Chapter II
Vita, Dulcedo
Mary, Our Life, Our Sweetness


Mary, Mediatrix of the Grace-of-Life

All of God's Gracies, that are Dispensed-to Men, shall Pass through the Hands-of-Mary.
She is Queen-of-Mercy, as Jesus is King-of-Justice - Saint Thomas Aquinas.
Jesus 'Honors'  [Fourth (4th) Commandment], Mary (Mother) and Joseph (Father) in a Special Manner, by Listening-to and 'Granting' their Prayers and Petitions.

 

Listen, all you who Desire the Kingdom of God:
Honor the most Blessed Virgin Mary,
and you will find Life and Eternal Salvation

Saint Bonaventure

Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen)
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.

 

Chapter II
Vita, Dulcedo
Mary, Our Life, Our Sweetness

by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Chapter II, Section I
Mary is our Life, because she Obtains for us, the Pardon of our Sins

Supernatural Order
(Resides in the Essence of the Soul)

Human Being/Person
(A Unity (1) of Body and Soul)

Natural
Order

Supernatural
Order

Natural
Body

Natural
Soul

Divine Grace

As the Soul gives Life to the Body, so does Divine Grace give Life to the Soul.
Divine Grace is the Ensemble of Effects exceeding the Powers of the Created Universe and Gratuitously produced directly by God, for the purpose of Raising the Rational Creature above its Natural Sphere, to a God-like Life and Destiny.

To Understand why the Holy Church makes us 'Call' Mary "Our Life", we must know that, as the Soul gives Life to the Body, so does Divine Grace give Life to the Soul; for a Soul without Grace, has the Name-of being Alive, but is in Truth Dead, as it was said of One in the Apocalypse, "Thou hast the Name of being Alive, and thou art Dead" - ("Nomen habes quod vivas, et mortuus es" — Apocalypse 3:1). Mary, then, in 'Obtaining' this Grace for Sinners, by her Intercession, thus 'Restores' them to Life.

See how the Church makes her 'Speak', Applying-to her the following Words-of-Proverbs: "They that in the Morning, early Watch-for me, shall Find me" - ("Qui mane vigilant ad me, invenient me" — Proverbs 8:17). They who are Diligent in having Recourse-to me in the Morning, that is, as-soon-as they can, will most-Certainly 'Find' me. In the Septuagint, the Words "shall Find me" are 'Rendered' "shall Find Grace". So that to have Recourse-to Mary, is the same-thing-as to 'Find' the Grace-of-God. A little further on she says, "He that shall Find me, shall Find Life, and shall have Salvation from the Lord" - ("Qui me invenerit, inveniet vitam, et hauriet salutem a Domino"). "Listen", exclaims Saint Bonaventure on these words, "listen, all you who Desire the Kingdom-of-God: Honor the most Blessed Virgin Mary, and you will 'Find' Life and Eternal Salvation" - ("Audite qui ingredi cupitis regnum Dei: Virginem Mariam honorate, et invenietis vitam et salutem perpetuam" — Psalt. B. V. ps. 48).

Saint-Bernardine-of-Sienna says, that if God did not 'Destroy' Man after his First (1st) Sin, it was on-account-of His Singular Love for this Holy Virgin, who was Destined to be 'Born' of this Race. And the Saint adds, "that he has no doubt but that all the Mercies Granted by God under the Old Dispensation, were Granted only in consideration of this most Blessed Lady" - ("Omnes indulgentias factas in Veteri Testamento non ambigo Deum fecisse propter hujus benedictae Puelae reverentiam et amorem" — Pro Fest. V. M. s. 5, c. 2).

Hence, Saint Bernard was Right in 'Exhorting' us "to Seek for Grace, and to Seek it by Mary" - ("Inventrix gratiae" — In Adv. D. s. 2); meaning, that if we have had the Misfortune to Lose the Grace-of-God, we should Seek to Recover it, but we should do so 'Through' Mary; for though we may have Lost it, she has found it; and hence the Saint 'Calls' her "the Finder-of-Grace" - ("Inventrix gratiae" — In Adv. D. s. 2). The Angel Gabriel, expressly 'Declared' this for our Consolation, when he 'Saluted' the Blessed Virgin, 'Saying', "Fear not, Mary, thou hast Found Grace" - ("Ne timeas, Maria: invenisti enim gratiam" — Luke 1:30). But if Mary had never been Deprived of Grace, how could the Archangel say that she had then 'Found' it? A thing may be 'Found' by a Person who did not previously Possess it; but we are told by the same Archangel, that the Blessed Virgin was always with God, always in Grace, nay, "Full of Grace". "Hail, Full-of-Grace, the Lord is with thee" - ("Ave, gratia plena! Dominus tecum"). Since Mary, then, did not 'Find' Grace for herself, she being always Full-of it, for whom did she 'Find' it? Cardinal Hugo, in his Commentary on the above Text, replies that she 'Found' it for Sinners who had Lost it. "Let Sinners, then", says this Devout Writer, "who by their Crimes have Lost Grace, Address themselves to the Blessed Virgin, for with her they will surely Find it; let them Humbly Salute her, and say with Confidence, 'Lady, that which has been Found must be Restored to him who has Lost it; Restore us, therefore, our Property which thou hast Found'" - ("Currant igitur peccatores ad Virginem, qui gratiam amiserunt peccando, et eam invenient apud ipsam; secure dicant: Redde nobis rem nostrum, quam invenisti"). On this Subject, Richard-of-Saint-Laurence concludes, "that if we Hope to Recover the Grace-of-God, we must go to Mary, who has Found it, and Finds it always" - ("Cupientes invenire gratiam, quaeramus inventricem gratiae, quae, quia simper invenit, frustrari non poterit" — De Laud. V. 1. 2, p. 5). And as she Always-was and Always-will be Dear-to God, if we have Recourse-to her, we shall certainly 'Succeed'.


Mary, a Garden Enclosed - "I am a Wall: and my Breasts are as a Tower" Canticles 8:10 -
by LOCHNER, Stefan - from Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne

Again, Mary says, in the Eighth (8th) Chapter of the Sacred Canticles, that God has 'Placed' her in the World, to be our Defense: "I am a Wall: and my Breasts are as a Tower" - ("Ego murus, et ubera mea sicut turris, ex quo facta sum coram eo quasi pacem reperiens" — Canticles 8:10). And she is Truly 'Made' a Mediatress of Peace, between Sinners and God; Since I am Become-in His Presence, as One finding Peace. On these Words, Saint Bernard 'Encourages' Sinners, saying, "Go to this Mother-of-Mercy, and show her the Wounds which thy Sins have left on thy Soul; then will she certainly Entreat her Son, by the Breast that gave Him Suck, to Pardon thee all. And this Divine Son, Who Loves her so Tenderly, will most certainly Grant her Petition" - ("Vade ad Matrem misericordiae, et ostende illi tuorum plagas peccatorum, et illa ostendet pro te ubera; exaudiet utique Matrem Filius"). In this Sense, it is that the Holy Church, in her almost Daily Prayer, 'Calls' upon us to 'Beg' Our Lord to 'Grant' us the Powerful Help of the Intercession-of Mary, to Rise-from our Sins: "Grant Thy Help to our Weakness, O most Merciful God; and that we, who are Mindful of the Holy Mother-of-God, may by the Help of her Intercession, Rise from our Iniquities" - ("Concede, misericors Deus, fragilitati nostrae praesidium; ut qui sanctae Dei Genitricis memoriam agimus, intercessionis ejus auxilio a nostris iniquitatibus resurgamus").

 

With reason, then, does Saint-Laurence-Justinian 'Call' her "the Hope of Malefactors" - ("Delinquentium spes" — S. de Nat. V. M.); since she alone is the One who 'Obtains' them Pardon from God. With Reason does Saint Bernard call her "the Sinners' Ladder" ("Peccatorum scala" — De Aquad); since she, the most Compassionate Queen, 'Extending' her Hand to them, 'Draws' them from an Abyss-of-Sin, and 'Enables' them to 'Ascend' to God. With Reason, does an Ancient Writer call her "the only Hope of Sinners; "for by her Help alone, can we Hope for the Remission of our Sins ("Tu es spes unica peccatorum, quia per te speramus veniam omnium delictorum" — Serm. 194, E. B. app.).

Mary, Mother-of-Mercy

All of God's Pardon and Mercies, that are Dispensed-to Men, shall Pass through the Hands-of-Mary.
She is Queen-of-Mercy, as Jesus is King-of-Justice - Saint Thomas Aquinas.
Jesus 'Honors', Fourth (4th) Commandment, Mary and Joseph in a Special Manner, by Listening-to and 'Granting' their Prayers and Petitions.
 

Saint-John-Chrysostom also says "that Sinners receive Pardon by the Intercession of Mary alone" - ("Per hanc peccatorum veniam consequimur"). And therefore the Saint, in the Name-of all Sinners, thus 'Addresses' her: "Hail, Mother of God and of us all, 'Heaven,' where God Dwells, 'Throne,' from which Our Lord Dispenses all Grace, 'Fair Daughter, Virgin, Honor, Glory and Firmament of our Church,' Assiduously Pray to Jesus, that in the Day-of-Judgment, we may Find Mercy 'Through' thee, and Receive the Reward Prepared-by God for those who Love him" ("Ave igitur, Mater, Coelum, Thronus, Ecclesiae nostrae decus; assidue precare Jesum, ut per te misericordiam invenire in die judicii, et, quae reposita sunt iis, qui diligent Deum, bona consequi possimus" — Off. B. M. lect. 6).

With Reason, finally, is Mary called, in the Words-of the Sacred Canticles, the 'Dawn'; "Who is she that cometh-forth as the Morning Rising?" - ("Quae est ista, quae progreditur quasi aurora consurgenus?" — Canticles 6:9). Yes, says Pope Innocent III; "for as the Dawn is the End-of-Night, and the Beginning-of-Day, well may the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was the End-of-Vices, be called the Dawn-of-Day" - ("Cum aurora sit finis noctis et origo diei, merito per auroram designator Virgo Maria, quae fuit finis vitiorum" — In Assumpt. s. 2). When Devotion towards Mary 'Begins' in a Soul, it 'Produces' the same Effect that the Birth-of this most Holy Virgin, Produces in the World. It puts an end to the Night-of-Sin, and 'Leads' the Soul into the Path-of-Virtue. Therefore, Saint Germanus says, "O Mother of God, thy Protection never Ceases, thy Intercession is Life, and thy Patronage never Fails" (In Dorm. B. V. s. 2). And in a Sermon, the same Saint says, that to 'Pronounce' the Name of Mary with Affection, is a Sign-of Life in the Soul, or at least, that Life will soon 'Return' there.

We Read in the Gospel-of Saint Luke, that Mary said, "Behold, from henceforth all Generations shall call me Blessed" - ("Ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes Generations" — Luke 1:48). "Yes, my Lady", exclaims Saint Bernard, "all Generations shall Call thee Blessed, for thou has Begotten Life and Glory for all Generations of Men" - ("Ex hoc Beatam te dicent omnes generations, quae omnibus generationibus vitam et gloriam genuisti" — In Pentec.). For this Cause, all Men shall Call thee Blessed, for all thy Servants 'Obtain-Through' thee, the Life-of-Grace and Eternal Glory. "In thee do Sinners find Pardon, and the Just, Perseverance and Eternal Life" - ("In te justi gratiam, peccatores veniam, invenerunt in aeternum" — In Pentec. s. 2). "Distrust not, O Sinner", says the devout Bernardine-de-Bustis, "even if thou has Committed all possible Sins: go with Confidence to this most Glorious Lady, and thou wilt Find her Hands, Filled-with Mercy and Bounty". And, he adds, for "she Desires more to thee Good, than thou canst Desire-to Receive Favors from her" - ("O peccator! non diffidas, etiamsi commisisti omnia peccata, sed secure ad istam gloriosissimam Dominam recurras; invenies enim eam in minibus plenam misericordia et largitate. Plus enim desiderat ipsa facere tibi bonum, et largiri gratiam, quam tu accipere concupiscas" — Marial. p. 2, s. 5).


By virtue of the Merits of Jesus Christ, God Forgives all who have Recourse to her.
"Let us take Refuge under the Mantle-of-Mary, and she most certainly will not Reject us, but will 'Secure' our Salvation".

Saint-Andrew-of-Crete calls Mary the Pledge-of Divine Mercy - ("Fidejussio divinarum reconciliationum, quae dato pignore fit" — In Dorm. B. V. s. 3); meaning that, when Sinners have Recourse to Mary, that they may be Reconciled with God, He 'Assures' them of Pardon, and 'Gives' them a Pledge of it; and this Pledge is Mary, whom He has 'Bestowed' upon us for 0ur Advocate, and by whose Intercession (by Virtue of the Merits of Jesus Christ) God Forgives all who have Recourse-to her. Saint Bridget heard an Angel say, that the Holy Prophets 'Rejoiced' in knowing that God, by the Humility and Purity of Mary, was to be Reconciled-with Sinners, and to 'Receive' those who had Offended Him, to Favor. "They 'Exulted', 'Foreknowing' that our Lord Himself would be Appeased by thy Humility, and the Purity of thy Life, O Mary, thou Super-effulgent Star, and that He would be Reconciled with those who had Provoked His Wrath" - ("Exsultabant autem praenoscentes, quod ipse Dominus, ex tua humilitate, et vitae puritate, O Maria, stella praefulgida! placaretur, et quod reciperet eos in suam gratiam, qui ipsum ad iracundiam provocaverant" — Serm. Ang. c. 9).

No Sinner, having Recourse-to the Compassion of Mary, should Fear being 'Rejected'; for she is the Mother-of-Mercy, and as such, 'Desires' to Save the most Miserable. Mary is that Happy Ark, says Saint Bernard, "in which those who take Refuge, will never Suffer the Shipwreck of Eternal Perdition" - ("Arca in qua naufragium evadimus" — S. de B. V. M. Deip.). At the time of the Deluge, even Brutes were Saved in Noah's Ark. Under the Mantle-of-Mary, even Sinners 'Obtain' Salvation. Saint Gertrude once saw Mary with her Mantle 'Extended', and under it many Wild Beasts — Lions, Bears, and Tigers — had taken Refuge (Insin. l. 4, c. 50). And she Remarked that Mary not only did not ' Reject', but even 'Welcomed' and 'Caressed' them, with the Greatest Tenderness. The Saint 'Understood' hereby, that the most Abandoned Sinners who have Recourse to Mary, are not only not Rejected, but that they are 'Welcomed' and 'Saved' by her, from Eternal Death. Let us, then, enter this Ark, let us take Refuge under the Mantle-of-Mary, and she most certainly will not Reject us, but will 'Secure' our Salvation.

 

Example

Father Bovio (Es. E. Mir. p. 1, es. 2) 'Relates' that there was a Wicked Woman, named Ellen, who entered a Church, and by-chance, 'Heard' a Sermon on the Rosary. On leaving the Church she Purchased a Set-of-Beads, but Wore them concealed, as she did not Wish it to be known that she had them. She began to 'Recite' them, and though she did so without Devotion, our most Blessed Lady 'Poured' such Sweetness and Consolation into her Soul, during the Whole Time, that she could not Cease 'Repeating' the Hail Marys. At last, she was Filled-with such a Horror, for her Wicked Life, that she could no-Longer 'Find' Repose, and was Obliged-to go to Confession. She 'Accomplished' this Duty with such Contrition, that the Priest was filled with Astonishment. After her Confession, she went to the Foot-of an Altar-of the most Blessed Virgin, and there, as a Thanksgiving to her Advocate, said the Rosary. The Divine Mother then 'Addressed' her from the Image, in the following words: "Ellen, thou has already too much Offended God and me; from this Moment, Change your Life, and I will Bestow a large Share of my Graces, upon thee". The Poor Sinner, in the Deepest Confusion, 'Replied': "Ah! most Holy Virgin, it is True that hitherto I have been a Wicked Sinner; but thou canst do all, Help me; on my part I Abandon myself to thee, and will Spend the Remainder of my Life in doing Penance for my Sins". With the Assistance-of Mary, she Distributed all her Goods among the Poor, and began a Life-of Rigorous Mortification. She was Tormented with Dreadful Temptations, but constantly Recommended herself to the Mother of God, and thus was always Victorious. She was Favored with many Extraordinary Graces, with Visions, Revelations, and even the Gift-of-Prophecy. Finally, before her Death, which was Announced-to her by Mary some days before it took place, the most Blessed Virgin came herself, with her Divine Son, to Visit her; and when she Expired, her Soul was seen Flying-towards Heaven, in the Form-of a Beautiful Dove.

 

Prayer

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Behold, O Mother of my God, my only Hope, Mary, Behold at thy Feet, a Miserable Sinner, who asks thee for Mercy. Thou art Proclaimed and Called by the whole Church, and by all the Faithful, the Refuge-of-Sinners. Thou art consequently my Refuge; thou hast to Save me. I will say with William-of-Paris, Thou knowest, most sweet Mother of God, how much thy Blessed Son desires our Salvation ("Tu . . . enim, dulcissima Dei Mater, nosti quantum placeat benedicto Filio tuo salus nostra" — Rhèt. Div. c. 18). Thou knowest all that Jesus Christ endured-for this End. I present thee, O my Mother, the Sufferings of Jesus: the Cold that He endured-in the Stable, His Journey into Egypt, His Toils, His Sweat, the Blood that He shed, the Anguish which caused His Death on the Cross, and of which thou wast thyself a Witness. O, show that thou Lovest thy Beloved Son, and by this Love, I Implore thee to Assist me. Extend thy Hand to a Poor Creature who has Fallen, and asks thy Help. Were I a Saint, I would not need Seek thy Mercy: but because I am a Sinner, I Fly-to thee, who art the Mother-of-Mercies. I know that thy Compassionate Heart finds its Consolation in Assisting the Miserable, when thou canst do so, and dost not find them Obstinate. Console, then, thy Compassionate Heart, and Console me this day; for now thou hast the opportunity of Saving a Poor Creature, Condemned to Hell; and thou canst do so, for I will not be Obstinate. I Abandon myself into thy Hands, only Tell me what thou wouldst have me do, and Obtain for me Strength to Execute it, for I am Resolved to do all that Depends on me, to Recover the Divine Grace. I take Refuge under thy Mantle. Jesus Wills that I should have Recourse to thee, in order not only that His Blood may Save me, but also that thy Prayers may Assist me in this Great Work; for thy Glory, and for His Own, since thou art His Mother. He sends me to thee, that thou mayst Help me. O Mary, see, I have Recourse to thee; in thee do I Confide. Thou Prayest for so many others, Pray also for me; say only a Word. Tell Our Lord that thou Willest my Salvation, and God will certainly Save me. Say that I am thine, and then I have Obtained all that I Ask, all that I Desire.

Amen