Madonna with Child, St Elizabeth and the Infant St John the Baptist - by BACCHIACCA - from Christian Museum, Esztergom
O Mary, when I Behold thee, I can only 'Discern' Mercy,
for thou wast made Mother-of-God, for the Wretched,
and then thou wast 'Instructed' with their Charge;
thou art all Solicitude for them; thou art Walled-in with Mercy;
thy only Wish is to Show it
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.|
In fine', the Compassion of Mary is so-Great towards us, that the Abbot Guerric says, "that her Loving Heart can never remain a Moment, without Bringing-forth its Fruits-of-Tenderness" - ("Cujus viscera nunquam desinunt fructum parturire pietatis" De Assumpt. s. 1). "And what", exclaims Saint Bernard, "can ever Flow-from a Source-of Compassion, but Compassion itself?" - ("Quid de fonte pietatis procederet, nisi pietas?" Dom. 1 p. Epiph. s. 1).
Mary is also 'Called' an Olive-Tree: "As a Fair Olive-Tree, on the Plains" - ("Quasi oliva speciosa in campis" Ecclesiasticus 24:19). For, as-'From' the Olive, Oil (a Symbol-of Mercy) Alone is 'Extracted', so-From the Hands-of-Mary, Graces and Mercy alone, 'Proceed'. Hence the Venerable-Father-Luis-de-Ponte says, "that Mary may Properly be Called the Mother-of-Oil, since she is the Mother-of-Mercy" - ("Optime dici potest Mater olei: est enim Mater misericordiae" In Cant. l. 1, exh. 21). And thus, when we go to this Good Mother, for the Oil of her Mercy, we cannot Fear that she will 'Deny' it to us, as the Wise Virgins in the Gospel, did to the Foolish Ones: "lest perhaps there be not enough for Us, and for You" - ("Ne forte non sufficiat nobis et vobis" Matthew 25:9). O No! for she is indeed Rich, in this Oil-of-Mercy, as Saint Bonaventure 'Assures' us, "Mary is filled-with the Oil-of-Compassion" - ("Maria plena est oleo pietatis" Spec. B. M. V. lect. 7). She is Called-by the Church, not only a Prudent Virgin, but Most-Prudent, that we may Understand, says Hugo-of-Saint-Victor, that she is so Full-of Grace and Compassion, that she can 'Supply' All, without 'Losing' any herself. "Thou, O Blessed Virgin, art Full-of-Grace, and indeed so-Full, that the Whole World may Draw-of this Overflowing Oil". "For if the Prudent Virgins 'Provided' Oil in Vessels, with their Lamps, thou, O Most Prudent Virgin, has borne an Overflowing and Inexhaustible Vessel, from which, the Oil-of-Mercy 'Streaming', thou 'Replenishest' the Lamps of All" - ("Gratis plena: in tantum plena, ut ex tuo redundante totus hauriat mundus; si enim prudentes Virgines oleum acceperunt in vasis cum lampadibus, tu, prudentissima Virgo, gestasti vas redundans et indeficiens, ex quo, effuso oleo misericordiae, omnium lampades illuminares" De Verb. Inc. c. 3).
But why, I ask, is this Beautiful Olive-Tree, said to-Stand in the Midst of the Plains, and not rather in the Midst-of-a-Garden, surrounded-by a Wall and Hedges? The same Hugo-of-Saint-Victor tells us, that it is "that All may see her, that All may go to her for Refuge" - ("Ut omnes peccatores ad ipsam respiciant, ad ipsam confugiant" De Assumpt. s. 2); that All may 'See' her Easily, and as-Easily have 'Recourse' to her, to 'Obtain' Remedies for all their Ills. This Beautiful Explanation is 'Confirmed'-by Saint-Antoninus, who says, "that All can Go-to, and Gather the Fruit of an Olive-Tree that is Exposed in the Midst-of a Plain; and thus All, both Just and Sinners, can have Recourse-to Mary, to Obtain her Mercy" - ("Ad olivam in campis, omnes possunt accedere, et accipere fructum ejus; sic ad Mariam et justi et peccatores accedere possunt, ut inde misericordiam accipiant"). He then adds, "O how many Sentences-of-Condemnation, has not this most Blessed Virgin, 'Revoked' by her Compassionate Prayers, in Favor-of Sinners who have had Recourse to her?" - ("Oh, quot sententias flagellorum, quae meruit mundus propter peccata sua, haec Sanctissima Virgo misericorditer revocavit!" P. 3, 1, 31. c. 4, #3). And "What Safer Refuge", says the Devout Thomas-ΰ-Kempis, "can we ever find than the Compassionate Heart of Mary? there the Poor find a Home, the Infirm a Remedy, the Afflicted Relief, the Doubtful Counsel, and the Abandoned Succor" - ("Non est tutior locus ad latendum, quam sinus Mariae; ibi pauper habet domicilium; ibi infirmus invenit remedium; ibi tristis accipit solatium; ibi turbatus meretur consilium; ibi destitutus acquirit juvamentum" Ad Nov. s. 24).
Wretched indeed should we be, had we not this Mother-of-Mercy always 'Attentive' and 'Solicitous' to Relieve us in our Wants! "Where there is no Woman, he Mourneth that is in-Want" - ("Ubi non est mulier, ingemiscit egens" Ecclesiasticus 36:27), says the Holy Ghost. "This Woman", says Saint John Damascene, "is precisely the Most Blessed Virgin Mary; and wherever this Most Holy Woman is not, the Sick Man Groans" - ("Ingemiscit infirmus, ubi non fuerit haec sanctissima Mulier"). And surely it cannot be otherwise, since all Graces are Dispensed-at the Prayer of Mary; and where this is Wanting, there can be no Hope of Mercy, as Our Lord gave Saint Bridget to-Understand in these Words: "Unless the Prayers of Mary 'Interposed', there could be no Hope of Mercy" - ("Nisi preces Matris meae intervenirent, non esset spes misericordiae" Rev. l. 6, c. 26).
But perhaps we Fear that Mary does not 'See', or does not 'Feel' for, our Necessities? O no, she 'Sees' and 'Feels' them far better, than we do ourselves. "There is not one amongst all the Saints", says Saint Antoninus, "who can ever Feel for us in our Miseries, both Corporal and Spiritual, like this Woman, the most Blessed Virgin Mary" - ("Non reperitur aliquem Sanctorum ita compati in infirmitatibus, sicut Mulier haec, Beata Virgo Maria" P. 4, tit. 15, c. 2). So-much-so, that there, where she 'Sees' Misery, she cannot do otherwise than Instantly Fly and Relieve it with her Tender Compassion ("Ubicumque fuerit miseria, tua et currit et succurrit misericordia" In Cant. c. 23). Richard-of-Saint-Victor repeats the same thing; and Mendoza says, "Therefore, O most Blessed Virgin, thou Dispensest thy Mercies with a Generous Hand, wherever thou seest Necessities" - ("Itaque, O Virgo Mater! ubi nostras miseries invenis, ibi mas, misericordias effundis" In Reg. c. iv. n. 11, ann. 12). Our Good Mother herself, Protests that she will never Cease-to Fulfill this Office-of Mercy: "And unto the World-to-Come, I shall not cease to be, and in the Holy Dwelling-place I have Ministered before him" - ("Et usque ad futurum saeculum non desinam, et in habitatione sancta coram ipso ministravi" Ecclesiasticus 24:14); that is, as Cardinal-Hugo explains, "I will never Cease until the End of the World, Relieving the Miseries of Men, and Praying-for Sinners" - ("Usque ad futurum saeculum, quod est saeculum Beatorum, non desinam miseris subveniere et pro peccatoribus orare"), that they may be Delivered from Eternal Misery, and be Saved.
Suetonius 'Relates' (In Tit. c. 8), that the Emperor Titus was so Desirous-of 'Rending' service-to those who 'Applied' to him, that, when a day passed without being able to 'Grant' a Favor, he used to say with Sorrow, "I have lost a day; for I have spent it without Benefiting any one". It is probable that Titus spoke thus, more from Vanity, and the Desire of being 'Esteemed', than from True Charity. But, should such a thing happen-to our Empress Mary, as to have to-Pass a day without 'Granting' a Grace, she would 'Speak' as Titus did, but from a True Desire to 'Serve' us, and because she is Full-of Charity. "So much so, indeed", says Bernardine-de-Bustis, "that she is more anxious to Grant us Graces, than we are to Receive them" - ("Plus desiderat ipsa facere tibi bonum et largiri aliquam gratiam, quam tu accipere concupiscas"). "And therefore", says the same Author, "whenever we go to her, we always find her Hands filled-with Mercy and Liberality" ("Invenies eam in minibus plenam pietate, misericordia, et largitate" Marial. p. 2, s. 5).
Rebecca was a Figure of Mary; and she, when asked by Abraham's Servant, for a little Water to-Drink, 'Replied', that not only would she give him Plenty for himself, but also for his Camels, saying, "I will Draw Water for thy Camels, also, till they All Drink" - ("Quin et camelis tuis hauriam aquam, donec cuncti bibant" Genesis 24:19). On these Words, Saint Barnard 'Addresses' our Blessed Lady, 'Saying': "O Mary, thou art far more Liberal and Compassionate than Rebecca; and therefore thou art not Satisfied with Distributing the Treasures of thy Immense Mercy, only to the Just, of whom Abraham's Servants were Types (Figures), but also thou Bestowest them on Sinners who are Signified by the Camels" - ("Domina! nec puero Abrahae tantum, sed et camelis tribuas de supereffluenti hydria tua" In Sign. Magn.). "The Liberality of Mary", says Richard-of-Saint-Laurence, "is like that of her Son, Who always Gives more than He is Asked for" - ("Largitas Mariae assimilate largitatem Filii sui, qui dat amplius quam petatur" De Laud. B. M. l. 4). "He is", says Saint-Paul, "Rich unto all that Call upon Him" - ("Dives in omnes qui invocant illum" Romans 10:12). "And the Liberality of Mary is like His: she Bestows more than is Sought". Hear how a Devout Writer thus 'Addresses' the Blessed Virgin: "O Lady, do thou Pray for me, for thou wilt ask for the Graces I Require, with greater Devotion than I can dare to Ask-for them; and thou wilt Obtain far greater Graces from God for me, than I can Presume to Seek" - ("Majori devotione orabis pro me, quam ego auderem petere; et majora mihi impetrabis, quam petere praesumam" De Rhet. div. c. 18).
When the Samaritans Refused-to 'Receive' Jesus Christ and His Doctrines, Saint-James and Saint-John 'Asked' Him whether they should 'Command' Fire to Fall-from Heaven and Devour them; Our Lord 'Replied', "You know not of what Spirit you are" - ("Nescitis cujus spiritus estis" Luke 9:55). As if He had 'Said', "I am of so Tender and Compassionate a Spirit, that I Came-from Heaven to-Save and not to-Chastise Sinners, and you Wish-to see them Lost. Fire, Indeed! and Punishment! Speak no more of Chastisements, for such a Spirit is not Mine". But of Mary, whose Spirit is the same-as that of her Son, we can never Doubt, that she is all-Inclined to Mercy; for, as she said to Saint Bridget, she is Called the Mother-of-Mercy, and it was by God's Own Mercy, that she was made thus, Compassionate and Sweet towards All: "I am called the Mother-of-Mercy, and Truly, God's Mercy made me thus Merciful" - ("Ego vocor Mater misericordiae; vere, filia, misericordia Filii mei fecit me misericordem" Rev. l. 2, c. 23). For this Reason, Mary was seen by Saint-John, 'Clothed' with the Sun: "And a Great Sign appeared in Heaven, a Woman clothed-with the Sun" - ("Et signum magnum apparuit in coelo: Mulier amicta sole" Apocalypse 12:1). On which words, Saint-Bernard, turning-towards the Blessed Virgin, says, "Thou, O Lady, hast Clothed the Sun, that is the Eternal Word, with Human Flesh; but He has Clothed thee with His Power and Mercy" - ("Vestis Solem, et Sole ipsa vestiris" In Sign. Magn.).
"This Queen", continues the same Saint-Bernard, "is so Compassionate and Benign, that when a Sinner, whoever he may be, Recommends himself to her Charity, she does not Question his Merits, or whether he is Worthy or Unworthy to be Attended-to, but she Hears and Succors All" - ("Non discutit merita, sed omnibus sese exorabilem praebet" Ibid.). "And therefore", 'Remarks' Saint Idelbert, "Mary is said to be Fair as the Moon" - ("Pulchra ut luna" Canticles 6:9). For as the Moon 'Enlightens' and 'Benefits' the Lowest Creatures on Earth, so does Mary 'Enlighten' and 'Succor' the most Unworthy Sinners - ("Pulchra ut luna, quia pulchrum est benefacere indignis"). And though the Moon, says another Writer, 'Receives' all its Light from the Sun, yet it Works Quicker than the Sun; "for what this Latter does in a Year, the Moon does in a Month" - ("Quod sol facit in anno, luna facit in mense" Joann. A. S. Gem. Summ. l. 1, c. 3). For this Reason, Saint-Anselm says: "that we often more Quickly Obtain what we Ask, by Calling on the Name-of-Mary, than by Invoking that of Jesus" - ("Velocior est nonnunquam salus, memorato nominee Mariae, quam invocato nominee Jesu" De Excel. V. c. 6). On this Subject, Hugo-of-Saint-Victor 'Remarks', that "though our Sins may cause us to Fear to Approach the Almighty, because it is His Infinite Majesty that we have Offended, we must never Fear to go to Mary, for in her we shall find nothing to Terrify us. True it is that she is Holy, Immaculate, and the Queen-of-the-World; but she is also of our Flesh, and, like us, a Child-of-Adam" - ("Si pertimescis ad Deum accedere, respice ad Mariam: non illie invenis quod timeas; genus tuum vides" Spinelli, M. Deip. c. 30, n. 12).
" In fine'", says Saint-Bernard, "all that Belongs-to Mary, is Filled-with Grace and Mercy, for she, as a Mother-of-Mercy, has made herself All, to All, and out of her most Abundant Charity she has made herself a Debtor to the Wise and the Foolish, to the Just and Sinners, and Opens to All, her Compassionate Heart, that All may Receive-of the Fullness-of its Treasures" - ("Plena omnia pietatis et gratiae, quae ad eam pertinent; denique, omnibus omnia facta est, sapientibus et insipientibus copiosissima charitate debitricem se fecit; omnibus misericordiae sinum aperit, ut de plenitudine ejus accipiant university" In Sign. Magn.). So-much-so, that as the Devil, according-to Saint-Peter, Goes-about 'Seeking' whom he may Devour - ("Circuit, quaerens quem devoret" 1Peter 5:8), so, on the other hand, says Bernardine-de-Bustis, does Mary go-about 'Seeking' whom she may Save, and to-whom she may 'Give' Life - ("Ipsa simper circuit, quaerens quem salvet" Marial. p. 3, s. 1).
We should fully-Understand, and always Bear-in-Mind, a Remark of Saint-Germanus, who says, "that the Protection of Mary, is Greater and more-Powerful, than anything of which we can Form an Idea" - ("Patrocinium tuum majus est quam comprehendi posit" De Zona Deip.). "How is it", asks another Writer, "that the Lord, Who under the Old Dispensation, was so Rigorous in His Punishments, now Shows such Mercy to Persons Guilty-of far-Greater Crimes?" And he answers, "that it is All for the Love of Mary, and on-account-of her Merits" - ("Quare parcit nunc mundo ipse Deus, qui olim multo his minora peccata acrius punivit? Totum hoc facit propter Beatam Virginem et ejus merita" Pelbart, Stell. l. 11, p. 2, c. 2). "O, how long since", exclaims Saint-Fulgentius, "would the World have been Destroyed, had not Mary Sustained it by her Powerful Intercession!" - ("Coelum et terra jamdudum ruissent; si Maria suit precibus non sustentasset" Pelbart, loco cit.). "But now", says Arnold-of-Chartres, "that we have the Son as our Mediator with the Eternal Father, and the Mother as a Mediatress with the Son, we have Full-Access, and can go to God with entire Confidence and Hope for every Good Thing". "How", he goes on to say, "can the Father Refuse-to 'Hear' the Son, Who shows Him His Side and Wounds, the Marks of His Sufferings 'Endured'-for Sinners; and how can the Son Refuse-to 'Hear' His Mother, when she shows Him her Bosom, and the Breast that gave Him Suck?" ("Securum accessum jam habet homo ad Deum, ubi Mediatorem causae suae Filium habet ante Patrem, et ante Filium Matrem. Christus Patri ostendit latus et vulnera; Maria Christo pectus et ubera" De Laud. B. V.). Saint-Peter-Chrysologus says, "that a Gentle Maiden, having Lodged a God in her Womb; Asks as its Price, Peace for the World, Salvation for those who are Lost, and Life for the Dead" - ("Una Puella sic Deum sui pectoris capit hospitio, ut pacem terries, coelis gloriam, salutem perditis, vitam mortuis, pro ipsa domi exigat pensione" Serm. 140).
"O, How many", 'Exclaims' the Abbot-of-Celles, "who Deserved to be Condemned-by the Justice-of the Son, are Saved-by the Mercy-of the Mother! for she is God's Treasure, and the Treasurer-of all Graces; and thus, our Salvation is in her Hands, and Depends-on her" - (Saepe, quos justitia Filii potest damnare, Matris misericordia liberat; quia Thesaurus Domini est, et Thesauraria gratiarum, salus nostra in minibus illius est" Cont. de V. M. in prol.). Let us, then, always have 'Recourse' to this Compassionate Mother, and Confidently Hope for Salvation, through her Intercession; for she, according-to the Encouraging Assurance-of Bernardine-de-Bustis, "is our Salvation, our Life, our Hope, our Counsel, our Refuge, our Help" - ("Haec est nostra Salus, Vita, Spes, Consilium, Refugium, Auxilium nostram" Marial. p. 1, s. 6). "Mary", says Saint-Antoninus (P. 4, t. 15, c. 14, #7), "is that Throne-of-Grace, to which the Apostle Saint Paul, in his Epistle to the Hebrews, Exhorts us to Fly with Confidence, that we may Obtain the Divine Mercy, and All the Help we Need, for our Salvation. "Let us therefore go with Confidence, to the Throne-of-Grace, that we may Obtain Mercy, and find Grace in Seasonable Aid" - ("Adeamus ergo cum fiducia ad Thronum gratiae, ut misericordiam consequamur, et gratiam inveniamus in auxilio opportune" Hebrews 4:16). "To the Throne-of-Grace, that is, to Mary", says Saint-Antoninus; and for this Reason Saint-Catherine-of-Sienna called Mary "the Dispenser of Divine Mercy" ("Administratrix misericordiae" Or. ini Annunt.).
Let us conclude with the Beautiful and Tender 'Exclamation'-of Saint-Bonaventure on these Words, "O Merciful, O Compassionate, O Sweet Virgin Mary!" "O Mary, thou art Clement with the Miserable, Compassionate towards those who Pray to thee, Sweet towards those who Love thee; Clement with the Penitent, Compassionate to those who Advance, Sweet to the Perfect. Thou showest thyself Clement in Delivering us from Chastisement, Compassionate in Bestowing Graces, and Sweet in Giving thyself, to those who Seek thee" - ("O clemens indigentibus! O pia exorantibus! dulcis diligentibus! O clemens poenitentibus, pia proficientibus, dulcis contemplantibus, O clemens laborando, pia largiendo, dulcis te donando!" Med. in Salve Reg.).