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Mary, Queen of Mercy!

 

 

(3 minute read - Enjoy!)

 

Let us then 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, first remember 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 shall 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 monsters?

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 and let the following example illustrate this.

 

EXAMPLE:

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 named Mary, who, in her youth, was a sinner, who obstinately persevered in her evil courses, even to extreme old age. For this she was 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, abandoned by all, and without the sacraments; and on this account was buried in a field, like a beast.

Now Sister Catherine, who was accustomed to recommend very affectionately to God the souls of those who had departed this life, after learning the miserable death of this poor old woman, did not think of praying for her as she and everyone 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?" asked the servant of God.

She answered: "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 refuge 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 Holy 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 to 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."

 


 "Stories of Mary” are taken from the Glories of Mary, translated from the Italian of St. Alphonsus Liguori; New Revised Edition, P.J. Kennedy & Sons. Copyright 1888 by P.J. Kennedy

 

Header - Stories of Mary 3

 

Daily, daily sing to Mary,
Sing, my soul, her praises due:
All her feasts, her actions honor
With the heart's devotion true.


Oesarius relates that a certain Cistercian monk, who was a devoted servant of our blessed Lady, desired very earnestly a visit from his dear Lady, and was praying [to] 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 sweetly 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 other, allowed him the pleasure of hearing her sing.

He could not refrain from asking this one who she was, and the virgin answered: “She whom you saw a little while ago was Catherine, 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 religious with a greater hope of finally seeing his queen. Nor was he deceived, for shortly afterwards he saw a great light and felt a new joy flowing into his heart, for in the midst of that light the Mother 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 offered me, and have graciously heard your prayers: you have desired to see me; look on me, and I too will sing to you.”

Then the most holy Virgin 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 sounded, the monks assembled, and, not seeing Thomas, searched for him in his cell and other parts of the convent, and at last, going into the garden, found him apparently lifeless. The superior commanded him to tell what had befallen him. And coming to himself, by the power of obedience, he related all the favors which the Mother of God had bestowed upon him.

 

Commentary: It seems evident from this story that Our Lady’s voice is so sweet that even those holy souls privileged to hear it must first have their senses prepared for the “shock” by first hearing less holy heavenly voices. - - - And even then, the sweet impact of Our Lady’s voice can leave us senseless…just one more reason to fight for Our Lady’s cause so we can listen to her sing God’s praises forever.

 


“Stories of Mary” are taken from the Glories of Mary, translated from the Italian of St. Alphonsus Liguori; New Revised Edition, P.J. Kennedy & Sons. Copyright 1888 by P.J. Kennedy

 

Header - Stories of Mary 2

 

 Hail O sure Refuge of Sinners,
whose mercy fails no one …


The blessed John Erolto, who, through humility, called himself The Disciple, relates that there was once a married man who lived in disgrace 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 condition, he would offer this devotion to the mother of God, namely, to say a Hail Mary every time he passed before her altar. He accordingly began to practice 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 covered with wounds, and fresh blood flowing from them. Both terrified and moved in his feelings, he remembered that he himself too had wounded 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 advocate more kind and more powerful than thou, who art His mother; my queen, aid me, and pray to Him in my behalf.” 

The divine mother answered him from that image:

“You sinners call me mother of mercy, but yet you do not cease to make me the mother of misery, renewing the passion of my Son, and my sorrows.” 

But because Mary never sends away discontent 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 unwilling to grant such a pardon, but the holy Virgin, placing the Infant in the niche, prostrated 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 sinner 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 [the sinner] 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 favor.

 


 “Stories of Mary” are taken from the Glories of Mary, translated from the Italian of St. Alphonsus Liguori; New Revised Edition, P.J. Kennedy & Sons. Copyright 1888 by P.J. Kennedy

 

Header - Stories of Mary 4

 

What, then, must a sinner do 
who finds himself so unhappy as 
to have become an enemy of God?

 

 

Mary is the Peace Maker between Sinners and God

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. 

But if ever, adds the saint [Saint Bernard], 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 her, and the Son will intercede with the Father, who can refuse nothing to this Son. 

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. 

For this end, says St. John Chrysostom, 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 sinners rather than for the just, since Jesus Christ announced that he came not to call the just, but sinners. 

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; St. Bernard takes up the subject, and says: Give then thanks to him who has provided thee with such a mediatrix.* 

Whoever thou art, oh sinner, 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.

 

EXAMPLE:

It is related by Rupensis (Ros. Sacr. p. 5, c. 60.), and by Boniface (Stor. Virg. 1. 1, c. 11.), that in Florence there lived a young girl, named Benedetta (the blessed), although she might better have been called Maladetta (the cursed), from the scandalous and wicked life she led. 

Happily 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 bitterly, 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 confess once more. 

God, in order to confirm her in her good life, one day showed hell to her, and some persons there who had been already condemned on her account. 

Then opening a book, he made her read in it the frightful record of her sins. The penitent 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 intercession, 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 to her that a child of only eight years of age, one mortal sin only, had been that day condemned 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.

 

PRAYER:

Then, oh my most sweet Lady, if thy office is, as William of Paris says, to interpose as a mediatrix between the sinner and God, I will say to thee with St. Thomas of Villanova: Ah, then, oh our advocate, fulfill thy office. 

Fulfill 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 defense; 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 I commit the cause of my eternal salvation. To thee I consign my soul; it was lost, but thou must save it. 

I always thank the Lord that he gives me this great confidence in thee, which, notwithstanding my unworthiness, I believe will secure my salvation. 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 it 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.

 


“Stories of Mary” are taken from the Glories of Mary, translated from the Italian of St. Alphonsus Liguori; New Revised Edition, P.J. Kennedy & Sons. Copyright 1888 by P.J. Kennedy

 

 



Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for November 26, 2020

We must live every moment of our lives, as if it were our la...

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November 26

 

We must live every moment of our lives, as if it were our last.

St. Francis de Sales


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Sylvester Guzzolini

His father refused to speak to him for ten years on that acc...

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St. Sylvester Guzzolini

Sylvester was born in 1177 to a noble and prestigious Italian family. When he was of age, he was sent to Bologna and then Padua to study law, but feeling within himself a call to the ecclesiastical state, he left off the study of jurisprudence to pursue that of theology and the Sacred Scriptures. This course of action so angered his father upon Sylvester’s return to his native city of Osimo, that it is said his father refused to speak to him for ten years on that account.

Sylvester accepted a canonry at Osimo and zealously dedicated himself to his pastoral duties. He spent long hours in prayer, pious reading, and the instruction of others. However, his efforts to rid his diocese of corruption were not always well received and he made enemies, among them, his own bishop. He had respectfully admonished his superior for neglecting the duties of his office and causing scandal and, in retaliation, the hostile prelate threatened to relieve him of his benefice.

It was not merely the threat from his bishop, however, that decided him to abandon the world. In 1227, while assisting at the funeral of a nobleman, his relative, who had been remarkably handsome in life and who had formerly been much admired for his worldly accomplishments, he looked into the open coffin. The sight of the decaying corpse brought his own certain end vividly to mind and placing before himself the thought that what this man had once been, he now was, and that likewise what his relative had become, he himself should one day be, he resolved to act in response of this spiritual awakening.

Renouncing the world entirely and deploring its scandals and blindness, the canon left the city quietly and retired to a secluded locale about thirty miles from Osimo. In this deserted place Sylvester lived in total solitude and utmost poverty until the owner of the property, recognizing his resident hermit, offered him a better site for his hermitage. His bodily mortification was most severe and yet many flocked to him for guidance and direction. Their numbers grew to such an extent that he eventually built a monastery to house them and when it became necessary to adopt a rule of life for the growing congregation, Sylvester chose that of St. Benedict.

Sylvester’s order was confirmed by Pope Innocent IV in 1247. By the time of his death twenty years later, the saint had founded eleven monasteries and had guided the congregation for thirty-six years.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared stan...

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The Conversion of Alphonse Ratisbonne

Born in 1814, Alphonse Ratisbonne was from a family of wealthy, well-known Jewish bankers in Strasbourg, France. In 1827, Alphonse’s older brother, Thèodore, converted to Catholicism and entered the priesthood, thus breaking with his anti-Catholic family whose hopes now lay in the young Alphonse. At 27, Alphonse was intelligent and well mannered. He had already finished his law degree, and decided to travel to Italy before marrying and assuming his responsibilities in the family business. However, God had other plans for him.

While in Rome, Alphonse visited works of art, and strictly out of cultural curiosity, a few Catholic churches. These visits hardened his anti-Catholic stance, and nourished his profound hatred for the Church. He also called on an old schoolmate and close friend, Gustave de Bussières.

Gustave was a Protestant and several times had tried, in vain, to win Alphonse over to his religious convictions. Alphonse was introduced to Gustave’s brother, Baron de Bussières, who had recently converted to Catholicism and become a close friend of Father Thèodore Ratisbonne. Because of the Baron’s Catholicism and closeness with his turncoat brother, Alphonse greatly disliked him.

On the eve of his departure, Alphonse reluctantly fulfilled his social obligation to leave his calling card at the Baron’s house as a farewell gesture.

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Hoping to avoid a meeting, Alphonse intended to leave his card discreetly and depart straight away, but was instead shown into the house. The Baron greeted the young Jew warmly, and before long, had persuaded him to remain a few more days in Rome. Inspired by grace, the Baron insisted Alphonse accept a Miraculous Medal and copy down a beautiful prayer: the Memorare. Alphonse could hardly contain his anger at his host’s boldness of proposing these things to him, but decided to take everything good-heartedly, planning to later describe the Baron as an eccentric.

During Alphonse’s stay, the Baron’s close friend, Count de La Ferronays, former French ambassador to the Holy See and a man of great virtue and piety, died quite suddenly. On the eve of his death, the Baron had asked the Count to pray the Memorare one hundred times for Alphonse’s conversion. It is possible that he offered his life to God for the conversion of the young Jewish banker.

A few days later, the Baron went to the church of Sant’Andrea delle Fratte to arrange for his friend’s funeral. Alphonse reluctantly went with him, all the while making violent criticisms of the Church and mocking Catholic practices. When they arrived, the Baron entered the sacristy to arrange the funeral while Alphonse remained in the church.

When the Baron returned just a few minutes later, the young man was gone. He searched the church, and soon discovered his young friend kneeling close to an altar, weeping.  Alphonse himself tells us what happened in those few minutes he waited for the Baron: “I had only been in the church a short while when, all of a sudden, I felt totally uneasy for no apparent reason. I raised my eyes and saw that the whole building had disappeared. Only one side chapel had, so to say, gathered all the light. In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared standing on the altar. She was grandiose, brilliant, full of majesty and sweetness, just as she is in the Miraculous Medal. An irresistible force attracted me to her. The Virgin made a gesture with her hand indicating I was to kneel.”

When de Bussières talked to Alphonse, he no longer found a Jew, but a convert who ardently desired baptism. The news of such an unexpected conversion immediately spread and caused a great commotion throughout Europe, and Pope Gregory XVI received the young convert, paternally. He ordered a detailed investigation with the rigor required by canon law, and concluded that the occurrence was a truly authentic miracle. 

Alphonse took the name Maria Alphonse at baptism, and, wishing to become a priest, was ordained a Jesuit in 1847. After some time, and at the suggestion of Pope Pius IX, he left the Jesuits and joined his brother Thèodore in founding the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion, dedicated to the conversion of the Jews. Father Theodore spread his congregation throughout France and England, while Father Maria Alphonse went to the Holy Land. In Jerusalem, he established a house of the congregation on the plot of land where the praetorium of Pilate had formerly stood.

The two brothers died in 1884, both famed and well-loved for their exceptional virtues.  

By Armando Santos  

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In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared standing on the altar"

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