Miraculous Icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help - Hope of All
We Pray to her, in order that the Dignity of the Intercessor may Supply-for our own Unworthiness; so that to Implore the Blessed Virgin in such a Spirit, is not Diffidence in the Mercy-of-God, but Fear of our own Unworthiness
Salve Regina, Mater misericordiae,
Vita dulcedo et spes nostra salve.
Ad te clamamus exsules filii Hevae.
Ad te suspiramus gementes et flentes,
in hac lacrimarum valle.
Eja ergo advocata nostra,
illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte.
Et Jesum benedictum fructum ventris tui
nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.
O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria.
Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy,
Hail our Life, our Sweetness and our Hope.
To you do we Cry, Poor Banished Children-of-Eve,
to you do we Send-up our Sighs,
Mourning and Weeping in this Valley-of-Tears.
Turn then, most Gracious Advocate
your Eyes-of-Mercy, toward us.
And after this, our Exile,
Show us the Fruit of your Womb, Jesus.
O Clement, O Loving, O Sweet Virgin Mary.
|Nota Bene: Bible verses quoted in this Book, are from the English Douay-Rheims Translation, Commissioned-by the Catholic Church.|
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 Jeremiah 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" ("Ut dignitas intercessoris suppleat inopiam nostram"), 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" - ("Unde, virginem interpellare, non est de divina misericordia diffidere, sed de propria indignitate timere" De Inc. p. 2, d. 23, s. 3).
It is, then, not without Reason, that the Holy Church, in the Words-of-Ecclesiasticus, called Mary the "Mother of Holy Hope" - ("Ego mater . . . sanctae spei" Ecclesiasticus 24:24). 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 Saint 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!" - ("Ave animae Spes! Ave, Christianorum firma Salus! Ave. peccatorum Adjutrix! Ave. Vallum fideliuim et mundi Salus!" De Laud. Dei Gen.). Other Saints remind us, that after God, our only Hope is Mary; and therefore they Call her, "After God, their only Hope" - ("Post Deum, sola spes nostra" Cant. p. Psalt).
Saint Ephrem, Reflecting-on the Present Order-of Providence, by which God Wills (as Saint Bernard says, and as we shall Prove at length) 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" - ("Nobis non est alia quam in te fidueia, O Virgo sincerissima! sub alis tuae pietatis protιgι et custody nos" De Laud. Dei Gen.). Saint-Thomas-of-Villanova 'Repeats' the same thing, Calling her "our only Refuge, Help, and Asylum" - ("Tu unicum refugium, subsidium, et asylum" In Nat. B. V. Conc. 3). Saint Bernard seems to give the Reason for this, when he says, "See, O Man, the Designs of God, Designs by which He is able to Dispense His Mercy, more Abundantly to us; for, Desiring to Redeem the Whole Human Race, He has placed the Whole-Price-of-Redemption in the Hands-of-Mary, that she may Dispense it, at Will" - ("Intuere, O homo, consilium Dei, consilium pietatis: redempturus humanum genus, pretium universum contulit in Mariam" De Aquaed).
In the Book-of-Exodus, we 'Read' that God 'Commanded' Moses to make a Mercy-Seat of the Purest Gold, because it was thence, that He would 'Speak' to him. "Thou shalt make also a Propitiatory of the Purest Gold . . . Thence will I Give Orders, and will Speak to thee" - ("Facies et propitiatorium de auro mundissimo . . . Inde praecipiam et loquar ad te" Exodus 25:17,22). Saint-Andrew-of-Crete says that "the Whole World embraces Mary as being this Propitiatory". And Commenting-on his Words, a Pious Author exclaims, "Thou, O Mary, art the Propitiatory of the Whole World. From thee, does our most Compassionate Lord, Speak-to our Hearts; from thee, He Speaks Words of Pardon and Mercy; from thee, He bestows His Gifts; from thee, all Good Flows-to us" - ("Te universus mundus continent commune propitiatorium: inde pientissimus Dominus nobis loquitur ad cor; inde response dat benignitatis et veniae; inde response dat benignitatis et veniae: inde munera largitur: inde omne nobis bonum emanate" Paciucch. in Sal. Ang. Exc. 20). And therefore, before the Divine Word took Flesh in the Womb-of-Mary, He 'Sent' an Archangel to 'Ask' her Consent (Fiat): because He Willed that the World should 'Receive' the Incarnate Word 'Through' her, and that she should be the Source-of every Good. Hence, Saint Irenaeus remarks, that as Eve was Seduced, by a Fallen Angel, to Flee-from God;, so Mary was Led to 'Receive' God into her Womb, Obeying a Good Angel; and thus, by her Obedience, Repaired Eve's Disobedience, and became her Advocate, and that of the Whole Human Race. "If Eve Disobeyed God, yet Mary was persuaded to Obey God, that the Virgin Mary might become the Advocate of the Virgin Eve. And as the Human Race was Bound-to Death through a Virgin, it is Saved through a Virgin" - ("Quid est quod sine Mariae consensus non perficitur Incarnationis mysterium? quia nempe vult illam Deus omnium bonorum esse principium" Ap. C. ΰ Lap. In Prov. xxxi. 29). And Blessed-Raymond-Jordano also says, "that every Good, every Help, every Grace, that Men have Received and will Receive from God until the end-of-time, came, and will come, to them by the Intercession and Through the Hands-of-Mary" ("Per ipsam, habet mundus et habiturus est omne bonum" Cont. B. M. in prol.).
The Devout Blosius, then, might well 'Exclaim', "O Mary, O though who art so Loving and Gracious towards all who Love thee, tell me, who can be so Infatuated and Unfortunate, as not to Love thee? Thou, in the midst-of their Doubts and Difficulties, Enlightenest the Minds of all who, in their Afflictions, have Recourse to thee. Thou Encouragest those who Fly to thee, in Time of Danger; thou Succorest those who Call upon thee; thou, after thy Divine Son, art the Certain Salvation of thy Faithful Servants. Hail, then, O Hope of those who are in Despair, O Succor of those who are Abandoned. O Mary, thou art all-Powerful; for thy Divine Son, to Honor thee, complies Instantly with all thy Desires" ("O Maria! quis te non amet? tu enim in dubiis es lumen, in moeroribus solatium, in periculis refugium. Tu, post Unigenitum tuum certa fidelium salus. Ave, desperantium Spes, ave, destitutorum Adjutrix! Cujus honori tantum tribuit Filius, ut, quiidquid volueris, mox fia" Par. An. p. 2, c. 4).
Saint Germanus, Recognizing in Mary the Source of all our Good, and that she 'Delivers' us from every Evil, thus 'Invokes' her: "O, my Sovereign Lady, thou alone art the One whom God has Appointed to be my Solace, here below; thou art the Guide of my Pilgrimage, the Strength of my Weakness, the Riches of my Poverty, Remedy for the Healing of my Wounds, the Soother of my Pains, the End of my Captivity, the Hope of my Salvation! Hear my Prayers, have Pity on my Tears, I Conjure thee, O thou who art my Queen, my Refuge, my Love, my Help, my Hope and my Strength" - ("O Domina mea, tu sola mihi ex Deo solatium, itineris mei direction, debilitates meae potential, mendicitatis meae divitiae, vulnerum meorum medicina, dolorum meorum relevatio, vinculorum meorum solution, salutis meae spes; exaudi orations meas, miserere suspiriorum meorum, Domina mea, Refugium, Vita, Auxilium, Spes, et Robut meum!" Encom. In S. Deip.).
We need not, then, be Surprised that Saint Antoninus applies the following Verse-of the Book-of-Wisdom to Mary: "Now all Good Things came to me, together with her" - ("Venerunt autem mihi omnia bona partier cum illa" Wisdom 7:11). 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. The Saint thus 'Expresses' his Thought: "She is the Mother of all Good Things, and the World can Truly say, that with her (that is, the most Blessed Virgin ) it has received all Good Things" - ("Omnium bonorum mater est, et venerunt mihi omnia bona cum illa scilicet virgine, potest dicere mundus" P. 4, l. 15, c. 20, #12). And hence, the Blessed-Abbot-of-Celles expressly 'Declares', "that when we find Mary, we find All" - ("Inventa Maria, invenitur omne bonum" De Cont. de V. M. in Prol.). Whoever 'Finds' Mary, 'Finds' every Good Thing, 'Obtains' all-Graces and all-Virtues; for by her Powerful Intercession, she 'Obtains' all that is Necessary-to Enrich him, with Divine Grace. In the Book-of-Proverbs, Mary herself tells us that she 'Possesses' all the Riches-of-God, that is to say, His Mercies, that she may Dispense them in Favor of her Lovers. "With me are Riches . . . and Glorious Riches . . . that I may Enrich them that Love me" - ("Mecum sunt divitiae, et . . . opes superbae . . . ut ditem diligentes me" Proverbs 8:18,21). And therefore, Saint 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" - ("Oculi omnium nostrum ad manus Mariae simper debent respicere, ut per manus ejus aliquid boni accipiamus" Spec. B. V. lect. 3)").
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" - ("Ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent mones generations"). And Saint Bernard, 'Interpreting' her Words, says: "All Generations call thee Blessed, because thou has given Life and Glory to all Nations" - ("Ex hoc Beatam te dicent omnes generations, quae omnibus generationibus vitam et gloriam genuisti" In Pentec. s. 2), for "in thee, Sinners find Pardon, and the Just, Perseverance in the Grace-of-God" - ("In te justi gratiam, peccatores veniam inveniunt in aeternum" In Pent. s. 2).
Hence the Devout Lanspergius, makes Our Lord thus Address the World: "Men, Poor Children of Adam, who Live Surrounded-by so many Enemies, and in the Midst-of so many Trials, Endeavor to Honor My Mother and yours, in a Special Manner: for I have Given Mary to the World, that she may be your Model, and that from her, you may Learn to Lead Good Lives; and also that she may be Refuge to which you can Fly, in all your Afflictions and Trials. I have Rendered this, my Daughter, such that no One need Fear, or have the least Repugnance to have Recourse to her; and for this Purpose, I have Created her, of so Benign and Compassionate a Disposition, that she knows not how to Despise any One, who takes Refuge with her, nor can she Deny her Favor to any one who Seeks it. The Mantle of her Mercy is Open-to All, and she Allows no one to Leave her Feet, without Consoling him" ("Matrem meam devotione praaecipua venerate. Ego enim hanc mundo dedi, in puritatis exemplum, in praesidium tutissimum, ut sit tribulatis asylum. Quam nemo formidet, nemo ad eam accedere trepidet; propterea namque adeo feci eam mitem, adeo misericordem, ut neminem aspernetur, nulli se neget, omnibus pietatis sinum apertum teneat; neminem a se redire cristem sinat" Alloq. l 1, p. 4, can. 12). May the Immense Goodness of our God, be ever Praised and Blessed for having Given us this so-Great, so-Tender, so-Loving a Mother and Advocate.
O God, how Tender are the Sentiments of Confidence, 'Expressed' by the Enamored Saint Bonaventure towards Jesus our most Loving Redeemer, and Mary our Most Loving Advocate! He says, "Whatever God Forsees 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" ("Quantumcumque me Deus Praesciverit, scio quod seipsum negare non potest. Eum amplexabor, et, si non mihi benedixerit, nec tunc dimittam; et sine me recedere non valebit. In cavernis vulnerum suorum me abscondam, ibique extra se me invenire non poterit. Ad matris suae pedes provolutus stabo, ut mihi veniam impetret. Ipsa enim non misereri ignorat, et miseris non satisfacere nunquam scivit. Ideoque ex compassione maxima mihi ad indulgentiam Filium inclinabit" Stim. Div. am. p. 3, c. 13).
"Look down upon us, then", let us exclaim, in the Words-of-Euthymius, "look down upon us, O most Compassionate Mother; cast thine Eyes of Mercy on us, for we are thy Servants, and in thee we have placed all our Confidence" ("Respice, O Mater misericordiosissima! Respice servos tuos; in te enim omnem spem nostram collocavimus" Ap. Sur. 31 Aug.).