Madonna della Scala - by ANDREA DEL SARTO - from Museo del Prado, Madrid
The Lap of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is God's Throne-of-Mercy
|The Prophet Isaiah foretold that, together with the Great Work of the Redemption-of the Human Race, a Throne of Divine Mercy was to be Prepared-for us Poor Creatures: "And a Throne shall be Prepared in Mercy" - ("Praeparabitur in misericordiae solium" Isaiah 16:5). What is this Throne? Saint Bonaventure answers, "Mary is this Throne, at which All Just and Sinners find the Consolations of Mercy". He then adds: "For as we have a Most Merciful Lord,, so also we have a Most, Merciful Lady. Our Lord is Plenteous in Mercy, to All who Call upon Him, and Our Lady is Plenteous in Mercy, to All who Call upon her";|
And thus is her Son, Constantly 'Addressing' Mary in Heaven,
taking Pleasure in 'Gratifying' His Beloved Mother, in All that she 'Asks'
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.|
Saint Epiphanius calls the Divine Mother "Many-Eyed" ("Multocula" Hom. In Laud. S. M.), indicating thereby her Vigilance, in 'Assisting' us Poor Creatures in this World. A Possessed Person was once being 'Exorcised', and was Questioned-by the Exorcist, as to what Mary did. The Devil 'Replied', "She Descends and Ascends". And he 'Meant', that this Benign Lady is Constantly Descending from Heaven to 'Bring' Graces to Men, and re-Ascending to 'Obtain' the Divine Favor on our Prayers. With Reason, then, used Saint-Andrew-Avellino to 'Call' the Blessed Virgin the "Heavenly Commissioner", for she is continually 'Carrying' Messages-of Mercy, and 'Obtaining' Graces for All, for Just and Sinners." "God Fixes His Eyes on the Just", says the Royal Prophet. "The Eyes of the Lord are on the Just" - ("Oculi Domini super justos" Psalm 33:16). "But the Eyes of the Lady", says Richard-of-Saint-Laurence, "are on the Just, and on the Sinners" - ("Oculi Dominae super peccatores et justos"). "For", he adds, "the Eyes-of-Mary are the Eyes of a Mother; and a Mother not only Watches her Child, to Prevent it from Falling, but when it has Fallen, she Raises it up" - ("Sicut oculi Matris super querum, ne cadat, et si ceciderit, ut eum relevet" De Laud. B. M. l. 2, p. 2).
Jesus Himself 'Revealed' this to Saint Bridget, for One-Day, He 'Allowed' her to-Hear Him thus 'Addressing' His Holy Mother: "My Mother, ask Me what thou wilt" - ("Pete ergo quod vis" Lib. vi. cap. 23). And thus, is her Son, Constantly 'Addressing' Mary in Heaven, Taking Pleasure in 'Gratifying' His Beloved Mother in All that she 'Asks'. But what does Mary 'Ask'? Saint Bridget 'Heard' her Reply: "I ask Mercy for Sinners" - ("Misericordiam peto miseris" Rev. l. i. c. 50).
"And so, O Mary, thou art so Full-of Mercy", says Saint Bonaventure, with Deep-Feeling, "so Attentive in Relieving the Wretched, that it seems that thou hast no other Desire, no other Anxiety" - ("Undique sollicita de miseris, undique misericordia vallaris; solum misereri tu videris appetere" Stim. Div. am. p. 3, c. 19). And as amongst the Miserable, Sinners are the most Miserable of all, Venerable Bede 'Declares' "that Mary is always Praying to her Son, for them" - ("Stat Maria in conspectus Filii sui, non cessans pro peccatoribus exorare").
"Even whilst Living in this World", says Saint Jerome, "the Heart-of-Mary was so Filled with Tenderness and Compassion for Men, that no one ever Suffered so-much for his own-Pains, as Mary Suffered-for the Pains-of Others" - ("Nullum in hac vita adeo poenae torserunt propriae, sicut Mariam alienate"). The Compassion for Others in- Affliction, she well 'Showed' at the Marriage-Feast-of-Cana, Spoken-of in the Preceding Chapters, when the Wine, Failing, without being 'Asked', remarks Saint-Bernardine-of-Sienna, "she Charged herself with the Office-of a Tender Comfortress" - ("Officium piae Auxiliatricis assumpsit non rogata" Pro Fest. V. M. s. 9, a. 3, c. 2): and Moved-to Compassion, at the Sight-of the Embarrassment of the Bride and Bridegroom, she 'Interposed'-with her Son, and 'Obtained' the Miraculous Change-of-Water, into Wine.
"But perhaps", says Saint-Peter-Damian, 'Addressing' Mary, "now that thou art Raised-to the High Dignity-of Queen-of-Heaven, thou 'Forgettest' us Poor Creatures?" "Ah, far be such a Thought from our Minds", he adds; "for it would little-Become the Great Compassion that Reigns in the Heart-of-Mary, ever to-Forget such Misery as ours" - ("Numquid, O Beata Virgo! quia ita deificata, ideo nostrae humilitatis oblita es? Nequaquam Domina, non enim convenit tantae misericordiae, tantam miseriam oblivisci" In Nat. B. V. s. 1). The Proverb, that "Honors 'Change' our Manners" - ("Honores mutant mores"), does not apply-to Mary. With Wordlings, it is otherwise; for they, when Once 'Raised'-to a High Dignity, become Proud, and 'Forget' their former Poor Friends; but it is not-so with Mary, who 'Rejoices' in her own Exaltation, because she is thus better-able-to Help the Miserable.
On this Subject, Saint Bonaventure 'Applies'-to the Blessed Virgin, the Words 'Addressed'-to Ruth: "Blessed art thou of the Lord, my Daughter, and thy Latter Kindness has Surpassed the Former" - ("Priorem misericordiam posteriore superasti" Ruth 3:10); meaning to say, "that if the Compassion of Mary was Great, towards the Miserable, when Living in this World, it is much-Greater now-that she Reigns in Heaven" - ("Magna erga miseros fuit misericordia Mariae, adhuc exsulantis in mundo, sed multo major est regnantis in coelo"). He then gives the Reason for this, 'Saying', "that the Divine Mother shows, by the Innumerable Graces that she Obtains for us, her Greater Mercy; for now she is better Acquainted-with our Miseries" - ("Majorem, per beneficia innumerabilia, nunc ostendit misericordiam, quia magis nunc videt hominum miseriam"). Thence, he adds, "that as the Splendor of the Sun, Surpasses that of the Moon, so does the Compassion-of Mary, now that she is in Heaven, Surpass the Compassion she had for us, when in the World" - ("Nam quemadmodum sol lunam superat magnitudine splendoris, sic priorem Mariae misericordiam superat magnitude posterioris"). In conclusion, he asks, "who is there Living in this World, who does not Enjoy the Light-of the Sun? and on whom does not the Mercy-of Mary Shine?" - ("Quis est, super quem misericordia Mariae non replendeat?" Spec. B. V. lect. 10).
For this Reason, in the Sacred Canticles, she is called "Bright as the Sun" - ("Electa ut sol" Canticles 6:9). "For no-one is Excluded-from the Warmth of this Sun", says Saint Bonaventure, according-to the Words-of the Psalmist - ("Nec est qui se abscondat a calore ejus" Psalm 18:7); and the same thing was also Revealed-to Saint Bridget, by Saint Agnes, who told her "that Our Queen, now that she is United-to her Son in-Heaven, cannot Forget her Innate Goodness; and therefore, she Shows her Compassion to-All, even to the most Impious Sinners; so-much-so, that, as the Celestial and Terrestrial Bodies are all Illumined-by the Sun, so there is no-one in the World, who, if he Asks for it, does not, through the Tenderness-of Mary, Partake-of the Divine Mercy" - ("Nunc autem conjuncta Filio, non obliviscitur innatae bonitatis suae, sed ad omnes extendit misericordiam suam, etiam ad pessimos. Sicut sole illuminantur coelestia et terrestrial, sic, ex dulcedine Mariae, nullus est, qui non per eam, si petit, sentiat pietatem" Rev. l. 3, c. 30).
Saint Bernard says, "that Mary has made herself All-to All, and Opens her Merciful Heart to All, that All may Receive-of her Fullness; the Slave → Redemption, the Sick → Health, those in Affliction → Comfort, the Sinner → Pardon, and God → Glory; that thus there may be no-one, who can Hide himself from her Warmth" - ("Maria omnia omnibus facta est; omnibus misericordiae sinum aperit, ut de plenitudine ejus accipiant universi, captivus redemptionem, aeger curationem, tristis consolationem, peccator veniam; ut non sit qui se abscondat a calore ejus" In Sign. Magn.). "Who can there be in the World", exclaims Saint Bonaventure, "who Refuses to Love this Most Amiable Queen? She is more Beautiful than the Sun, and Sweeter than Honey. She is a Treasure-of Goodness, Amiable and Courteous to-All" - ("Quis non te diligit, O maria, pulchriorem sole, dulciorem melle? omnibus es amabilis, omnibus es affabilis"). "I Salute thee, then", continues the Enraptured Saint, "O my Lady and Mother, nay, even my Heart, my Soul. Forgive me, O Mary, if I say that I Love thee; for if I am not Worthy to Love thee, at least thou art all-Worthy to be Loved by me" - ("Ave ergo, Domina mea, Mater mea, imo, Cor meum, Anima mea! mihi parce, Domina, quod me amare dicam te; si non sum dignus, non es indigna amari").
It was Revealed-to Saint Gertrude (Insin. l. 4, c. 53), that when these Words are 'Addressed'-with-Devotion to the Most Blessed Virgin, "Turn then, O Most Gracious Advocate, thine Eyes of Mercy towards us", Mary cannot do otherwise than Yield-to the Demand-of whoever thus 'Invokes' her.
"Ah, Truly, O Great Lady", says Saint Bernard, "does the Immensity-of thy Mercy, Fill the Whole Earth" - ("Latitudo misericordiae ejus replete orbem terrarium" In Assumpt. s. 4). "And therefore", says Saint Bonaventure, "this Loving Mother has so-Earnest a Desire, to do Good to All, that not only is she Offended-by those who Positively Outrage her (as some are Wicked enough to do), but she is Offended-at those who do not Ask her for Favors or Graces" - ("In te, Domina, peccant, non solum qui tibi injuriam irrogant, sed etiam qui te non rogant"). So that Saint Hildebert 'Addresses' her, saying: "Thou, O Lady, Teachest us to Hope for far Greater Graces, than we Deserve, since thou never Ceasest to Dispense Graces far, far-beyond our Merits" - ("Doces nos sperare majora meritis, quae meritis majora largiri non desistis" Ep. 20, Bibl. Patr.).
The Prophet Isaiah 'Foretold' that, together-with the Great Work of the Redemption-of the Human Race, a Throne-of-Divine-Mercy was to be 'Prepared' for us Poor Creatures: "And a Throne shall be Prepared in Mercy" - ("Praeparabitur in misericordiae solium" Isaiah 16:5). What is this Throne? Saint Bonaventure 'Answers', "Mary is this Throne, at which All Just and Sinners Find the Consolations of Mercy". He then Adds: "For as we have a Most Merciful Lord, so also we have a Most, Merciful Lady. Our Lord is Plenteous in Mercy, to All who Call-upon Him, and our Lady is Plenteous in Mercy, to All who Call-upon her" - ("Solium divinae misericordiae est Maria, in quo omnes inveniunt solatia misericordiae. Nam sicut misericordissimum Dominum, ita misericordissimam Dominam habemus; Dominus noster multae misericordiae est invocantibus se, et Domina nostra multae misericordiae est omnibus invocantibus se" Spec. B. M. V. lect. 9). As Our Lord is Full-of-Mercy, so also is Our Lady; and as the Son Knows not how to Refuse Mercy, to those who Call-upon Him, neither does the Mother. Wherefore the Abbot Guerrie, thus 'Addresses' the Mother, in the Name-of Jesus Christ: "My Mother, in thee will I Establish the Seat-of My Government; through thee will I Pronounce Judgments, Hear Prayers, and Grant the Graces Asked-of Me. Thou has given Me, My Human Nature, and I will give thee My Divine Nature" - ("In te mihi quondam regni sedem constituam; per te preces exaudiam; communicasti mihi guod homo sum: communicabo tibi quod Deus sum" De Assumpt. s. 2), that is, Omnipotence, by which thou mayest be able to-Help to-Save All, whomsoever thou Pleasest.
One day, when Saint Gertrude was 'Addressing' the foregoing Words, "Turn thine Eyes-of-Mercy towards us", to the Divine Mother, she saw the Blessed Virgin Pointing-to the Eyes-of her Son, Whom she held-in her Arms, and then said, "These are the Most Compassionate Eyes that I can 'Turn', for their Salvation, towards All who Call upon me" - ("Isti sunt misericordissimi oculi mei, quos ad omnes me invocantes salubriter possum inclinare" Insin. l. 4, c. 53).
A Sinner was once Weeping before an Image-of Mary, 'Imploring' her to 'Obtain' Pardon for him from God, when he 'Perceived' that the Blessed Virgin Turned-towards the Child, that she 'Held' in her Arms, and said, "My Son, shall these Tears be Lost?" And he 'Understood' that Jesus Christ had already Pardoned him. (Sinisc. Il Mart. Di M. ott.).
How, then, is it possible that any one can Perish, who 'Recommends' himself to this Good Mother, since her Son, as God, has 'Promised' her, that for her Love, He will Show as much Mercy as she Pleases, to All who 'Recommend' themselves to her? This, Our Lord Revealed-to Saint Gertrude, Allowing her to-Hear Him make the Promise to His Mother in the following Words: "In My Omnipotence, O Revered Mother, I have Granted thee the Reconciliation of All Sinners, who Devoutly Invoke the Aid of thy Compassion, in whatever way it may Please thee" - ("Ex omnipotentia mea, Mater reverenda, tibi concessi potestatem propitiandi omnium peccatis, qui devote invocant tuae pietatis auxilium, qualicumque modo placet tibi" Insin, l. 4, c. 53).
On this Assurance, the Abbot-Adam-of-Perseigne, 'Considering' the Great Power of Mary with God, and, at the same time, her Great Compassion for us, Full-of Confidence, 'Says': "O Mother-of-Mercy, thy Tender Compassion is as-Great-as thy Power, and thou art as Compassionate in Forgiving, as thou art Powerful in Obtaining All" - ("Mater Misericordiae! tanta est pietas tua, quanta potestas: tam pia es ad parcendum, quam potens ad impetrandum"). "And when", he 'Asks', "did the Case ever Occur, in which thou, who art the Mother-of-Mercy, didst not show Compassion? O, when was it that thou, who art the Mother-of-Omnipotence, couldst not Aid? Ah, yes, with the same Facility with which thou seest our Misfortunes, thou Obtainest for us whatever thou Willest" - ("Quando non compatieris miseris, Mater Misericordiae? aut quando illis opem conferre non poteris, cum sis Mater Omnipotentiae, eadem facilitate obtines quodcumque vis, qua facilitate nostra innotescit miseria" Marial. s. 1).
"Satiate, O Satiate thyself, Great Queen", says the Abbot Guerric, "with the Glory of thy Son, and out of Compassion, though not for any Merit of ours, be Pleased to Send us, they Servants and Children here below, the crumbs that fall from thy Table" - ("O Mater misericordiae! saturare Gloria Filii tui, et dimitte reliquias tuas parvulis tuis" De Assumpt. s. 4).
Should the Sight-of our Sins ever Discourage us, let us 'Address' the Mother-of-Mercy in the Words of William-of-Paris: "O Lady, do not Set-up my Sins against me, for I Oppose thy Compassion to them. Let it never be said that my Sins could Contend in Judgment against thy Mercy, which is far-more Powerful to Obtain me Pardon, than my Sins are to Obtain my Condemnation" - ("Ne allegaveris peccata mea contra me, qui misericordiam tuam allego contra ea; absit, ut stent in judicio peccata mea contra misericordiam tuam, quae omnibus vitiis fortior est" De Rhet. Div. c. 18).