Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Twentieth Day of May

Mary Is So Tender an Advocate, That She Does Not Refuse to Defend the Cause Even of the Most Miserable.

So many are the reasons that we have for loving this, our most loving Queen, that if Mary was praised throughout the world—if, in every sermon, Mary alone was spoken of—if all men gave their lives for Mary—still all would be little in comparison with the homage and gratitude that we owe her in return for the tender love she bears to men, and even to the most miserable sinners, who preserve the slightest spark of devotion for her. Blessed Raymond Jordano used to say, ‘that Mary knows not how to do otherwise than love those who love her; and that even she does not disdain to serve those who serve her; and in favor of such a one, should he be a sinner, she uses all her power, in order to obtain his forgiveness from her blessed Son.’ And he adds, ‘that her benignity and mercy are so great, that no one, however enormous his sins may be, should fear to cast himself at her feet; for she never can reject any one who has recourse to her.’ ‘Mary is our most loving advocate, herself offers the prayers of her servants to God, and especially those which are placed in her hands; for as the Son intercedes for us with the Father, so does she intercede with the Son, and does not cease to make interest with both, for the great affair of our salvation, and to obtain for us the graces we ask.’ With good reason, then, does Denis the Carthusian call the Blessed Virgin ‘the singular refuge of the lost, the hope of the most abandoned, and the advocate of all sinners who have recourse to her.’

But should there by chance be a sinner who, though not doubting her power, might doubt the compassion of Mary, fearing perhaps that she might be unwilling to help him, on account of the greatness of his sins, let him take courage from the words of St. Bonaventure: ‘The great, the special privilege of Mary is, that she is all-powerful with her Son.’ ‘But,’ adds the Saint, ‘to what purpose would Mary have such great power, if she cared not for us?’ ‘No,’ he concludes, ‘let us not doubt, but be certain, and let us always thank our Lord and His Divine Mother for it; that, in proportion as her power with God exceeds that of all the Saints, so is she, in the same proportion, our most loving advocate, and the one who is the most solicitous for our welfare.’

Mary takes care of all, even of sinners; indeed, she glories in being called, in a special manner, their advocate, as she herself declared to the venerable sister, Mary Villani, saying, ‘After the title of Mother of God, I rejoice most in that of Advocate of sinners.’ Blessed Amadeus says, ‘that our Queen is constantly before the Divine Majesty, interceding for us, with her most powerful prayers.’ And as in heaven, ‘she well knows our miseries and wants, she cannot do otherwise than compassionate us; and thus, with the affection of a mother, moved to tenderness towards us, pitying and benign, she is always endeavoring to help and save us.’ And therefore does Richard of St. Lawrence encourage each one, however bad he may be, to have recourse with confidence to this sweet Advocate, being assured that he will always find her ready to help him; ‘for,’ says the Abbot Godfrey, ‘Mary is always ready to pray for all.’

Who can ever comprehend the solicitude with which Mary constantly stands before God in our behalf! ‘She is never weary of defending us,’ says St. Germanus; and the remark is beautiful, meaning that so great is the compassion excited in Mary by our misery, and such is the love that she bears us, that she prays constantly, and relaxes not her efforts in our behalf; that by her prayers she may effectually defend us from evil, and obtain for uis sufficient graces. She has never done enough.

Truly unfortunate should we poor sinners be had we not this great Advocate, who is so powerful and compassionate, and at the same time, ‘so prudent and wise, that the Judge, her Son,’ says Richard of St. Lawrence, ‘cannot condemn the guilty who are defended by her.’ ‘There is no doubt,’ St. Bernard remarks, ‘that Jesus Christ is the only mediator of justice between men and God; that, in virtue of His own merits and promises, He will and can obtain us pardon and the Divine favors; but because men acknowledge and fear the Divine Majesty, which is in Him as God, for this reason it was necessary to assign us another Advocate, to whom we might have recourse with less fear and more confidence, and this Advocate is Mary, than whom we cannot find one more powerful with His Divine Majesty, or one more merciful towards ourselves.’ ‘But,’ continues the same Saint, ‘should any one fear to go to the feet of this most sweet Advocate, who has nothing in her of severity, nothing terrible, but who is all courteous, amiable, and benign, he would indeed be offering an insult to the tender compassion of Mary.’ And he adds, ‘Read, and read again, as often as you please, all that is said of her in the Gospels, and if you can find any, the least trait of severity recorded of her, then fear to approach her. But no, this you can never find, and therefore go to her with a joyful heart, and she will save you by her intercession.’

‘Be comforted the, O you who fear.’ will I say with St. Thomas of Villanova; ‘breath freely and take courage, O wretched sinners. This great Virgin, who is the Mother of your God and Judge, is also the Advocate of the whole human race: fit for this office, for she can do what she wills with God; most wise, for she knows all the means of appeasing Him; universal, for she welcomes all, and refuses to defend no one.’


In the Papal States, a young woman who was very devout to Mary, met with a captain of bandits. Fearing some outrage, she entreated him for the love of the most Blessed Virgin not to molest her. ‘Fear nothing,’ he replied; ‘since you have asked me in the name of the Mother of God, all that I desire is that you should recommend me to her;’ and, in fact, he himself accompanied her along the road to a place of safety. On the following night Mary appeared to the bandit in a dream, and thanking him for the action he had performed for her love, assured him that she would not forget it, and would one day reward him. The
robber was afterwards made a prisoner and condemned to death. The night before the execution was to take place, behold the Blessed Virgin again appeared to him in a dream, and first of all asked him whether he knew her? He replied that it seemed to him that he had seen her before. ‘I am,’ she then said, ‘the Blessed Virgin Mary, and am come to reward you for what you did for me. Tomorrow you will die, but you will die with so much contrition that you wilt go at once to paradise.’ The prisoner awoke and felt such sorrow for his sins that he began to weep bitterly, at the same time thanking our Blessed Lady aloud. He then begged that a priest might be immediately called, he confessed his sins to him with many tears, related the vision he had, and entreated him to publish the grace which he had received from Mary. He went with great joy to execution; after which it is said, that his countenance was so peaceful and happy, that all who saw him believed that the promise of the Divine Mother had been fulfilled.


O great Mother of my Lord, I see full well that my ingratitude towards God and thee, and this too for so many years, has merited for me that thou shouldst justly abandon me, and no longer have a care of me, for an ungrateful soul is no longer worthy of favors. But I, O Lady, have a high idea of thy great goodness; I believe it to be far greater than my ingratitude. Continue then, O refuge of sinners, and cease not to help a miserable sinner, who confides in thee. O Mother of Mercy, deign to extend a helping hand to a poor fallen wretch, and who asks thee for pity. O Mary, either defend me thyself, or tell me to whom I can have recourse, and who is better able to defend me than thou,—and where I can find with God a more clement and powerful advocate than thou, who art His Mother. Thou, in becoming the Mother of our Savior, wast thereby made the fitting instrument to save sinners, and wast given me for my salvation. O Mary, save him who has recourse to thee. I deserve not thy love, but it is thine own desire to save sinners that makes me hope that thou lovest me. And if thou lovest me, how can I be lost? O my own beloved Mother, if by thee I save my soul, as I hope to do, I shall no longer be ungrateful, I shall make up for my past ingratitude, and for the love thou hast shown me, by my everlasting praises, and all the affections of my soul. Happy in Heaven, where thou reignest, and wilt reign for ever, I shall always sing thy mercies, and kiss for eternity those loving hands, which have delivered me from hell, as often as I have deserved it by my sins. O Mary, my liberator, my hope; my Queen, my Advocate, my own sweet Mother, I love thee; I desire thy glory, and I will love thee for ever. Amen, amen. Thus do I hope.


Visit the sick, especially those near death, and encourage them to pray to Mary, that they may not die unprepared.

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