On the Confidence with which we ought to
Recommend ourselves to the Mother of God
by Saint Alphonsus Liguori
In the Gospel of this Day, we read that Jesus Christ, having been invited, went with
His Holy Mother, to a Marriage in Cana of Galilee. "The
Wine is Failing", Mary said to her Divine Son:
"They have no Wine". By these Words, she intended to ask
her Son to Console the Spouses, who were Afflicted, because the Wine had
Failed. Jesus answered: "Woman, what is that to Me and to thee?
My Hour is not yet come" - John 2:4. He meant that the Time, destined-for the Performance-of
Miracles, was that of His Preaching through Judea. But, though
His answer 'Appeared' to be a Refusal-of the Request-of Mary, the
Son, says Saint Chrysostom, Resolved to Yield-to the Desire-of the Mother.
"Although He said 'My Hour is not yet come' He Granted the Petition of His Mother" - Homily.
Mary said to the Waiters: "Whatsoever He shall say to you, do ye". Jesus
bid them Fill the Water Pots with Water - the Water was changed-into the Most Excellent Wine. Thus the Bridegroom and the entire Family were filled-with
Gladness. From the fact related in this Day's Gospel, let us consider, in the First (1st) Point, the Greatness of
Mary's Power to obtain-from God, the Graces
which we stand in-need-of; and in the Second (2nd), the Tenderness-of Mary's
Compassion, and her Readiness-to Assist us, in all our
The Greatness of Mary's Power to obtain from God
for us all the Graces we stand in Need of
So Great is Mary's Merit in the Eyes of
God, that, according-to Saint Bonaventure, her Prayers are Infallibly
Heard. "The Merit of Mary is so Great before God, that her Petition cannot be Rejected" - de Virgin. But, why
are the Prayers of Mary so Powerful in the Sight of
God? It is, says Saint Antonine, because she is His
Mother. "The Petition of the Mother of God, Partakes of the Nature of a Command, and therefore it is Impossible that
she should not be Heard". The Prayers of the Saints, are the Prayers of
Servants; but the Prayers of Mary are
the Prayers of a Mother, and therefore, according to the Holy Doctor, they are
Regarded in a Certain Manner as 'Commands', by her Son,
Who Loves her so Tenderly. It is then Impossible, that the
Prayers of Mary should be Rejected.
Hence, according to Cosmas of Jerusalem, the Intercession-of Mary is all-Powerful.
"Omnipotens auxilium tuum O Maria". It is Right, as Richard of Saint Lawrence teaches, that the
Son should impart His Power to the Mother.
Jesus Christ, Who is all-Powerful, has made Mary Omnipotent, as-far-as
a Creature is capable-of Omnipotence; that is, Omnipotent in obtaining from Him, her
Divine Son, whatever she asks. "Cum autem eadem sit
potestas filii et matris ab omnipotente filio, omnipotens mater facta est" - Laud Virgin.
Saint Bridget heard Our Savior One Day, Addressing the Virgin the following Words:
"Ask of Me whatever you Wish, for your Petition cannot be Fruitless". My
Mother, ask of Me what you Please;
I cannot Reject any Prayer which
you present-to Me; "because since you Refused Me nothing,
on Earth, I will Refuse you nothing, in Heaven". Saint George, Archbishop of Nicomedia, says that Jesus Christ
hears all the Prayers of His Mother, as if
He Wished, thereby to Discharge the 'Obligation' which He Owes-to
her for having given Him His Human Nature, by consenting-to accept
Him for her Son. Filius
exolvens debitum petitiones tuas implet". Hence Saint Methodius, Martyr, used to say to
Mary: "Euge, euge, quae debitorum habes filium, Deo enim universi debemus, tibi autem ille debitor est".
Rejoice, Rejoice, O Holy Virgin; for thou hast
for thy Debtor, that Son to Whom we are all
Debtors; to thee He Owes the Human Nature which
He received-from thee.
Saint Gregory of Nicomedia, encourages Sinners by the Assurance that, if they have Recourse-to the
Virgin, with a determination-to Amend their Lives, she will
Save them by her Intercession. Hence, turning-to Mary, he exclaimed:
"Thou hast Insuperable Strength, lest the Multitude of our Sins should overcome thy Clemency". O
Mother of God, the Sins of a Christian, however Great they may be,
cannot Overcome thy Mercy. "Nothing", adds the
same Saint, "Resists thy Power, for the Creator regards thy Glory as His Own". Nothing is Impossible to
thee, says Saint Peter Damien; thou canst Raise even those who are in Despair,
to Hopes of Salvation. "Nihil tibi impossibile, quae etiam desperatos in spem salutis potes
Richard of Saint Lawrence remarks that, in Announcing-to the Virgin that God
had Chosen her for the Mother of His Son, the
Archangel Gabriel said to her: "Fear not Mary, for thou hast found Grace with God" -
Luke 1:30. From which Words, the same Author concludes: "Cupientes invenire gratiam, quaeramus inventricem gratiae". If we
Wish to Recover Lost Grace, let us seek Mary,
by whom this Grace has been 'Found'. She
never Lost the Divine Grace; she
always Possessed it. If the Angel declared that she had 'Found' Grace, he
meant that she had 'Found' it not for herself, but for us
Miserable Sinners, who have Lost it. Hence, Cardinal Hugo exhorts us to go to
Mary, and say to her:
O Blessed Lady,
Property should be Restored to those who Lost it;
The Grace which thou hast found, is not thine -
For thou hast never Lost the Grace of God - but it is ours;
We have Lost it through our own Fault;
To us then, thou oughtest to Restore it.
Sinners, who by your Sins have Forfeited
the Divine Grace, Run-to the Virgin and say to her
with Confidence: Restore to us our Property, which thou hast found.
It was Revealed-to Saint Gertrude, that all the Graces which we ask of
God, through the Intercession-of Mary, shall be given to us. She heard Jesus
saying to His Divine Mother: "Through thee, all who ask Mercy,
with a Purpose of Amending their Lives, shall obtain Grace". If all Paradise asked a Favor-of
God, and Mary asked the Opposite Grace,
the Lord would 'Hear' Mary, and would Reject
the Petition-of the Rest-of the Celestial Host. Because, says Father Suarez, "God Loves the
Virgin alone, more than all the other Saints". Let us then conclude this First Point in the Words of Saint
Bernard: "Let us seek Grace, and let us seek it through Mary; for she is a Mother, and her Petition cannot be Rejected" -
Sermon de Aquaed. Let us seek, through Mary, all the Graces we Desire to Receive
from God, and we shall Obtain them; for she is a
Mother, and her Son cannot Refuse to 'Hear'
her Prayers, or to Grant the Graces which
she asks from Him.
On the Tender Compassion of Mary
and her Readiness to Assist us in all our Wants
The Tenderness of Mary's Mercy may be Inferred-from the fact,
Related-in this Day's Gospel. The Wine Fails - the Spouses are Troubled - no one
speaks to Mary to ask her Son to Console them
in their Necessity. But, the Tenderness of
Mary's Heart, which according to Saint Bernardine of Sienna, cannot but Pity
the Afflicted, moved her to take the Office-of-Advocate, and, without being asked,
to Entreat her Son to Work a Miracle.
"Unasked, she Assumed the Office of an Advocate and a Compassionate Helper". Hence, adds the same Saint, if Unasked,
this Good Lady has done so-much, what will she not do, for those who Invoke
her Intercession? "Si hoc non rogata perfecit, quid rogata perficiet?".
From the fact already related, Saint Bonaventure draws another Argument, to show the Great Graces which
we may Hope to Obtain through Mary, now that
she Reigns-in Heaven. If she was so Compassionate-on Earth, how much
Greater must be her Mercy, now that she is in
Paradise? "Great was the Mercy of Mary while in Exile on Earth; but it is much greater now
that she is a Queen in Heaven; because she now sees the Misery of Men" - Saint Bonaventure. Mary, in
Heaven, enjoys the Vision of God, and therefore she
sees our Wants, far-more clearly than when she was on Earth; hence, as
her Pity for us is Increased, so also is her
Desire to Assist us, more-Ardent. How Truly has Richard of Saint Victor said to the Virgin: "So
Tender is thy Heart, that thou canst not see Misery, and not afford Succor". It is Impossible-for this Loving
Mother, to behold a Human Being in Distress, without extending-to him,
Pity and Relief.
Saint Peter Damien says that the Virgin "Loves us with an Invincible Love" - Sermon.
How Ardently so ever, the Saints may have Loved this Amiable
Queen, their Affection fell far, far-short, of the Love which
Mary bore to them. It is this Love that makes her
so Solicitous-for our Welfare. The Saints in Heaven, says Saint Augustine, have Great
Power to obtain Grace from God, for those who Recommend themselves to their
Prayers; but as Mary is of all the Saints,
the Most Powerful, so she is of all, the most Desirous to Procure for us the Divine
Mercy. "Sicut omnibus sanctis potentior, sic omnibus est pro nobis sollicitior".
And as this, Our Great Advocate once said to Saint Bridget, she
regards not the Iniquities of the Sinner who has Recourse to
her, but the Disposition, with which he Invokes her
Aid. If he comes-to her with a 'Firm Purpose-of Amendment', she receives
him, and by her Intercession, Heals his Wounds,
and brings him to Salvation. "However Great a Man's Sins may be, if he shall Return to me, I
am Ready Instantly to Receive him. Nor do I regard the Number or Enormity of his Sins, but the Will, with which he comes to me; for I do not Disdain to
Anoint and Heal his Wounds, because I am Called, and Truly am, the Mother of Mercy" - BVM to Saint Bridget.
The Blessed Virgin Mary is called a "Fair Olive Tree in the Plains" -
Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 24:19. "Quassi oliva speciosa in campis". From the Olive, Oil only comes-forth; and from the
Hands of Mary, only Graces and Mercies
Flow. According to Cardinal Hugo, it is said that she Remains-in the Plains, to show that
she is ready-to Assist all who have Recourse-to her. "Speciosa in campis ut
omnes ad cam confugiant". In the Old Law, there were Five (5) Cities-of Refuge, in which not all,
but only those who had committed certain Crimes, could find Asylum; but in
Mary, says Saint John Damascene, all Criminals, whatever may be their
Offences, may take Refuge. Hence, he calls her the City of Refuge for all who have
Recourse to her". Why then, says Saint Bernard, should we be Afraid to approach
Mary? She is all Sweetness and
Clemency; in her there is nothing Austere or
Terrible. "Quid ad Mariam accedere trepidat humana fragilitas? Nihil austerum in ea, nihil terribile, tota suavis est".
Saint Bonaventure used to say, that in Turning-to Mary, he saw Mercy
itself, receiving him. "When I behold thee, O my lady, I see nothing but Mercy". The Virgin said one day to Saint Bridget:
"Miser erit, qui ad misericordiam cum possit, non accedit". Miserable, and
Miserable for Eternity (∞), shall be the
Sinner who, though he has it in his Power, during Life to come-to me,
who am Able and Willing to Assist him, Neglects to Invoke
my Aid, and is Lost. "The Devil", says Saint Peter,
"as a Roaring Lion, goeth about seeking whom he may Devour" - 1Peter 5:8. But, according to Bernardine a Bustis, this
Mother of Mercy is constantly going-about in search-of Sinners, to
Save them. "She continually goes about Seeking whom she may Save". This
Queen of Clemency, says Richard of Saint Victor, presents our Petitions, and begins to Assist us, before we ask
the Assistance-of her Prayers. "Velocius occurrit ejus
pietas quam invocetur, et causas miserorum anticipat". Because, as the same Author says, Mary's
Heart is so full of Tenderness toward us, that she
cannot Behold our Miseries, without Affording Relief. "Nec
possis miserias scire, et non subvenire".
Let us then, in all our Wants, be most careful to have Recourse-to this Mother
of Mercy, who is always ready to Assist those who Invoke her Aid.
"Invenies semper paratam auxiliari", says Richard of Saint Lawrence. She is always
Prepared-to come-to our Help, and frequently Prevents our Supplications; but, ordinarily she requires that we should
Pray to her, and is Offended when we Neglect-to
ask her Assistance. "In te domina peccant", says Saint Bonaventure,
"non solum qui tibi injuriam irrogant, sed etiam qui te non rogant". Thou,
O Blessed Lady, art Displeased not only with those who commit an
Injury against thee, but also with those who do not ask Favors
from thee. Hence, as the same Holy Doctor teaches, it is not possible that Mary
should Neglect-to Succor any Soul that flies-to her for Protection; for
she cannot but Pity and Console the
Afflicted who have Recourse-to her. "Ipsa enim non misereri
ignorant et miseris non satisfacere".
But, to obtain Special Favors, from this Good Lady, we must Perform-in her
Honor, certain Devotions practiced-by her
Servants; such as:
First (1st), to Recite every day, at least Five (5) Decades of the
Secondly (2nd), to Fast every Saturday in her
Honor. Many Persons Fast every Saturday, on Bread and Water; you should
Fast in this manner at-least-on the Vigils of her Seven
(7) Principal Festivals.
Thirdly, to say the Three (3) 'Aves' when the Bell rings-for the Angelus Domini;
and to Salute her frequently during the day with an 'Ave Maria', particularly when you hear the Clock Strike, or
when you see an Image-of the Virgin, and also when you Leave or Return-to your House.
Fourthly, to say every Evening, the Litany of the Blessed Virgin,
before you go to Rest; and for this Purpose, procure an Image-of Mary, and keep it near your Bed.
Fifthly, to wear the Scapular-of Mary in Sorrow,
and of Mount Carmel.
There are many other Devotions, practiced-by the Servants-of Mary, but the
most useful of all is to recommend yourself frequently to her in Prayer. Never omit
to say Three (3) 'Aves' in the Morning, to beg of her to Preserve you from
Sin during the Day. In all Temptations, have Immediate Recourse to
her, saying: "Mary, assist me". To Resist every
Temptation, it is sufficient to pronounce the Names of Jesus and Mary;
and if the Temptation continues, let us continue-to Invoke Jesus and
Mary; and the Devil shall never be able to Conquer us.
Saint Bonaventure calls Mary the Salvation of those who Invoke
her. "O salus te invocantium". And if a True Servant of
were Lost (I mean one Truly Devoted to her, who wishes to Amend his Life, and
Invoke with-confidence, this Advocate of Sinners), this would happen either because
Mary would be 'Unable' or 'Unwilling' to Assist him. But, says Saint Bernard, this is impossible; being
the Mother of Omnipotence and of Mercy,
Mary cannot Want the Power or the
Will to Save her Servants.
Justly, then is she called the Salvation of all who Invoke
her Aid. Of this Truth are Numerous Examples: that of Saint Mary of Egypt will be
Sufficient. After leading, for many years, a Sinful and Dissolute Life, she Wished
to enter the Church of Jerusalem, in which the Festival of the Holy Cross was celebrated. To make her feel her
Miseries, God closed against her the Door, which was open-to all others; as often
as she endeavored to enter, an 'Invisible Force' drove her back. She instantly Perceived her Miserable Condition, and
remained in Sorrow outside the Church. Fortunately for her, there was an Image of the Most Holy
Mary over the Porch of the Church. As a Poor Sinner, she Recommended
herself to the Divine Mother, and promised to Change her Life. After her
Prayer, she felt Encouraged to go into the Church, and Behold! the Door which was before, Closed-to her, she now finds
Open; she enters and Confesses her Sins. She leaves the Church, and under the
Influence-of Divine Inspiration, goes into the Desert, where she lived for Forty Seven (47)
Years, and became a Saint.
- End of Liguori Sermon -
O most Sweet Lady and our Mother,
thou hast already left the Earth, and reached Thy Kingdom,
where, as Queen, thou art Enthroned above all the Choirs of Angels,
as the Church sings: "She is Exalted above the Choirs of Angels, in the Celestial Kingdom".
We well Know, that we Sinners are not Worthy to Possess thee in this Valley of Darkness;
but we also Know that thou, in thy Greatness, hast never Forgotten us Miserable Creatures,
and that by being Exalted to such Great Glory
thou hast never Lost Compassion for us Poor Children of Adam;
nay, even that it is Increased in thee.
From the High Throne, then, to which thou art Exalted,
Turn, O Mary, thy Compassionate Eyes upon us, and Pity us.
Remember, also, that in Leaving this World, thou didst Promise not to Forget us.
Look at us and Succor us.
See in the midst of what Tempests and Dangers we constantly are,
and shall be, until the End of our Lives.
By the Merits of thy Happy Death, obtain us Holy Perseverance in the Divine Friendship,
that we may finally Quit this Life in God's Grace;
and thus we also shall one day come to Kiss thy Feet in Paradise,
and Unite with the Blessed Spirits, in Praising thee and Singing thy Glories, as thou Deserves.
Saint Alphonsus Liguori