Various Practices of Devotion
in Honor of the Divine Mother,
Introduction


Madonna and Child with Six Saints (Sant'Ambrogio Altarpiece) - by BOTTICELLI, Sandro - from Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

 

The Queen of Heaven is so Gracious and Liberal
that she 'Recompenses' her Servants with the
Greatest Munificence, for the most Trifling Devotions.

Saint Andrew of Crete

 

Various Practices of Devotion
in Honor of the Divine Mother,
Introduction

by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori

angelbar.gif (3645 bytes)

"The Queen of Heaven is so Gracious and Liberal", says Saint-Andrew-of-Crete, "that she Recompenses her Servants with the Greatest Munificence for the most Trifling Devotions". Two (2) Conditions, however, there are: the First (1st) is, that when we 'Offer' her our Devotions, our Souls should be Free-from Sin; otherwise she would 'Address' us, as she did a Wicked Soldier, 'Spoken' of by Saint-Peter-Celestine. This Soldier every Day 'Performed' some Devotion in Honor of our Blessed Lady. One Day he was Suffering Greatly from Hunger, when Mary 'Appeared' to him, and 'Offered' him some Most Delicious Meats, but in so-Filthy a Vessel, that he could not 'Bring' himself to 'Taste' them. "I am the Mother of God", the Blessed Virgin then said, "and am Come to Satisfy thy Hunger". "But, O Lady", he 'Answered', "I cannot Eat out of so-Dirty a Vessel". "And how", 'Replied' Mary, "canst thou Expect that I should Accept thy Devotions, Offered to me with so-Defiled a Soul, as thine"? On 'Hearing' this, the Soldier was Converted, became a Hermit, and Lived in a Desert for Thirty (30) Years. At Death, the Blessed Virgin, again 'Appeared' to him, and 'Took' him herself to Heaven.

In the First (1st) Part of this Work, we said that it was Morally Impossible for a Client-of Mary to be Lost; but this must be 'Understood', on-condition-that he 'Lives' either without Sin, or at-least, with the Desire to 'Abandon' it; for then the Blessed Virgin will Help him. But should any One, on the other hand, 'Sin' in the Hope that Mary will Save him, he thereby would 'Render' himself Unworthy and Incapable-of her Protection. The Second (2nd) Condition is Perseverance, in Devotion to Mary: "Perseverance alone", says Saint-Bernard, "will Merit a Crown". When Thomas--Kempis was a Young Man, he used every Day to have 'Recourse' to the Blessed Virgin with certain Prayers; he One Day 'Omitted' them; he then 'Omitted' them for some Weeks, and finally 'Gave' them up, altogether. One Night he saw Mary in a Dream; she 'Embraced' all his Companions, but when his Turn came, she said, "What dost thou expect, thou who hast given up thy Devotions? 'Depart', thou art Unworthy of my Caresses". On 'Hearing' this, Thomas 'Awoke' in Alarm, and 'Resumed' his Ordinary Prayers.

Hence, Richard-of-Saint-Lawrence with-Reason 'Says', that "he who Perseveres in his Devotion to Mary, will be Blessed in his Confidence, and will Obtain all he Desires". But as no one can be Certain-of this Perseverance , no one before Death, can be Certain-of Salvation. The Advice Given-by the Venerable-John-Berchmans, of the Society-of-Jesus, Deserves our Particular Attention. When this Holy Young Man was Dying, his Companions 'Entreated' him , before he 'Left' this World, to 'Tell' them what Devotion they could 'Perform', which would be Agreeable-to our Blessed Lady. He 'Replied' in the following Remarkable Words: "Any Devotion, how ever Small, Provided it is Constant". I therefore now 'Give' with Simplicity, and in a Few Words, the various Devotions which we can 'Offer' to our Mother, in-order-to 'Obtain' her Favor; and this I consider the Most Useful Part of my Work. But I do not so-much 'Recommend' my Dear Reader, to 'Practice' them All, as to 'Choose' those which 'Please' him most, and to 'Persevere' in them, with Fear that if he 'Omits' them, he may Lose the Protection-of the Divine Mother. O, how many are there now in Hell, who would have been Saved, had they only 'Persevered' in the Devotions which they once 'Practiced', in-Honor-of Mary!

 

 

Prayer to Obtain Final Perseverance

Eternal Father, I Humbly Adore and Thank You, for having Created me, and for having Redeemed me. I Thank You for having made me a Christian, by giving me the True Faith, and for Adopting me as Your Child in Baptism. I Thank You for having given me Time-to Repent, after my many Sins, and for having Pardoned all my Offenses. I Renew my Sorrow for them, because I have Displeased You. I Thank You also for having Preserved me from Falling-again, as I would have done, if You had not Held me up, and Saved me. But my Enemies, do not cease Fighting-against me, nor will they, until I Die. If You do not Help me Continually, I will Lose Your Grace again. I, therefore, Pray-for Perseverance till Death. Your Son Jesus, has Promised that You will give us whatever we Ask-for in His Name. By the Merits-of Jesus Christ, I beg You, for myself and for all those who are in Your Grace, the Grace-of Never-more being Separated-from Your Love. May we always Love You in this Life, and in the Next.

Mary, Mother of God, Pray to Jesus for me. So I Hope. So may it be.

Amen