The Blessings of Mary
Taken from
Irish Ursulines, 1920 with IMPRIMATUR


Our Blessed Lady, Our Protectress

The Church, ever striving to give her children confidence in Mary, applies to our Blessed Mother those words of Ecclesiasticus (xxiv, 30-31): "They that work by me shall not sin. They that explain me shall have life everlasting." Now, to avoid committing sin and to have eternal life is nothing else but living in the grace of God and dying in holy perseverance, which is a gift of God, a gift so great, according to the holy Council of Trent, that we cannot merit it by ourselves; but what is impossible, humanly speaking, becomes possible, and even easy, if we faithfully serve the Blessed Virgin. It is true that the life of man, and above all the life of a Christian, is a continual combat, and in order to fight victoriously we have need of courage. But of the Blessed Virgin it is said, "Prudence is mine and strength is mine" (Prov. viii), and we need only to fight under her standard to vanquish all our enemies. Whilst, on the one hand, the expressions used by the Church regarding Our Lady are full of gentleness and sweetness; whilst she calls her our life, our sweetness, and our hope; whilst the softest and mildest images are used to encourage us to have the most child-like love for her
-----on the other hand, our confidence is made doubly great by expressions and images applied to her indicating extreme power, the greatest power a creature can possibly exercise. She is called "the Tower of David," a title taken from the Scriptures, where it is said that a thousand bucklers hang upon that tower, the armour of valiant men. What, then, have those to fear who fly to this tower where there is such an abundance of invincible armour? From thence we can defy all the rage of the demons, who at the sight of Mary are like a weak and contemptible troop flying before a strong army arrayed in order of battle. At her very name, uttered with devotion, temptation falls from us like a dart the point of which is blunted against an impenetrable shield.

Happy, therefore, are those who hear the voice of Mary, who from early youth labour to find her, who watch at the gate of her mercy, and continually attach themselves to her service; she will protect them in all situations of life; for according to a beautiful saying of Innocent III: "Mary is called the moon in the night, the aurora at the opening of day, the sun during the day." Like the moon, she scatters rays to enlighten them in the miserable night of sin; like the aurora, she is the messenger of salvation to those who have need of strength to arrive at grace; and she is the sun to those who possess grace but who still require succour not to fail. Mary is to us a chain of salvation to link us to her Divine Son. By keeping hold of this chain we shall never fall grievously, but shall persevere unto death in the practice of virtue, and die in holy perseverance.

A mother, naturally, is most ready to assist her children in their greatest need. If Our Lady has watched over us through life, doubtless she will not forsake us in death. She will stand by us in our last hour, lovingly watching us in our agony, as she stood by the Cross of her Divine Son. Great, indeed, will then be our need of her; the hour of death is that of the last and most terrible combat, but if Mary appears
-----that tender and loving yet mighty mother-----the baffled demons will fly, the last temptations will be subdued like so many others, the soul of the dying will be filled with sweet peace and calm. It is a happy thing for the children of Mary to reflect that to assist the dying is one of the special offices which the Saints have always regarded as belonging to the Blessed Virgin, as she herself revealed to St. Bridget, speaking to her of those who have honoured her in this life; her words were: "Then will I, their most dear Lady and Mother, meet them in death, that they may have consolation and refreshment."

Our death will be precious in the sight of the Lord, if we have had the happiness to live in the service of this good Mother. How sweet, then, will appear the bonds which attached us to her! We shall find the chains we carried in her service were chains of love; we shall only feel them by their reminding us that our slavery was a blessed one. Let us, therefore, renew our fervour and devotion to Our Blessed Lady, and be assured that at our death she will procure us great consolation. Let us remember that she is the Virgo Fidelis, the Faithful Virgin, and that she will show herself such to those who have been faithful to pious practices in her honour, zealous defenders of her prerogatives, religious advocates of devotion to her, and, above all, fervent imitators of her virtues.


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