Madonna and Child 'Blessing' - by BELLINI, Giovanni - from Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan
Mary, out of the Love she Bears to All,
Endeavors to Excite in All, Devotion towards herself;
Many either do not 'Admit' it into their Souls, or do not Preserve it.
But Blessed is he, that 'Receives' and 'Preserves' 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.|
Oh, what an Evident Mark-of Predestination, have the Servants-of Mary! The Holy Church, for the Consolation of her Clients, puts into her Mouth, the Words-of Ecclesiasticus, "In all these I sought Rest, and I shall Abide-in the Inheritance of the Lord" - ("In his omnibus requiem quaesivi, et in haereditate Domini morabor" — Ecclesiasticus 24:11). Cardinal Hugo 'Explains' these Words, and 'Says', "Blessed is he, in whose House, the Most Holy Virgin finds Repose" - ("Beatus, in cujus domo Beata Virgo requiem invenerit"). Mary, out of the Love she 'Bears' to All, 'Endeavors' to 'Excite' in All, Devotion towards herself; many either do not 'Admit' it into their Souls, or do not 'Preserve' it. But Blessed is he that 'Receives' and 'Preserves' it. And I shall Abide-in the Inheritance-of the Lord. "That is", adds the Cardinal, "Blessed is he whose Interior, Offers the Blessed Virgin Mary a Place-of-Repose". Devotion towards the Blessed Virgin 'Remains' in All, who are the Inheritance-of Our Lord; that is to say, in All who will Praise Him Eternally (∞) in Heaven. Mary 'Continues', speaking in the Words-of Ecclesiasticus: "He that made me, Rested in my Tabernacle, and He said to me: Let thy Dwelling be in Jacob, and thy Inheritance in Israel, and take Root in My Elect" - ("Qui creavit me, requievit in tabernaculo meo, et dixit mihi: In Jacob inhabita, et in Israel haereditare, et in electis meis mitte radices"). That is, my Creator has 'Condescended' to 'Come' and 'Repose' in my Bosom, and His Will is, that I should 'Dwell' in the Hearts of All the Elect (of whom Jacob was a Figure, and Who are the Inheritance-of the Blessed Virgin), and that Devotion and Confidence in me, should take Root-in All the Predestined.
O, how many Blessed Souls are now in Heaven, who would never have been there, had not Mary, by her Powerful Intercession, 'Led' them thither: "I made, that in the Heavens, there should Rise Light, that never Faileth" - ("Ego feci in coelis ut oriretur lumen indeficiens" — Ecclesiasticus 24:6). Cardinal Hugo, in his Commentary-on the above Text-of-Ecclesiasticus, says, in the Name-of Mary, "I have Caused as many Lights to-Shine Eternally in Heaven, as I have Clients"; and then he adds, "There are many Saints in Heaven, 'Through' her Intercession, who would never have been there, but through her" - ("Multi Sancti sunt in coelis intercessione ejus, qui nunquam ibi fuissent nisi per eam").
Saint Bonaventure says, "that the Gates-of-Heaven will Open to All, who Confide-in the Protection-of-Mary" - ("Qui speraverit in illa, porta paradise reserabitur ei — Psalt. B. V. ps. 90). Hence, Saint Ephrem 'Calls' Devotion to the Divine Mother "the Unlocking of the Gates of the Heavenly Jerusalem" ("Reseramentum coelesti Jerusalem" — De Laud. Dei gen.). The Devout Blosius also, 'Addressing' our Blessed Lady, says, "To thee, O Lady, are Committed the Keys and the Treasures of the Kingdom-of-Heaven" - ("Tibi regni coelestis claves thesaurique commissi sunt" — Par. An. fid. p. 2, c. 4). And therefore we ought Constantly to 'Pray' to her, in the Words-of Saint Ambrose, "Open to us, O Mary, the Gates-of-Paradise, since thou hast its Keys" - ("Aperi nobis, O Virgo, coelum, cujus claves habes"). Nay, more, the Church says, that "thou art its Gate" - ("Janua coeli").
For the same Reason again, is this Great Mother 'Called' by the Church, the Star-of-the-Sea, "Hail, Star-of-the-Sea!" "For", says the Angelical Saint Thomas, "as Sailors are Guided-by a Star, to the Port, so are Christians Guided-to Heaven, by Mary" - ("Stella maris, quia, sicut per stellam maris navigantes diriguntur ad portum, ita Christiani diriguntur per Mariam ad gloriam" — Exp. In Sal. Ang.).
For the same Reason, Finally, is she called by Saint Fulgentius, "the Heavenly Ladder". "For", says the Saint, "by Mary, God Descended from-Heaven, into the World, that by her, Men might Ascend from-Earth to-Heaven" - ("Scala coelestis, quia per ipsam Deus descendit ad terras, ut per ipsam hominess mereantur ascendere ad coelos" — In Annunt. s. 1). "And thou, O Lady", says Saint Athanasius, "wast filled-with Grace, that thou mightest be the Way-of our Salvation, and the Means-of Ascent to the Heavenly Kingdom" - ("Ave, gratia Plena, quod facta sis nobis salutis Via, Ascensusque ad superos" — In Annunt. s. 1).
Saint Bernard 'Calls' our Blessed Lady "the Heavenly Chariot" - ("Vehiculum ad coelum" — De Aquaed.). And Saint-John-Geometra 'Salutes' her, saying, "Hail, Resplendent Car!" - ("Salve clarissime Currus" — In V. Deip. h. 1); Signifying that she is the "Car", in which her Clients Mount-to Heaven. "Blessed are they who know thee, O Mother-of-God", says Saint Bonaventure; "for the Knowledge-of thee, is the High-Road to Everlasting Life, and the Publication-of thy Virtues, is the Way-of Eternal Salvation" - ("Scire et cognoscere te, est radix immortalitatis; et enarrare virtutes tuas, est via salutis" — Psalt. B. V. ps. 85).
Denis-the-Carthusian asks, "Who is there, that is Saved? who is there, that Reigns in Heaven?" And he 'Answers', "They are certainly Saved and Reign-in-Heaven, for whom this Queen-of-Mercy Intercedes" - ("Quis salvatur? quis regnat in coelo? Illi sane pro quibus Regina misericordiae interpellat" — Paciucch. Sup. Salve Reg. exc. 1). And this, Mary herself 'Confirms' in the Book-of-Proverbs, "By me, Kings Reign" - ("Per me reges regnant" — Proverbs 8:15); through my Intercession, Souls 'Reign', First (1st), in this Mortal Life, by 'Ruling' their Passions, and so come-to 'Reign' Eternally (∞) in Heaven, where, says Saint Augustine, "All are Kings" - ("Quot cives, tot reges"). "Mary, in Fine", says Richard-of-Saint-Laurence, "is the Mistress-of-Heaven; for there she Commands as she Wills, and Admits whom she Wills". And 'Applying' to her, the Words-of-Ecclesiasticus, "And my Power was in Jerusalem" - ("In Jerusalem potestas mea" — Ecclesiasticus 24:15), he makes her say, "I Command what I Will, and Introduce whom I Will" - ("Imperandi scilicet, quod volo, et, quos volo, introducendi" — De Laud. Virg. l. 4, c. 4). Our Blessed Lady, being Mother of the Lord-of-Heaven, it is Reasonable that she also should be Sovereign Lady of that Kingdom, according to Rupert, who says, "that by-Right, she Possesses the Whole Kingdom of her Son" - ("Totum jure possidens Filii regnum" — In Cant. l. 3).
Saint Antoninus tells us "that this Divine Mother has already, by her Assistance and Prayers, Obtained Heaven for us, provided we put no Obstacle in the Way" - ("Coeleste nobis regnum, suo interventu, auxiliis, et precibus, impetravit" — Paciucch. Sup. Salve Reg. exc. 1). Hence, says the Abbot Guerric, "he who Serves Mary, and for whom she Intercedes, is as Certain-of Heaven, as if he was Already there" - ("Qui Virgini famulatur, ita securus est de paradise, ac si esset in paradise"). Saint-John-Damascene also says, "that to Serve Mary, and be her Courtier, is the Greatest Honor we can possibly Possess; for to Serve the Queen-of-Heaven, is already to Reign there, and Live under her Commands, is more than to Govern" - ("Summus honor, servire Mariae, et de ejus esse familia; eternim ei servire, regnare est; et ejus agi fraenis, summa libertas"). On the other hand, he adds, "that those who do not Serve Mary, will not be Saved; for those who are Deprived-of the Help of this Great Mother are also Deprived-of that of her Son, and of the Whole Court-of-Heaven" - ("Gens quae non servierit illi, peribit; gentes destitutae tantae Matris auxilio, destituuntur auxilio Filii et totius curiae coelestis" — De Laud. B. M. l. 4).
"May the Infinite Goodness of Our Lord, be ever Praised", says Saint Bernard, "for having been Pleased to 'Give' us Mary, as our Advocate-in-Heaven, that she, being at the same-Time the Mother-of our Judge and a Mother-of-Mercy, may be able, by her Intercession, to Conduct-to a Prosperous Issue, the Great Affair of our Eternal Salvation." - ("Advocatam praemisit peregrination nostra; quae, tamquam Judicis Mater et Mater misericordiae, suppliciter et efficaciter salutis nostrae negotia pertractabit" — In Assumpt. s. 1). Saint James, a Doctor-of-the-Greek-Church, says, "that God 'Destined' Mary as a Bridge-of-Salvation, by Using which we might, with-Safety, Pass-over the Stormy Sea of this World, and Reach the Happy Haven of Paradise" - ("Eam tu Pontem fecisti, quo a mundi fluctibus trajicientes, ad tranquillum portum tuum perveniamus" — Or. in Nat. Dei gen.). Therefore Saint Bonaventure exclaims, "Give Ear, O ye Nations; and all you who Desire Heaven, Serve, Honor Mary, and certainly you will find Eternal Life" - ("Audite, omnes gentes; qui ingredi cupitis regnum Dei, Virginem Mariam honorate, et invenietis vitam et salutem perpetuam" — Psalt. B. V. ps. 48).
Nor should those even, who have 'Deserved' Hell, be in the least Doubtful, as to 'Obtaining' Heaven, Provided they are Faithful in 'Serving' this Queen. "O, how many Sinners", says Saint Germanus, "have Found God and have been Saved by thy Means, O Mary!" - ("Peccatores per te Deum exquisierunt, et salvi facti sunt" — In Dorm. V. M. s. 2). Richard-of-Saint-Laurence 'Remarks' that, Saint John in the Apocalypse, says that Mary was Crowned-with-Stars: "And on her Head, a Crown of Twelve Stars" - ("Et in capite ejus corona stellarum duodecim" — Apocalypse 12:1). On the other hand, in the Sacred Canticles, she is said to be Crowned-with Wild Beasts, Lions, and Leopards: "Come from Libanus, my Spouse, come from Libanus, come; thou shalt be Crowned . . . from the Dens of the Lions, from the Mountains of the Leopards" - ("Coronaberis . . . de montibus pardorum" — Canticles 4:8). How is this? He answers, that "these Wild Beasts are Sinners, who by the Favor and Intercession of Mary, have become Stars-of-Paradise, better adapted to the Head of this Queen-of-Mercy, than all the Material Stars-of-Heaven" - ("Et quid est hoc, nisi quod ferae, per gratiam et orations Mariae, fiunt stellae, ut convenient capiti tantae Reginae?" — De Laud. B. M. l. 3).
We read in the Life-of the Servant-of God, Sister-Seraphina-of-Capri, that Once during the Novena of the Assumption-of-Mary, she Asked our Blessed Lady for the Conversion of a Thousand Sinners, but afterwards 'Thought' that she had 'Asked' too-much; and then the Blessed Virgin 'Appeared' to her, and 'Corrected' her for her Ungrounded Anxiety, 'Saying', "Why dost thou Fear? Is it that I am not Sufficiently Powerful, to Obtain from my Son, the Conversion of a Thousand Sinners? See, I have already Obtained the Favor". With these Words, she took her in-Spirit to Heaven, and there 'Showed' her Innumerable Souls which had 'Deserved' Hell, but had been Saved through her Intercession, and were already 'Enjoying' Eternal (∞) Happiness.
It is True that in this World, no one can be Certain-of his Salvation: "Man knoweth not whether he be Worthy of Love or Hatred", says Ecclesiastes - ("Nescit homo, utrum amore an odio dignus sit; sed omnia in futurum servantur incerta" — Ecclesiastes 9:1). But Saint Bonaventure, on the Words of King David, "Lord, who shall Dwell-in Thy Tabernacle?" - ("Domine, quis habitabit in tabernaculo tuo?" — Psalm 14:1) and on the preceding Quotation, 'Answers', "Sinners, let us follow Mary closely, and Casting ourselves at her Feet, let us not leave them, until she has Blessed us; for her Blessing will Insure our Salvation" - ("Amplectamur Mariae vestigial peccatores, et ejus beatis pedibus provolvamur; teneamus eam fortiter, nee dimittamus, donec ab ea meruimus benedici" — Psalt. B. V. ps. 14).
"It suffices, O Lady", says Saint Anselm, "that thou Willest it, and our Salvation is Certain" - ("Tantummodo veils salutem nostram, et vere nequaquam salvi esse non poterimus" — De Excell. Virg. c. 6). And Saint Antoninus says that "Souls Protected by Mary, and on which she Casts her Eyes, are necessarily Justified and Saved" - ("Necessarium est quod hi, ad quos convertit oculos suos, justificentur et glorificentur" — P. 4, tit. 15, c. 17, #7).
"With Reason, therefore", 'Observes' Saint Ildephonsus, "did the most Holy Virgin 'Predict' that all Generations would Call her Blessed" - ("Beatam me dicent omnes generations"); "for All the Elect obtain Eternal Salvation, 'Through' the Means-of Mary" - ("Beata jure dicitur, quia omnes ex ea beatificantur" — De Assumpt. s. 3). "And thou, O Great Mother", says Saint Methodius, "art the Beginning, the Middle, and the End of our Happiness" - ("Tu festivitatis nostrae principium, medium, et finis" — De Sim. et Anna); — the Beginning, for Mary 'Obtains' us the Pardon of our Sins; the Middle, for she 'Obtains' us Perseverance in Divine Grace; and the End, for she finally 'Obtains' us Heaven. "By thee, O Mary, was Heaven 'Opened'", says Saint Bernard; "by thee was Hell 'Emptied'; by thee was Paradise 'Restored'; and through thee, in Fine, is Eternal Life given to so many Miserable Creatures, who Deserved Eternal Death" - ("Per te, coelum repletum, infernos evacuatus est, instauratae ruinae coelestis Jerusalem; expectantibus miseris vita perdita data" — In Assumpt. s. 4).
But that which above-all, should 'Encourage' us to 'Hope' with Confidence for Heaven, is the Beautiful Promise made by Mary herself, to All who ' Honor' her, and especially to those who, by Word and Example, 'Endeavor' to-make her Known and Honored by others: "They that Work by me, shall not Sin; they that Explain me, shall have Life Everlasting" - ("Qui operantur in me, non peccabunt; qui elucidant me, vitam aeternam habebunt" — Ecclesiasticus 24:30,31). "O Happy, they who Obtain the Favor-of Mary!" 'Exclaims' Saint Bonaventure; "they will be Recognized by the Blessed as their Companions, and whoever Bears the Stamp of a Servant-of Mary, is already Enrolled in the Book-of-Life" - ("Qui acquirit gratiam Mariae, agnoscetur a civibus paradise; et qui habuerit characterem ejus, adnotabitur in libro vitae" — Psalt. B. V. ps. 91).
Why, then, should we Trouble ourselves about the Opinions of Scholastics, as to whether Predestination to Glory, 'Precedes' or 'Follows' the Prevision-of Merits? If we are True Servants-of Mary, and 'Obtain' her Protection, we most certainly shall be 'Inscribed' in the Book-of-Life; for, says Saint-John-Damascene, "God only 'Grants' Devotion towards His Most Holy Mother, to those whom He will Save". This is also clearly 'Expressed' by Our Lord in Saint John: "He that shall Overcome . . . I will Write upon him the Name of My God, and the Name of the City of My God" - ("Qui vicerit . . . scribam super eum nomen Dei mei, et nomen Civitatis Dei mei" — Apocalypse 3:12)." And who but Mary, is this City-of-God? 'Observes' Saint Gregory on the Words-of David: "Glorious things are said of thee, O City-of-God" - ("Gloriosa dicta sunt de te, Civitas Dei" — Psalm 86:3).
Correctly, then, can we here say with Saint Paul, "Having this Seal, the Lord knoweth who are His" - ("Habens signaculum hoc, cognovit Dominus qui sunt ejus" — 2Timothy 2:19); that is to say, whoever Carries-with him the Mark-of Devotion to Mary, is 'Recognized' by God as His. Hence, Saint Bernard 'Write', that "Devotion to the Mother-of-God, is a most certain Mark of Eternal Salvation" - ("Servire Mariae, est signum salutis aeternae consequendae" — Stell. B. V. l. 12, p. 2, a. 1). Blessed Alan, 'Speaking' of the "Hail Mary", also says, that "whoever often Honors Our Blessed Lady, with this Angelical Salutation, has a very Great Mark of Predestination" - ("Habentibus devotionem ad hanc, signum est praedestinationis permagnum ad gloriam"). He says the same thing of Perseverance-in this Daily Recital of the Rosary, "that those who do so, have a very Great Assurance of Salvation" - ("Signum sit tibi probabilissimum aeternae salutis, si perseveranter in dies eam in suo Psalterio salutaveris" — De Psalt. p 2, c. 11, 4, c. 24). Father Nieremberg says, in the Tenth (10th) Chapter of his Book-on Affection-for Mary, that "the Servants of the Mother-of-God are not only Privileged and Favored in this World, but even in Heaven, they are more Particularly Honored". He then adds: "that in Heaven, they will be Recognized as Servants of its Queen, and as Belonging to her Court, by a Distinguishing and Richer Garment", according to the Words-of the Proverbs, "All her Domestics are Clothed with Double Garments" - ("Omnes enim domestici ejus vestiti sunt duplicibus" — Proverbs 31:21).
Saint-Mary-Magdalen-of-Pazzi, saw a Vessel in the Midst-of the Sea; in it were all the Clients-of Mary, and this Blessed Mother herself, 'Steered' it Safely into the Port. By this, the Saint 'Understood', that those who Live under the Protection-of Mary, are Secure in the Midst-of the Dangers of this Life, from the Shipwreck-of-Sin, and from Eternal Damnation; for she 'Guides' them Safely into the Haven-of-Salvation. Let us then 'Enter' this Blessed Ship of the Mantle-of-Mary, and there we can be certain-of the Kingdom-of-Heaven; for the Church says: "O Holy Mother of God, all those who will be Partakers of Eternal Happiness dwell in thee, Living under thy Protection" - ("Sicut laetantium, omnium nostrum habitation est in te, sancta Dei Genitrix" — Off. Ad. Mat.).