Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Fifteenth Day of May

Mary Is the Hope of All.

Modern heretics cannot endure that we should salute and call Mary, our Hope: ‘Hail, our Hope." They say, that God alone is our hope, and that He curses those who put their trust in creatures, in these words of the prophet Jeremias: ‘Cursed be the man that trusts in man..’ Mary, they exclaim, is a creature; and how can a creature be our hope? This is what the heretics say; but in spite of it, the holy Church obliges all ecclesiastics and religious each day to raise their voices, and in the name of the faithful, invoke and call Mary by the sweet name of ‘our Hope,’—the Hope of all.

The angelic Doctor St. Thomas Aquinas says, that we can place our hope in a person in two ways: as a principal cause, and as a mediate one. Those who hope for a favor from a king, hope it from him as lord; they hope for it from his minister or favorite as an intercessor. If the favor is granted, it comes primarily from the king, but it comes through the instrumentality of the favorite; and in this case, he who seeks the favor is right in calling his intercessor, his hope. The King of Heaven, being infinite goodness, desires in the highest degree to enrich us with His graces; but, because confidence is requisite on our part, and in order to increase it in us, He has given us His own Mother to be our Mother and Advocate, and to her He has given all power to help us; and, therefore, He wills that we should repose our hope of salvation and of every blessing in her. Those who place their hopes in creatures alone, independently of God, as sinners do, and in order to obtain the friendship and favor of a man, fear not to outrage His Divine Majesty, are most certainly cursed by God, as the prophet Jeremias says. But those who hope in Mary, as Mother of God, who is able to obtain graces and eternal life for them, are truly blessed and acceptable to the heart of God, who desires to see that greatest of His creatures honored; for she loved and honored Him in this world more than all men and angels put together. And, therefore, we justly and reasonably call the Blessed Virgin our Hope, trusting, as Cardinal Bellarmine says, ‘that we shall obtain, through her intercession, that which we should not obtain by our own unaided prayers.’ ‘We pray to her.’ says the learned Suarez, ‘in order that the dignity of the intercessor may supply for our own unworthiness, so that,’ he continues, ‘to implore the Blessed Virgin in such a spirit, is not diffidence in the mercy of God, but fear of our own unworthiness.’

It is, then, not without reason that the holy Church, in the words of Ecclesiasticus, calls Mary ‘the Mother of Holy Hope.’ She is the mother who gives birth to holy hope in our hearts; not to the hope of the vain and transitory goods of this life, but of the immense and eternal goods of heaven. ‘Hail, then, O hope of my soul,’ exclaims St. Ephrem, addressing this Divine Mother; ‘hail, O certain salvation of Christians; hail, O helper of sinners; hail, fortress of the faithful and salvation of the world.’ Other Saints remind us, that after God, our only Hope is Mary; and, therefore, they call her, ‘after God, their only Hope.’ And St. Ephrem, reflecting on the present order of providence, by which God wills that all who are saved should be saved by the means of Mary, thus addresses her, ‘O, Lady, cease not to watch over us; preserve and guard us under the wings of thy compassion and mercy, for, after God, we have no hope but in thee.’

We need not. then, be surprised, that St. Antoninus applies the following verse of the Book of Wisdom to Mary: ‘Now all good things came to me together with her.’ For as this Blessed Virgin is the Mother and dispenser of all good things, the whole world, and more particularly each individual who lives in it as a devout client of this great Queen, may say with truth, that with devotion to Mary, both he and the world have obtained everything good and perfect. And, therefore, St. Bonaventure says, ‘That we ought all to keep our eyes constantly fixed on Mary’s hands, that through them we may receive the graces that we desire.’

O, how many who were once proud, have become humble by devotion to Mary! How many who were passionate, have become meek! How many in the midst of darkness, have found light! How many who were in despair, have found confidence! How many who were lost, have found salvation by the same powerful means! And this she clearly foretold in the house of Elizabeth, in her own sublime canticle: ‘Behold, from henceforth, all generations shall call me blessed.’ And St. Bernard, interpreting her words, says, ‘all generations call thee blessed, because thou hast given life and glory to all nations, for in thee sinners find pardon, and the just perseverance in the grace of God.’

O God, how tender are the sentiments of confidence expressed by the enamored St. Bonaventure towards Jesus, our most loving Redeemer, and Mary our most loving Advocate. He says, ‘Whatever God foresees to be my lot, I know that He cannot refuse Himself to any one who loves Him and seeks for Him with his whole heart. I will embrace Him with my love, and if He does not bless me, I will still cling to Him so closely that He will be unable to go without me. If I can do nothing else, at least I will hide myself in His wounds, and taking up my dwelling there, it will be in Himself alone that He will find me.’ And the Saint concludes, ‘If my Redeemer rejects me, on account of my sins, and drives me from His sacred feet, I will cast myself at those of His beloved Mother, Mary, and there I will remain prostrate until she has obtained my forgiveness; for this Mother of Mercy knows not, and has never known, how to do otherwise than compassionate the miserable, and comply with the desires of the most destitute who fly to her for succor; and, therefore,’ he says, ‘if not by duty, at least by compassion, she will engage her Son to pardon me.’


A Lutheran lady, at Augsburg, in Germany, who was obstinate in her heresy, was one day passing before a Catholic chapel, and out of curiosity entered it; she saw there an image of Mary, with the infant Jesus in her arms, and felt inspired to make her an offering. She went to her house, and took a piece of silk which she offered to the Blessed Virgin. On her return home, this good mother enlightened her to see the errors of her sect; she immediately went to seek some Catholics, abjured heresy, and was converted to God.


O Mother of holy love, our life, our refuge, and our hope, thou well knowest that thy Son, Jesus Christ, not content with being Himself our perpetual advocate with the Eternal Father, has willed that thou also shouldst interest thyself with Him, in order to obtain the Divine mercies for us. He has decreed that thy prayers should aid our salvation, and has made them so efficacious that they obtain all that they ask. To thee, therefore, who art the hope of the miserable, do I, a wretched sinner, turn my eyes. I trust, O Lady, that in the first place, through the merits of Jesus Christ, and then, through thy intercession, I shall be saved. Of this, I am certain, and my confidence in thee is such, that if my eternal salvation was in my own hands, I should place it in thine, for I rely more on thy mercy and protection than on all my own works. My Mother and my hope, abandon me not, though I deserve that thou shouldst do so. See my miseries, and being moved thereby with compassion, help and save me. I own that I have too often closed my heart, by my sins, against the lights and helps that thou hast procured for me from our Lord. But thy compassion for the miserable, and thy power with God, far surpass the number and malice of my sins. It is well known to all, both in heaven and on earth, that whosoever is protected by thee is certainly saved. All may forget me, provided only that thou dost remember me, O Mother of an Omnipotent God. Tell Him that I am thy servant: say only that thou defendest me, and I shall be saved. O Mary, I trust in thee; in this hope I live; in it I desire and hope to die.


Recommend you greatest need to Mary and entrust it to her care alone, knowing that she who is our hope will see to its proper outcome.

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