Saint Bernard, converses with Mother and Child - by MURILLO, Bartolomι Esteban - from Museo del Prado, Madrid
Note that the Right Hand of the Blessed Virgin always points toward her Son, Jesus Christ. She always 'Brings' us to Him.
Also note that in this Picture, MURILLO centers the Eyes of Saint Bernard on the Infant Jesus, and not on the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Although Mary, now in Heaven, can no-longer Command her Son,
nevertheless her Prayers are Always the Prayers-of a Mother,
and Consequently, most Powerful to-Obtain whatever 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.|
So Great is the Authority, that Mothers 'Possess' over their Sons, that even if they are Monarchs, and have Absolute Dominion over every Person in their Kingdom, yet never can Mothers become the Subjects-of their Sons. It is True that Jesus, now in Heaven, Sits-at the Right Hand of the Father, that is, as Saint Thomas (De Human. F. C. a. 23) 'Explains' it, even as Man, on-account-of the Hypostatical Union with the Person of the Divine Word, He has Supreme Dominion over All, and also over Mary; it will nevertheless-be, always True that for a Time, when He was Living-in this World, He was Pleased-to Humble Himself, and to be Subject-to Mary, as we are told by Saint Luke: "And He was Subject to them" - ("Et erat subditus illis" Luke 2:51). And still more, says Saint Ambrose, Jesus Christ, having 'Deigned' to make Mary His Mother, inasmuch-as He was her Son, He was Truly Obliged to Obey her. And for this Reason, says Richard-of-Saint-Laurence, "of other Saints we say that they are with-God; but of Mary alone, can it be said that she was so-far Favored as to be not only herself, Submissive-to the Will-of-God, but even that God was Subject-to her Will" - ("Cum de caeteris Sanctis dicatur, eos esse cum Deo, Maria majus aliquid sortita est, ut non solum ipsa subjiceretur voluntati Domini, sed etiam Dominus voluntati ipsius"). And whereas of all other Virgins, 'Remarks' the same Author, we must say that they follow the Lamb, whithersoever He goeth - ("Sequuntur Agnum quocumque ierit" Apocalypse 14:4), of the Blessed Virgin Mary we can say that the Lamb followed her, having become Subject to her - ("De Virgine autem Maria secure potest dici, quod Agnus sequebatur eam, quocunque ivit; unde Lucas: Erat subditus illis" De Laud. B. M. l. i. c. 5).
And here we say, that although Mary, now in Heaven, can no-longer Command her Son, nevertheless her Prayers are always the Prayers-of a Mother, and consequently, Most Powerful to Obtain whatever she asks. "Mary", says Saint Bonaventure, "has this Great Privilege, that with her Son, she above all the Saints, is most-Powerful to-Obtain whatever she Wills" - ("Grande priviletgium Mariae, quod apud Deum potentissima est" Spec. B. M. V. lect. 6). And why? Precisely-for the Reason on which we have already Touched, and which we shall later-on again 'Examine' at greater-Length, because they are the Prayers of a Mother.
Therefore, says Saint-Peter-Damian, the Blessed Virgin can do whatever she Pleases, both in-Heaven and on-Earth. She is able to 'Raise' even those who are in Despair, to Confidence; and he 'Addresses' her in these Words: "All Power is Given-to thee in-Heaven and on-Earth, and Nothing is Impossible-to thee, who canst Raise those who are in-Despair to the Hope-of-Salvation" - ("Data est tibi omnis potestas in coelo et in terra; Nihil tibi impossibile, cui possible est desperatos in spem beatitudinis relevare"). And then he adds that "when the Mother goes to Seek a Favor for us from Jesus Christ" (Whom the Saint calls the Golden-Altar-of-Mercy, at which Sinners obtain Pardon), "her Son Esteems her Prayers so-Greatly, and is so-Desirous to Satisfy her, that when she Prays, it seems as-if she rather Commanded, than Prayed, and was rather a Queen, than a Handmaid" - ("Accedis enim ante illud humanae reconciliationis Altare, non salum rogans, sed imperans; Domina, non ancilla; Nam Filius, Nihil negans, honerat te" In Nat. B. V. s. 1). Jesus is Pleased thus to Honor His Beloved Mother, who Honored Him so-much during her Life, by immediately 'Granting' all that she 'Asks' or 'Desires'. This is Beautifully Confirmed-by Saint Germanus, who 'Addressing' our Blessed Lady says: "Thou art the Mother-of-God, and all-Powerful to Save Sinners, and with God, thou needest no other Recommendation; for thou art the Mother-of-True-Life" (In Dorm V. M. s. 2).
"At the Command of Mary, all Obey, even God". Saint Bernardine Fears not to utter this Sentence; meaning, indeed, to say that God 'Grants' the Prayers of Mary as if they were Commands - ("Imperio Virginis omnia famulantur, etiam Deus" Pro Fest. V. M. s. 5, c. 6). And hence Saint Anselm, 'Addressing' Mary says: "Our Lord, O Most Holy Virgin, has Exalted thee to such a Degree that by His Favor all things that are possible to Him, should be possible to thee" - ("Te, Domina, Deus sic exaltavit, et omnia tibi secum possibilia esse donavit" De Excell. Virg. c. 12). "For thy Protection is Omnipotent, O Mary" - ("Omnipotens auxilium tuum, O Maria!" Hymn 6), says Cosmas-of-Jerusalem. "Yes, Mary is Omnipotent", repeats Richard-of-Saint-Laurence; "for the Queen, by every Law, enjoys the same Privileges as the King. And as ", he adds, "the Power of the Son, and that of the Mother, is the same, a Mother is made Omnipotent, by an Omnipotent Son" - ("Eisdem privilegiis secundum leges gaudent Rex et Regina. Cum autem eadem sit potestas Matris et Filii ab omnipotente Filio omnipotens Mater est effecta" De Laud B. M. l. 4). "And thus", says Saint Antoninus, "God has Placed the Whole Church, not only under the Patronage, but even under the Dominion of Mary" - ("Sub protectione ejus et dominio" P. 4, t. 15, c. 20, #2).
Since the Mother, then, should have the same Power as the Son, Rightly has Jesus, Who is Omnipotent, made Mary also Omnipotent; though, of course, it is always True, that where the Son is Omnipotent by-Nature, the Mother is only so by-Grace. But, that she is so, is Evident-from the fact, that whatever the Mother 'Asks' for, the Son never 'Denies' her; and this was Revealed-to Saint Bridget, who one day heard Jesus talking-with Mary, and thus 'Address' her: "Ask of Me what thou wilt, for no Petition of thine can be Void" - ("Pete quod vis a me; non enim inanis potest esse petition tua"). As if He had said, "My Mother, thou knowest how much I Love thee; therefore Ask all that thou wilt of Me; for it is not possible that I should Refuse thee anything". And the Reason that He gave for this was Beautiful: "Because thou never dist deny Me anything on Earth, I will Deny thee nothing in Heaven" - ("Quia tu mihi Nihil negasti in terra, ego tibi Nihil negabo in coelo" Rev. l. 6, c. 23; l. 1, c. 24). My Mother, when thou wast in the World, thou never didst Refuse to do anything for the Love of Me; and now that I am in Heaven, it is Right that I should Deny thee nothing, that thou Askest. Mary, then, is called Omnipotent in the sense in which it can be Understood-of a Creature, who is Incapable-of a Divine Attribute. She is Omnipotent, because by her Prayers, she 'Obtains' whatever she Wills.
With Good Reason, then, O Great Advocate, does Saint Bernard say, "Thou Willest, and all things are Done" - ("Velis tu, et omnia fient"). And Saint Anselm: "Whatever thou, O Virgin, Willest, can never be otherwise than Accomplished" - ("Tantummodo salutem nostram, et vere nequamquam salvi esse non poterimus" Excell. V. c. 12). Thou Willest, and all is Done. If thou art Pleased-to Raise a Sinner from the Lowest Abyss of-Misery, to the Highest Degree-of-Sanctity, thou canst do it. Blessed-Albert-the-Great, on this Subject, makes Mary Say: "I have to be Asked, that I may Will; for if I Will a thing, it is necessarily Done" - ("Roganda est, ut velit; quia, si vult, necesse est fieri" De Laud B. M. l.2, c. 1).
Thus Saint-Peter-Damian, Reflecting-on the Great Power of Mary, and 'Begging' her to take Compassion on us, 'Addresses' her, 'Saying': "O let thy Nature move thee, let thy Power move thee; for the more thou art Powerful, the Greater should thy Mercy be" - ("Moveat te natura, potential moveat; quia quanto potentior, tanto misericordior esse debebis" In Nat. B. V. s. 1). O Mary, our own Beloved Advocate, since thou hast so Compassionate a Heart, that thou canst not even see the Wretched, without being Moved-to Pity, and since, at the same time, thou hast so Great Power with God, that thou canst Save All whom thou dost Protect, Disdain not to 'Undertake' the Cause-of us Poor Miserable Creatures who Place all our Hope in thee. If our Prayers cannot 'Move' thee, at least let thine own Benign Heart do so; or, at least, let thy Power do so, since God has Enriched thee with so Great Power, in-order-that the Richer thou art in Power, to Help us, the more Merciful thou mayest be in the Will to 'Assist' us. But Saint Bernard 'Reassures' us on this Point; for he says that Mary is as Immensely Rich-in-Mercy, as she is in Power; and that, as her Charity is most-Powerful, so also it is most Clement and Compassionate, and its effects continually prove it to be so. He thus expresses himself: "The Most Powerful and Merciful Charity of the Mother-of-God, abounds in Tender Compassion and in Effectual Succor: it is equally Rich in both" - ("Potentissima et piissima charitas Dei Matris, et affectu compatiendi, et subveniendi abundant effectu; aeque locuples in utroque" In Assumpt.)
From the Time that Mary Came-into the World, her only Thought, after 'Seeking' the Glory-of-God, was to Succor the Miserable. And even then, she Enjoyed the Privilege-of 'Obtaining' whatever she 'Asked'. This we know from what 'Occurred'-at the Marriage-Feast-of-Cana, in Galilee. When the Wine Failed, the Most Blessed Virgin, being 'Moved' to Compassion at the Sight-of the Affliction and Shame of the Bride and Bridegroom, 'Asked' her Son to 'Relieve' them by a Miracle, telling Him that they had no Wine. Jesus 'Answered': "Woman, what is that to thee and Me? My Hour is not yet come" - ("Vinum non habent. Quid mihi et tibi est, mulier? Nondum venit hora mea" John 2:3)." And here 'Remark', that although Our Lord seemed to-'Refuse' His Mother, the Favor she Asked, and said, What is it to thee, O Woman, and to Me, if the Wine has Failed?" This is not the Time for Me to 'Work' a Miracle; the Time will be, when I Begin-to 'Preach', and when Miracles will be required-to 'Confirm' My Doctrines. And yet Mary, as if the Favor had already been 'Granted', 'Desired' those in-attendance to 'Fill' the Jars with Water, for they would be Immediately 'Satisfied'. And so it was; for Jesus, to 'Content' His Mother, 'Changed' the Water into the Best Wine. But how was this? As the Time for 'Working' Miracles, was that of the Public Life of Our Lord, how could it be that, contrary-to the Divine Decrees, this Miracle was 'Worked'? No; in this there was nothing contrary-to the Decrees-of-God; for though, generally speaking, the Time for Miracles was not come, yet from All Eternity (∞) God had 'Determined', by another Decree, that nothing that she 'Asked', should ever be 'Refused'-to the Divine Mother. And therefore Mary, who well-Knew her Privilege, although her Son seemed to have Refused her the Favor, yet told them to-'Fill' the Jars with Water, as if her Request had already been 'Granted'. That is the Sense, in which Saint-John-Chrysostom understood it; for, explaining these Words-of Our Lord, Woman, what is it to thee and Me? he says, that "though Jesus Answered thus, yet in Honor of His Mother, He Obeyed her Wish" - ("Et licet ita responderit, maternis tamen precibus obtemperavit" In Jo. Hom. 21). This is 'Confirmed' by Saint Thomas, who says that by the Words, My Hour is not yet Come, Jesus Christ Intended to Show, that had the Request come from any other, He would not then have Complied-with it; but because it was Addressed-to Him by His Mother, He could not Refuse it - ("Per illa verba, 'nondum venit hora mea,' ostendit se dilaturum fuisse miraculum, si alius rogasset; quia tamen rogabat Mater, fecit"). Saint Cyril and Saint Jerome, quoted-by Barrada (T. ii l. 3, c. 1), say the same thing. Also, Gandavensis, on the foregoing Passage-of Saint John, says, that "to Honor His mother, our Lord Anticipated the Time for Working Miracles" - ("Quo matrem honoraret, praevenit tempus miracula faciendi" In Conc. Ev. c. 18).
In Fine, it is certain that no Creature can 'Obtain' so many Mercies for us, as this Tender Advocate, who is thus Honored by God, not only as His Beloved Handmaid, but also as His True Mother. And this, William-of-Paris says, 'Addressing' her, "No Creature can Obtain so-Many and so-Great Favors, as thou Obtainest for Poor Sinners; and thus without Doubt, God Honors thee not only as a Handmaid, but as His Most True Mother" - ("Nulla creatura et tot et tanta impetrare posset apud Filium tuum miseris, quanta tu impetras eisdem; in quo procul dubio non tamquam Ancillam, sed tamquam Matrem verissimam te honorat" De Rhet. Div. c. 18). Mary has only to 'Speak', and her Son 'Executes' All. Our Lord, 'Conversing' with the Spouse in the Sacred Canticles, that is Mary, says, "Thou that Dwellest in the Gardens, the Friends hearken; make Me hear thy Voice" - ("Quae habitas in hortis, amici auscultant; fac me audire vocem tuam" Canticles 8:13). The Saints are the Friends, and they, when they 'Seek' a Favor for their Clients, Wait-for their Queen, to Ask and Obtain it; for, as we said in the Fifth (5th) Chapter, "no Grace is Granted otherwise, than at the Prayer-of Mary". And how does Mary 'Obtain' Favors. She has only to let her Voice be 'Heard', make Me Hear thy Voice. She has only to Speak, and her Son Immediately 'Grants' her Prayer. Listen to the Abbot William explaining, in this sense, the above-mentioned text. In it, he 'Introduces' the Son, 'Addressing' Mary: "Thou who Dwellest in the Heavenly Gardens, Intercede with Confidence for whomsoever thou wilt; for it is not possible that I should so far forget that I am thy Son, as to Deny anything to thee, My Mother" - ("Quae habitas in hortis coelestibut, fiducialiter pro quibuscumque volueris intercede; non enim possum oblivisci me Filium tuum, ut Matri quidpiam denegandum putem"). "Only let thy Voice be Heard; for to be Heard by a Son, is to be Obeyed" - ("Tantum vocem proferat, a Filio audiri, exaudiri est" Paciucch. In Sal. Ang. exc. 20). The Abbot Godfrey says, "that although Mary Obtains Favors by Asking, yet she Asks with a certain Maternal Authority, and therefore we ought to feel Confident, that she Obtains All she Desires and Asks for us" - ("Virgo Maria, ex eo quod ille Homo est, et natus ex ea, quasi quodam Matris imperio, apud ipsum impetrare quidquid voluerit, pia fide non dubitatur" In Fest. B. M. s. 8).
Valerius Maximus (Ex mir. l. 5, c. 4) 'Relates' that when Coriolanus was 'Besieging' Rome, the Prayers of his Friends, and all the Citizens, were Insufficient to make him Desist; but as-soon-as he beheld his Mother Veturia 'Imploring' him, he could no-longer 'Refuse', and Immediately 'Raised' the Siege. But the Prayers of Mary with Jesus, are as much more-Powerful than those of Veturia, as the Love and Gratitude of this Son for His most Dear Mother, are Greater. Father-Justin-Micoviensis says that "a Single Sigh of the most Blessed Mary, can do more than the United Suffrages of all the Saints" - ("Unicum suspirium ab ea oblatum superat omnium Sanctorum preces" Super Litan. s. 270). And this was Acknowledged-by the Devil himself to Saint Dominic, who, as it is related-by Father Paciucchelli (In Sal. Ang. exc. 3), 'Obliged' him to-Speak, by the Mouth-of a Possessed Person; and he said that "a Single Sigh from Mary, was Worth more before God, than the United Suffrages of All the Saints".
Saint Antoninus says that "the Prayers-of the Blessed Virgin, being the Prayers-of a Mother, have in them something of a Command; so that it is impossible that she should not Obtain what she Asks" - ("Oratio Deiparae habet rationem imperii; unde impossibile est eam non exaudiri" P. 4, tit. 15, c. 17, #4).Saint Germanus, 'Encouraging' Sinners who 'Recommend' themselves to this Advocate, thus Addresses her: "As thou hast, O Mary, the Authority of a Mother, with God, thou Obtainest Pardon for the most Enormous Sinners; since that Lord, in all things, Acknowledges thee as His True and Spotless Mother, He cannot do otherwise than Grant what thou Askest" - ("Tu autem maternal in Deum auctoritate pollens, etiam iis qui enormiter peccant, gratiam concilias; non enim potes non exaudiri, cum Deus tibi, ut verae et intemeratae Matri, in omnibus morem great" In Dorm. Deip. s. 2). And so it was, that Saint Bridget 'Heard' the Saints in Heaven, 'Addressing' our Blessed Lady: "O Most Blessed Queen, what is there that thou canst not do? Thou hast only to-Will, and it is Accomplished" - ("Domina benedicta! quid est quod non poteris? Quod enim tu vis, hoc factum est" Rev. l. 4, c. 74). And this corresponds with that Celebrated Saying, "That which God can do by His Power, that canst thou do by Prayer, O Sacred Virgin" - ("Quod Deus imperio, tu prece Virgo, potes"). "And perchance", says Saint Augustine, "it is Unworthy of the Benignity-of that Lord, to be thus Jealous of the Honor of His Mother, Who declares that He came into the World, not to Break, but to Observe the Law: but this Law Commands us to Honor our Parents" - ("Numquid non pertinet ad benignitatem Domini, Matris honom servare, qui Legem non solvere venerat, sed adimplere?" Lib de Assumpt. B. V. c. 5). Saint-George, Archbishop-of-Nicomedia, says that Jesus Christ, even as it were to 'Satisfy' an Obligation, under which He 'Placed' Himself, towards His Mother, when she 'Consented' to 'Give' Him His Human Nature, 'Grants' all she 'Asks': "the Son, as if Paying a Debt, Grants All thy Petitions" - ("Filius quasi exsolvens debitum, petitiones tuas implet" Or. de Ingr. B. V.). And on this the Holy Martyr, Saint Methodius exclaims: "Rejoice, rejoice, O Mary, for thou has that Son thy Debtor, Who Gives-to All and Receives-from None. We are all God's Debtors, for All that we Possess, for All is His Gift; but God has been Pleased to become thy Debtor, in taking Flesh from thee, and becoming Man" - ("Euge, euge, quae debitorem habes Filium, qui omnibus mutuatur! Deo enim universi debemus; tibi autem etiam ille debitor est" Or. de Sim. Et. Anna).
Therefore Saint Augustine says, "that Mary, having Merited to-Give Flesh to the Divine Word, and thus Supply the Price of our Redemption, that we might be delivered-from Eternal Death; therefore is she more-Powerful than all others, to Help us to Gain Eternal Life" - ("Neque enim dubium, quae meruit pro liberandis proferre pretium, posse, plus Sanctis omnibus, liberates impendere suffragium" Serm. 208, E. B. app.) Saint Theophilus, Bishop-of-Alexandria, in the Time-of Saint Jerome, left in-Writing the following Words: "The Prayers-of His Mother are a Pleasure-to the Son, because He Desires to Grant all that is Granted on her Account, and thus 'Recompense' her for the Favor she did Him, in-Giving Him His Body" (Salazar. In Prov. viii. 18). Saint-John-Damascene, 'Addressing' the Blessed Virgin, says, "Thou, O Mary, being Mother of the Most High God, canst Save All, by thy Prayers, which are Increased in Value by the Maternal Authority" - ("Potes quidem omnes salvare, ut Dei altissimi Mater, precibus maternal auctoritate pollentibus" Men Grac. 20 Jan. Ad Mat).
Let us conclude with Saint Bonaventure, who, considering the Great Benefit conferred-on us by Our Lord in 'Giving' us Mary for our Advocate, thus 'Addresses' her: "O Truly Immense and Admirable Goodness of our God, which has been Pleased to Grant thee, O Sovereign Mother, to us Miserable Sinners for our Advocate, in-order-that thou, by thy Powerful Intercession, mayest Obtain all that thou Pleasest for us" - ("O certe Dei nostril mira benignitas, qui suis reis te Dominam tribuit, Advocatam, ut a Filio tuo, quod volueris valeas impetrare!") "O Wonderful Mercy of our God", continues the same Saint, "who in-order-that we might not Fly on-account-of the Sentence that might be Pronounced against us, has given us His own Mother and the Patroness-of-Graces, to be our Advocate" - ("O mirabilis erga nos misericordia Dei nostril, qui, ne fugeremus pro sentential, voluit Matrem suam ac Dominam gratiae, nostram instituere Advocatam" Stim. Div. am. p. 3, c. 19).