Mary, Mediatrix of Graces
There is no one, O most Holy Mary, who can Know God, but through thee;
no one who can be Saved or Redeemed, but through thee, O Mother-of-God;
no one who can be Delivered from Dangers, but through thee, O Virgin-Mother;
no one who Obtains Mercy, but through thee, O Filled-with-all-Grace
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.|
No one 'Denies' that Jesus Christ is our only Mediator-of-Justice, and that He, by His Merits, has 'Obtained' our Reconciliation with God. But, on-the-other-hand, it is Impious to 'Assert' that God is not Pleased to 'Grant' Graces, at the Intercession-of His Saints; and more-Especially of Mary His Mother, whom Jesus 'Desires' so-much to-see Loved and Honored by All (Fourth Commandment). Who can 'Pretend', that the Honor 'Bestowed' on a Mother, does not 'Redound'-to the Honor of the Son? "The Glory of Children, are their Fathers" - ("Gloria filiorum, patres eorum" Proverbs 17:6). Whence Saint Bernard says, "Let us not Imagine that we Obscure the Glory of the Son, by the Great Praise we Lavish on the Mother; for the more she is Honored, the Greater is the Glory of the Son". "There can be no doubt", says the Saint, "that whatever we say in Praise-of the Mother, is Equally in Praise-of the Son" - ("Non est dubium, quidquid in laudibus Matris proferimus, ad Filium pertinere" De Laud. V. M. hom. 4). And Saint Ildephonsus also says, "That which is given to the Mother, Redounds to the Son; the Honor given to the Queen, is Honor Bestowed-on the King" - ("Redundat ad Filium, quod impenditur Matri; transit honor in Regem; qui defertur in famulatum Reginae" De Virginit. S. M. c. 12). There can be no-doubt that by the Merits of Jesus, Mary was made the Mediatress of our Salvation; not indeed, a Mediatress-of-Justice, but of Grace and Intercession; as Saint Bonaventure expressly calls her "Mary, the most-Faithful Mediatress-of our Salvation" - ("Maria, fidelissima Mediatrix nostrae salutis" Spec. B. V. M. lect. 9). And Saint-Laurence-Justinian asks, "How can she be otherwise than Full-of-Grace, who has been made the Ladder-to-Paradise, the Gate-of-Heaven, the most True Mediatress between God and Man?" - (Quomodo non est plena gratia, quae effecta est paradise Scala; coeli Janua; Dei et hominum verissima Mediatrix? S. in Ann. B. M.).
Hence the Learned Suarez, Justly 'Remarks', that if we 'Implore' our Blessed Lady to 'Obtain' us a Favor, it is not because we 'Distrust' the Divine Mercy, but rather that we Fear our own Unworthiness and the Absence-of Proper Dispositions; and we 'Recommend' ourselves to Mary, that her Dignity may 'Supply-for' our Lowliness. He says that we 'Apply-to' Mary "in-order-that the Dignity of the Intercessor may Supply-for our Misery. Hence, to-Invoke the Aid-of the most Blessed Virgin is not Diffidence-in the Divine Mercy, but Dread-of our own Unworthiness" ("Ut dignitas intercessoris suppleat inopiam nostram; unde Virginem interpellare, non est de divina misericordia diffidere, sed de propria indignitate timere" De Inc. p. 2, d. 23, s. 3).
That it is most-Useful and Holy, to have Recourse-to the Intercession-of Mary, can only be Doubted-by those who have not Faith. But, that which we Intend-to 'Prove' here is, that the Intercession-of Mary is even Necessary, to Salvation; we say Necessary not Absolutely, but Morally. This Necessity Proceeds-from the Will Itself of-God, that all Graces that He 'Dispenses', should Pass-Through the Hands-of-Mary, according to the Opinion of Saint Bernard, and which we may now with-Safety 'Call' the General Opinion of Theologians and Learned Men. The Author of the "Reign-of-Mary", Positively 'Asserts' that such is the Case. It is Maintained-by Vega, Mendoza, Paciucchelli, Segneri, Poiré, Crasset, and by Innumerable other Learned Authors. Even Father-Natalis-Alexander, who always Uses so-much Reserve in his Propositions, even he 'Says'-that it is the Will-of-God, that we should 'Expect' all Graces Through the Intercession-of Mary. I will Give his own Words: "God Wills that we should Obtain all Good Things, that we Hope-for from Him, Through the Powerful Intercession-of the Virgin Mother, and we shall Obtain them whenever (as we are in-Duty Bound), we Invoke her" - ("Deus vult ut omnia bona ab ipso exspectemus, potentissima Virginis Matris intercessione, cum eam, ut par est, invocamus, impetranda" Ep. 50 in calce Theol.). In Confirmation-of this, he 'Quotes' the following Celebrated Passage-of Saint Bernard: "Such is God's Will, that we should have All, through Mary" - ("Sic est voluntas ejus, qui totum nos habere voluit per Mariam" De Aquaed). Father Contenson is also of the same-Opinion; for, 'Explaining' the Words 'Addressed' by Our Lord on the Cross, to Saint John: "Behold thy Mother" - ("Ecce mater tua" John 19:27), he remarks, "That it is the same thing as if He had said: 'As no one can be Saved, except Through the Merits of My Sufferings and Death, so no one will be a Partaker-of the Blood then shed, otherwise than Through the Prayer of My Mother'. He alone is a Son of My Sorrows, who has Mary for his Mother. My Wounds are ever-flowing Fountains-of-Grace; but their Streams will Reach no one, but by the Channel-of-Mary. In Vain, will he Invoke Me as a Father, who has not Venerated Mary as a Mother. And thou, my Disciple John, if thou Lovest Me, Love her; for thou wilt be Beloved by Me, in Proportion-to thy Love for her" - ("Quasi diceret: Nullus sanguinis illius particeps erit, nisi intercessione Matris meae. Vulnera gratiarum fonts sunt; sed ad nullos derivabuntur rivi, nisi per Marianum canalem. Joannes discipule, tantum a me amaberis, quantum eam amaveris" Theol. Mentis et cord. t. 2, l. 10, d. 4, c. 1).
This Proposition (that All that we 'Receive' from Our Lord, comes Through Mary) does not exactly 'Please' a certain Modern Writer* (*This Author is the celebrated Muratori. An Anonymous Writer, having Attacked Saint Alphonsus on the Subject of the Reproach, Directed here against Muratori, and of the Doctrine Maintained-in this Chapter, the Saint sent him a Reply, which will be Found-at the End of this Work. Ed.), who, although in other respects, he Speaks-of True and False Devotion, with much Learning and Piety, yet when he 'Treats' of Devotion towards the Divine Mother, he seems to 'Grudge' her that Glory, which was Given her without-Scruple, by a Saint-Germanus, a Saint-Anselm, a Saint-John-Damascene, a Saint-Bonaventure, a Saint-Antoninus, a Saint-Bernardine, the Venerable-Abbot-of-Celles, and so many other Learned Men, who had no Difficulty to 'Affirming' that the Intercession-of Mary is not only Useful, but Necessary. The same Author says that the Proposition that God 'Grants' no Grace, otherwise than Through Mary, is Hyperbolical and Exaggerated, having Dropped-from the Lips-of some Saints, in the Heat-of-Fervor, but which, correctly speaking, is only to be Understood-as Meaning that Through Mary, we Received Jesus Christ, by Whose Merits we 'Obtain' All Graces; for he adds, "To Believe that God can Grant us no Graces, without the Intercession-of Mary, would be Contrary-to Faith and the Doctrine-of Saint Paul, who says that we Acknowledge but One (1) God, and One (1) Mediator-of God and Men, the Man, Christ Jesus" (1Timothy 2:5).
But with his Leave, and going upon his own Admissions, Mediation-of-Justice by-way-of Merit is One Thing, and Mediation-by-Grace by-way-of Prayer is Another. And again, it is One Thing to say that God Cannot, and another that He Will-not, Grant Graces, without the Intercession-of Mary. We Willingly-Admit that God is the Source-of every Good, and the Absolute Master-of-All-Graces; and that Mary is only a Pure-Creature, who Receives whatever she 'Obtains', as a Pure Favor from God. But who can ever Deny-that it is most Reasonable and Proper to Assert that God, in-order-to Exalt this Great Creature, who more-than all Others, Honored and Loved Him during her Life, and whom, moreover, He had 'Chosen' to be the Mother of His Son, our common Redeemer, Wills that all Graces that are Granted-to those whom He has Redeemed, should 'Pass' Through, and be 'Dispensed' by, the Hands-of-Mary? We most-Readily 'Admit', that Jesus Christ is the only Mediator-of-Justice, according-to the Distinction just made, and that by His Merits, He 'Obtains' us All Graces and Salvation; but, we Say that Mary is the Mediatress-of-Grace; and that, 'Receiving' All she 'Obtains', Through Jesus Christ, and because she Prays and Asks-for it, in the Name-of Jesus Christ, yet all-the-same, whatever Graces we 'Receive', they come to us Through her Intercession.
There is certainly nothing Contrary-to Faith in this, but the Reverse. It is quite in-accordance-with the Sentiments-of the Church, which, in its Public and Approved Prayers, Teaches us continually to have Recourse-to this Divine Mother, and to Invoke her as the "Health-of-the-Weak, the Refuge-of-Sinners, the Help-of-Christians, and as Our-Life-and-Hope" - ("Salus infirmorum, Refugium peccatorum, Auxilium Christianorum, Vita, Spes nostra"). In the Office 'Appointed' to be said on the Feasts of Mary, this same Holy Church, applying the Words-of Ecclesiasticus to this Blessed Virgin, Gives us to Understand that in her, we find All Hope. "In me is all Hope of-Life and of-Virtue!" - ("In me omnis spes vitae et virtutis" Ecclesiasticus 24:25) in Mary is every Grace, "In me is all Grace of the Way and of the Truth" ("In me gratia omnis viae et veritatis" Ibid). In Mary, finally, we shall find Life and Eternal Salvation: "Who finds me, finds Life, and Draws Salvation from the Lord" - ("Qui me invenerit, inveniet vitam, et hauriet salutem a Domino" Proverbs 8:35). And elsewhere: "They that Work by me, shall not Sin; they that Explain me, shall have Everlasting Life" - ("Qui operantur in me, non peccabunt. Qui elucidant me, vitam aeternam habebunt" Ecclesiasticus 24:30,31). And surely, such Expressions as these, sufficiently Prove that we Require the Intercession-of Mary.
Moreover, we are Confirmed-in this Opinion by so-many Theologians and Fathers, of whom it is certainly Incorrect to say, as the above-named Author does, that, in Exalting Mary, they 'Spoke' Hyperbolically and 'Allowed' Great Exaggerations to Fall-from their Lips. To 'Exaggerate' and 'Speak' Hyperbolically, is to-Exceed the Limits-of Truth; and Surely we cannot Say-that Saints, who were Animated-by the Spirit-of-God, which is Truth Itself, 'Spoke' thus. If I may be allowed-to make a Short Digression, and give my Own Sentiment, it is, that when an Opinion 'Tends' in-any-Way, to the Honor-of the Most Blessed Virgin, when it has some-Foundation, and is not-Repugnant to the Faith, nor to the Decrees-of the Church, nor to-Truth, the Refusal to 'Hold' it, or to 'Oppose' it, because the Reverse may be True, shows Little Devotion to the Mother-of-God. Of the Number-of-such as these, I do not 'Choose' to be, nor do I 'Wish' my Reader to be so; but rather of the Number-of-those who Fully and Firmly 'Believe' All that can, without Error be Believed, of the Greatness-of Mary, according-to the Abbot Rupert, who, amongst the Acts-of-Homage most Pleasing-to this Good Mother, 'Places' that of Firmly Believing All that Redounds-to her Honor ("Ejus magnolia firmiter credere"). If there was nothing else to Take-away our Fear of Exceeding-in the Praises of Mary, Saint Augustine (Serm. 208. E. B. app.) should Suffice; for he 'Declares'-that whatever we may 'Say' in Praise-of Mary is Little, in-comparison-with that which she Deserves, on-account-of her Dignity-of Mother-of-God; and, moreover, the Church says, in the Mass Appointed-for her Festivals, "Thou art Happy, O Sacred Virgin Mary, and most Worthy of All Praise" - ("Felix namque es, sacra Virgo Maria, et omni laude digaissima; quia ex te ortus est Sol justitiae, Christus Deus noster" M. Vot. A. Nat. Resp. 7).
But let us Return-to the Point, and 'Examine' what the Saints Say-on the Subject. Saint Bernard says "that God has Filled Mary with All Graces, so that Men may Receive by her Means, as-by-a Channel, every Good Thing that Comes-to them". He says that "she is a Full Aqueduct, that Others may Receive of her Plentitude" - ("Plenus Aquaeductus, ut accipiant caeteri de ejus plenitudine"). On this, the Saint makes the following Significant Remark: "Before the Birth of the Blessed Virgin, a constant Flow-of-Graces was Wanting, because this Aqueduct did not Exist" - ("Ideo tanto tempore humano generi fluenta gratiae defuerunt, quia necdum intercederet is Aquaeductus" De Aquaed.). But now that Mary has been Given-to the World, Heavenly Graces constantly 'Flow' Through her, on All.
The Devil, like Holofernes, who, in-order-to 'Gain' Possession-of the City-of Bethulia, 'Ordered' the Aqueducts to be Destroyed, 'Exerts' himself to his Utmost, to Destroy Devotion to the Mother-of-God in Souls; for if this Channel-of-Grace is Closed, he easily-Gains Possession-of them. And here, continues the same Saint Bernard, "See, O Souls, with what Tender Devotion, our Lord Wills that we should Honor our Queen, by always having Recourse to her Protection; and by Relying-on it; for in Mary he has placed the Plenitude of every Good, so that henceforward we may Know and Acknowledge that whatever Hope, Grace, or other Advantage we Possess, all comes from the Hand-of-Mary" - ("Intuemini quanto devotionis affectu a nobis eam voluerit honorari, qui totius boni plenitudinem posuit in Maria; ut proinde, si quid spei in nobis est, si quid gratiae, si quid salutis, ab eas noverimus redundare" De Aquaed). Saint Antoninus says the same thing: "All Graces that have ever been Bestowed on Men, all came 'Through' Mary" - ("Per eam exivit de coelis, quidquid gratiae venit in mundum" P. 4, tit. 15, c. 20, #12). And on this Account, she is 'Called' the Moon, according-to the following Remark-of Saint Bonaventure: "As the Moon, which Stands between the Sun and the Earth, Transmits to this Latter, whatever it Receives-from the Former, so does Mary Pour-out upon us, who are in this World, the Heavenly Graces that she Receives from the Divine Sun-of-Justice" - ("Quia, sicut luna inter corpora coelestia et terrene est media, et quod ab illis accipit, ad inferiora refundit; sic et Virgo Regia inter nos et Deum est media, et gratiam ipsa nobis refundit" Spann. Polyanth. Litt. M. t. 6).
Again, the Holy Church calls her "the happy Gate-of-Heaven" - ("Felix coeli porta"); for as the same Saint Bernard 'Remarks': "As every Mandate-of-Grace that is sent by a King, Passes Through the Palace-Gates, so does every Grace that comes from Heaven to the World, Pass Through the Hands-of-Mary" - ("Nulla gratia venit de coelo ad terram, nisi transeat per manus Mariae" Apud S. Bernardin, Pro Fest. V. M. s. 5, c. 8). Saint Bonaventure says that Mary is Called "the Gate-of-Heaven, because no one can Enter that Blessed Kingdom, without Passing Through her" - ("Nullus potest coelum intrare, nisi per Mariam transeat, tamquam per portam" In Luc. i).
An Ancient Author, probably Saint Sophronius, in a Sermon on the Assumption, Published-with the Works-of-Saint-Jerome, says "that the Plenitude of Grace which is in Jesus Christ, came-into Mary, though in a Different Way" - ("In Christo fuit plenitude gratiae, sicut in Capite influente; in Maria, sicut in collo transfundente"); meaning that it is Our Lord, as in the Head, from which the Vital Spirits (that is, Divine Help to 'Obtain' Eternal Salvation) 'Flow' into us, who are the Members of His Mystical Body; and that the same Plenitude is in Mary, as in the Neck, through which these Vital Spirits Pass-to the Members. The same Idea is Confirmed-by Saint-Bernardine-of-Sienna, who explains it more-Clearly, saying, "that All Graces of the Spiritual Life that Descend-from Christ, their Head, to the Faithful, who are His Mystical Body, are Transmitted Through the Instrumentality of Mary" - ("Per Verginem, a Capite Christo, vitals gratiae in ejus Corpus mysticum transfunduntur"). The same Saint Bernardine, 'Endeavors' to Assign a Reason for this, when he says, "that as God was Pleased to Dwell-in the Womb of this Holy Virgin, she Acquired, so-to-speak, a kind of Jurisdiction over All Graces; for when Jesus Christ Issued-forth from her Most Sacred Womb, all the Streams of Divine Gifts, Flowed-from her, as from a Celestial Ocean" - ("Cum tota natura divina intra Virginis uterum exstiterit, non timeo dicere quod in omnes gratiarum effluxus quamdam jurisdictionem habuerit haec Virgo, de cujus utero, quasi de quodam Divinitatis oceano, flumina emanant omnium gratiarum"). Elsewhere, Repeating the same Idea, in more Distinct Terms, he 'Asserts' that "from the Moment that this Virgin Mother, Conceived the Divine Word in her Womb, she Acquired a Special Jurisdiction, so-to-say, over all the Gifts of the Holy Ghost, so that no Creature has since Received any Grace from God, otherwise than Through the Hands-of-Mary" - ("A tempore a quo Virgo Mater concepit in utero Verbum Dei, quondam, ut sic dicam, jurisdictionem obtinuit in omni Spiritus Sancti processione temporali; ita quod nulla creatura aliquam a Deo obtinuit gratiam, nisi secundum ipsius piae Matris dispensationem" Pro Festo V. M. s. 5, c. 8).
Another Author, in a Commentary-on a Passage-of-Jeremiah, in which the Prophet, Speaking-of the Incarnation of the Eternal Word, and of Mary, His Mother, says that "a Woman shall Compass a Man" - (Jeremiah 31:22), 'Remarks', that "as no-Line can be Drawn-from the Centre-of a Circle, without Passing-by the Circumference; so no-Grace Proceeds-from Jesus, Who is the Centre-of every Good Thing, without Passing-by Mary, who Compassed Him, when she Received Him into her Womb" (Crasset, Vér. Dév. p. 1, tr. 1, q. 5, #2).
Saint Bernardine says that for this Reason, "all-Gifts, all-Virtues, and all-Graces are Dispensed-by the Hands-of-Mary to whomsoever, When, and As she Pleases" - ("Ideo omnia dona, virtutes et gratiae, quibus vult quando vult, quomodo vult, per manus ipsius dispensantur" Pro Fest. V. M. s. 5, c. 8). Richard-of-Saint-Laurence also Asserts "that God Wills that whatever Good Things He Bestows on His Creatures, should Pass Through the Hands-of-Mary" - ("Deus, quidquid boni dat creatures suis, per manus Matris Virginis vult transpire" De Laud. B. M. l. 2, p. 3). And therefore the Venerable-Abbot-of-Celles 'Exhorts' All to have Recourse-to "this Treasury-of-Graces" (for so he Calls her); for the World and the Whole Human Race have to-Receive every Good that can be Hoped for, Through her alone. "Address yourselves to the Blessed Virgin", he says; "for by her, and in her, and with her, and from her, the World Receives, and is to Receive, every Good" - ("Accede ad Virginem, quia per ipsam, mundus habiturus est omne bonum" Cont. de V. M. in prol).
It must now be Evident to All, that when these Saints and Authors tell us in such Terms that All Graces come to us Through Mary, they do not simply mean to say that we "Received Jesus Christ, the Source of every Good, Through Mary", as the before-named Writer 'Pretends'; but that they 'Assure' us that God, Who 'Gave' us Jesus Christ, Wills that All Graces that have Been, that Are, and will Be Dispensed-to Men to the End-of the World, Through the Merits-of-Christ, should be Dispensed-by the Hands and Through the Intercession of Mary.
And thus Father Suarez concludes, that it is the Sentiment-of the Universal Church, "that the Intercession and Prayers of Mary are, Above those of All Others, not only Useful, but Necessary" - ("Senit Ecclesia Virginis intercessionem esse utilem ac necessariam" D. Inc. p. 2, d. 23, s. 3). Necessary, in-accordance-with what we have already said, not with an Absolute Necessity; for the Mediation-of Jesus Christ alone, is Absolutely Necessary; but with a Moral Necessity; for the Church 'Believes' with Saint Bernard, that God has Determined that no Grace shall be 'Granted', otherwise than 'by' the Hands-of-Mary. "God Wills", says the Saint, "that we should have Nothing, that has not Passed Through the Hands-of-Mary" - ("Nihil nos Deus habere voluit, quod per Mariae manus non transiret" In Vig. Nat. D. s. 3); and before Saint Bernard, Saint Ildephonsus 'Asserted' the same thing, 'Addressing' the Blessed Virgin in the following Terms: "O Mary, God has Decided-on Committing all Good Gifts that He has Provided-for Men, to thy Hands, and therefore He has Intrusted all Treasures and Riches-of-Grace, to thee" - ("Omnia bona quae illic summa Majestas decrevit facere, tuis minibus voluit commendare: commissi quipped sunt tibi thesauri . . . . et ornamenta gratiarum" In Cor. Virg. c. 15). And therefore Saint-Peter-Damian 'Remarks', "that God would not become Man, without the Consent-of Mary; in the First Place, that we might feel ourselves under Great Obligations to her; and in the Second, that we might Understand that the Salvation of All, is left to the Care-of this Blessed Virgin" (Paciuncch. In Ps. lxxxvi. Exc. 1).
Saint Bonaventure, on the Words-of the Prophet Isaiah, "And there shall come-forth a Rod, out of the Root of Jesse, and a Flower shall Rise-up out of his Root, and the Spirit of the Lord, shall Rest-upon Him" - ("Egredietur Virga de radice Jesse, et Flos de radice ejus ascendet; et requiescat super eum Spiritus Domini" Isaiah 11:1,2), makes a Beautiful Remark, saying: "Whoever Desires the Sevenfold Grace of the Holy Spirit, let him Seek-for the Flower-of the Holy Ghost, in the Rod". That is, for Jesus in Mary; "For by the Rod, we find the Flower, and by the Flower, God" - ("Quicumque Spiritus Sancti gratiam adipisci desiderat, Florem in Virga quaerat: per Virgam enim ad Florem, per Florem ad Spiritum, pervenimus. Si hunc Florem habere desideras, Virgam Floris precibus flectas" Spec. B. M. V. lect. 6.12). And in the Twelfth (12th) Chapter of the same Work, he adds, "If you Desire to Possess this Flower, bend-down the Rod, which bears the Flower, by Prayer; and so you will Obtain it". The Seraphical Father, in his Sermon for the Epiphany, on the Words-of Saint Matthew, "They found the Child, with Mary His Mother" - ("Invenerunt puerum cum Maria, Matre ejus" Matthew 2:11), reminds us, that if we Wish to 'Find' Jesus, we must Go-to Mary ("Si ergo hunc puerum vis invenire, ad Mariam accede"). We may, then, 'Conclude', that in-Vain shall we Seek-for Jesus, unless we Endeavor to-Find Him With Mary - ("Nunquam invenitur Christus, nisi cum Maria, nisi per Mariam. Frustra igitur quaerit, qui cum Maria invenire non quaerit" Spann. Polyanth. Litt. M. t. 6). And so Saint Ildephonsus says, "I Desire to be the Servant of the Son; but because no one will ever be so, without Serving the Mother, for this Reason I Desire the Servitude-of Mary" - ("Ut sim servus Filii, servitutem appeto Genitricis" De Virginit. Mar. c. 12).