How Promptly Mary Helps All
Who Invoke Her

WE are the poor children of Eve. Inheriting her guilt and condemned to the same penalty, we have to wander about in this valley of tears, exiles from our country, weeping over our many afflictions of body and soul.

But happy are they who, in spite of their sorrows, turn often to the comfortress of the world, to the refuge of the miserable, to the great Mother of God, and devoutly invoke her.

The Church is careful to teach her children with what attention and trust they should pray to this loving protectress. For this purpose she commands them to have special devotion to her.

 She has instituted many feasts of Our Lady, and she sets aside one day in the week for her special honor. She recommends that all priests and religious in their daily Office invoke her in the name of the whole Christian body, and she recommends that all the faithful pray to her three times a day at the sound of the Angelus.

See the confidence which the Church places in Mary: in all public calamities she invariably calls upon the faithful to enlist her protection through novenas, through prayers and processions, through visits to her churches and shrines.

Our Lady herself desires this. She wants us to seek her always and invoke her aid. It is not as if she were begging us for these marks of veneration, for they cannot come up to her deserving. She desires them so that our confidence and devotion may be increased by them and move her to answer us with greater help and comfort.

St. Bonaventure observes that Ruth, whose name means "seeing and hastening," was a figure of Mary; "for Mary, seeing our miseries, mercifully hastens to help us."

Novarinus adds that "Mary, in her intense desire to help us, can brook no delay, for she is not at all an avaricious hoarder of the graces at her disposal, but a Mother of Mercy, and instantly showers down the treasures of her liberality on her servants."

Richard of St. Lawrence assures us that Mary pours out her compassion on everyone who prays for it, even if the prayer be only a simple Hail Mary.

How quickly this good Mother helps all who pray to her! She not only runs, but flies, to our assistance. 23

God has wings when He comes to His own; Mary too has wings. Hers are the wings of an eagle; she flies with the love of God. 24

With speed more than that of the seraphim she goes everywhere to aid her children. 25

When she went into the hill country to Elizabeth, bringing grace with her, she went, we are told, in haste (Lk. 1:39).

Remember what Bernardine de Bustis says: She is more eager to grant us graces than we can be to receive them.

Nor should the multitude of our sins diminish our confidence. Mary is the Mother of Mercy. But there would be no reason for mercy if there were no one who needed it. No good mother shrinks from applying a remedy to her children when they are infected with some disgusting skin disease, however nauseating the sight may be. Neither does our good Mother shrink from us when we come to her to heal the wounds of sin, no matter how loathsome they are. 26

So great is this good Mother's compassion, and her love so urgent, that she does not even wait for our prayers --- she anticipates them. She hastens to make herself known in anticipation of people's desire (Wis. 6:14).

Her heart is full of pity for poor sinners, and scarcely has she noticed our miseries when she lavishes her tender mercies on us. 27

For any who doubt whether Mary will help them when they come to her, Innocent III has this encouraging reminder: "Who ever called upon her and was not heard by her?"

If there are any, O most Blessed Virgin Mary, who can recall having been refused by you when they came to you in their hour of need, let them no more speak in praise of your mercy! 28

Sooner would Heaven and earth be destroyed than Mary would fail to assist anyone who turned to her with the right dispositions to ask her help. 29

St. Anselm, to increase our confidence, says this: "When we pray to the Mother of God we are heard more quickly than when we call directly on the name of Jesus --- for her Son is not only our Lord but our Judge. But when we call on the name of His Mother, though our own merits will not insure an answer, yet her merits intercede for us and we are answered."

This does not mean that Mary is more powerful than her Son to save us. We know that Jesus is our only Savior, and that he alone by His merits has obtained and will obtain salvation for us.

However, when we have recourse to Jesus, we regard Him at the same time as our Judge, whose business it is to chastise ungrateful souls. Therefore the confidence necessary before we can be heard may fail us.

When we go to Mary, however, she has no other office but to show compassion as Mother of Mercy, and to defend us as our advocate. Hence our confidence is more easily aroused and is often greater than when we go directly to Jesus.

Many things are asked of God and are not granted; they are asked of Mary and are obtained not because she is more powerful than God, but simply because God decrees to honor her in this way. 30

Once St. Bridget heard our Lord make a most sweet and consoling promise: "You shall bring Me no petition," He said to His Mother, "that will be denied. Ask what you will; I will never refuse you anything.

" And remember --- I promise to give grace to those who ask it in your name, even though they be sinners, if they re solve to change their lives."

"Remember, O most holy Virgin Mary, that never was it heard of in any age that anyone having recourse to your protection was abandoned!" Forgive me therefore, O Mary, if I say that I do not care to be that first unfortunate creature to have recourse to you and be abandoned.

Mary's Power Is Great in Time of Temptation

THE most Blessed Virgin Mary is Queen of more than heaven and all
the Saints. She is Queen also over hell and all evil spirits, for she has gloriously routed them with her virtues.

From the very beginning God foretold the victory and empire that our Queen would one day win over the serpent: I will put enmity between you and the woman . . . ; she will crush your head (Gn. 3:15).

Who could this woman be --- this enemy of the serpent, but Mary, who beat down his strength by her beautiful humility and holy life? The Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ was promised in that woman, as St. Cyprian says.

God did not say, I put, but I will put, to signify that the serpent's opponent was not Eve, who was then living, but some other woman descended from her --- One who would bring our first parents (says St. Vincent Ferrer) far greater advantages than they had lost by their sin.

She will crush your head: some question whether this refers to Mary, and not rather to Jesus, since the Septuagint translates it, He shall crush your head. But in the Vulgate, which alone was approved by the Council of Trent, we find She.

Thus too St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, St. Augustine, and a great many others understood it. Be that as it may, it is certain that either the Son through the Mother, or the Mother through the Son, has conquered Lucifer.

I am raised aloft like a palm tree in Engedi (Sir. 24: 14) . . . to defend, adds St. Albert the Great. Recourse to Mary is a most certain way to overcome all the assaults of Hell, for she is Queen even over hell and all the devils, taming and crushing them. 31

So Mary is described in the Song of Songs as awe-inspiring as bannered troops (6:4). She knows how to draw up her powers, her mercies, and her prayers, and thus humiliate her enemies and defend her servants.

In Judea victories were won by means of the Ark. Thus it was that Moses conquered his enemies; thus too, Jericho was conquered, and the Philistines were overthrown. It is well known that the Ark was a figure of Mary.

Cornelius a Lapide says, "In time of danger, Christians should turn to the Most Blessed Virgin, who contained Christ in her womb as the Ark contained manna, and who brought Him forth to be the saving food of the world."

When Mary, the Ark of the New Testament, was raised to the dignity of Queen of Heaven, Hell's influence over human beings was weakened and scattered. 32

It was revealed to St. Bridget that God made Mary so powerful against the devils that, whenever they assail anyone who begs her help, with one glance she terrifies them and they take to instant flight. They would rather have their pains in hell redoubled than fall under her dominion.

St. John Damascene used to say: "As long as I keep alive my hope in thee, O Mother of God, I shall be safe. I will fight and overcome enemies with this one shield --- thy protection and thy all-powerful help."

A young man, who was a slave to habits of vice, went to confession to a certain priest in Rome. The confessor received him with kindness and, filled with compassion for him, assured him that devotion to our Lady could free him from his shameful habits.

Accordingly, he imposed on him as his penance that he say a Hail Mary to the Blessed Virgin every morning and evening, when he got up and when he went to bed, until his next confession; also, that he offer her at the same time his eyes, his hands, and his whole body, asking her to
preserve them as if they were her own, and that he kiss the ground three times.

He performed the penance, but at first there was only slight improvement. However, his confessor insisted that he continue with the practice, advising him never to abandon it and encouraging him to trust in the power of Mary .The young man then left Rome with a few companions and spent several years traveling here and there.

When the young man came back to Rome he returned to his confessor, who found, to his great relief and wonder, that he was a changed man, completely free of his sinful habits. "How did you secure so wonderful a change from God?" he asked.

The young man answered, "It was our Blessed Lady who obtained this grace for me, because of those simple acts of devotion you taught me. "

This was not the end of the graces. The priest related the story in one of his sermons. A certain captain in the army, who had been committing sin with a woman for years, heard the sermon and made up his mind to try the same practice.

He determined to break the chains that kept him a slave of the devil (for every sinner must have the purpose of amendment, otherwise the Blessed Virgin is powerless to help him), and he too gave up his habit of sin and changed his life.

But there was still more. After six months, relying too much on his own strength, the captain made the mistake of going back to the woman, to see if she too had changed her ways.

But as he came up to the door of the house, where he was in certain danger of falling again, some unseen power forced him back and he found himself at the other end of the street, standing before his own door. He had no doubt that it was our Lady who had done this for him and saved him from perdition.

This should be enough to show how anxious our good Mother is, not only to lift us out of the state of sin if we pray to --- her for deliverance, but also to save us from
the danger of falling back.

God guided His chosen people from Egypt to the Promised Land by day in a column of cloud, by night in a column of fire (Ex 13:21).

This stupendous column was a type of Mary fulfilling a double office: as a cloud, she shades us from the heat of the sun of Justice; as fire, she protects us from the devil. 33

As wax melts before fire, the devils melt away before all who keep our Lady's name in mind, devoutly invoke her, and work at imitating her. 34

Full of glory and wonder is your name, O Mary (exclaims St. Bonaventure), and whoever pronounces it at death need fear nothing from all the forces of Hell!

Our Blessed Lady revealed to St. Bridget that the devil flies from even the most abandoned sinners --- from those farthest from God and fully possessed by the devil, if only they invoke her most powerful name with a true purpose of amendment. But our Blessed Lady added at the same time that, if such persons do not amend and wash away their sins in sorrow, the devils return and begin again to possess them.


23. Novarinus
24. Ribera
25. Blessed Amadeus
26. Richard of St. Lawrence
27. Richard of St. Victor
28. St. Bernard
29. Blosius
30. Nicephorus
31. St. Bernardine of Siena
32. St. Bernardine of Siena
33. Richard of St. Lawrence
34. St. Bonaventure

Continued forward.



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