Immaculate Heart of Mary, Refuge-of-Sinners (Refugium Peccatorum)
O how Prompt does a Sinner
(Desirous-of Amendment, and who Flies-to her Feet)
Find this Good Mother to Embrace and Help him,
far more so than any Earthly Mother
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 Doctrine that all Prayers and Works 'Performed' in a State-of-Sin are Sins, was Condemned as Heretical by the Sacred Council-of-Trent (Sess. vi. can. 7). Saint Bernard says (De Div. s. 81), that although Prayer, in the Mouth-of a Sinner, is Devoid-of Beauty, as it is Unaccompanied-with Charity, Nevertheless it is Useful, and 'Obtains' Grace, to 'Abandon' Sin; for, as Saint Thomas 'Teaches' (Summa), the Prayer of a Sinner, though without Merit, is an Act which 'Obtains' the Grace-of-Forgiveness, since the Power-of-Impetration is Founded-not on the Merits of him who 'Asks', but on the Divine Goodness, and the Merits and Promises of Jesus Christ, Who has said, "Every one that Asketh, Receiveth" - ("Omnis enim qui petit, accipit" — Luke 11:10). The same thing must be said-of Prayers, Offered-to the Divine Mother. "If he who Prays", says Saint Anselm, "does not Merit to be Heard, the Merits of the Mother, to whom he Recommends himself, will 'Intercede' Effectually" - ("Si merita invocantis non merentur, merita tamen Matris intercedunt, ut exaudiatur" — De Excell. Virg. c. 6).
Therefore, Saint Bernard 'Exhorts' all Sinners to have 'Recourse' to Mary, 'Invoking' her with Great Confidence; for though the Sinner does not himself 'Merit' the Graces which he 'Asks', yet he 'Receives' them, because this Blessed Virgin 'Asks' and 'Obtains' them from God, on-account-of her own Merits. These are his Words, 'Addressing' a Sinner: "Because thou wast Unworthy to Receive the Grace thyself, it was given to Mary, in order that, through her, thou mightest Receive all" - ("Quia indignus eras, cui donaretur, datum est Mariae, ut per illam acciperes quidquid haberes" — In Virg. Nat. s. 3). "If a Mother", continues the same Saint, "knew that her Two Sons bore a Mortal Enmity to each other, and that each Plotted against the other's Life, would she not Exert herself to her Utmost, in-order-to Reconcile them? This would be the Duty of a Good Mother. And thus it is", the Saint goes on to say, "that Mary 'Acts'; for she is the Mother-of-Jesus, and the Mother-of-Men. When she sees a Sinner at Enmity with Jesus Christ, she cannot endure it, and does all in her Power to make Peace between them. O Happy Mary, thou art the Mother of the Criminal, and the Mother of the Judge; and being the Mother of both, they are thy Children, and thou canst not-Endure Discords amongst them" ("O Maria! tu Mater rei, tu Mater judicis: cum sis Mater utriusque, discordias inter tuos filios nequis sustinere" — Ap. S. Bonav. Spec. B. V. lect. 3).
This most Benign Lady, only 'Requires' that the Sinner should 'Recommend' himself to her, and 'Purpose' Amendment. When Mary sees a Sinner at her feet, 'Imploring' her Mercy, she does not Consider the Crimes with which he is 'Loaded', but the Intention with which he 'Comes'; and if this is Good, even should he have Committed all Possible Sins, the most Loving Mother 'Embraces' him, and does not Disdain to Heal the Wounds of his Soul; for she is not only called the Mother-of-Mercy, but is so Truly-and-Indeed, and shows herself such by the Love and Tenderness with which she 'Assists' us all. And this is precisely what the Blessed Virgin herself said to Saint Bridget: "However much a Man Sins, I am ready immediately to receive him when he Repents; nor do I pay attention to the Number of his Sins, but only to the Intention with which he Comes: I do not disdain to Anoint and Heal his Wounds; for I am called, and truly am, the Mother-of-Mercy" - ("Quantumcumque homo peccet, si ex vera emendatione ad me reverses fuerit, statim parata sum recipere revertentem; nec attendo quantum peccaverit, sed cum quail voluntate venit; nam non dedignor ungere et sanare plagas ejus, (quia) vocor (et vere sum) Mater misericortiae" — Rev. l. 2, c. 23. — l. 6, c. 117).
Mary is the Mother of Sinners who wish-to Repent, and as a Mother, she cannot do otherwise than 'Compassionate' them; nay more, she seems to-Feel the Miseries of her Poor Children, as if they were her own. When the Canaanitish Woman 'Begged' Our Lord to 'Deliver' her Daughter from the Devil who 'Possessed' her, she said, "Have Mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David, my Daughter is Grievously troubled-by a Devil" - ("Miserere mei, Domine, Fili David! filia mea male a daemonio vexatur" — Matthew 15:22). But since the Daughter, and not the Mother, was Tormented, she should rather have said, "Lord, take Compassion-on my Daughter", and not, Have Mercy on me; but no, she said, "Have Mercy on me", and she was Right; for the Sufferings of Children are felt by their Mother, as if they were their own. And it is precisely thus, says Richard-of-Saint-Laurence, that Mary Prays to God when she 'Recommends' a Sinner to Him, who has had Recourse-to her; she Cries-out for the Sinful Soul, "Have Mercy on me!" "My Lord", she seems to say, "this Poor Soul that is in Sin, is my Daughter, and therefore, Pity not so much her, as me, who am her mother" ("Maria clamat pro peccatorice anima: Miserere mei" — De Laud. B. M. l. 6).
Would that All Sinners had 'Recourse'-to this Sweet Mother! for then certainly, All would be 'Pardoned' by God. "O Mary", exclaims Saint Bonaventure, in Rapturous Astonishment, "thou Embracest with Maternal Affection, a Sinner despised-by the Whole World, nor dost thou Leave him, until thou has 'Reconciled' the Poor Creature with his Judge" - ("O Maria! peccatorem toti mundo despectum materno affectu complecteris; nec deseris, quousque horrendo Judici miserum reconcilies" — In Spec. B. V. lect. 5); meaning that the Sinner, whilst in the State-of-Sin, is Hated and Loathed by All, even by Inanimate Creatures; Fire, Air, and Earth would Chastise him, and Avenge the Honor of their Outraged Lord. But if this Unhappy Creature Flies-to Mary, will Mary Reject him? Oh, no: provided he Goes-to her for Help, and in-order-to 'Amend', she will 'Embrace' him with the Affection-of a Mother, and will not let him go, until, by her Powerful Intercession, she has 'Reconciled' him with God, and 'Reinstated' him in Grace.
In the Second Book-of-Kings (2Kings 14:5), we read that a Wise Woman-of-Thecua, 'Addressed' King David in the following Words: "My Lord, I had Two Sons, and for my Misfortune, One Killed the Other; so that I have now Lost One, and Justice Demands the Other, the only One that is left; take Compassion on a Poor Mother, and let me not be thus Deprived of both". David, 'Moved' with Compassion towards the Mother, Declared that the Delinquent should be Set-at-Liberty, and Restored-to her. Mary seems to say the same thing, when God is Indignant against a Sinner who has 'Recommended' himself to her. "My God", she says, "I had Two Sons, Jesus and Man; Man took the Life of my Jesus, on the Cross, and now Thy Justice would Condemn the Guilty One. O Lord, my Jesus is already Dead, have Pity on me, and if I have Lost the One, do not make me Lose the Other also".
Most certainly God will not Condemn those Sinners Who have 'Recourse' to Mary, and for whom she Prays, since He Himself 'Commended' them to her, as her Children. The Devout Lanspergius, 'Supposes' Our Lord Speaking, in the following Terms: "I Recommended all, but especially Sinners, to Mary, as her Children, and therefore is she so-Diligent and so-Careful in the Exercise of her Office, that she Allows none of those Committed-to her Charge, and especially those who Invoke her, to Perish; but as-far-as she can, Brings all to Me" - ("Mariae . . . peccatores in filios commendavi; . . . propterea adeo est sedula, ut, officio suo satisfaciens, neminem eorum, quantum in se est, qui sibi commissi sunt, praecipue se invocantium, perire sinat, sed, quantum valet, omnes mihi reducat" — Alloq. l. 1, p. 4, can. 12). "And who can ever tell", says the Devout Blosius, "the Goodness, the Mercy, the Compassion, the Love, the Benignity, the Clemency, the Fidelity, the Benevolence, the Charity, of this Virgin Mother towards Men? It is such that no Words can Express it" - ("Hujus Matris bonitas, misericordia, fidelitas, charitas erga hominess, tanta est, ut nullis verbis explicari posit" — Sacell. An. p. 3, c. 5).
"Let us, then", says Saint Bernard, "Cast ourselves at the Feet of this Good Mother, and Embracing them, let us not Depart until she Blesses us, and thus Accepts us for her Children" - ("Beatis illius pedibus provolvamur; teneamus eam, nec dimittamus, donec benedixerit nobis" — In Sign. magn). And who can ever 'Doubt' the Compassion of this Mother? Saint Bonaventure used to say; "Even should she take my Life, I would still Hope in her; and, Full-of-Confidence, would Desire to Die before her Image, and be certain of Salvation". And thus should each Sinner 'Address' her when he has 'Recourse' to this Compassionate Mother; he should say:
Read the following Example, and then say if any Sinner can Doubt-of the Mercy and Love, of this Good Mother.