Madonna of the Harpies - by ANDREA DEL SARTO - from Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence.
The Virgin Mary is Depicted Triumphant-over Evil, Symbolized-by the Monstrous Figures,
the Harpies, carved-on the Pedestal on which she stands, holding the Christ Child
In that Prison, where Souls that are Spouses-of Jesus Christ, are Detained,
Mary has a Certain Dominion and Plenitude-of Power, not only to Relieve them,
but even to Deliver them from their Pains
Saint Bernardine of Sienna
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.|
And, First (1st), with respect-to the Relief she 'Gives'. The same Saint, in applying those Words-of-Ecclesiasticus, "I have Walked in the Waves of the Sea" ("In fluctibus maris ambulavi" Ecclesiasticus 24:8), adds "that it is by Visiting and Relieving the Necessities and Torments of her Clients, who are her Children" - ("Scilicet, visitans et subveniens necessitatibus et tormentis devotorum meorum: quia filii ejus sunt"). He then says "that the Pains-of-Purgatory are called 'Waves', because they are Transitory, unlike the Pains-of-Hell, which Never-end; and they are called Waves-of-the-Sea, because they are so-Bitter. The Clients of Mary, thus Suffering, are often Visited and Relieved by her". "See, therefore", says Novarinus, "of what consequence it is, to be the Servant of this Good Lady, for her Servants she never forgets, when they are Suffering in those Flames; for though Mary Relieves all Suffering Souls in Purgatory, yet she always Obtains far-greater Indulgence and Relief, for her own Clients" - ("Vides quantum referat hic Virginem colore, cum cultorum suorum, in purgatorii flammis existentium, non obliviscatur; et licet omnibus opem ac refrigerium ferat, id tamen praecipue erga suos praestat" Umbra Virg. exc. 86).
The Divine Mother, once 'Addressed' these Words to Saint Bridget: "I am the Mother of all Souls in Purgatory; for all the Pains that they have Deserved-for their Sins, are every hour, as-long-as they Remain there, in some way Mitigated-by my Prayers" - ("Sum Mater omnium qui sunt in purgatorio; quia omnes poenae, quae debenture purgandis pro peccatis suis, in qualibet hora propter preces meas quodammodo mitigantur" Rev. l. 4, c. 138). The Compassionate Mother even 'Condescends' to go herself, occasionally into that Holy Prison, to 'Visit' and 'Comfort' her Suffering Children. Saint Bonaventure, applying-to Mary the Words-of-Ecclesiasticus, I have Penetrated into the Bottom of the Deep, Says, "the Deep, that is, Purgatory, to Relieve-by my Presence, the Holy Souls 'Detained' there" - ("Abyssi, id est, purgatorii, adjuvans illas sanctas animas"). "O, how Courteous and Benign is the Most Blessed Virgin", says Saint-Vincent-Ferrer, "to those who Suffer in Purgatory! through her, they constantly 'Receive' Comfort and Refreshment" ("Maria bona animabus purgatorii; quia per eam habent suffragium" In Nat. B. V. s. 2).
And what other Consolation have they in their Sufferings than Mary, and the Relief they 'Receive' from this Mother-of-Mercy? Saint-Bridget once 'Heard' Jesus say to His Holy Mother, "Thou art My Mother, the Mother-of-Mercy, and the Consolation-of-Souls in Purgatory" - ("Tu es Mater mea, tu Mater misericordiae, tu Consolatio eorum qui sunt in purgatorio"). The Blessed Virgin herself, told the Saint, "that as a Poor Sick Person, Bedridden, Suffering, and Abandoned, is Relieved-by Words-of Encouragement and Consolation, so are the Souls in Purgatory, Consoled and Relieved, by only 'Hearing' her Name" - ("Qui in purgatorio sunt, gaudent, audito nominee meo, tanquam aeger in lecto jacens, si audierit ab aliquibus verbum solatii" Rev. l. 1, c. 16, 9). The mere Name-of Mary, that Name-of Hope and Salvation, and which is frequently 'Invoked' by her Beloved Children, in their Prison, is a Great Source-of Comfort to them; "for", says Novarinus, "that Loving Mother no-sooner Hears them Call upon her, than she Offers her Prayers to God, and these Prayers, as a Heavenly Dew, Immediately Refresh them in their Burning Pains" - ("Virginis nomen illarum poenarum refrigerium est. Addit Virgo preces, quibus veluti supero quodam rore, cruciatus illi magni mitigantur Umbra Virg. exc. 86).
Mary not only 'Consoles' and 'Relieves' her Clients in Purgatory, but she 'Delivers' them by her Prayers. Gerson says, "that on the Day of her Assumption into Heaven, Purgatory was entirely Emptied" (Super Magn. tr. 4). Novarinus confirms this, saying, "that it is maintained-by many Grave Authors, that when Mary was going to Heaven, she Asked as a Favor from her Son, to Take all the Souls then in Purgatory, with her" - ("Ferunt quipped bonae notae auctores Virginem, in coelum ituram; a Filio hoc petiisse, ut omnes animas, quae in purgatorio detinebantur, secum ad gloriam ducere posset" Loco supra cit.). "And from that Time forward", says Gerson, "Mary had the Privilege of Delivering her Servants" - ("Ab ils tormentis liberat Beata Virgo maxime devotos suos" Pro Fest. V. M. s. 3, a. 2, c. 3). Saint-Bernardine-of-Sienna also positively 'Asserts' "that the Blessed Virgin has the Power of Delivering Souls from Purgatory, but particularly those of her Clients, by her Prayers, and by Applying her Merits for them". Novarinus says, "that by the Merits of Mary, not only are the Pains of those Souls Lessened, but the Time of their Sufferings is Shortened, through her Intercession" - ("Crediderim omnibus qui in illis flammis purgantur, Mariae meritis, non solum leviores fuisse redditas illas poenas, sed et breviores, adeo ut cruciatuum tempus contractum Virginis ope illis sit" Loco cit.). She has only to 'Ask', and All is 'Done'.
Saint-Peter-Damian 'Relates', "that a Lady named Marozia, Appeared after her Death to her Godmother, and told her that on the Feast-of-the-Assumption she, together with a Multitude, Exceeding the Population-of-Rome, had been Delivered by Mary, from Purgatory" (Opusc. 34, c. 3). Denis-the-Carthusian says, "that on the Feasts-of-the-Nativity and Resurrection-of-Jesus-Christ, Mary does the same thing; for on those Days, accompanied by Choirs-of-Angels, she Visits that Prison, and Delivers very many Souls from their Torments" - ("Beatissima Virgo singulis annis, in festivitate Nativitatis Christi, ad purgatorii loca cum multitudine angelorum descendit, et multas inde animas eripit; etiam in nocte Dominicae Resurrectionis, solet descendere ad purgatorium, pro eductione animarum" In Assumpt. s. 2). Novarinus says, "that he can easily Believe that on all her own Solemn Feasts, she Delivers many Souls from their Sufferings" - ("Facile autem crediderim, in quocumque Virginis solemni festo plures animas ab illis poenis eximi" Loco cit.).
The Promise made by our Blessed Lady to Pope-John-XXII is well-known. She 'Appeared' to him, and 'Ordered' him to make-known to All, that on the Saturday after their Death, she would 'Deliver' from Purgatory, all who Wore the Carmelite Scapular. This, as Father-Crasset (Vér. Dév. p. 2, tr. 6, pr. 4) 'Relates', was 'Proclaimed' by the same-Pontiff, in a Bull, which was afterwards 'Confirmed' by Alexander-V, Clement-VII, Pius-V, Gregory-XIII, and Paul-V; and this Latter, in a Bull of the Year 1613, says, "that Christian People may Piously Believe that the Blessed Virgin will Help them after Death, by her Continual Intercession, her Merits, and Special Protection; and that on Saturdays, the Day Consecrated-by the Church to her, she will, in a more-particular-manner, Help the Souls of the Brethren of the Confraternity-of our Blessed-Lady-of-Mount-Carmel, who have Departed this Life in a State-of-Grace, provided they have Worn the Habit, Observed the Chastity of their State, and Recited her Office: or, if they could not Recite it, if they have Observed the Fasts of the Church, and Abstained from Meat on all Wednesdays, except Christmas-day". In the Solemn Office of our Blessed-Lady-of-Mount-Carmel we Read, that it is Piously Believed, that the Blessed Virgin Comforts the Brethren of this Confraternity in Purgatory, with Maternal Love, and that by her Intercession, she soon 'Delivers' them, and 'Takes' them to Heaven - ("Materno plane affectu, dum igne purgatorii expiantur, solari ac in coelestem patriam obtentu suo quantocius pie creditor efferre" Die 16 jul. lect. 6).
Why should we not Hope for the same Graces and Favors, if we are Devout Clients of this Good Mother? And if we 'Serve' her with more Special Love, why can we not Hope to-Go-to Heaven Immediately after Death, without even going-to Purgatory? This really took place in the Case-of Blessed Godfrey, to whom Mary sent the following Message, by Brother Abondo: "Tell Brother Godfrey to Endeavor to Advance Rapidly in Virtue, and thus he will Belong to my Son and to me: and when his Soul 'Departs', I will not Allow it to go to Purgatory, but will Take-it and Offer-it to my Son" (Men. Cist. 2 Oct.).
Finally, if we Wish-to Relieve the Holy Souls in Purgatory, let us do so by 'Imploring' the Aid of Our Blessed Lady in all our Prayers, and especially by 'Offering' the Rosary for them, as that Relieves them Greatly, as we shall see in the following Example.