The Visitation - by Domenico Ghirlandaio - from Cappella Tornabuoni, Santa Maria Novella, Florence . . . . .
The Visitation is One of the most-Moving Gospel Stories in Artistic Iconography - the Meeting between Two Women, who Carry-within themselves, Two Miracles: the already Aged Elizabeth, who through Divine Will, Conceived a Son, who would be the Precursor-of-Christ; and the young Mary, who "knew not Man" and 'Conceived, Jesus through the Holy Spirit.
Mary is the Treasurer of all Divine Graces;
therefore, whoever Desires Graces, must have Recourse-to Mary;
and he who has Recourse-to Mary, may be Certain of Obtaining the Graces he Desires.
Fortunate, does that Family 'Consider' itself, which is Visited-by a Royal Personage, both on-account-of the Honor that 'Redounds' from such a Visit, and the Advantages that may be 'Hoped' to 'Accrue' from it. But still more-Fortunate, should that Soul 'Consider' itself, which is 'Visited' by the Queen-of-the-World, the Most-Holy-Virgin-Mary, who cannot but 'Fill' with Riches and Graces, those Blessed Souls, whom she 'Deigns' to Visit, by her Favors. The House-of-Obededom was Blessed, when Visited-by the Ark-of-God. "And the Lord Blessed his House, and all that he had" - ("Et benedixit Dominus domui ejus, et omnibus quae habebat" - 1Paralipomenon 13:14). But, with how much Greater Blessings, are those Persons 'Enriched', who 'Receive' a Loving Visit from the Living-Ark-of-God, for such was the Divine Mother! "Happy is that House which the Mother-of-God Visits", 'Says' Engelgrave. This was Abundantly 'Experienced' by the House-of Saint-John-the-Baptist; for Mary had scarcely 'Entered' it, when she 'Heaped' Graces and Heavenly Benediction on the Whole Family; and for this Reason, the Present Feast-of-the-Visitation is commonly 'Called' that of Our-Blessed-Lady-of-Graces. Hence we shall see in the Present Discourse, that the Divine Mother is the Treasurer-of-All-Graces. We shall Divide it into Two (2) Parts. In the First (1st), we shall See that whoever 'Desires' Graces, must have 'Recourse' to Mary. In the Second (2nd), that he who has 'Recourse' to Mary, should be Confident-of 'Receiving' the Graces he 'Desires'.
After the Blessed Virgin had Heard-from the Archangel Gabriel, that her Cousin-Saint-Elizabeth, had been Six Months 'Pregnant', she was Internally 'Enlightened' by the Holy Ghost, to 'Know' that the Incarnate Word, Who had 'Become' her Son, was Pleased then to 'Manifest' to the World, the Riches of His Mercy, in the First Graces that He 'Desired' to 'Impart', to all that Family. Therefore, without 'Interposing' any Delay, according-to Saint-Luke, "And Mary, Rising-up in those Days, went into the Hill Country with haste, into a City of Juda" - Luke 1:39. Rising-from the Quiet-of-Contemplation, to which she was always Devoted, and 'Quitting' her Beloved Solitude, she Immediately Set-out for the Dwelling-of Saint-Elizabeth; and because "Charity . . . Beareth all things" - (1Corinthians 13:4,7), and cannot 'Support' Delay, as Saint Ambrose 'Remarks' on this Gospel, "the Holy Ghost knows not Slow Undertakings"; without even Reflecting-on the Arduousness of the Journey, this Tender Virgin, I say, Immediately 'Undertook' it. On 'Reaching' the House, she 'Salutes' her Cousin, "And she Entered into the House-of-Zachary, and Saluted Elizabeth" - Luke 1:40. Saint-Ambrose here 'Remarks' that Mary was "the First to 'Salute'" Elizabeth. The Visit-of Mary, however, had the Resemblance-with those of Worldlings, which, for the Greater Part, 'Consist' in Ceremony and Outward Demonstrations, Devoid-of all Sincerity; for it 'Brought' with it, an Accumulation-of Graces. The Moment she 'Entered' that Dwelling, on her First (1st) Salutation, Elizabeth was 'Filled-with' the Holy Ghost; and Saint John was 'Cleansed' from Original Sin, and 'Sanctified'; and therefore 'Gave' that Mark-of-Joy, by 'Leaping' in his Mother's Womb, Wishing thereby to 'Manifest' the Grace that he had 'Received' by-the-means-of the Blessed Virgin, as Saint-Elizabeth herself 'Declared', "As-soon-as the Voice of thy Salutation 'Sounded' in my Ears, the Infant in my Womb, 'Leaped' for Joy" - Luke 1:44. Thus, as Bernardine-de-Bustis 'Remarks', in-Virtue-of Mary's Salutation, Saint-John 'Received' the Grace of the Divine Spirit, which 'Sanctified' him, "When the Blessed Virgin 'Saluted' Elizabeth, the Voice of the Salutation, 'Entering' her Ears, Descended to the child, and by its Virtue, he Received the Holy Ghost".
|And now, if all these First-fruits of Redemption, 'Passed'-by Mary,
as the Channel through-which:
It is quite Correct to Believe that from thenceforward, God made Mary the Universal Channel, as she is 'Called' by Saint-Bernard, through which All the other Graces, which Our Lord is Pleased to 'Dispense' to us, should 'Pass', as we have already Declared in the Fifth Chapter of the First Part of this Work.
|Mary is the "Aqueduct" or "Channel" by which God's Grace Flows from Heaven's Treasury to Mankind. To 'Block' that Channel is Deadly to the Soul.|
With Reason, then, is this Divine Mother 'Called' the Treasure, the Treasurer, and the Dispenser of Divine Graces. She is 'Called' by the Venerable-Abbot-of-Celles, "the Treasure of God, and the Treasurer of Graces"; by Saint-Peter-Damian, "the Treasure of Divine Graces"; by Blessed-Albert-the-Great, "the Treasurer of Jesus Christ"; by Saint-Bernardine, "the Dispenser of Graces"; and by a Learned-Greek, 'Quoted' by Petavius, "the Storehouse of all Good Things". So also by Saint-Gregory-Thaumaturgus, who 'Observes' that, "Mary is said to be thus Full-of-Grace, for in her, all the Treasures-of-Grace were Hidden". Richard-of-Saint-Lawrence also says that, "Mary is a Treasure, because God has Placed all Gifts-of-Graces in her, as a Treasury; and from thence, He 'Bestows' Great Stipends on His Soldiers and Laborers". She is a Treasury-of-Mercies, whence Our Lord 'Enriches' His Servants.
The Treasure-of-God, and the
Saint-Bonaventure, Speaking-of the Field-in-the-Gospel, in which a Treasure is Hidden, and which should be 'Purchased' at however-Great a Price, "the Kingdom-of-Heaven is like unto a Treasure, 'Hidden' in a Field, which a Man having Found, Hid it, and for Joy thereof, 'Goeth' and 'Selleth' All that he Hath, and 'Buyeth' that Field" - Matthew 13:44, 'Says' that our Queen Mary is this Field, in which Jesus Christ, the Treasure-of-God the Father, is 'Hid'", and with Jesus Christ, the Source and Flowing-fountain of all Graces. Saint-Bernard 'Affirms' that Our Lord, "has Deposited the Plenitude-of every Grace, in Mary, that we may thus know that if we 'Possess' Hope, Grace, or anything 'Salutary', that it is from her, that it 'Came'". Of this we are also Assured-by Mary herself, 'Saying', "In me is all Grace of the Way and of the Truth, in me is all 'Hope' of-Life and of-Virtue" - Ecclesiasticus 24:25; in me are All the Graces of Real Blessings, that you Men can Desire in Life. Yes, Sweet Mother and Our Hope, we know full-well, 'Says' Saint-Peter-Damien, "that All the Treasures of Divine Mercies, are in thy Hands". Before Saint-Peter-Damien, Saint-Ildephonsus 'Asserted' the same thing in even Stronger Terms, when 'Speaking'-to the Blessed Virgin, he 'Said', "O Lady, All the Graces that God has 'Decreed' for Men, He has 'Determined' to 'Grant' through thy Hands; and therefore to thee, has He 'Committed' All the Treasures and Ornaments of Grace"; so that, O Mary, 'Concludes' Saint-Germanus, no Grace is 'Dispensed' to anyone, otherwise than 'Through' thy Hands, "there is no one 'Saved', but by thee; no one who Receives a Gift-of-God, but 'Through' thee". Blessed-Albert-the-Great makes a Beautiful Paraphrase of the Words-of the Angel, 'Addressed' to the Most Blessed Virgin, "Fear not, Mary, for thou hast 'Found' Grace with God", - Luke 1:30: "Fear not, O Mary, for thou hast 'Found', not 'Taken' Grace, as Lucifer tried to 'Take' it; thou hast not 'Lost' it, as Adam 'Lost' it; though hast not 'Bought' it as Simon Magus would have 'Bought' it; but thou hast 'Found' it, because thou hast 'Desired' and 'Sought' it". Thou hast 'Found' Uncreated Grace, that is, God Himself 'Become' thy Son; and with that Grace, thou hast 'Found' and 'Obtained' every Created Good. Saint-Peter-Chrysologus 'Confirms' this Thought, 'Saying', "This Great Virgin and Mother 'Found' Grace, to 'Restore' thereby, Salvation to All Men". And elsewhere, he 'Says' that Mary 'Found' a Grace so-Full, that it 'Sufficed' to 'Save' All, "Thou hast 'Found' Grace, but how Great a Grace! It was such, that it 'Filled' thee; and so Great was its Plenitude, that it could be Poured-down as a Torrent, on every Creature". So-much-so indeed, 'Says' Richard-of-Saint-Lawrence, "that as God made the Sun, that by its Means, Light might be Diffused on the Whole Earth, so has He 'Made' Mary, that by her, all Divine Mercies may be 'Dispensed' to the World". Saint-Bernardine 'Adds', that, "from the Time that the Virgin Mother 'Conceived' the Divine Word in her Womb, she 'Obtained' a kind of Jurisdiction, so-to-say, over All the Temporal Manifestations of the Holy Ghost; so that no Creature can 'Obtain' any Grace from God, that is not 'Dispensed' by this Tender and Compassionate Mother".
Hence, let us 'Conclude' this Point in the Words of Richard-of-Saint-Lawrence, who 'Says', "that if we Wish to Obtain any Grace, we must have Recourse to Mary, the Finder-of-Grace, who cannot but Obtain all that she Asks for her Servants; for she has Recovered the Divine Grace which was Lost, and always Finds it". This Thought, he 'Borrowed' from Saint-Bernard, who 'Says', "Let us Seek-for Grace, and Seek it by Mary; for that which she Seeks, she Finds, and cannot be Frustrated". If we then 'Desire' Graces, we must Go to this Treasurer and Dispenser of Graces; for it is the Sovereign Will of the Giver of every Good Thing; and we are 'Assured' of it by the same Saint-Bernard, that All Graces should be 'Dispensed' by the Hands-of-Mary, "for such is His Will, Who is Pleased that we should have All by Mary". All, All; and he who says All, 'Excludes' nothing. But, because Confidence is Necessary to 'Obtain' Graces, we will now 'Consider' how Certain we ought to Feel of 'Obtaining' them, when we have 'Recourse' to Mary.
Why did Jesus Christ 'Deposit' All the Riches-of-Mercy, which He 'Intends' for Us, in the Hands of His Mother, unless it was that she might therewith 'Enrich' All her Clients, who 'Love' her, who 'Honor' her, and who have 'Recourse' to her with 'Confidence'? "With me are Riches . . . . that I may Enrich them that Love me" - Proverbs 8:18,21. Thus the Blessed Virgin herself 'Assures' us that it is so, in this Passage, which the Holy Church 'Applies' to her on so many of her Festivals. Therefore, for no other Purpose than to 'Serve' us, 'Says' the Abbot-Adam, are those Riches-of-Eternal-Life 'Kept' by Mary, in Whose Breast, Our Lord has 'Deposited' the Treasure of the Miserables, and that the Poor, being 'Supplied' from it, may 'Become' Rich: "The Riches-of-Salvation are in Custody of the Blessed Virgin, for our Use. Christ has made Mary's Womb, the Treasury of the Poor; thence the Poor are Enriched". And Saint-Bernard 'Says', "that she is a Full Aqueduct, that others may Receive, of her Plenitude". Mary was therefore 'Given' to the World, that by her Graces, might continually 'Descend' from Heaven, upon Men.
Hence the same Holy Father goes on to 'Ask', "But why did Saint Gabriel, having Found the Divine Mother already Full-of-Grace, according-to his Salutation, 'Hail Full-of-Grace!', afterwards Say, that the Holy Ghost would Come-upon her, to Fill her still-more, with Grace? If she was already Full-of-Grace, what more could the Coming-of the Divine Spirit 'Effect'"? The Saint 'Answers', "Mary was already Full-of-Grace, but the Holy Ghost 'Filled' her to-'Overflowing', for our Good, that from her Superabundance, we Miserable Creatures might be 'Provided'". For this same Reason, Mary was 'Called' the Moon, of which it is said, "she is Full for Herself, and for Others".
"He that shall 'Find' me, shall 'Find' Life, and shall have Salvation from the Lord" - Proverbs 8:35. Blessed is he who 'Finds' me, by having 'Recourse' to me, 'Says' Our Mother. He will 'Find' Life, and will 'Find' it Easily; for as it is Easy to 'Find', and 'Draw' as-much Water as we Please, from a Great Fountain, so it is Easy to 'Find' Graces and Eternal Salvation, by having 'Recourse' to Mary. A Holy Soul once 'Said', "We have only to 'Seek' Graces from our Blessed Lady, to 'Receive' them". Saint-Bernard also 'Says', "That it was because the Blessed Virgin was not yet 'Born', that in Ancient Times, the Great Abundance of Graces, which we now see Flow-on the World, was 'Wanting'; for Mary, the Desirable Channel, did not Exist". But, now that we 'Have' this Mother-of-Mercy, what Graces are there, that we need Fear not to 'Obtain', when we 'Cast' ourselves at her Feet? "I am the City of Refuge", thus Saint-John-Damascen 'Makes' her 'Speak', "for all those who have Recourse to me". "Come then to me, my children, for from me, you will Obtain Graces, and these in Greater Abundance, than you can Possibly Imagine".
It is True, that, that-which the Venerable-Sister-Mary-Villani saw in a Celestial Vision, is 'Experienced' by many. This Servant-of-God, once 'Saw' the Divine Mother as a Great Fountain, to which many 'Went', and from it they 'Carried' off the Waters-of-Grace, in Great Abundance. But what then 'Happened'? Those who had Sound-Jars, 'Preserved' the Graces they 'Received'; but those who 'Brought' Broken-Vessels, that is to Say, those whose Souls were Burdened-with-Sin, 'Received' Graces, but did not-long 'Preserve' them. The Point, of course, is that all kinds of People, even Ungrateful Sinners, Daily 'Receive' Innumerable Graces from Mary. Saint-Augustine, 'Speaking' to Mary, 'Says': "Through you, the Abandoned 'Obtain' Mercy; the Fallen, Grace; Sinners, Pardon; the Weak, Strength; the Worldly, Heavenly Things; Mortals, Life; and Exiles, a Fatherland".
Let us therefore, O Devout Servants of Mary, have more-and-more Confidence in her, each Time that we 'Appeal' to her for Graces. Let us always 'Remember' her Two (2) Great Prerogatives:
Her Desire to do us Good, and
the Power she has with her Son, to 'Obtain' whatever she 'Asks' for.
The Visitation, with Saints Nicholas and Anthony -
To be Convinced-of Mary’s Desire to 'Help' everybody, we have only to 'Reflect' on the Mystery of this Feast-of-the-Visitation, that is, Mary’s Visit to Saint-Elizabeth. The Journey from Nazareth, where the Blessed Virgin Lived, to the City-of-Hebron, which Saint Luke 'Calls' a City of Judea, and in-which, according-to Baronius and other Authors, Saint-Elizabeth 'Resided', was Sixty-nine Miles. This we Learn from Brother-Joseph-of-Jesus-Mary, the Author of the Life of the Blessed Virgin; from Saint-Bede, and Brocardus. Nevertheless, in-spite-of the Difficulties of such a Journey, the Blessed Virgin, Delicate as she was, did not 'Hesitate' to Set-out. What made her do so? She was 'Impelled' by that Great Charity, with-which her Loving Heart was always 'Filled', to Go and Begin at-once, her Office-of-Dispenser-of-Graces.
This is how Saint-Ambrose 'Puts' it: "She did not Go, as One Skeptical-about what she had been Told, but as One who Gladly Fulfills a Duty. It was Joy that Caused her to 'Hasten' in Fulfillment-of her Unique Responsibility". The Saint 'Meant': She did not 'Go' in-order-to Find-out if what the Angel had 'Told' her about the Pregnancy-of Elizabeth, was True or not. She 'Hastened' because she was Happy to be-able-to 'Help' her Cousin. She 'Hastened' because of the Joy she 'Felt', in being-able-to 'Do' Good to Others. Having no 'Thought', except for those she Loved, Mary Arose and Went with Haste. Note here, that when the Evangelist 'Speaks' of Mary’s 'Departure' for the House-of Elizabeth, he 'Says' that she 'Went' with Haste. But, when he 'Speaks' of her Return, he makes no-mention-of Haste, but simply 'Says': "Mary Remained with her about Three Months and Returned to Her Own House" - Luke 1:56. What else could the Mother-of-God have had in Mind, 'Asks' Saint-Bonaventure, when she 'Hastened' to Visit the House-of Saint-John-the-Baptist, except a Desire to Be-of-Service to the Family? "What else Impelled her to Hasten in Performing that Act of Charity, but the Charity which Glowed in her Heart"?
Mary certainly did not Stop being Charitable to Men, when she went to Heaven. On the Contrary, she is more Charitable now, for she is in a better Position now to 'Know' our Wants and to 'Compassionate' our Miseries. Bernardine-de-Bustis 'Writes': "Mary is more Eager to do us Good, and to Grant us Graces than we are to Receive them". She 'Desires' so much to do so, as a matter-of-fact, that according to Saint-Bonaventure she 'Considers' herself Offended by those who do not 'Ask' her for Graces: "It is not only those who 'Injure' you, who 'Offend' you, O Mary, but also those who 'Neglect' to Ask for Favors". It is Part-of Mary’s Nature, to 'Desire' to Enrich everybody with Graces, and she does, in fact, Superabundantly Enrich her Servants, as Blessed-Raymond-Jordano 'Testifies': "Mary is God’s Treasury and the Treasurer of His Graces. She 'Dispenses' these Gifts Generously, to those who 'Serve' her".
The same Author also 'Says': "He who 'Finds' Mary, 'Finds' everything that is Good". And he 'Adds': "Her Kindness is so-Great, that no one need be Afraid to Approach her. And her Mercy is so-Great, that no one will be Repulsed". Thomas-ŕ-Kempis has her 'Say': "I Invite everybody to Appeal to me; I Await all, I Desire all, and I never Repel any Sinner who comes to Seek my Help, no matter how Unworthy he may be". Richard-of-Saint-Lawrence 'Says' that whoever 'Goes' to 'Ask' for Graces from Mary, "Finds her always Prepared to Help"; that is to-'Say', Ready and Eager to 'Obtain' every Grace of Eternal Salvation by her Powerful Prayers.
I 'Say', by her Powerful Prayers. This is another Reflection, that should 'Increase' our Confidence'. We 'Know' with Certitude, that Mary 'Obtains' from God, everything that she 'Asks' for her Servants. Saint-Bonaventure 'Tells' us to 'Observe', especially with-regard-to this Visit of Mary to Elizabeth, the Great Power of her Words. As the Evangelist 'Says', at the Sound of her Voice, the Grace of the Holy Spirit was Conferred-on Saint-Elizabeth and on her son, Saint-John-the-Baptist: "And it came to pass, when Elizabeth heard the Greeting of Mary, that the Babe in her Womb 'Leapt'. And Elizabeth was Filled-with the Holy Ghost" - Luke 1:41. Saint-Bonaventure 'Adds': "See how Great the Power of Mary’s Words is: She has no-sooner Uttered them, than the Holy Spirit is Imparted".
Theophilus-of-Alexandria 'Tells' us that Jesus is very-much 'Pleased', whenever Mary 'Intercedes' with Him, for us. "Yielding, as-it-were, to the Prayers of Mary, He considers all the Graces which He Gives us, as Granted not so much to us, as to His Blessed Mother". 'Notice' the Words "Yielding, as it were, to the Prayers-of-Mary". Saint-Germanus 'Testifies' that Jesus cannot do otherwise, than Graciously 'Acquiesce' to Mary’s Wishes, 'Desiring' as He does, to 'Obey' her, as His True Mother. Therefore the Saint 'Says': "The Prayers of this Mother have a Certain Authority over Christ, because by-means-of them, she Obtains Pardon, for even the most Hardened Sinners, who Recommend themselves to her". And he 'Concludes': "It is not possible for you not to be Heard, for in all things, God Acts toward you, as His True and Spotless Mother".
― When Two (2) Persons Love each
other very much, they say a Great Deal, in very Few Words. When we
do not know somebody, we have to use a Great Deal of Rhetoric. There
is no Rhetoric between Jesus and Mary: the Facts are 'Said' very
Directly: "they don't have any more Wine".
This is fully-'Confirmed', 'Observes' Saint-John-Chrysostom, by what took place at the Marriage-Feast-of-Cana, when Mary 'Asked' her Son to 'Replenish' the Wine which had Given-out: "They have no Wine". Jesus 'Answered': "Woman, what is that to Me and to Thee? My Hour has not yet Come" - John 2:3-4. Both Chrysostom and Theophylact 'Explain' that the Time-for Miracles had not yet Come. Yet, as the Former 'Stresses', "the Savior, in-spite-of this Answer, and in-order-to Obey His Mother, 'Performed' the Miracle that she Asked for, by Converting the Water into Wine".
"Let us therefore, with Confidence, 'Go' to the Throne-of-Grace", the Apostle 'Exhorts' us, "that we may 'Obtain' Mercy, and 'Find' Grace in Seasonable Aid" - Hebrews 4:16. "The Throne-of-Grace is the Blessed Virgin", 'Says' Saint-Albert-the-Great. So if we want Graces, let us 'Go' to the Throne-of-Grace, which is Mary. Let us 'Go' with the Conviction that we shall be 'Heard'. For Mary will 'Intercede' for us, and she will 'Obtain' from her Son, whatever she 'Asks'. "Let us Ask for Grace", I 'Repeat' with Saint-Bernard, "and let us Ask for it through Mary", Trusting in what the Blessed Virgin herself told Saint-Mechtilde, namely, that the Holy Spirit, in 'Filling' her with All His Sweetness, has made her so-dear-to God, that anyone who 'Asks, for Graces, through her Intercession, is Certain of 'Obtaining' them.
And if we 'Place' any Credit in that Celebrated Saying-of Saint-Anselm, that "Salvation is sometimes more-easily 'Obtained' by 'Calling' on the Name-of-Mary, than by Invoking that of Jesus", we may Safely Feel that sometimes, we will 'Obtain' Graces sooner, by 'Appealing' to Mary, than by 'Appealing' Directly-to Our Blessed Savior — not because He is not the Source and Lord of All Graces, but because when we 'Appeal' to Mary and she Prays for us, her Prayers, being those of a Mother, are more-Efficacious than ours. Let us then, never Stray-away from this Treasurer-of-Graces; let us always 'Address' her in the Words-of Saint-John-Damascene: "O Blessed Mother of God, Open the Gate-of-Mercy to us, for you are the Salvation of the Human Race". O Mother-of-God, 'Open' the Door of your Compassion to us, by always Praying for us; your Prayers are the Salvation of All Mankind!
Our 'Appeal', Directly-to Our Blessed Savior,
Our 'Appeal'-to Mary, which 'Becomes'
When we 'Appeal' to Mary, it would be Wise always to 'Ask' her to 'Obtain' those Graces, which she 'Knows' we need most. This is what the Dominican, Fra-Reginald, did, as the Chronicles of his Order, 'Tell' us. This Servant of Mary Once became Ill and he 'Asked' her to 'Restore' his Health. Mary 'Appeared' to him in the Company-of Saint-Cecilia and Saint-Catherine, and 'Said' with Great Tenderness: "My son, what do you want me to do"? The Good Religious was 'Confused' by such a Gracious Offer, on the Part-of Our Lady, and did not Know what to 'Reply'. Then One of the Saints 'Gave' him this Advice: "Reginald, I will tell you what to do. Ask for Nothing, but Place yourself entirely in her Hands, for Mary is Prepared to Grant you Greater Graces, than you can ever Imagine". The Sick Man 'Followed' this Advice, and Our Lady 'Secured' the Restoration-of his Health.
If we also Desire to 'Receive' these Happy Visits from the Queen-of-Heaven, we should often 'Visit' her, by 'Praying' before her Image, or in Churches 'Dedicated' to her. Read the following Example, and see what Special Favors she 'Gives' to those, who 'Visit' her Devotedly.
The Franciscan-Chronicles tell about Two (2) Friars of the Order, who went to Visit a Shrine of Our Blessed Lady, and happened-to 'Find' themselves in a Dense Forest, when Night fell. They were Worried and Disturbed, and did not know what to do. However, they went a little farther until, Dark as-it-was, they Thought they Saw a House ahead. When they Reached the Door, they 'Knocked'. A Voice inside 'Asked' them who they were. They 'Replied' that they were Friars, who had Lost their Way, in the Woods, and were now Looking-for-Shelter, at least as Protection from the Wolves that Roamed the Forest. The Door 'Opened', and they saw before them, Two (2) extremely courteous Servants, who 'Welcomed' them with Great Kindness. The Friars 'Asked' the Servants, who Lived in the House, and their Answer was that it was a Very Good and Hospitable Lady. "We would like to Pay her our Respects", they said, "and Thank her for her Charity". "We are Taking you to her", they said; "she wants to Talk to you".
As they walked-up the Stairs, they 'Noticed' some Richly Decorated Rooms, and an unusually Fragrant Odor. Finally, they 'Entered' the Apartment, 'Occupied' by the Lady-of-the-House and saw before them a Woman, who was both Sad and very Beautiful. She 'Received' them with Great Kindness, and Asked them where they were going. The Friars 'Replied' that they were on their Way to 'Visit' a certain Shrine-of the Blessed Virgin. "Since that is the case", said the Lady, "I shall give you a Letter, that will be of Great Help to you". While the Lady was 'Speaking' to them, the Friars 'Experienced' an Inexplicable Sense-of-Joy, and were very Grateful to God for His Kind Protection. They then went to Bed.
The next Morning, they Rose and went to Bid good-bye to the Lady-of-the-House, to 'Thank' her for her Hospitality and to 'Receive' the Letter she had Promised. On Receiving it, they took their Departure. Only a Short Way from the House, however, they Noticed that the Letter 'Bore' no Address. Turning this-way-and-that, they tried to Find the House, but it was no-longer there. Finally, they 'Opened' the Letter, to see to whom it was Addressed, and what it Said. Then they realized that it was from the Blessed Virgin, who was the Lady in the House. In Return-for their Devotion, Mary had 'Provided' them with Shelter and Nourishment in the Forest, so that they would 'Continue' to Serve and Love her. And they felt Confident, she would Continue to 'Protect' them always.
At the Bottom-of the Letter, they saw her Signature in the Words: "I, the Blessed Virgin Mary". It is not Difficult to Imagine how Thankful these Two (2) Friars were to Our Blessed Lady, and how much they were Inflamed-with Love for her, and a Desire to 'Serve' her the Rest of their Lives.
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";
O Blessed Immaculate Virgin, since you are the Dispenser of all Divine Graces, you are the Hope of Mankind, and my only Hope. I will always Thank you for having Granted me the Grace of Knowing you, and for having Shown me the Means by which I can Obtain Grace, and be Saved. You are the Means, O Great Mother of God, for I now Realize that it is Principally 'Through' the Merits of Jesus Christ, and then by your Intercession, that my Soul must be Saved.
O my Queen, you Hastened so, in Paying that Visit to Sanctify the Home of Saint Elizabeth. I Implore you, therefore, Visit me, Visit the Poor Home of my Soul. Hurry, for you Know very well, much better than I do, how Poor it is and how Weak from many Diseases: from Disordered Affections, Vicious Habits, and Numberless Sins — all of which will Lead it to Eternal Death. You can Enrich it, O Treasurer-of-God, and you can Heal all those Infirmities.
Visit me, therefore, Visit me while I Live, and especially when I am about-to Die, for then I shall Need your Help more than ever. I do not Expect, and in fact I am not Worthy, that you should Visit me on Earth, by 'Appearing' to me as you have 'Appeared' to so many of your other Servants. But they were not Unworthy and Ungrateful as I am. I shall be Satisfied to See you in your Kingdom-of-Heaven, to be able to Love you there, and to Thank you for all you have done for me. I shall be Happy now, if you Visit me with your Mercy. Your Prayers are all that I Ask.
Pray then for me, O Mary, and Commend me to your Son. You know much better than I, how Miserable I am, and what I Need most. What more can I say? Have Pity on me! I am so Wretched and Ignorant, that I do not Know what Graces I Need most, nor how to Ask for them. My Sweet Queen and Mother, I Beg you to Seek and Obtain for me, from your Son, the Graces that you Know are the most Expedient and Necessary for my Soul. I Abandon myself entirely into your Hands, and only Beg the Divine Majesty, that by the Merits of my Savior Jesus, He will Grant me the Graces, which you 'Ask' Him for me.
Ask, therefore, O Most Holy Virgin, 'Ask' for what is Best for me. Your Prayers are never Rejected, for they are the Prayers of a Mother, 'Addressed' to her Son, Who Loves her so much, that He is Pleased to do Everything she 'Asks'. He does this in-order-to 'Honor' her all the more, and to Prove the Great Love, He has for her.
Let us make a Bargain, O Mary. As-long-as I Live, I will have Confidence in you, if you will Guarantee my Eternal Salvation.