"It is not possible that I should Cease to Love
and Protect a Soul, that has become my Child"
Mary is our Mother,
not, as we have already Observed,
According-to the Flesh, but by Love
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.|
The First (1st) Reason for the Great Love that Mary 'Bears' to Men, is the Great Love that she 'Bears' to God; Love towards God and Love towards our Neighbor, belong to the same Commandment, as Expressed-by Saint John: "And this Commandment we have from God, that he who Loveth God, Love also his Brother" - ("Hoc mandatum habemus a Deo, ut, qui diligit Deum, diligat et iratrem suum" — 1John 4:21); so that as the One becomes Greater, the Other also Increases. What have not the Saints done-for their Neighbor, in-consequence-of their Love towards God! Read only the Account-of the Labors of Saint-Francis-Xavier in the Indies, where, in-order-to 'Aid' the Souls of these Poor Barbarians, and 'Bring' them to God, he 'Exposed' himself to a Thousand Dangers, Clambering-amongst the Mountains, and Seeking-out these Poor Creatures in the Caves, in which they Dwelt-like Wild Beasts. See a Saint-Francis-de-Sales, who, in-order-to Convert the Heretics of the Province-of-Chablais, Risked his Life every-Morning, for a Whole Year, Crawling-on his Hands and Feet over a Frozen Beam, in-order-that he might 'Preach' to them on the Opposite Side-of a River; a Saint Paulinus, who 'Delivered' himself up as a Slave, in-order-that he might obtain Liberty, for the Son of a Poor Widow; a Saint Fidelis, who, in-order-to 'Draw' the Heretics of a certain place to-God, Persisted-in going-to Preach-to them, though he knew it would Cost him his Life. The Saints, then, because they Loved God much, did much for their Neighbor; but who ever Loved God as-much-as Mary? She Loved Him more in the First (1st) Moment of her Existence, than All the Saints and Angels, ever Loved Him, or will Love Him; but this we shall 'Explain' at-Length, when 'Treating'-of her Virtues. Our Blessed Lady herself, 'Revealed' to Sister-Mary-the-Crucified, that the Fire-of-Love, with which she was Inflamed-towards God, was such, that if the Heavens and Earth were Placed-in it, they would be Instantly 'Consumed'; so that the Ardors-of the Seraphim, in-comparison with it, were but as Fresh Breezes. And as amongst all the Blessed Spirits, there is not One that Loves God more-than Mary, so we neither Have, nor can-Have, any one who, after God, Loves us as-much-as this Most Loving Mother; and if we 'Concentrate' all the Love that Mothers 'Bear' their Children, Husbands and Wives one another, all the Love of Angels and Saints for their Clients, it does not 'Equal' the Love of Mary, towards a Single Soul. Father Nieremberg (De Aff. Ergo B. V. c. 14) says that the Love that all Mothers have ever had for their Children, is but a Shadow in-comparison with the Love that Mary 'Bears' to each-One of us; and he adds, that she alone, Loves us more-than all the Angels and Saints put-together.
Moreover, our Mother Loves us much, because we were 'Recommended' to her, by her Beloved Jesus, when He, before Expiring, said to her, Woman, Behold thy Son! for we were all 'Represented' in the Person-of Saint John, as we have already Observed: these were His last-Words; and the last-Recommendations left before Death, by Persons we Love, are always-Treasured and never-Forgotten.
But again, we are Exceedingly Dear to Mary, on-account-of the Sufferings, we Cost her. Mothers generally Love those Children most, the Preservation-of whose Lives has Cost them the most-Suffering and Anxiety; we are those-Children for whom Mary, in-order-to 'Obtain' for us the Life-of-Grace, was Obliged-to 'Endure' the Bitter Agony of herself, 'Offering' her Beloved Jesus to Die an Ignominious Death, and had also to-See Him 'Expire', before her own eyes, in the Midst-of the most Cruel and Unheard-of Torments. It was then, by this Great Offering of Mary, that we were Born-to the Life-of-Grace; we are therefore her very Dear Children, since we Cost her so-Great Suffering. And thus, as it is Written-of the Love-of the Eternal Father towards Men, in 'Giving' His Own Son to Death for us, that "God so Loved the World, as to Give His only-Begotten Son" - ("Sic Deus dilexit mundum, ut filium suum unigenitum daret" — John 3:16). "So also", says Saint Bonaventure, "we can say of Mary, that she has so Loved us, as to Give her only-begotten Son for us" - ("Sic Maria dilexit nos, ut Filium suum unigenitum daret"). And 'When', did she 'Give' Him? She 'Gave' Him, says Father Nieremberg, when she 'Granted' Him Permission-to Deliver Himself up to Death; she 'Gave' Him to us, when others, Neglecting to do so, either out of Hatred or from Fear, she might herself have Pleaded-for the Life of her Son, before the Judges. Well may it be 'Supposed', that the words of so Wise and Loving a Mother, would have had Great Weight, at least with Pilate, and might have 'Prevented' him from Sentencing a Man to Death, whom he 'Knew' and had 'Declared' to be Innocent. But no, Mary would not say a Word, in Favor-of her Son, lest she might 'Prevent' that Death, on which our Salvation 'Depended'. Finally, she 'Gave' Him to us a Thousand and a Thousand Times, during the Three (3) Hours Preceding His Death, and which she Spent at the Foot-of the Cross; for during the Whole-of that Time she Unceasingly Offered, with the Extreme-of Sorrow and the Extreme-of Love, the Life of her Son in our Behalf, and this with such Constancy, that Saint Anselm and Saint Antoninus say (P. 4, t. 15, c. 41, #1.), that if Executioners had been Wanting, she herself would have Crucified Him, in-order-to Obey the Eternal Father, Who Willed His Death for our Salvation. If Abraham had such Fortitude, as to be Ready-to Sacrifice with his own-Hands, the Life of his Son, with far-Greater Fortitude would Mary (far-more Holy and Obedient than Abraham) have Sacrificed the Life-of hers. But, let us Return-to the Consideration-of the Gratitude we Owe to Mary, for so-Great an Act-of-Love as was the Painful Sacrifice of the Life-of her Son, which she 'Made', to-Obtain Eternal Salvation for us All. God abundantly Rewarded Abraham, for the Sacrifice he was Prepared-to-Make, of his son Isaac; but we, what Return can we make-to Mary for the Life of her Jesus, a Son far-more Noble and Beloved, than the Son-of-Abraham? "This Love of Mary", says Saint Bonaventure, "has indeed Obliged us to Love her; for we see that she has surpassed all others in Love towards us, since she has Given her only Son, Whom she Loved more than herself, for us" - ("Nulla post eam creatura ita per amorem nostrum exardescet, quae Filium suum unicum, quem multo plus se amavit, nobis dedit, et pro nobis obtulit" — De B. V. M. s. 1).
The Price of our Redemption from our Sins against a Divine God, was the Willing Sacrifice of a Divine Person.
From this, Arises another-Motive for the Love of Mary, towards us; for in-Us, she 'Beholds' that which has been Purchased, at the Price of the Death-of Jesus Christ. If a Mother 'Knew', that a Servant had been Ransomed-by a Beloved Son, at the Price of Twenty (20) Years of Imprisonment and Suffering, how Greatly would she 'Esteem' that Servant, on this Account alone! Mary well-Knows that her Son came-into the World, only-to Save us Poor Creatures, as He Himself 'Protested', "The Son of Man is Come to Save, that which was Lost" - ("Venit enim Filius hominis quaerere et salvum facere quod perirat" — Luke 19:10). And to Save us, He was 'Pleased' even to Lay-down His Life for us, having "become Obedient unto Death" - ("Factus obediens usque ad mortem" — Philippians 2:8). If, then, Mary Loved us but-little, she would show that she 'Valued' but-little, the Blood of her Son, which was the Price-of our Salvation. To Saint-Elizabeth-of-Hungary, it was Revealed that Mary, from the Time she dwelt-in the Temple, did nothing but Pray for us, 'Begging' that God would Hasten the Coming-of His Son into the World, to Save us. And how much more must we suppose that she Loves us, now that she has seen, that we are Valued-to such a Degree, by her Son, that He did not Disdain to 'Purchase' us, at such a Cost.
Because all Men have been Redeemed-by Jesus, therefore Mary Loves and Protects them All. It was she who was seen by Saint John, in the "Apocalypse", 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). She is said to be Clothed-with the Sun, because as there is no one on Earth, who can be Hidden-from the Heat-of the Sun — "There is no one that can Hide himself from its Heat" - ("Nec est qui se abscondat a calore ejus" — Psalm 18:7). So, there is no one Living, who can be Deprived of the Love of Mary. From its Heat, that is, as Blessed-Raymond-Jordano 'Applies' the Words, "from the Love of Mary" - ("A calore ejus, id est, a dilectione Mariae" — Contempl. De V. M. in prol.). "And who", exclaims Saint Antoninus, "can ever Form an Idea of the Tender Care, that this Most Loving Mother, takes-of all of us" - ("Oh! Quanta est cura B. Virgini Matri de nobis!"), "Offering and Dispensing her Mercy, to every one" - ("Omnibus aperit sinum misericordiae suae" — P. 4, t. 15, c. 2); for our Good Mother 'Desired' the Salvation of All, and 'Cooperated' in 'Obtaining' it. "It is evident", says Saint Bernard, "that she was Solicitous for the Whole Human Race" - ("Constat pro universo genere humano fuisse sollicitam" — In Assumpt. s. 4). Hence the Custom-of some of Mary's Clients, Spoken-of by Cornelius-a-Lapide, and which consists-in 'Asking' Our Lord to 'Grant' them the Graces that Our Blessed Lady 'Seeks'-for them, 'Succeeds' most-Advantageously. They say, Lord, 'Grant' me that which the most Blessed Virgin Mary 'Asks for me. "And no wonder, adds the same Writer, "for our Mother Desires for us better things than we can possibly Desire ourselves" - ("Ipsa enim majora optat, quam nos optare possumus"). The Devout Bernardine-de-Bustis says, that Mary "Loves to do us Good, and Dispense Graces to us, far more than we, to Receive them" - ("Plus desiderat ipsa facere tibi bonum et largiri gratiam, quam tu accipere concupiscas" — Marial. p. 2, s. 5). On this Subject, Blessed-Albert-the-Great, 'Applies'-to Mary the Words-of the Book-of-Wisdom: "She Preventeth them that Covet her, so that she First Showeth herself unto them" - ("Praeoccupat qui se concupiscent, ut illis se prior ostendat" — Wisdom vi. 6:14). Mary 'Anticipates' those who have Recourse to her, by making them 'Find' her, before they 'Seek' her. "The Love that this Good Mother Bears us, is so Great", says Richard-of-Saint-Laurence, "that as-soon-as she Perceives our Want, she Comes-to our Assistance. She Comes, before she is Called" - ("Velocius occurrit ejus pietas, quam invocetur" — In Cant. c. 23).
And now, if Mary is so Good to All, even to the Ungrateful and Negligent, who 'Love' her but-Little, and Seldom have 'Recourse' to her, how much more Loving will she be, to those who Love her, and often Call-upon her! "She is Easily Found, by them that Seek her" - ("Facile videtur ab his qui diligent eam, et invenitur ab his qui quaerunt illam" — Wisdom 6:13). "O, how easy", adds the same Blessed Albert, "is it for those who Love Mary, to-Find her, and to-Find her Full of Compassion and Love!" In the Words-of the Book-of-Proverbs, "I Love them, that Love me" - ("Ego diligentes me diligo" — Proverbs 8:17), she 'Protests'-that she cannot do otherwise-than Love those who Love her. And although this Most Loving Lady, Loves All Men as her Children, yet, says Saint Bernard, "she 'Recognizes', and 'Loves' (In Salve Reg. s. 1)", that is, she Loves in a more Special Manner, those who Love her more-Tenderly. Blessed-Raymond-Jordano asserts that these Happy Lovers-of Mary, are not only Loved, but even 'Served' by her; for he says that those who 'Find' the most Blessed Virgin Mary, 'Find' All; for she Loves those who Love her, nay more, she 'Serves' those, who 'Serve' her - ("Inventa Virgine Maria, invenitur omne bonum; ipsa namque diligit diligentes se, imo sibi servientibus servit" — Contempl. de V. M. in prol.).
In the Chronicles-of the Order-of-Saint-Dominic, it is Related-that One-of the Friars named Leonard, used to 'Recommend' himself Two (2) Hundred Times a Day, to this Mother-of-Mercy, and that when he was Attacked by his Last Illness, he saw a most Beautiful Queen, by his side, who thus 'Addressed' him: "Leonard, wilt thou Die, and Come and Dwell with my Son, and with me?" "And who art thou?" he replied. "I am", said the Most Blessed Virgin, for she it was, "I am the Mother-of-Mercy: thou has to many Times Invoked me, Behold, I am now Come to take thee; let us go together to Paradise". On the same day, Leonard Died, and, as we 'Trust', followed her to the Kingdom-of-the-Blessed.
"Ah, most Sweet Mary!" exclaimed the Venerable-John-Berchmans, of the Society-of-Jesus, "Blessed is he who Loves thee! If I Love Mary, I am certain of Perseverance, and shall obtain whatever I Wish from God". Therefore the Devout Youth was never Tired-of 'Renewing' his Resolution, and of 'Repeating'-often to himself: "I will Love Mary; I will Love Mary".
O, how much does the Love-of this Good Mother 'Exceed' that, of All her Children!" Let them Love her, as-much-as they will, Mary is always 'Amongst' Lovers the most Loving, says Saint-Ignatius-the-Martyr - ("Cum devotis devotior, id est, cum amantibus amantior" — Auriemma, Aff Scamb. p. 1, c. 1).
Let them Love her, as did Saint-Stanislaus-Kostka, who Loved this Dear Mother so Tenderly, that in 'Speaking' of her, he 'Moved' all who 'Heard' him, to 'Love' her. He had made new-Words and new-Titles, with which to-Honor her Name. He never did anything, without First Turning-to her Image, to Ask her Blessing. When he said her Office, the Rosary, or other Prayers, he did so with the same External Marks-of-Affection, as he would have Done, had he been 'Speaking' face-to-face with Mary; when the Salve Regina was 'Sung', his Whole Soul, and even his Whole Countenance, was all Inflamed with Love. On being One Day Asked-by a Father-of the Society, who was Going-with him to-Visit a Picture-of the Blessed Virgin, how much he Loved Mary, — "Father", he answered, "what more can I say? she is my mother". "But", adds the Father, "the Holy Youth uttered these Words, with such Tenderness in his Voice, with such an Expression-of Countenance, and at the same time, it came so Fully from his Heart, that it no longer seemed to be a Young Man, but rather an Angel, Speaking-of the Love-of-Mary".
Let us Love her, as Blessed Hermann Loved her. He called her the Spouse-of his Love, for he was Honored-by Mary herself, with this same Title. Let us Love her, as did Saint-Philip-Neri, who was Filled with Consolation, at the mere Thought-of Mary, and therefore called her his Delight. Let us Love her as did Saint Bonaventure, who 'Called' her not only his Lady and Mother, but to Show the Tenderness-of his Affection, even 'Called' her his Heart and Soul: "Hail, my Lady, my Mother; nay, even my Heart, my Soul!" - ("Ave, Domina mea; Mater mea; imo cor meum et anima mea" — Stim. div. am. p. 3, c. 16).
Let us Love her like that Great Lover of Mary, Saint Bernard, who Loved this, his Sweet Mother so-much, that he called her the Ravisher-of-Hearts - ("Raptrix cordium!" — Ib.); and to-Express the Ardent Love he 'Bore' her, added: "for hast thou not Ravished my Heart, O Queen?" - ("Nonne rapuisti cor meum?" — Med. In Salve Reg).
Let us call her 'Beloved', like Saint-Bernardine-of-Sienna, who Daily went to-Visit a Devotional Picture of Mary, and there, in Tender Colloquies with his Queen, 'Declared' his Love; and, when Asked where he went each Day, he Replied that he went to-Visit his Beloved.
Let us Love her, as did Saint-Aloysius-Gonzaga, whose Love for Mary 'Burnt' so-Unceasingly, that whenever he heard the Sweet Name of his Mother 'Mentioned', his Heart was Instantly Inflamed, and his Countenance Lighted-up with a Fire, that was Visible-to all.
Let us Love as-much-as Saint-Francis-Solano did, who, 'Maddened' as-it-were (but with a Holy Madness), with Love for Mary, would 'Sing' before her Picture, and Accompany himself on a Musical Instrument, saying, that, like Worldly Lovers, he 'Serenaded' his most-Sweet Queen.
Finally, let us Love her, as so-many of her Servants have Loved her, who never could do enough to show their Love. Father-John-of-Trexo, of the Society-of-Jesus, 'Rejoiced' in the Name-of "Slave-of-Mary"; and as a Mark-of-Servitude, went often to-Visit her in some Church, Dedicated-in her Honor. On reaching the Church, he Poured-out Abundant Tears of Tenderness and Love for Mary; then, Prostrating, he Licked and Rubbed the Pavement with his Tongue and Face, Kissing it a Thousand Times, because it was the House-of his Beloved Lady. Father-James-Martinez, of the same Society, who for his Devotion for our Blessed Lady on her Feasts, was Carried-by Angels to Heaven, to see how they were kept there, used to say, "Would that I had the Hearts of all Angels and Saints, to Love Mary as they Love her — would that I had the Lives of all Men, to give them all, for her Love!"
O that others would Come-to Love her as did Charles, the Son-of-Saint-Bridget, who said that nothing in the World 'Consoled' him so-much-as the Knowledge that Mary was so-Greatly Loved by God. And he added, that he would Willingly 'Endure' every Torment, rather than 'Allow' Mary to Lose the Smallest Degree of her Glory, were such a thing possible; and that if her Glory was his, he would 'Renounce' it in her Favor, as being far-more Worthy-of it.
Let us, moreover, 'Desire' to Lay-down our Lives, as a Testimony-of our Love for Mary, as Alphonsus Rodriguez 'Desired' to do. Let us Love her as did those, who even Cut the Beloved Name-of Mary on their Breast, with Sharp Instruments, as did Francis Binanzio and Radagundis, Wife of King Clothaire, or as did those who could 'Imprint' this Loved Name on their Flesh with Hot Irons, in-order-that it might remain more Distinct and Lasting; as did her Devout Servants, Baptist Archinto and Augustine d'Espinosa, both of the Society-of-Jesus, 'Impelled' thereto, by the Vehemence-of their Love.
Let us, in 'Fine', Do or Desire-to-Do, all that it is Possible for a Lover to do, who Intends-to make his Affection 'Known', to the Person Loved. For be-Assured that the Lovers of Mary, will never be able to Equal her in Love. "I know, O Lady", says Saint-Peter-Damian, "that thou art most Loving, and that thou Lovest us with an Invincible Love" - ("Scio, Domina, quia benegnissima es, et amas nos amore invincibili" — In Nat. B. V. s. 1). I know, my Lady, that among those that Love thee, thou Lovest the Most; and that thou Lovest us with a Love, that can never be 'Surpassed'.
The Blessed-Alphonsus-Rodriguez, of the Society-of-Jesus, once Prostrate-before an Image-of Mary, felt his Heart 'Inflamed' with Love towards this most Holy Virgin, and Burst-forth into the following Exclamation: "My most Beloved Mother, I know that thou Lovest me, but thou dost not Love me, as-much-as I Love thee". Mary, as-it-were, Offended on the Point-of Love, Immediately Replied-from the Image: "What dost thou say, Alphonsus — what dost thou say? O, how much Greater is the Love that I Bear thee, than any Love that thou canst have for me! Know that the Distance between Heaven and Earth is not so-great-as, the Distance between thy Love and mine".
Saint Bonaventure, then, was Right in-Exclaiming: Blessed are they who have the Good Fortune to be Faithful Servants and Lovers, of this most Loving Mother. "Blessed are the Hearts of those who Love Mary; Blessed are they who are Tenderly Devoted to her" - ("Beati quorum corda te diligent, Virgo Maria. Beati qui devote ei famulantur" — Psalt. B. V. ps. xxxi., cxviii). Yes; for "in this Struggle, our most Gracious Queen, never Allows her Clients to Conquer her, in Love. She Returns our Love and Homage, and always Increases her Past Favors, by New Ones" - ("Numquam tamen in hoc certamine a nobis ipsa vincetur; amorem redhibet, et praeterita beneficia novis simper adauget" — Paciucch. in Ps. lxxxvi. Exc. 2). Mary, Imitating in this, our Most Loving Redeemer Jesus Christ, Returns-to those who Love her, their Love, Doubled-in Benefits and Favors.
Then will I exclaim, with the 'Enamored' Saint Anselm, "May my Heart Languish and my Soul Melt and be Consumed with Your Love, O my Beloved Savior Jesus, and my Dear Mother Mary! But, as without Your Grace, I cannot Love You, Grant me, O Jesus and Mary, Grant my Soul, by Your Merits and not mine, the Grace to Love You, as You Deserve to be Loved. O God, Lover of Men, Thou couldst Love Guilty Men, even unto Death. And canst Thou deny Thy Love, and that of Thy Mother, to those who Ask it?" - ("Vestro continuo amore langueat cor meum: liquefiant omnia ossa mea. Date itaque supplicanti animae meae, non propter meritum meum, sed proter meritum vestrum, date illi, quanto digni estis, amorem vestrum . . . O Amator hominum! tu potuisti roes tuos et usque ad mortem amare: et poteris te roganti amorem tui et Matris tuae negare?" — Orat. 51.