Mary Tramples the Serpent - by TIEPOLO, Giovanni Battista - from Museo del Prado, Madrid
Above Mary, the Dove appears, Symbolizing the Holy Spirit.
The Palm Tree in the foreground, is a Symbol-of Mary's Victory and Superiority over Satan.
The Mirror 'Illustrates' that she is completely without Blemish, and that she herself is the Mirror-of all Virtues.
The Lily is a Remedy against Serpents and Venomous things, as all find, who put it in Practice - Cornelius-à-Lapide
The Crescent Moon refers-to the Woman-of-the-Apocalypse in Saint John's Gospel, and is also a Symbol-of-Chastity.
This Proud Spirit, in spite of himself,
was Beaten Down and Trampled under foot
by this most Blessed Virgin;
so that, as a Slave Conquered in War,
he is Forced always to Obey the Commands of this Queen
Salve Regina, Mater misericordiae,
Vita dulcedo et spes nostra salve.
Ad te clamamus exsules filii evae.
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.|
Not only is the most Blessed Virgin, Queen-of-Heaven and of All Saints, but she is also Queen-of-Hell and of All Evil Spirits; for she 'Overcame' them Valiantly, by her Virtues. From the very-beginning, God 'Foretold' the Victory and Empire, that our Queen would one Day 'Obtain', over the Serpent, when He 'Announced' that a Woman should come into the World, to 'Conquer' him: "I will put Enmities between Thee and the Woman — she shall Crush thy Head" - ("Inimicitias ponam inter te et mulierem . . . ipsa conteret caput tuum" — Genesis 3:15).
Who could this Woman, his Enemy, be but Mary, who by her Fair Humility and Holy Life, always 'Conquered' him and Beat-down his Strength? The Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, was Promised-in the Person-of that Woman - ("Mater Domini nostril Jesu Christi in illa Muliere promissa est" — De Viro perf. Inter op. S. Hier), as it is Remarked-by Saint Cyprian (Test. L. 2, c. 9), and after him, another Ancient Writer; and therefore God did not say, "I Place", but "I will Place"; lest He might seem-to Refer-to Eve: meaning that God said, I will Place Enmities between thee and the Woman, to-Signify that the Serpent's Opponent was not to be Eve, who was then-Living, but would be another Woman 'Descending' from her, and who, as Saint-Vincent-Ferrer 'Observes', "would bring our First Parents far Greater Advantages, than those which they had Lost by their Sin" - ("Quod ab eis procederet una Virgo sanctissima, quae afferret majus bonum, quam ipsi perdidissent" — Serm. De Concep. B. V. M.). Mary, then, was this Great and Valiant Woman, who 'Conquered' the Devil and Crushed his Head, by Bringing-down his Pride, as it was 'Foretold' by God Himself: She shall Crush thy Head. Some 'Doubt' as to whether these Words Refer-to Mary, or whether they do not rather Refer-to Jesus Christ; for the Septuagint 'Renders' them, He shall Crush thy Head. But in the Latin Vulgate (Saint Jerome), which alone was Approved-of by the Sacred Council-of-Trent, we find She, and not He; and thus it was Understood-by Saint Ambrose, Saint Jerome, Saint Augustine, and a great many others. However, be it as it may, it is certain that either the Son, by-means-of the Mother, or the Mother, by-means-of the Son, has 'Overcome' Lucifer; so that, as Saint Bernard 'Remarks', this Proud Spirit, in-spite-of himself, was Beaten-down and Trampled under-foot by this most Blessed Virgin; so that, as a Slave Conquered-in-War, he is 'Forced' always to 'Obey' the Commands of this Queen. "Beaten-down and Trampled-under the Feet of Mary, he endured a Wretched Slavery" - ("Sub Mariae pedibus conculcatus et contritus, miseram patitur servitutem" — In Sign. Magn.). Saint Bruno says "that Eve was the Cause-of-Death", by Allowing herself to be 'Overcome' by the Serpent, "but that Mary", by 'Conquering' the Devil, "Restored Life to us" - ("In Eva mors, et in Maria vita consistit; illa a diabolo victa est, haec diabolum ligavit et vicit" — De B. V. s. 2). And she 'Bound' him in such a way, that this Enemy cannot Stir, so-as-to do the Least Injury to any of her Clients.
Beautiful, is the Explanation Given-by Richard-of-Saint-Laurence, of the following Words of the Book-of-Proverbs: "The Heart of her Husband Trusteth-in her, and he shall have no Need of Spoils" - ("Confidit in ea cor viri sui, et spoliis non indigebit" — Proverbs 31:11). He says, 'Applying' them to Jesus and Mary: "The Heart of her Spouse, that is Christ, Trusteth in her, and He shall have no Need-of Spoils; for she Endows Him with all those whom, by her Prayers, Merits, and Example, she Snatches-from the Devil" - ("Quis, quoscumque suis orationibus, meritis et exemplis, liberat a diabolo, appoinit et assignat dominio Sponsi sui" — De Laud. B. M. l. 6). "God has Entrusted the Heart of Jesus, to the Hands of Mary, that she may Insure it, the Love of Men", says Cornelius-à-Lapide; and thus He will not Need Spoils; that is, He will be Abundantly Supplied-with Souls; for she 'Enriches' Him with those, whom she has 'Snatched' from Hell, and Saved from the Devil, by her Powerful Assistance.
It is well-Known that the Palm is a Sign-of-Victory; and therefore our Queen is placed on a High Throne, in Sight-of all the Powers, as a Palm, for a Sign-of the certain Victory that all may Promise themselves, who Place themselves under her Protection. "I was Exalted, like a Palm-Tree in Cades" - ("Quasi palma exaltata sum in Cades" — Ecclesiasticus 24:18), says Ecclesiasticus: "that is, to Defend", 'Adds' Blessed-Albert-the-Great - ("Scilicet ad defendendum" — Bibl. Marian). "My Children", Mary seems to-Say, "When the Enemy Assails you, Fly-to me; Cast your Eyes on me, and be of Good Heart; for as I am your Defender, Victory is Assured to you". So that Recourse-to Mary is a most-Secure means-to 'Conquer', All the Assaults-of-Hell; for she, says Saint-Bernardine-of-Sienna, is even the Queen-of-Hell and Sovereign Mistress of the Devils: since she it is who Tames and Crushes them. He thus 'Expresses' his Thought: "The most Blessed Virgin Rules-over the Infernal Regions. She is therefore called the Ruling Mistress of the Devils, because she brings them into Subjection" - ("Beata Virgo dominator in regno inferni; merito ergo domina dicitur, quasi domans daemonum manus" — Pro Fest. V. M. s. 3, a. 2, c. 2). For this Reason, Mary is said in the Sacred Canticles to be "Terrible to the Infernal Powers, as an Army in Battle Array" - ("Terribilis ut castrorum acies ordinata" — Canticles 6:3), and she is 'Called' thus Terrible, because she well Knows how to-Array her Power, her Mercy, and her Prayers, to the Discomfiture of her Enemies, and for the Benefit of her Servants, who in their Temptations, have Recourse-to her most Powerful Aid.
"As the Vine I have brought forth a Pleasant Odor" - ("Ego, quasi vitis, fructificavi suavitatem odoris" — Ecclesiasticus 24:23). Thus does the Holy Ghost make Mary 'Speak', in the Book-of-Ecclesiasticus. "We are told", says Saint-Bernard on this Passage, that "all Venomous Reptiles fly from Flowering Vines" - ("Aiunt, florescentibus vineis, omne reptile venenatum cedere loco" — In Cant. s. 60); for, as Poisonous Reptiles Fly-from Flowering Vines, so do Devils Fly-from those Fortunate Souls, in-whom they 'Perceive' the Perfume-of-Devotion to Mary. And therefore she also 'Calls' herself, in the same Book, a Cedar: "I was Exalted like a Cedar in Libanus" - ("Quasi cedrus exaltata sum in Libano" — Ecclesiasticus 24:17). Not only because Mary was Untainted by Sin, as the Cedar is Incorruptible, but also, as Cardinal Hugo 'Remarks' on the Foregoing Text, because, "like the Cedar, which by its Odor, keeps-off Worms, so also does Mary, by her Sanctity, Drive-away the Devils" - ("Cedrus odore suo fugat serpents, et Beata Virgo daemons").
In Judea, Victories were Gained by-means-of the Ark. Thus it was, that Moses 'Conquered' his Enemies, as we learn from the Book-of-Numbers. "And when the Ark was Lifted-up, Moses said: 'Arise, O Lord, and let Thy Enemies be Scattered'" - ("Cumque elevaretur Arca, dicebat Moyses: Surge Domine, et dissipentur inimici tui" — Numbers 10:35). Thus was Jericho 'Conquered'; thus also the Philistines; "for the Ark-of-God was there" - ("Erat enim ibi Arca Dei" — 1Kings 14:18). It is well known that this Ark was a Figure of Mary. Cornelius-à-Lapide says, "In Time of Danger, Christians should Fly to the most Blessed Virgin, who contained Christ, as Manna, in the Ark of her Womb, and brought him forth to be the Food and Salvation of the World" - ("Quae Christum quasi Manna in arca ventris sui continuity"). For as Manna was in the Ark, so is Jesus (of Whom Manna was a Figure) in Mary; and by-means-of this Ark we Gain the Victory over our Earthly and Infernal Enemies. "And thus", Saint-Bernardine-of-Sienna well 'Observes', "that when Mary, the Ark of the New Testament, was Raised to the Dignity of Queen-of-Heaven, the Power of Hell over Men, was Weakened and Dissolved" - ("Quando elevate fuit Virgo gloriosa ad coelestia regna, daemonis potential imminuta est et dissipata" — Pro Fest. V. M. s. 12, a. 1, c. 3).
O how the Infernal Spirits 'Tremble', at the very Thought-of Mary, and of her August Name! says Saint Bonaventure. "O, how Fearful is Mary, to the Devils!" - ("O quam tremenda est Maria daemonibus!") The Saint 'Compares' these Enemies to those of whom Job 'Speaks': "He Diggeth-through Houses in the Dark; . . . . . if the Morning suddenly Appear, it is to them the Shadow-of-Death" - ("Perfodit in tenebris domos . . .; si subito apparuerit aurora, arbitrantur umbram mortis" — Job 24:16,17). Thieves 'Go' and 'Rob' Houses in the Dark; but as-soon-as Morning 'Dawns', they 'Fly', as if they 'Beheld' the Shadow-of-Death. "Precisely thus", in the Words of the same Saint, "do the Devils enter a Soul, in the Time of Darkness"; meaning when the Soul is in the Obscurity-of-Ignorance. They 'Dig' through the House-of our Mind, when it is in the Darkness-of-Ignorance. But then, he adds, "if suddenly they are Overtaken-by the Dawn, that is, if the Grace and Mercy of Mary, Enters the Soul, its Brightness instantly 'Dispels' the Darkness, and puts the Infernal Enemies to Flight, as if they Fled from Death" - ("Perfodiunt in tenebris ignorantiae, domos mentium nostrarum . . . Si subito apparuerit aurora, si supervenerit Mariae gratia et misericordia, sic fugiunt, sicut hominess fugiunt umbram mortis" — Spec. B. V. lect. 3, 11). O Blessed is he who always 'Invokes' the Beautiful Name of Mary, in his Conflicts with Hell!
In Confirmation-of this, it was Revealed to Saint Bridget "that God had Rendered Mary so-Powerful over the Devils, that as-often-as they Assault a Devout Client, who Calls on this Most Blessed Virgin for Help, she, at a Single Glance, Instantly Terrifies them, so that they Fly far-away, Preferring-to have their Pains Redoubled, rather than see themselves thus Subject-to the Power of Mary" - ("Super omnes etiam malignos spiritus ipsam sic Deus potentem effecit, quod. quotiescumque ipsi hominem Virginis auxilium implorantem impugnaverint, ad ipsius Virginis nutum illico pavidi procul diffugiunt, volentes potius poenas suas multiplicari, quam ejusdem Virginis potentiam super se taliter dominari" — Serm. Ang. c. 20).
The Divine Bridgegroom, when Speaking-of this, His Beloved Bride, 'Calls' her a Lily: "As the Lily is amongst the Thorns, so is My Beloved amongst the Daughters" - ("Sicut lilium inter spinas, sic amica mea inter filias" — Canticles 2:2). On these Words, Cornelius-à-Lapide makes the Reflection, "that as the Lily is a Remedy against Serpents and Venomous Things, so is the Invocation of Mary a Specific, by which we may Overcome all Temptations, and especially those against Purity, as all find who put it in Practice" - ("Sicut lilium valet adversus serpents et venena, sic Beatae Virginis invocation singulare est remedium in omni tentatione, praesertim libidinis, uti experiential constat").
Saint-John-Damascene used to say, "While I keep my Hope in thee, Unconquerable, O Mother of God, I shall be Safe. I will Fight and Overcome my Enemies, with no other Buckler than thy Protection, and thy all-Powerful Aid" - ("Insuperabilem spem tuam habens, O Deipara! servabor . . . : persequar inimicos meos, solam habens, ut thoracem, protectionem tuam et omnipotens auxilium tuum" — In Ann. Dei gen.). And all who are so-Fortunate as to be the Servants-of this Great Queen, can say the same thing. O Mother of God, if I Hope in thee, I most certainly shall not be Overcome; for, Defended by thee, I will Follow-up my Enemies, and Oppose them with the Shield of thy Protection, and thy all-Powerful Help; and then, without Doubt, I shall Conquer. For says Saint-James-the-Monk (who was a Doctor amongst the Greeks), 'Addressing' Our Lord on the Subject-of Mary, "Thou, O Lord, hast given us in Mary, Arms that no Force-of-War can Overcome, and a Trophy never to be Destroyed" - ("Tu arma omni vi belli potentiora, trophaeumque invictum eam praestitisti" — Or. in Nat. Deip.).
It is said in the Old Testament, that God 'Guided' His People from Egypt, to the Land-of-Promise, "by-day in a Pillar-of-a-Cloud, and by-night in a Pillar-of-Fire" - ("Per diem in columna nubis, et per noctem in columna ignis" — Exodus 13:21). This Stupendous Pillar, at times as a Cloud, at others, as Fire, says Richard-of-Saint-Laurence, was a Figure of Mary, 'Fulfilling' the Double (2) Office she constantly 'Exercises' for our Good: as a Cloud she 'Protects' us from the Ardor of Divine Justice; and as Fire, she 'Protects' as from the Devils. "Behold, the Twofold Object for which Mary is given to us; to Shelter us, as a Cloud, from the Heat of the Sun-of-Justice; and, as Fire, to Protect us All against the Devil" - ("Ecce duo official ad quae data est nobis Maria: scilicet, ut nos protegat fervore solis justitiae, tamquam nubes; et tamquam ignis, ut nos protegat contra diabolum" — De Laud. B. Virg. l. 7). She Protects us as a Burning Fire: for, Saint Bonaventure Remarks: "As Wax melts before the Fire, so do the Devils, Lose their Power against those Souls, who often Remember the Name of Mary, and Devoutly Invoke it; and still more so, if they also Endeavor to Imitate her Virtues" - ("Fluunt sicut cera a facie ignis, ubicumque invenerint crebram hujus nominis recordationem, devotam invocationem, sollicitam imitationem" — Spec. B. M. V. lect. 3).
The Devils 'Tremble' even if they only-Hear the Name-of Mary. Saint Bernard 'Declares' that in "the Name of Mary, every Knee Bows; and that the Devils not only Fear, but Tremble at the very Sound of that Name" - ("Daemones, non solum Virginem pertimescunt, sed, audita hac voce, Maria, contremiscunt" — Apud Lyraeum, Tris. Mar. l. 3, t. 9). And as Men 'Fall' Prostrate with-Fear, if a Thunderbolt 'Falls' near them, so do the Devils, if they 'Hear' the Name-of Mary. Thomas-à-Kempis thus expresses the same Sentiment: "The Evil Spirits greatly Fear the Queen-of-Heaven, and Fly at the Sound of her Name, as if from Fire. At the very Sound of the Word Mary, they are Prostrated, as by Thunder" - ("Expavescunt coeli Reginam spiritus maligni, et diffugiunt, audito nomme ejus, velut ab igne. Tanquam tonitruum de coelo factum sit, prosternuntur ad Sanctae Mariae vocabulum" — Ad Nov. s. 23).
Oh, how many Victories, have the Clients-of Mary 'Gained', by only Making use-of her most Holy Name! It was thus that Saint-Anthony-of-Padua was always Victorious; thus the Blessed-Henry-Suso; thus so many other Lovers of this Great Queen, 'Conquered'. We learn from the History-of the Missions in-Japan, that many Devils appeared under the Form-of Fierce Animals, to a certain Christian, to Alarm and Threaten him; but he thus 'Addressed' them: "I have no Arms that you can Fear; and if the Most High 'Permits' it, do whatever you Please with me. In the Mean Time, however, I take the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary for my Defense". At the very Sound-of these Tremendous Names, the Earth 'Opened', and the Proud Spirits 'Cast' themselves, Headlong into it. Saint Anselm 'Declares' that he himself "Knew and had Seen and Heard many, who had 'Invoked' the Name-of-Mary, in Time of Danger, and were Immediately Delivered-from it" - ("Saepe vidimus et audivimus plurimos hominum in suis periculis recordari nominis Mariae, et omnis periculi malum illico evasisse" — De Excell. Virg. c. 6).
"Glorious indeed, and Admirable", 'Exclaims' Saint Bonaventure, "is thy Name, O Mary; for those who Pronounce it at Death, need not Fear, all the Powers-of-Hell" - ("Gloriosum et admirabile est nomen tuum, O Maria! qui illud retinent, non expavescent in puncto mortis" — Psalt. B. V. ps. 110); for the Devils, on-Hearing that Name, Instantly-fly, and Leave the Soul in Peace. The same Saint 'Adds', "that Men do not Fear a Powerful Hostile Army, as-much-as the Powers-of-Hell 'Fear' the Name and Protection of Mary" - ("Non sic timent hostes visibiles castrorum multitudinem copiosam, sicut aereae potestates Mariae vocabulum, et patrocinium" — Spec. B. M. V. lect. 3). "Thou, O Lady", says Saint Germanus, "by the simple Invocation-of thy most Powerful Name, givest Security to thy Servants against all the Assaults-of the Enemy" - ("Tu hostis contra invasions servos tuos sola tui nominis invocatione, tutos servas — De Zona Deip.). Oh, were Christians but Careful in their Temptations, to 'Pronounce' the Name of Mary with Confidence, never would they Fall; for, as Blessed Allan 'Remarks', "At the very Sound of these Words, Hail, Mary! Satan 'Flies', and Hell 'Trembles'". Our Blessed Lady herself, Revealed-to Saint Bridget, that the Enemy 'Flies' even from the Most Abandoned Sinners, who consequently are the Farthest-from God, and Fully Possessed-by the Devil, if they only 'Invoke' her most Powerful Name with a True Purpose of Amendment. "All Devils, on Hearing this Name of Mary, Filled with Terror, leave the Soul" - ("Satan fugit, infernos contremiscit, cum dico: Ave Maria" — De Psalt. p. 4, c. 30). But at the same Time, our Blessed Lady added, "that if the Soul does not Amend and Obliterate its Sins by Sorrow, the Devils almost Immediately Return, and Continue-to Possess it" - ("Daemones, audito nominee meo, statim relinquunt animam, quasi territi. Sed. Revertuntur ad eam, nisi aliqua emendation subsequatur" — Rev. l. 1, c. 9).