternal salvation, in which, although our co 
operation is necessary, yet we ought to hope 
from God alone the grace necessary for obtain 
ing it, entirely distrusting our own strength and 
saying with the apostle : I can do all things in 
him who strengtheneth me : "Omnia possum in 
eo qui me confortat."* 

Ah, my most holy Lady, of thee Ecclesiasticus 
says, that thou art the mother of holy hope : 
"Mater sanctse spei."f The holy Church says of 
thee that thou art hope itself : Hail, our hope : 
"Spes nostra salve." What other hope then am I 
seeking ? Thou, after Christ, art all my hope ; 
thus St. Bernard called thee, thus I also wish to 
call thee : The whole reason of my hope : "Tota 
ratio spes meae; " and I will always say to thee 
with St. Bonaventure : Oh salvation of those 
who invoke thee, save me : "O salus te invocan- 
tium salva me. 



SINCE the fall of Adam the flesh being rebell 
ious against reason, the virtue of chastity is the 
most difficult for men to practise. Of all com- 
* Phil. IT. 13. t Eccli. xxiy. U. 


bats, says St. Augustine, those of chastity are 
the most severe, for the battle is daily and the vie. 
tory rare.* But eternal praise to the Lord who 
has given us in Mary a great example of this 
virtue. With justice says blessed Albertus 
Magnus, is Mary called the Virgin of virgins, 
for she being the first who offered her virginity 
to God, without the counsel or example of others, 
has brought to him all virgins who imitate her.f 
As David had already predicted: After her vir 
gins shall be brought to the temple of the king: 
"Adducentur virgines post earn in templum. 
regis."J Without counsel or example; yes, for 
St. Bernard exclaims: Oh Virgin, who has 
taught thee to please God by virginity, and on 
earth to lead the life of an angel ? Ah ! an 
swers Sophronius, it is for this God has chosen 
this most pure Virgin for his mother, that she 
may be an example of chastity to all.|| Hence 
St. Ambrose has called Mary the standard-bear 
er of chastity : "Quse sigrmm Virgin itatis extulit." 
By reason of this her purity the blessed Virgin 
was also called by the holy Spirit: Beautiful 
as the turtle-dove: Thy cheeks are beautiful as 

* Inter omnia certamina duriora sunt pryelia castitatis, ubi quo- 
tidiana est pugna et rara victoria. 

t Virgo virginum, quae sine consilio, sine exeraplo mnnus virgini- 
Utis Deo obtulit, et per eui imitationem omnes virgines genninavit. 
Mar. p. 29. 

$ Psal. Ixiv. 15. 

O Virgo quis te docuit Deo placere virginitate, et In terriB an- 
gelicam ducere vitam. Horn. 4. Sup. Miss. 

| Christus matrem virginem elegit, ut ipsa omnibus onset xemptaift 
Mtitatis. Ap. Parav. p. 2, c. 1. 


the turtle-dove s: "Pulchrse sunt gense tnse sicut 
turturis."* Mary, says St. Aponius, is a roost 
chaste turtle : " Turtur pudicissima Maria." And 
therefore she has also been called a lily : As the 
lily among the thorns, so is my love among the 
daughters: "Sicut lilinm inter spinas, sic arnica 
mea inter filias."f St. Denis the Carthusian, 
commenting on this passage, says, that she has 
been called a lily among thorns because all other 
virgins were thorns either to themselves or others; 
but the blessed Virgin has never been one to her 
self or others. J For by her presence alone she 
infused into all, thoughts and affections of purity: 
"Intuentiurn corda ad castitatem invitabat." 
And this is confirmed by St. Thomas, who says 
that the beauty of the blessed Virgin encouraged 
chastity in all who beheld her: Pulchritude B. 
Virginis intuentes ad castitatem excitabat."] 
St. Jerome declares himself of the opinion that 
St. Joseph preserved his virginity by the society 
of Mary, for the saint thus writes against the 
heretic Helvidius, who denied the virginity of 
Mary: Thou sayest that Mary did not remain a 
virgin; I take it upon myself to maintain more 
than that, even that Joseph himself preserved 
his virginity through Mary.T A certain author 

* Cant. i. 9. t Cant. !1. 2. 

tOmnesalife virgines spinaj fnerunt vel sibl vel aliis; B. Virgo 
nee sibi, nee aliis. 

Id. S. Dio. 1 Ap. Par. loc. cit. 

ITu dicis Mariana virginem non permansisse? Ego mihi plug 
vindico, etiam ipsum Joseph virginem fuisse per Mariam L. adv. 


ays that the blessed Virgin so loved this virtu^ 
that to preserve it, she would have been ready 
to renounce even the dignity of mother of 
God. This we may learn from her own answer 
to the archangel: "How shall this be done,because 
I know not man?"* and from the words she 
afterwards added: Be it done to me according 
to thy word : "Fiat mihi secundum verbum 
tuum ;" signifying by this that she gave her con 
cent on the condition of which the angel had 
assured her, namely, that she should become a 
mother by means of the Holy Spirit alone. 

St. Ambrose says: He who has preserved chas 
tity is an angel, he who has lost it is a devil. f 
According to the words of our Lord: "They shall 
be as the angels of God in heaven. "J But the 
unchaste become odius to God as the devils. 
And St. Remigius said that the greater number 
of adults are lost through this vice. The vie, 
tory over this vice is rare, as has been said in the 
words of St. Augustine at the beginning of this 
section; but why is it rare? Because the means 
for conquering it are not put in use. The means 
are three according to Bellarmine, and the mas 
ters of the spiritual life: Fasting, avoiding 
dangerous occasions, and prayer: "Jejuniun, 
periculorum evitatio, et oratio." By fasting is 
meant mortification, particularly of the eyes 
and of the appetite. The most holy Mary, 

* Quomodo flet istud, quoniam vlrum non cognosce. Luc. 1. 34 
t Qui castitatem eervavit, angelus est, qui perdidit, diabolus. 
; Matth. xxii. 


although she was full of divine grace, was so 
mortified with her eyes that she kept them al 
ways cast down, as St. Epiphanius and St. John 
Damascene inform us, and never fixed them on 
any one; they say that from her childhood she 
vas so modest that she was the wonder of all. 
And hence St. Luke remarks, that in going to 
visit St. Elizabeth: She went with haste: "Abiit 
cum festinatione," that she might not be long seen 
in public. Philibert relates with regard to her 
food, that it was revealed to a hermit named 
Felix, that the infant Mary took milk only once 
a day. And St. Gregory of Tours asserts that, 
during her whole life, she fasted always: "Nul- 
lo tempore Maria non jejunavit;" and St. Bona- 
venture adds, that Mary would never have 
found so much grace unless she had been tem 
perate in food, for grace and gluttony can 
not subsist together.* In a word, Mary practis 
ed mortification in every thing, so that of her it 
was said: My hands dropped with myrrh: "Man- 
us mese still averunt myrrh am. "f 

The second means is to fly the occasions of sin. 
He that is aware of the snares shall be secure: 
"Qui autem cavet laqueos, securus erit."J Hence 
St. Philip Neri said, that in this warfare cowards 
conquer; that is, those who avoid dangerous oc 
casions. Mary shunned as much as possible the 
sight of men; and therefore St. Luke says that 
in her visit to St. Elizabeth, she went with haste 

* Nnnquam Maria tantam gratiam invenissit, nisi cibo temperati 
wma fuipeet; non enim se compatiuntur gratia et gula. 
t Cfrnt. v. 5. $ Prov. xi. 15. 


fnto the hill country: "Abiit in montana cum 
festinatione." And a certain author remarks 
that the Virgin left Elizabeth before the birth 
of the Baptist, as we learn from the Gospel it 
self, in which it is said that "Mary abode with 
her about three months; and she returned to her 
own house. Now Elizabeth s full time of being 
delivered was come, and she brought forth a 
son."* And why did she not wait till his birth? 
In order to avoid the conversation and visits 
which would follow that event. The third means 
is prayer. "And as I knew," said the wise man, 
" that I could not otherwise be continent except 
God gave it ... .1 went to the Lord and be 
sought him."f And the blessed Virgin revealed 
to St. Elisabeth, a Benedictine nun, that she had 
not acquired any virtue without effort and con 
tinual prayer. J St. John Damascene says that 
Mary is pure and a lover of purity: "Pura est efc 
puritatem amans," and therefore she cannot en 
dure the impure. But whoever has recourse to 
her will certainly be delivered from this vice by 
only pronouncing her name with confidence. 
And the venerable John of Avila says that many 
temptations against chastity have been over 
come solely by devotion to the immaculate Vir 
gin. Oh Mary, oh most pure dove, how many are 

* Mansit autem Maria cum ilia quasi mensibus tribus; et re versa 
cat in domnm suam. Elisabeth autem impletum est tempus pariendi 
et peperit filium. Cap. i. 56. 

t Et ut scivi quoniam aliter non possem esse iontinens nisi Deu 
del . . . . aii Dorniuum, et deprecatus sum ilium. Sap. vtii. 91. 

$ Ap. 8. Bon. de Vit. Chr. c. 3. 


in hell through the vice of impurity! Oh Lady, 
obtain for us that always in our temptations we 
may have recourse to thee, and invoke thee, say 
ing: Mary, Mary, help us. Amen. 



OUR loving Redeemer chose to be poor on 
this earth in order to teach us to despise the 
goods of this world : "Being rich," says St. Paul, 
"he became poor for your sake, that through 
his poverty you might be rich."* For this 
reason Jesus Christ says to each one who wish 
es to be his disciple: "If thou wilt be perfect, 
go sell what thou hast and give it to the poor, 
and come follow me." f Behold his most per 
fect disciple Mary, who indeed imitated his ex 
ample. Father Canisius proves that the holy 
Virgin could have lived in comfort on the in 
heritance left her by her parents, but she was 
content to remain poor, reserving to herself a 
small portion, and giving the rest in alms to the 
temple and to the poor. Many are of opinion 
that Mary also made a vow of poverty,;]; and it 

* Propter vos egenus factus est, cum esset dives, et illius Inopia 
vos divites essetis. 2 Cor. viii. 9. 

t Si vis perfectus ease, vende quse babes, et da pauperibus ... 
t veni, sequere me. Matth. xix. 21. 

t Ap. Parav. p. c. 2. 


is known that she herself said to St. Bridget: 
"From the beginning I vowed in my heart 
never to possess any thing in the world." * 
The gifts received from the holy Magi were cer 
tainly not of small value, but St. Bernard attests 
that she distributed them all to the poor.f And 
we learn that the divine mother immediately 
gave to others the presents above mentioned, 
from the fact that when she went to the temple 
she did not offer the lamb, which was the ob 
lation made by those who were able, as we read 
in Leviticus: "For a son she shall bring a lamb,"J 

but she offered two turtle-doves and two 

young pigeons, the oblation of the poor: "And 
to offer a sacrifice, according as it is written in 
the law of the Lord, a pair of turtle-doves or 
two young pigeons." Mary herself said to St. 
Bridget: "All that I had I gave to the poor, 
and kept nothing for myself but poor food and 
clothing." || 

Through love of poverty she did not disdain 
to marry a poor carpenter, like St. Joseph, and 
afterwards, as St. Bonaventure relates, to sup- 

* A principle vovi in corde meo nihil unquam possidere in mando. 
L. 1, c. 10. 

t Aurum sibi oblatum a magis non modicum, prout decebat eorum 
regiam majestatem, non sibi reservavit, sed pauperibus per Joseph 
distribuit. Ap. Par. loc. cit. 

Pro filio .... deferet agnum. xii. 6. 

Et ut darent hostiam secundnm quod dictum est in lege Domini, 
par turturum aut duos pullos columbarum. Luc. ii. 24. 

8 Omnia quae habere potui dedi indigentibus, nihilque niaibum 
et vestitum reBervavi. Key. 1. 1, c. 10. 


pert herself by the work of her hands, as sew 
ing or spinning. An angel revealed to St. 
Bridget concerning Mary, that worldly riches 
were in her eyes vile as dirt: "Mundanse divit 
velut lutum sibi vilescebat." In a word, she al 
ways lived in poverty, and she died in poverty; 
for as Metaphrastes and Nicephorus relate, she 
left nothing behind her at her death but two 
poor garments to two women, who had assisted 
her during life.* 

He who loves riches, said St. Philip Neri, will 
never become a saint; and St. Theresa also said: 
It justly follows that he who goes in search of 
things lost is also lost. On the other hand, the 
same saint said, that this virtue of poverty 
is a good that comprises all other goods. I have 
said the virtue of poverty which, according to 
St. Bernard, does not consist alone in being poor, 
but in loving poverty: "Non paupertas, sed amor 
paupertatis virtus est." Therefore Jesus Christ 
has said: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for 
theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "f Blessed, be 
cause they who wish for nothing but God, in 
God find every good, and find in poverty their 
paradise on earth, as St. Francis found it in say 
ing: My God and my all: "Deus meus et omnia." 
Let us, then, according to the exhortation of St. 
Augustine, love that only good in which is every 
good: "Ama unum bonum, in quo sunt omnia 

* Ap. auct. Vit. Mar. L. 5, c. 13. 

t Btati pauper e s spiritu quomam ipsorum est regnum coelonun< 
Katth. T. 3. 


bona." And let us pray our Lord with St. Ig 
natius: Give me only thy love together with thy 
grace, and I am rich enough.* And when pov 
erty afflicts us, let us console ourselves by the 
thought that Jesus and his mother have also 
been poor like us.f 

Ah, my most holy mother, thou hadst in truth 
reason to say, that in God was thy joy: And 
my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour, "| 
for in this world thou didst not desire nor love 
any other good than God. Draw me after thee: 
"Trahe me post te." Oh Lady! detach me from 
the world, and draw me after thee to love that 
one who alone merits to be loved. Amen. 



IT was through the affection which Mary bore 
to the virtue of obedience, that when the an 
nunciation was made to her by St. Gabriel, she 
did not wish to call herself by any other name 
than that of handmaid: Behold the handmaid of 
the Lord: "Ecce ancilla Domini." Indeed, says 
St. Thomas of Villanova, this faithful hand 
maid neither in act, word, nor thought, ever dis- 

* Amorem tui solum cum gratia tua mihi denes, et dives sum satia 
t Pauper multum consolari poteet de paupertate Mariae, et de pair 
pere Christo. 
$ fit exultavit epiritue meus in Deo salutari meo. 


obeyed the Lord, but divested of all self-will, she 
always, and in all things, lived obedient to the 
divine will.* She herself declared that God 
was pleased with her obedience when she said: 
He regarded the humility of his handmaid: "Re- 
spexit humilitatem ancillffl suae;"f for this is the 
humility of a servant, to be always prompt to 
obey. St. Augustine says, that the divine mother 
remedied by her obedience the evil that Eve had 
caused by her disobedience.! The obedience of 
Mary was far more perfect than that of all the 
other saints, for all men being inclined to evil 
through original sin, they all feel difficulty in 
doing right; but not so the blessed Virgin; for 
as St. Bernardino says: Because she was free 
from original sin, there was in her no hindrance 
in obeying God, but she was like a wheel read 
ily moved at every divine breath ; hence her 
only occupation on this earth, as the same saint 
expresses it, was to discover and do what was 
pleasing to God.J Of her it was said: My soul 

* O vera ancilla, qu neque dicto, neque facto, neque cogitatu 
anquam contradixit Altissimo, nihil sibl libertatisreservans, Bed per 
jmnia subdita Deo. Cone, de Annunc. 

t Luc. i. 48. 

$ Sicut Heva Inobediens et eibi et universo generi hunaano causa 
eacta est mortis; sic et Maria Virgo obediens et sibi et univeno 
eiieri humano facta est causa salutis. Ap. Parav. p. 2, c. 11. 

{ In B. Virgine nullum fuit omnino retardativum, proinde rota 
TOlubilis fuit eecundum omnem Spiritus Sancti motn. To. 3, Serm. 
*1, a. 2, c. 1. 

I Virgo eemper habuit continuum aepectum ad Dei beneplacitom, 
ttk forventeia consensual. To. g, s. 41 , a . 3, c. 2. 


melted when he spoke: "Anima mea liquefacta 
est, ut dilectus meus locutus est."* Comment 
ing on this passage, Richard says that the soul 
of Mary was like metal in a state of fusion, 
ready to take any form that was pleasing to 

Mary proved indeed the readiness of her 
obedience, in the first place, when, in order to 
please God, she was willing even to obey the 
Roman emperor, and made the journey, fifty 
miles, to Bethlehem, in winter, being pregnant, 
and so poor that she was obliged to bring forth 
her Son in a stable. She was also ready at the 
notice of St. Joseph, to set out immediately on 
that very night upon the longer and more 
difficult journey into Egypt. And Silveira asks 
why the command to fly into Egypt, was given 
to St. Joseph and not to the blessed Virgin, who 
was to suffer the most from the journey ? And 
he answers: Lest the Virgin should be deprived 
of an opportunity for performing an act of 
obedience for which she was most ready. J But 
above all, she showed her heroic obedience, 
when, in order to obey the divine will, she offer 
ed her Son to death with so much firmness that, 
as St. Ildephonsus says, she would have been 
ready to crucify him, if executioners had been 

* Anima mea liquefacta est, ut dilectus meus locutus est. Cant. 
t. 6. 

t Anima mea liquefacta est per incendium charitatis, parata instai 
metalli liquefacti decurrere in omnes modules divinte voluntatis. 

$ Ne Virgini subtrahatur occasio exercendi acturn obedient!* ad 
%em erat paratissima. 


wanting.* Hence the venerable Bcde, comment 
ing on those words of the Redeemer to that 
woman in the Gospel who exclaimed: "Blessed 
is the womb that bore thee:" "Yea, rather, 
blessed are they who hear the Word of God 
and keep it," \ says, that Mary was more happy 
through obedience to the divine will, than in 
being the mother of God himself.J 

For this reason it is, that those who love 
obedience are very pleasing to the Virgin. She 
appeared once to a religious, a Franciscan, 
named Accorso, in his cell, who being called by 
obedience to go and hear the confession of a 
Bick person, went out, but when he returned he 
found Mary waiting for him, and she greatly 
praised his obedience. As, on the other hand, 
she greatly blamed another religious, who, when 
the bell had summoned him to the refectory, de 
layed in order to finish certain devotions. The 
Virgin, speaking to St. Bridget of the security 
found in obeying a spiritual father, said: 
Obedience has brought all the saints to glory: 
"Obedientia omnes introducit ad gloriam." || 
St. Philip Neri also says, that God requires no 
account of things done in obedience, having him- 

* Parata enim stetit, si deesset manus percussorie. Ap. Parav. p. 

c, c. 12. 

t Beatus venter qui te portavit .... Quinimmo beati qui audiunt 
Terbum Dei, et custodiunt illud. Luc. xi. 28. 

$ Et inde quidem beata, quia Verbi incarnandi ministra facta est; 
ed inde multo beatior quia ejuedem semper amandi custos manebat 
icterna. C. 40, in Luc. 

March. Diar. della Mad. I Rev. 1. 6, c. U. 


self declared: u He that heareth you, heareth me; 
and he that despiseth you, despiseth me."* 
The mother of God herself revealed to St. 
Bridget, that through the merit of her obedience 
she had obtained from the Lord that all penitent 
ginners who have recourse to her, should be 
pardon ed.f Ah, our queen and mother, pray 
Jesus for us, obtain for us through the merit of 
thy obedience that we may be faithful in obey 
ing his will, and the commands of our spiritual 
fathers. Amen. 



SINCE this earth is a place of merit, it is just 
ly called a valley of tears; for we are all placed 
here to suffer, and by patience to obtain for our 
souls eternal life: "In your patience you shall 
possess your souls," J said our Lord. God gave 
us the Virgin Mary as an example of all virtues, 
but especially as an example of patience. St. 
Francis of Sales, among other things, remarks, 
that at the nuptials of Cana Jesus Christ gave 
an answer to the most holy Virgin, by which he 
seemed to pay but little regard to her prayers: 
Woman, what is that to thee and to me ? Quid 

* Qui vos audit me audit; et qui vos epernit, me spernit. Luc. 
z. 16. 

t Pro obedientia maa tantam potestatem obtinui, quod nullus tarn 
immundis peccator, si ad me cum emendatione propositoconverKtui 
t cum corde contrito, non habebit veniam. 

$ IB patienlia veetra possidebitis auimas vestras. Luc. zxL 10. 


mihi et t.ibi est, mulier ? " precisely for thii 
reason, that he might give us an example of the 
patience of his holy mother. But why seek fur 
ther? The whole life of Mary was a continual 
exercise of patience, for, as an angel revealed to 
St. Bridget, the blessed Virgin lived always in 
the midst of sufferings.* Her compassion alone 
for the sufferings of the Redeemer was enough 
to make her a martyr of patience; wherefore St. 
Bonaventure says : The crucified conceived the 
crucified: "Crucifixa crucifixum concepit." 
When we spoke of her dolors, we considered all 
she suffered, as well in her journey and life in 
Egypt, as during the whole time she lived with 
her Son in the workshop of Nazareth. But the 
presence of Mary on Calvary, with her dying 
Jesus, is alone enough to show us how constant 
and sublime was her patience: There stood by 
the cross of Jesus, his mother: "Stabat juxta 
crucem Jesu mater ejus." Then, by the merit 
of this her patience, as blessed Albertus Magnus 
remarks, she became our mother, and brought us 
forth to the life of grace. f 

If we desire then to be the children of Mary, 
we must seek to imitate her patience. And 
what, says St. Cyprian, can enrich us more with 
merit in this life, and glory in the other, than 
bearing sufferings with patience?J God said by 
the mouth of the prophet Osee: T will hedge up 

* Slcut rosa crescere solet inter spinas; ita haec venerabilis Virgo in 
hocmundo crevit inter tribulationes. Serra. Ang. c. 10. 
t Maria facta est mater nostra, quos genuit fllio compatiendo. 
$ Quid utilius ad vitam, vel majua ad gloriam, quam patwatia. 


thy way with thorns: "Sepiam viam tuam 
pinis."* St. Gregory remarks on this passage, 
that the ways of the elect are hedged with 
thorns: "Electorum vise spinis sepiuntur." For 
as a hedge of thorns protects the vine, so God 
encompasses his servants with tribulation, in 
order thai they may not become attached to the 
earth; therefore St. Cyprian concludes, patience 
delivers us from sin and from hell: "Patientia 
nos servat. " And it is patience that makes the 
saints: "Patience hath a perfect work,"f bear 
ing in peace the crosses that come to us directly 
from God, as sickness, poverty, &c., as well as 
those that come to us from men, such as per 
secutions, injuries, <fcc. St. John saw all the 
saints with palms, the emblem of martyrdom, in 
their hands. "After this I saw a great multi 
tude .... and palms were in their hands;"J 
signifying by this that all men must be martyrs 
by the sword, or by patience. Be then joyful, 
exclaims St. Gregory: We can be martyrs with 
out blood, if we preserve patience. If we suffer 
the afflictions of this life, as St. Bernard says, 
patiently and joyfully: "Patienter, et gau- 
denter," oh, how much every pain endured for 
God will obtain for us in heaven ! Hence the 
apostle encourages us in these words: "Our tribu 
lation, which is momentary and light, worketh for 

* 2, 6. t Jac. i. 4. 

$ Post hsec vidi turbam magnam et palmae in manibw* 

eorum. Apoc. vii. 8. 

Noe sine ferro martyres ess possumus, si patientiam en 


as ... an eternal weight of glory."* Beautiful 
are the instructions of St. Theresa on this sub 
ject: "He who embraces the cross," she says, 
"does not feel it." And again : "When a person 
resolves to suffer, the pain is over." And if we 
feel our crosses heavy, let us have recourse to 
Mary, who is called by the Church: the comforter 
of the afflicted: "Consolatrix afflictorum;" and 
by St. John Damascene: The remedy for all sor 
rows of the heart: "Omnium dolorum cordium 
medicamentum." Ah, my most sweet Lady, 
thou, though innocent, didst suffer with so much 
patience, and shall I, who am deserving of hell, 
refuse to suffer? My mother, to-day I ask of thee 
the grace not to be exempt from crosses, but to 
support them with patience. For the love of 
Jesus I pray thee to obtain for me nothing less 
than this grace from God; through you I hope 
for it. 



No soul on this earth has ever followed so 
perfectly as the blessed Virgin that great les 
son of our Saviour: We ought always to pray, 
and not to faint: "Oportet semper orare, et non 
deficere."f From no other, says St. Bonaven- 
ture, can we better take example, and learn the 

* Momentaneum, et leve tribulation! s nostrse .... eetemum gleritt 
pondus operator in nobis. 2 Cor. iv. 17. 
t Lac. XYiii. 1. 


necessity of persevering in prayer, than from 
Mary. Mary gave an example, that we ought 
to follow and not faint.* For the blessed Al- 
bertus Magnus asserts, that after Jesus Christ, 
the divine mother- was the most perfect in the 
virtue of prayer, of all who ever have lived or 
ever will live: " Virtus orationis in B. Virgine 
excellentissima fuit."f First, because her pray 
er was continual and persevering. From the 
first moment in which she had life, and with life 
the perfect use of reason, as we have said above 
in the Discourse on her Nativity, she began to 
pray. And, moreover, that she might devote 
herself more to prayer, she wished, when a child 
of only three years, to shut herself up in the re 
tirement of the temple; where, as she herself re 
vealed to St. Elizabeth (virgin), among the 
other hours that she allotted to prayer, she was 
accustomed to rise at midnight and go to pray 
before the altar of the temple.J And, in order 
to meditate on the sufferings of Jesus, accord 
ing to Odilone, she also frequently visited the 
places of our Lord s nativity, passion, andbur- 
ial. Moreover, her prayer, as St. Denis the 
Carthusian has written, was wholly recollected, 

* Maria exemplum dedit quod oportet sequi, et non deficere. 
Spec. c. 4. 

t Sup. Miss. 80. 

$ Surgebam semper in noctis medio et pergebam ante altare tem- 
pll, et ibi petitiones meaa praesentabam. V. Ap. S. Bon. de Vit. 
Chr. c. 3. 

$ Loca dominicsa nativitatis, passionis, sepulture frequenter viai- 


ree from all distractions, and every irregular 

Therefore the blessed Virgin, through her 
love of prayer, had so great a love of solitude, 

that, as she said to St. Bridget, when she lived 
in the temple she even abstained from intercourse 
with her holy parents. St. Jerome, med 
itating on the words of Isaias "Behold a Vir 
gin shall conceive arid bear a Son, and his name 
shall be called Emmanuel"! says, that in He* 
brew the word virgin properly signifies a retired 
virgin; so that Mary s love of solitude was al 
ready predicted by the prophet. Richard says 
that the angel addressed her in the words, The 
Lord is with thee: "Dominustecum," on account 
of her great love of solitude.]; And St. Vincent 
Ferrer asserts that the divine mother never went 
from home, except to go to the temple, and then 
she went entirely recollected, having her eyes al 
ways cast down. When going to visit St. 
Elizabeth, She went with haste: "Abiit cum 
festinatione;" and from this St. Ambrose says 
virgins should learn to shun the public eye. St. 
Bernard teaches that Mary, through her love of 
prayer and solitude, was always careful to avoid 

* Nulla unquaminordinataaffectio, nee distractio mentem Virginia 
a contemplationis lumine revocavit nee occupatio ulla exterior. De 
Laud. Virg. 1. 2, art. 8. 

t Ecce Virgo concipiet, et pariet filium, et vocabitur nomen ejus 
Emmanuel. C. vii. 1. 

$ Merito solitudinis quam ipsa summe diligebat. L. 1, c. 6. 

Nnnquam exibat e domo, nisi quando ibat ad templum; et tune 
ibat tota composita, semper habens oculos suos ad terram. Senn. in 
Virg. Vat 


conversation with men.* Hence she is called 
by the Holy Spirit the turtle-dove: Thy cheeks 
are beautiful as the turtle-dove s: "Pulchraa sunt 
genaB tuse sicut turturis."f Which words Ver- 
gellus thus explains: The turile-dove is a lover 
of solitude, and is an emblem of the unitive 
power of the soul.J So the Virgin always lived 
solitary in this world, as in a desert, and there 
fore it was said of her: Who is this that goeth 
up by the desert, as a pillar of smoke? "Quse 
est ista quae ascendit per desertum, sicut virgula 
fumi?" On which words Rupert the Abbot 
says: Thus thou didst ascend by the desert, 
having a solitary soul: <f Talis ascendisti per de 
sertum animam habens solitariam." 

Philo said that God speaks to souls only in 
solitude: " Dei sermo amat deserta. " And God 
himself declared this by the prophet Osee, when 
lie said: I will lead her into the wilderness, and 
I will speak to her heart: " Ducam earn in solitu- 
dinem, et loquar ad cor ejus."|| And hence St. 
Jerome exclaims: Oh solitude, in which God 
familiarly converses with his servants IT Yes, 
iays St. Bernard, because the quiet and the si 
lence that is enjoyed in solitude, force the soul to 

* In proposito erat hominum f ugere f requentias, vitare colloquia. 
t Cant. i. 9. 

$ Turtur est solivaga, et signat mentis virtutem unitivam. Ap. S. 
Bon. Dist. 7. 

Cant. iii. 6. B ii. 14. 

1 O solitude, in qua Dem cum suis familiariter loquitur, et con- 


leave the earth in thought, and to meditate on 
the things of heaven.* Oh, most holy Virgin, 
obtain for us a love of prayer and solitude, that 
detaching ourselves from the love of creatures, 
we may aspire only aflerGod and heaven, wnere 
we hope one day to see thee, to praise and love 
thee with thy Son, Jesus, forever and ever. 
Amc-n. "Come over to me, all ye that desire me, 
and be filled with my fruits."f The fruits of 
Mary are her virtues. 

None has appeared like unto thee, in all time 
before or after thee.J 

Thou alone, oh woman without equal, hast 
been pleasing to Christ. 


THE queen of heaven is so liberal, as St. An 
drew of Crete says, that she makes a large return 
for the smallest devotions of her servants. 
But two conditions are necessary for this: First, 
that we offer her the homage of a soul pure from 
sin; for otherwise Mary will say to us what she 
said to a soldier, a man of vicious habits, who, as 

* Silentium, et a strepitn quies cogit ccelestia mediiari. 

t Transite ad me omnes qui concupiscitis me, et a generationibua 
xaeis implemini. Eccli. xxiv. 26. 

$ Nee primam similem visa est, nee habere sequentem. 

Sola sine exemplo placuisti foemina Christo. Sedulius. 

Cum sit magnificentissima, olet maxima pro winimw rddr. 
Or. 2, de Dorm. Virg. 


St. Peter Celestine relates,* offered every day 
a devotion to the Virgin. One day when he wai 
suffering greatly from hunger, our Lady ap 
peared to him, and presented him some exquisite 
viands, but in a vase so filthy that he did not 
venture to taste them. "I am the mother of 
God," Mary then said to him," who has come to 
relieve thy hunger." But I cannot taste from 
this vase," answered the soldier. "And do you 
wish," replied Mary, "that I should accept thy 
devotions, offered me from a soul so polluted ?" 
The soldier, at these words, was converted, be 
came a hermit, lived thirty years in the desert, 
and at death the Virgin again appeared to him 
and conducted him to heaven. We have said, 
in the first part of this work, that morally speak 
ing it was impossible that a servant of Mary 
should be lost. But this must be understood 
with the condition, that he lives without sin, or 
at least that he wishes to abandon it, for then 
our Lady will assist him. But if any one, on the 
other haffld, should sin, in the hope that our Lady 
will save him, he would by his sin render himself 
unworthy and incapable of the protection of 
Mary. The second condition is, that he per 
severes in his devotion to Mary. Perseverance 
alone shall merit a crown, says St. Bernard: 
"Perseverantia sola meretur coronam."f Thomas 
a Kempis, when a young man, was accustomed 
daily to have recourse to the Virgin with certain 
prayers; one day he omitted them, then he 

* Opuse. c. 88. t Ep. 18B. 


omitted them for some weeks, then he gave 
them up entirely. One night he saw Mary 
in a dream, who embraced his companions, 
but having come to him, said: "What do you ex 
pect, who have given up your devotions ? De 
part, for you are unworthy of my favors." 
Terrified by these words, Thomes awoke, and 
resumed his accustomed prayers. Richard 
therefore with reason says: He who is per- 
severingly devoted to Mary will be blessed with 
the hope, that all his desires may be gratified.* 
But as no one can be secure of this perseverance, 
no one can be sure of salvation before his death. 
It was a very remarkable document which 
brother John Berchmans, of the Company of 
Jesus, gave to his companions, when he was re 
quested by them to leave with them in writing, 
what was the most pleasing devotion which they 
could make to our Lady, in order to obtain her 
protection, and he answered: Any small thing, 
but let it be constant: "Quidquid minimum, dum 
modo sit constans." Finally, however, I add 
here, simply and in a few words, the different 
devotions we may offer to our mother, to obtain 
for us her favor; a thing which I consider the 
most useful that I have written in this little 
work. But I do not so much recommend to my 
reader to practise them all, as to practise those 
which he selects, with perseverance, and in fear 
of losing the protection of the divine mother, if 
he neglects to continue them. Oh, how many 

* Qui tenuerit Mariana perseveranter, hie beatus erit in spe, qui* 
omnia optata ei euccedeut. L. 2, p. 48. 


who are in hell would have been saved, if they 
had continued the devotions which they once 
commenced to Mary ! 


THIS angelical salutation is very pleasing to 
the most holy Virgin, for it seems to renew, as 
it were, the joy which she experienced, when St. 
Gabriel announced to her that she was made 
mother of God; and therefore we should often 
salute her with the "Hail Mary." Salute her 
with the angelical salutation, says Thomas a 
Kempis, for gladly does she hear this sound.* 
The divine mother herself said to St. Matilda, 
that no one could better salute her than with 
the "Hail Mary." He who salutes Mary will 
also be saluted by her. St. Bernard heard him 
self once audibly saluted from a statue of the 
Virgin, which said to him, Hail Bernard: "Ave 
Bernarde." f And the salutation of Mary, says 
St. Bonaventure, will be some grace, whereby 
she always responds to those who salute her.J 
And Richard adds: If any one comes to the 
mother of our Lord saying, "Hail Mary," could 
she deny him the favor he asks ? Mary her 
self promised St. Gertrude help in death for 
every Hail Mary" she said. The blessed 
Alanus asserts, that as all heaven rejoices when 

* Salutate earn angelica salntatione, quia vocem hanc audit valde 
libenter. Serm. 31, ad Nov. 

t March. 20, Aug. 

t Libenter nos salutat cum gratia, si libenter salutamus cum Ave 
Maria. Auriem. Aff. Scam. torn. 1, c. 6. 

Si quis veniat ad matrem Domini dicens, Ave Maria, nnmqnid 
potent ei gratiam denegare? 


* "Hail Mary" is said, so the devil trembles and 
flees: "Ccelum gaudet, Satan fugit, cum dico, 
Ave Maria." Which Thomas a Kempis also 
confirms, for a devil who once appeared to him 
suddenly fled at hearing the "Hail Mary."* 

The practise of this devotion is: 1st. To say 
every morning on rising, and every evening on 
going to bed, three "Hail Marys," prostrate, or 
at least kneeling, adding at each that short 
prayer: "By thy pure and immaculate concep 
tion, Oh, Mary! make my body pure, and my 
soul holy." To ask the blessing of Mary as our 
mother, as St. Stanislas always did, and place 
ourselves under the mantle of our Lady, praying 
her that during the following day or night she 
may keep us from sin. And it is a great help to 
this, to keep near the bed a beautiful image of the 
Virgin. 2d. To say the Angelas, &c., with the 
three "Hail Marys," as usual, in the morning, 
at noon, and in the evening. John XXII. 
was the first Pope who attached an indulgence 
to this devotion, on the occasion, as Father Oas- 
eet relates,f when a criminal who was condemn 
ed to be burned, by invoking Mary on the Vig 
il of her Annunciation remained uninjured, 
even to his garments, in the midst of the flames. 
Benedict XIII. at length granted a hundred days, 
indulgence to those who recite it, and at the 
end of the month a plenary indulgence, having 
made their confession and received holy com 
munion. Father Crasset also states that there 
have been other indulgences granted by Clem- 

* germ. 1, ad Nov. t To. 2, tr. 6, prat. 2. 


ent X. to those who at the end of each "Hail 
Mary" add: Thanks be to God and Mary: "Deo 
gratias etMariae."* Formerly, at the sound of 
the bell, every one knelt to say the Angelus; 
now some are ashamed to do so; but St. Charlea 
Borromeo was not ashamed to descend from 
his carriage or horse, to recite it in the street, 
and sometimes in the mud. It is related that a 
certain indolent religious, who would not kneel 
at the signal for the "Hail Mary," saw the belfry 
bow three times, and a voice spoke from it which 
said: Behold, thou wilt not do what even sense 
less creatures do. Let it be remembered, that 
as Benedict XIV. directed, in the Paschal sea 
son, instead of the Angelus the "Regina Cceli" 
is said. And from Vespers on Saturday,through 
the whole of Sunday, the Angelus Domini is 
said standing. 3d. To salute the mother of Go<3 
with a "Hail Mary," every time the clock strikes. 
Alphonsus Rodriguez saluted Mary every 
hour, and in the night when the hour came, the 
angels awoke him, that he might not omit his de 
votion. 4th. On quitting or entering the 
house, to salute the Virgin with a "Hail Mary," 
that at home and abroad she may protect us 
from sin, and to kiss her feet as the Carthusian 
Fathers are accustomed to do. 5th. To pay rev 
erence \vith a "Hail Mary" to every image of 
Mary which we meet, and let every one who can 
do so, place some beautiful image of the Virgin 
in a niche in the walls of his house, that it majf 
* Loc. cit. 


be honored by those who are passing by. In 
Naples, and still more in Rome, there are 
very beautiful images of our Lady, by the way 
side, placed there by her devout servants. 6th. 
The holy Church directs that the angelical salu 
tation be prefixed to all the canonical hours of 
the office, and that the office should terminate 
with it; hence it is well, at the beginning and 
end of every action, always to sa} T a "Hail Mary;" 
I say of every action, whether it be spiritual, as 
prayer, confession, communion, spiritual reading, 
hearing a sermon, &c., or temporal, as study, 
giving counsel, labor, going to table, to bed, &c. 
Happy are those actions that are enclosed be 
tween two "Hail Marys!" And thus also on 
awaking in the morning, on closing the eyes to 
sleep, in every temptation and peril, in every 
burst of anger, &., say always a "Hail Mary." 
My dear reader, practise this, and you will see 
the advantage to be drawn from it; remembering 
that for every "Hail Mary" there are twenty 
days indulgence.* Moreover, Father Auriem- 
ma relates,} that the blessed Virgin promised 
St. Matilda a good death, if she recited every 
day three "Hail Marys" in honor of her power, 
wisdom, and goodness. And she also said to the 
blessed Jane of France, that the "Hail Mary" 
was very pleasing to her, especially when said 
ten times in honor of her ten virtues.^ Many 
indulgences are also attached to these ten "Hail 
* Ap. Viva. d Ind. B. ult. t Loc. cit. $ Ap. Maracci. p. S6, 



THE servants of Mary are very attentive and 
fervent in celebrating the Novenas of her Feasts; 
and during these the holy Virgin, full of love, 
dispenses to them innumerable and special bless 
ings. One day St. Gertrude saw under the man 
tle of Mary innumerable souls, whom our Lady 
was looking upon with great affection, and she 
understood them to be those who, on preceding 
days, had prepared themselves, by devout ex 
ercises, for the feast of the Assumption. The 
devotions to be used fortheNovenas are the fol 
lowing: 1st. Mental prayer, morning and even 
ing, with a visit to the most holy Sacrament, 
with the addition of an "Our Father," "Hail 
Mary," and "Glory be to the Father, &c.," re 
peated nine times. 2d. Three visits to some 
image of Mary, thanking the Lord for the 
graces granted to her, and asking of the Virgin 
every time some special favor; and at one of 
these visits the prayer which is placed at the 
end of each of her feasts should be read. 
3d. Make many acts of love, at least one hun 
dred, or fifty, to Mary and to Jesus, for we can 
do nothing more pleasing to her, as she said to 
St. Bridget, than to love her Son: If you wish 
to become dear to me, love my Son Jesus: "Si 
te mihi vis devincire, ama filium meum Jesum." 
4th. Read every day of the Novena, for a quar 
ter of an hour, some book which treats of her 
glories. 5th. Make some external mortification 


of hair-cloth, discipline, &c., with fasting, or 
ome abstinence at table from fruits or other 
agreeable food, at least in part; chewing also 
some bitter herb; and on the vigil of the feast 
fast on bread and water. But all this must be 
done always with the permission of a spiritual 
Father. But better than all others are the 
practices in these Novenas of internal mortifica 
tions, as abstaining from the indulgence of cu 
riosity, either through the eye or the ear ; re 
maining retired and silent ; obeying, not answer 
ing with impatience ; bearing contradictions, 
and other things of the sort, which may be used 
with less danger of vainglory and greater mer 
it ; and for these, too, the permission of a direc 
tor is not needed. The most useful exercise is 
to propose, at the beginning, the amending of 
Fome fault into which we are most liable to fall. 
And to this end it is well, at each of the visits 
above named, to ask pardon for some past sin, 
renew the intention of avoiding it in future, and 
implore the help of Mary, in keeping this res 
olution. The honor most dear to the Virgin is 
the imitation of her virtues; wherefore it is well 
in every Novena to propose to one s self some 
special virtue of Mary, particularly adapted to 
the mystery; as for example, on the feast of the 
Conception, purity of intention; of her Nativity, 
the renewing of the spirit and the awakening 
from tepidity; of her Presentation, detachment 
from something to which we are most at 
tached; of the Annunciation, humility in bearing 


contempt, &c.; of the Visitation, charity tow, 
ards the neighbor, alms-giving, &c., or at least, 
the praying for sinners; of the Purification, 
obedience to superiors; and finally, of the As- 
sumption, the practice of detachment, and doing 
all things as a preparation for death, living as if 
every day were to be the last. In this way the 
Novena will prove of great service. 6th. Be 
sides the communion on the day of the feast, it 
is well to ask it more frequently of the spiritual 
father on the days of the Novena. Father 
Segneri said that we cannot honor Mary better 
than with Jesus. For she herself, as Father 
Crasset relates,* revealed to a holy soul that 
nothing dearer could be offered to her than the 
holy communion, for there Jesus Christ gathers 
in the soul the fruit of his passion. Hence 
it appears that the Virgin desires nothing 
from her servants more than the holy commun 
ion, saying: "Come, eat the bread and drink the 
wine that I have prepared for you."f Finally, 
on the day of the feast after communion we 
should offer ourselves for the service of this di 
vine mother by asking of her the grace of the 
virtue proposed in the Novena, or some other 
special favor. And it is well every year to set 
apart among others some feasts of the Virgin, 
to which we have the greatest devotion arid ten 
derness, and make a particular preparation for 
this by dedicating ourselves anew, and in a more 

* To. 2, tr. 6, prat. 6. 

t Venite, comedite panem menm, et bibite vinum quod miscui 


especial manner, to her service; choosing her 
for our Lady, advocate, and mother.! Then we 
should ask pardon for our negligence in her 
service during the past year, promising her 
greater fidelity for the year that is to come. In 
a word, let us pray her to accept us as her ser 
vants, and obtain for us a holy death. 


THE devotion of the most holy Rosary is 
known to have been revealed to St. Dominic by 
the divine mother herself, when the saint, being 
in affliction, and bewailing to his Lady the 
conduct of the Albigensian heretics, who at that 
time were doing great injury to the Church, the 
Virgin said to her: "This earth will always be 
barren, until the rain falls on it." St. Dominic 
was then given to understand that this rain was 
to be the devotion of the Rosary, and that he 
was to publish it. And indeed the saint preach 
ed it everywhere, and this devotion was em 
braced by all Catholics, so that, at the present 
day, there is no devotion more practised by the 
faithful of every condition, than that of the 
most holy Rosary. What have not modern 
heretics, as Calvin, Bucer, and others said, to 
bring into contempt the use of the Rosary? 
But the great good is well known, which this 
noble devotion has brought to the world. How 
many by its means have been freed from sin! 

$ At the end of the book will be found two formulas of this dedica 
tion: one for a single person, and the oilier * " a family. 


How many led to a holy life! How many hav 
had a good death and are now saved! Let us 
read the various books which treat of it; it ia 
enough to know that this devotion has been ap 
proved by the holy Church, and the sovereign 
Pontiffs have attached indulgences to it. To him 
who recites the third part of the Rosary, the in 
dulgence of seventy thousand years is granted, 
and to him who recites it entire, eighty thousand, 
and yet more to him who recites it in the chapel 
of the Rosary. Benedict XIII. at length an 
nexed to the Rosary (for him at least who re 
cites the third part of the Rosary which has 
been blessed by the Dominican Fathers) all the 
indulgences which are attached to the Rosaries 
of St. Bridget, namely, one hundred days for 
every "Hail Mary," and "Our Father" that is 
repeated. And, moreover, those who recite the 
Rosary gain the plenary indulgence on all the 
principal feasts of Mary and of the holy Church, 
and also of the Dominican Saints, if they visit 
their churches after confession and communion. 
But let it be remarked that this is understood of 
those whose names are inscribed in the book of 
the Rosary, to whom a plenary indulgence is also 
granted on the day when their names are in 
scribed, provided they have made their con 
fession, and communion, and one hundred years 
if they wear the Rosary; and to those who make 
mental prayer once a day, seven years each 
time, and a plenary indulgence at the end of 
the month. 


In order to gain the indulgences attached to 
the recitation of the Rosary, it is necessary to 
meditate on the mysteries which are to be found 
recorded in many books; but it is sufficient for 
those who do not know them to contemplate any 
one of the mysteries of the passion of Jesus 
Christ, as the scourging, death, &c. The 
Rosary must be recited with devotion ; and here 
call to mind what the holy Virgin said to St. 
Eulalia, namely, that she was better pleased 
with five decades said with pauses and devotion, 
than with fifteen in haste and with less devotion. 
On this account it is well to say the Rosary 
kneeling, and before some image of Mary, and 
at the beginning of every decade to make an 
act of love to Jesus and Mary, by asking some 
favor. And, moreover, let it be remarked that 
it is more efficacious to say the Rosary in corn- 
pany with others, than to say it alone. 

Urban II. attached many indulgences to the 
recitation of the little office of our Lady, which is 
said to have been composed by St. Peter Damian; 
and the holy Virgin has often made known how 
pleasing to her was this devotion, as we learn 
from Father Auriemma.* The Litanies are also 
very pleasing to her, and an indulgence of two 
hundred days is granted every time they are re 
cited ; also the hymn, "Hail, star of the sea," 
"Ave Maris stella," which the divine mother or 
dered St. Bridget to repeat every day; and more 
than all, the "Magnificat," for with this we praise 

* To. 1, c. 8. 


her in the very words with which she praised 


MANY servants of Mar} , on Saturdays and 
the vigils of her feast, are accustomed to honor 
her by fasting on bread and water. It is well 
known that Saturday is a day dedicated by the 
holy Church to the honor of the Virgin, because 
on this day, says St. Bernard, she remained con 
stant in the faith after the death of her Son.* 
For this reason the servants of Mary never fail on 
this day to offer her some special homage ; and 
particularly the fast on bread and water, as St. 
Charles Borromeo, Cardinal Toledo, and so many 
others practised it. Rittard, Bishop of Bamberg, 
and Father Joseph Arriaga, of the Society of 
Jesus, did not even taste food on Saturday. The 
great graces which the mother of God after 
wards bestowed upon those who practised this 
devotion, may be read in the writings of Father 
Auriemma. It is sufficient for us to mention the 
compassion which she showed to that bandit 
chief, who on account of this devotion, was per 
mitted to remain alive, although his head had 
been cut off, and although he was under the dis 
pleasure of God, and was enabled to make hia 
confession before dying. He afterwards de 
clared that the holy virgin, for this fasting which 
he had offered her, had preserved him in life, and 
he then suddenly expired. f It would not then 

* Per illud triste Sabbatum etetit in fide, propterea aptissime S. 
JBScclesia diem Sabbati per totura anni circulum celebrare consuevitt 
L. 2, de Pass. t Ap. Auriem. I c. 


be a very extraordinary thing, if any one, es 
pecially devoted to Mary, and particularly if he 
had already deserved hell, should offer to her 
this fast on Saturday. He who practises this 
devotion, I may say, will hardly be condemned ; 
not that our Lady will deliver him by a miracle 
if he dies in mortal sin, as happened to the ban 
dit; such prodigies of divine mercy seldom take 
place, and it would be madness to expect eternal 
salvation by them. But I do say that the divine 
mother will readily obtain perseverance Jn di 
vine grace and a good death for him who will 
practise this devotion. All the brothers of our 
little congregation who can do so, fast on bread 
and water on Saturday, in honor of Mary. I say 
those wbo can do so, meaning, that if any one is 
prevented from doing so on account of ill health, 
at least on Saturday, he may content himself 
with one dish, make a common fast, or at least 
abstain from fruits or other agreeable food. It 
is necessary on Saturday to offer special devo 
tions to our Lady, to receive communion, or, at 
least, hear mass, visit some image of the Virgin, 
wear hair-cloth, and the like. And at least on 
the vigils of the seven feasts of Mary, let her ser 
vants endeavor to offer this fasting on bread, or 
in any other manner they are able. 


FATHER SEGNERisays, that the devil could in 
no better way console himself for the losses he 
has sustained by the overthrow of idolatry, than 


by attacking sacred images through the heretics. 
But the holy Church has defended them even by 
the blood of the martyrs; and the divine mother 
has also made manifest by miracles, hov much 
she is pleased by devotion and visits to her im 
ages. The hand of St. John of Damascus was 
cut off because he defended with his pen the 
images of Mary; but our Lady restored it to him 
in a miraculous manner. Father Spinelli relates, 
that in Constantinople, every Friday after ves 
pers, a veil which hung before the image of 
Mary was withdrawn of itself, and after ves 
pers on Saturday it closed of itself. The veil 
before an image of the Vi