Chapter VI (cont'd)
Eia ergo, Advocata nostra!
O Gracious Advocate
by Saint Alphonsus Liguori
Chapter VI, Section II
Mary is so Tender as Advocate,
that she does not Refuse to Defend the Cause,
even of the Most Miserable
So many are the Reasons, that we have for Loving this, our Most Loving
Queen, that if Mary was Praised throughout the World, if in every Sermon,
Mary alone was Spoken of; if all Men 'Gave' their Lives for Mary; still all would be Little,
in-comparison-with the Homage and Gratitude that we Owe
her, in-return-for the Tender Love she 'Bears' to Men, and even
to the Most Miserable Sinners who 'Preserve' the slightest Spark-of Devotion for
Blessed-Raymond-Jordano, who, out-of Humility, called himself the "Idiot", used to say, "that Mary Knows not
how to do otherwise, than Love those who Love her; and that even she does not Disdain, to Serve those who Serve her; and in-Favor-of such a One, should he be a Sinner, she
uses all her Power, in-order-to Obtain his Forgiveness, from her Blessed Son" - ("Maria diligit diligentes se, imo sibi servientibus
servit; ipso benedicto Filio suo irato potentissime reconciliat servos et amatores suos"). And he 'Adds', "that her Benignity and Mercy
are so-great, that no one, however Enormous his Sins may be, should Fear to-cast himself at her Feet: for she never can reject any one who has Recourse to her" -
("Tanta est ejus benignitas, quod nulli formidandum est ad eam accedere; tantaque misericordia, ut nemo ab ea repellatur").
"Mary, as our most Loving Advocate, herself 'Offers' the Prayers of her Servants to God, and especially those who are placed-in her hands; for as
the Son 'Intercedes' for us with the Father, so does she Intercede-with the Son, and does not Cease-to make Interest with both, for the Great Affair of our Salvation, and to
Obtain for us, the Graces we Ask" ("Ipsa preces servorum suorum, maxiome quae sibi exhibentur, repraesentat in conspectus divinae
Majestatis; quia est Advocata nostra apud Filium, sicut Filius apud Patrem; imo apud Patrem et Filium procurat negotia et petitiones nostras" —
Cont. de V. M. in prol).
With Good Reason, then, does Denis-the-Carthusian call the Blessed Virgin "the Singular Refuge of the Lost,
the Hope of the most Abandoned, and the Advocate of all Sinners who have Recourse to her" ("Singulare Refugium perditorum, Spes miserorum,
Advocata omnium iniquorum ad eam confugientium" — De Laud. V., 1. 2, a. 23).
But should there by-chance, be a Sinner, who, though not 'Doubting' her Power, might 'Doubt' the
Compassion of Mary, Fearing perhaps that
she might be Unwilling to Help him, on-account-of the Greatness of
his Sins, let him take Courage-from the Words-of Saint Bonaventure. "The
Great, the Special Privilege of Mary is, that she is all-Powerful with her Son" - ("Grande privilegium Mariae, quod apud Deum
potentissima est"). "But", adds the Saint, "to what Purpose would Mary have so Great Power, if she
Cared not for us?" - ("Sed, quid tanta Mariae potential prodesset nobis, si ipsa Nihil curaret de nobis?")
"No", he concludes, "let us not Doubt, but be Certain, and let us always Thank Our Lord and His Divine Mother
for it, that in-Proportion as her Power with God, Exceeds that of all the Saints, so is she in the same-Proportion, our Most Loving Advocate, and the one who is the Most
Solicitous for our Welfare" - ("Carissimi, sciamus indubitanter, et pro hoc gratias agamus incessanter, quia, sicut ipsa apud Deum
omnibus Sanctis est potentior, ita pro nobis omnibus est sollicitior" — Spec. B. V. lect. 6).
"And who, O Mother-of-Mercy", exclaims Saint Germanus, in the Joy of his
Heart, "who, after thy Jesus, is as Tenderly Solicitous for our Welfare, as thou art?" -
("Quis, post tuum Filium, curam gerit generic humani, sicut tu?") - "Who Defends us in the Temptations with
which we are Afflicted, as thou Defendest us? Who, like thee, Undertakes to-Protect Sinners, Fighting, as-it-were, in their Behalf?" -
("Quis ita nos defendit in nostris afflictionibus? Quis pugnat pro peccatoribus?") "Therefore",
he adds, "thy Patronage, O Mary, is more Powerful and Loving than anything of which we can ever, Form an Idea" -
("Propterea, patrocinium tuum majus est quam comprehendi posit" — De Zona Deip).
"For", says the Blessed-Raymond-Jordano, "whilst all the other Saints can do more for their own
Clients than for others, the Divine Mother, as Queen-of-All, is the Advocate-of-All, and has a Care for the Salvation of All" - ("Caeteri
Sancti, jure quodam patrocinii, pro sibi specialiter commissis plus possunt prodesse quam pro alienis; Beatissima vero Virgo, sicut est omnium Regina, sic et omnium Patrona
et Advocata; et cura est illi de omnibus" — Cont. de V. M. in prol).
Mary takes Care of All, even of Sinners; indeed
she Glories in being 'Called' in a Special Manner, their
Advocate, as she herself declared to the Venerable-Sister-Mary-Villani, saying: "After the
Title-of Mother-of-God, I Rejoice most in that of Advocate-of-Sinners".
Blessed Amadeus says, "that our Queen is Constantly 'Before' the Divine Majesty, Interceding for us with her most Powerful Prayers" -
("Adstat Beatissim aVirgo vultui Conditoris, prece potentissima, simper interpellans pro nobis"). And as in
Heaven "she well-Knows our Miseries and Wants, she cannot do otherwise than Compassionate us; and thus, with the Affection-of a Mother,
Moved to Tenderness towards us, Pitying and Benign, she is always Endeavoring to Help and Save us" - ("Videt enim nostra discrimina,
nostrique Clemens et dulcis Domina materno affectu miseretur" — De Laud. V. hom. 8). And therefore does Richard-of-Saint-Laurence 'Encourage' each One, however
Bad he may be, to have 'Recourse' with Confidence, to this Sweet
Advocate, being Assured-that he will always 'Find' her Ready-to
Help him - ("Inveniet simper paratam auxiliary" — De Laud. V. hom. 8); "for", says the
Abbot Godfrey, "Mary is always Ready to Pray for All" - ("Ipsa pro universo mundo paratissima est ad
precandum" — In Fest B. M. s. 8).
"Oh, with what Efficacy and Love", says Saint Bernard, "does this Good Advocate, Interest herself
in the Affair-of our Salvation!" - ("Advocatam praemisit peregrination nostra, quae tanquam Judicis Mater et Mater misericordiae,
suppliciter et efficaciter salutis nostrae negotia pertractabit" — In Assumpt. s. 1). Saint Bonaventure, considering the
Affection and Zeal with which Mary 'Intercedes'-for us, with the
Divine Majesty, in-order-that Our Lord may Pardon us our
Sins, Help us with His Grace, Free us from
Dangers, and Relieve us in our Wants, says, 'Addressing' the
Blessed Virgin, in the Words of an Ancient Writer: "We know that we have, as-it-were, but One (1) Solicitous in
Heaven for us, and thou art this One, so Greatly does thy Solicitude for us, Exceed that of all the Saints" - ("Te solam, O Maria! pro
Sancta Ecclesia sollicitam prae omnibus Sanctis scimus" — Ap. S. Bonav. Spec. B. V. l. 6). That is, "O Lady, it is True that All the
Saints Desire our Salvation, and Pray for us; but the Love, the Tenderness that thou showest us in Heaven, in Obtaining for us by thy Prayers, so many Mercies from God,
Obliges us to Acknowledge that in Heaven, we have but One (1) Advocate, and that is thyself; and that thou alone art Truly Loving and Solicitous for our
Who can ever 'Comprehend' the Solicitude, with which Mary constantly Stands-before God
in our Behalf! "She is never Weary of Defending us" - ("Non est satietas defensionis ejus" —
De Zona Deip), says Saint Germanus; and the Remark is Beautiful, Meaning-that so-Great is the Compassion 'Excited' in
Mary, by our Misery, and such is the Love that
she 'Bears' us, that she 'Prays' Constantly, and 'Relaxes' not
her Efforts in our Behalf; that by her Prayers,
she may Effectually 'Defend' us from Evil, and 'Obtain' for us
sufficient Graces. "She has never done enough".
Truly Unfortunate should we Poor Sinners be, had we not this Great
Advocate, who is so Powerful and Compassionate, and at the same
time "so Prudent and Wise, that the Judge, her Son", says Richard-of-Saint-Laurence, "cannot Condemn the Guilty,
who are Defended by her" - ("Tam prudens etiam et discreta est Advocata Maria, quod non potest Filius vindicare in eos pro quibus ipsa
allegat" — De Laud. B. M. l. 2, p. 1). And therefore, Saint-John-Geometra 'Salutes' her, Saying,
"Hail, O Court, for putting an End to Litigation" - ("Salve Jus dirimens lites" —
In V. Deipt. Hymn. 4). For All Causes Defended-by this most-Wise Advocate, are 'Gained'.
Abigail's Supplication before King David -
by WET, Jacob Willemsz. de, the Elder
(click to enlarge painting)
And King David said to Abigail: Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel, who sent thee this
day to meet me, and Blessed be thy Speech: And Blessed be thou, who hast kept me today,
from coming-to Blood, and Revenging me, with my own hand. (1Kings 25:32-33 Douay-Rheims)
For this Reason is Mary 'Called', by Saint Bonaventure, "the Wise Abigail" -
("Abigail sapiens" — Laus B. M. n. 13). This is the Woman we Read-of in the Book-of-Kings, who by her Beautiful Supplications, knew
so-well how to 'Appease' King David, when he was Indignant against Nabal; and indeed so-far-as to Induce him to
Bless her, in Gratitude for having Prevented him, by her Sweet Manners, from Avenging himself on Nabal, with his own hands
("Benedicta tu, quae prohibuisti me hodie, ne . . . ulciscerer me manu mea" — 1Kings 25:33). This is Exactly what
Mary Constantly does in Heaven, in Favor-of
Innumerable Sinners; by her Tender and Unctuous
Prayers, she knows sowell how-to 'Appease' the Divine Justice,
that God Himself Blesses her for it, and, as-it-were, 'Thanks'
her for having 'Withheld' Him, from Abandoning and
Chastising them, as they 'Deserved'.
"On this Account it was", says Saint Bernard, "that the Eternal Father, Wishing to Show All the
Mercy possible, besides Giving us Jesus Christ, our Principal Advocate with Him, was Pleased also to Give us Mary, as our Advocate with Jesus Christ".
"There is no Doubt, the Saint adds, "that Jesus Christ is the only Mediator-of-Justice, between Men and God;
that, by virtue-of His own Merits and Promises, He Will and Can Obtain us Pardon and the Divine Favors; but because Men Acknowledge and Fear the Divine Majesty, which is in
Him as God, for this Reason it was necessary-to Assign us another Advocate, to whom we might have Recourse, with less-Fear and more-Confidence, and this Advocate is Mary,
than whom we cannot find One more-Powerful with His Divine Majesty, or One more-Merciful towards ourselves". The Saint says, "Christ is
a Faithful and Powerful Mediator between God and Men, but in Him, Men Fear the Majesty-of-God. A Mediator, then, was needed-with the Mediator Himself; nor could a
more-Fitting One be found, than Mary" - ("Fidelis et praepotenens Mediator Dei et hominum, Christus Jesus, sed divinam in eo reverentur
hominess majestate; . . . opus est enim mediatore ad Mediatorem istum, nec alter nobis utilior quam Maria").
"But", continues the same Saint, "should any one Fear to Go to the Feet of this most Sweet
Advocate, who has nothing in her of Severity, nothing Terrible, but who is all Courteous, Amiable, and Benign, he would indeed be Offering an Insult to the Tender Compassion
of Mary" - ("Quid ad Mariam accedere trepidet humana fragilitas? nihil austerum in ea, Nihil terribile; tota suavis est"). And
he 'Adds', "Read, and Read again, as-often-as you Please, all that is Said-of her in the Gospels, and if you can find the least Trait-of Severity,
Recorded-of her, then Fear to-Approach her. But no, this you can never Find; and therefore go to her with a Joyful Heart, and she will Save you by her
Intercession" - ("Revolve diligentius Evangelicae historiae seriem universam et si quid forte durum occurreit in Maria, accedere
verearis" — In Sign. magn).
How Beautiful is the Exclamation, put-in the Mouth-of a Sinner, who has 'Recourse' to
Mary, by William-of-Paris! "O Most Glorious Mother-of-God, I, in the Miserable State to which I am Reduced by my Sins, have Recourse
to thee, full-of Confidence, and if thou Rejectest me, I Remind thee that thou art in-a-Way, bound-to Help me, since the Whole Church of the Faithful, Calls thee and
Proclaims thee the Mother-of-Mercy". "Thou, O Mary, art that One, who, from being so-Dear to-God, art always Listened-to Favorably. Thy
Great Compassion was never Wanting to any one; thy most Sweet Affability never Despised any Sinner that Recommended himself to thee, however Great his Sins".
And what! Perhaps Falsely, and for-Nothing, the Whole Church calls thee
its Advocate, and the Refuge-of-Sinners.
"Never, O my Mother, let my Sins Prevent thee from Fulfilling the Great Office-of-Charity which is thine, and by which thou art, at the same time,
our Advocate and a Mediatress-of-Peace between Men and God, and who art, after thy Son, our only Hope, and the Secure Refuge of the Miserable. All that thou Possessest-of
Grace and Glory, and the Dignity even of Mother-of-God, so-to-Speak, thou Owest to Sinners, for it was on their Account that the Divine Word, made thee His Mother. Far be it
from this Divine Mother, who 'Brought' the Source itself of Tender Compassion into the World, to think that she should ever Deny her Mercy to any Sinner, who has Recourse-to
her. Since, then, O Mary, thy Office is to be the Peace-maker between God and Men, let thy Tender Compassion, which far Exceeds all my Sins, Move thee to
Succor me" - ("Adibo te, imo etiam conveniam, gloriosissima Dei Genitrix, quam Matrem misericordiae et vocat, imo clamitat omnis Ecclesia
sanctorum. Tu, inquam, cujus gratiositas nunquam repulsam patitur; cujur misericordia nulli unquam defuit, cujus benignissima humilitas nullum unquam deprecantem,
quantumcumque peccatorem, despexit. An falso et inaniter vocat te omnis Ecclesia Advocatam suam et miserorum Refugium? Absit, ut peccata mea possint suspendere te a tam
salubri officio pietatis, quo, et Advocata es, et Mediatrix hominum post Filium tuum. Spes unica et Refugium tutissimum miserorum. Totum siquidem quod habes gratiae, totum
quod habes gloriae, et etiam hoc ipsum quod es Mater Dei, si fas est dicere, peccatoribus debes. Absit hoc a Matre Dei, quae Fontem pietatis toti mundo peperit, ut cuiquam
miserorum suae misericordiae subventionem unquam deneget. Officium ergo tuum est mediam te interponere inter ipsum et hominess; moveat ergo te gloriosa Dei Mater
benignissima misericordia tua, quae major incogitabiliter est omnibus vitiis meis et peccatis" — De Rhet. Div. c. 18).
In One of our Missions, after the Sermon on the Blessed Virgin Mary, which it is always Customary, in our
Congregation to-Preach, a very Old Man came to 'Make' his Confession to One of the Fathers. Filled with
Consolation he said, "Father, Our Blessed Lady has Granted me a Grace".
"What Grace has she Granted you?" the Confessor asked. "You must
know, Father", he replied, "that for Five-and-Thirty Years, I have made Sacrilegious Confessions, for there is a Sin which I
was Ashamed to Confess; and yet I have Passed-through many Dangers, have many times been at the Point-of-Death, and had I then Died, I should certainly have been
Lost; but now our Blessed Lady has Touched my Heart with Grace, to Tell it". This he said, Weeping and
Shedding so many Tears, that he quite 'Excited'
Compassion. The Father, after Hearing his Confession, asked him what
Devotion he had Practiced. He replied that on Saturdays, he had never Failed-to Abstain-from Milk-Diet in Honor
of Mary, and that on this Account, the Blessed Virgin had shown him
Mercy. At the same time, he Gave the Father 'Leave' to-Publish the Fact.
O Great Mother of my Lord, I see full-well, that my Ingratitude towards God and thee, and this too, for so many years,
has Merited for me, that thou shouldst Justly 'Abandon' me, and no-longer have a Care of me, for an Ungrateful Soul, is no-longer Worthy-of Favors. But I,
O Lady, have a High Idea of thy Great Goodness; I Believe it to be far-Greater, than my Ingratitude. Continue, then, O Refuge-of-Sinners, and Cease not to Help
a Miserable Sinner who Confides-in thee. O Mother-of-Mercy, Deign to Extend a Helping Hand to a Poor Fallen Wretch, who asks thee for Pity. O Mary, either Defend
me thyself, or Tell me to-whom I can have Recourse, and who is better able to Defend me than thou, and where I can find with God, a more Clement and Powerful
Advocate than thou, who art His Mother. Then, in becoming the Mother of Our Savior, wast thereby Made the Fitting Instrument to Save Sinners, and wast Given me,
for my Salvation. O Mary, Save him who has Recourse-to thee. I Deserve not thy Love, but it is thine own Desire, to Save Sinners, that makes me Hope, that thou
Lovest me. And if thou Lovest me, how can I be Lost? O my Own Beloved Mother, if by thee I Save my Soul, as I Hope to do, I shall no-longer be Ungrateful, I shall
make up for my Past Ingratitude, and for the Love which thou hast Shown me, by my Everlasting Praises, and all the Affections of my Soul. Happy in Heaven, where
thou Reignest, and wilt Reign Forever. I shall always Sing thy Mercies, and Kiss for Eternity, those Loving Hands which have Delivered me from Hell, as-often-as
I have Deserved it by my Sins. O Mary, my Liberator, my Hope, my Queen, my Advocate, my Own Sweet Mother, I Love thee; I Desire thy Glory, and I Love thee
Amen, amen. Thus do I Hope.