TO THEE DO WE
How Promptly Mary
Who Invoke Her
are the poor children of Eve.
her guilt and condemned to the same penalty, we have to wander about in
this valley of tears, exiles from our country, weeping over our many
of body and soul.
happy are they who, in spite of their
sorrows, turn often to the comfortress of the world, to the refuge of
miserable, to the great Mother of God, and devoutly invoke her.
Church is careful to teach her
with what attention and trust they should pray to this loving
For this purpose she commands them to have special devotion to her.
has instituted many feasts of
Lady, and she sets aside one day in the week for her special honor. She
recommends that all priests and religious in their daily Office invoke
her in the name of the whole Christian body, and she recommends that
the faithful pray to her three times a day at the sound of the Angelus.
the confidence which the Church places
in Mary: in all public calamities she invariably calls upon the
to enlist her protection through novenas, through prayers and
through visits to her churches and shrines.
Lady herself desires this. She wants
to seek her always and invoke her aid. It is not as if she were begging
us for these marks of veneration, for they cannot come up to her
She desires them so that our confidence and devotion may be increased
them and move her to answer us with greater help and comfort.
Bonaventure observes that Ruth, whose
name means "seeing and hastening," was a figure of Mary; "for Mary,
our miseries, mercifully hastens to help us."
adds that "Mary, in her intense
desire to help us, can brook no delay, for she is not at all an
hoarder of the graces at her disposal, but a Mother of Mercy, and
showers down the treasures of her liberality on her servants."
of St. Lawrence assures us that
pours out her compassion on everyone who prays for it, even if the
be only a simple Hail Mary.
quickly this good Mother helps all who
pray to her! She not only runs, but flies, to our assistance. 23
has wings when He comes to His own;
too has wings. Hers are the wings of an eagle; she flies with the love
of God. 24
speed more than that of the seraphim
she goes everywhere to aid her children. 25
she went into the hill country to
bringing grace with her, she went, we are told, in haste (Lk.
what Bernardine de Bustis says:
is more eager to grant us graces than we can be to receive them.
should the multitude of our sins
our confidence. Mary is the Mother of Mercy. But there would be no
for mercy if there were no one who needed it. No good mother shrinks
applying a remedy to her children when they are infected with some
skin disease, however nauseating the sight may be. Neither does our
Mother shrink from us when we come to her to heal the wounds of sin, no
matter how loathsome they are. 26
great is this good Mother's compassion,
and her love so urgent, that she does not even wait for our prayers
--- she anticipates them. She hastens to make herself
anticipation of people's desire (Wis. 6:14).
heart is full of pity for poor
and scarcely has she noticed our miseries when she lavishes her tender
mercies on us. 27
any who doubt whether Mary will help
when they come to her, Innocent III has this encouraging reminder: "Who
ever called upon her and was not heard by her?"
there are any, O most Blessed Virgin
who can recall having been refused by you when they came to you in
hour of need, let them no more speak in praise of your mercy! 28
would Heaven and earth be destroyed
than Mary would fail to assist anyone who turned to her with the right
dispositions to ask her help. 29
Anselm, to increase our confidence,
this: "When we pray to the Mother of God we are heard more quickly than
when we call directly on the name of Jesus --- for
her Son is not only our Lord but our Judge. But when we call on the
of His Mother, though our own merits will not insure an answer, yet her
merits intercede for us and we are answered."
does not mean that Mary is more
than her Son to save us. We know that Jesus is our only Savior, and
he alone by His merits has obtained and will obtain salvation for us.
when we have recourse to Jesus,
regard Him at the same time as our Judge, whose business it is to
ungrateful souls. Therefore the confidence necessary before we can be
may fail us.
we go to Mary, however, she has no
office but to show compassion as Mother of Mercy, and to defend us as
advocate. Hence our confidence is more easily aroused and is often
than when we go directly to Jesus.
things are asked of God and are not
they are asked of Mary and are obtained not because she is more
than God, but simply because God decrees to honor her in this way. 30
St. Bridget heard our Lord make a
sweet and consoling promise: "You shall bring Me no petition," He said
to His Mother, "that will be denied. Ask what you will; I will never
And remember --- I
promise to give grace to those who ask it in your name, even though
be sinners, if they re solve to change their lives."
O most holy Virgin Mary, that
was it heard of in any age that anyone having recourse to your
was abandoned!" Forgive me therefore, O Mary, if I say that I do not
to be that first unfortunate creature to have recourse to you and be
Mary's Power Is
Great in Time
most Blessed Virgin Mary is Queen of
than heaven and all
the Saints. She is Queen also over hell
all evil spirits, for she has gloriously routed them with her virtues.
the very beginning God foretold the
and empire that our Queen would one day win over the serpent: I
put enmity between you and the woman . . . ; she will crush
head (Gn. 3:15).
could this woman be
enemy of the serpent, but Mary, who beat down his strength by her
humility and holy life? The Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ was
in that woman, as St. Cyprian says.
did not say, I put, but I will put,
to signify that the serpent's opponent was not Eve, who was then
but some other woman descended from her --- One
would bring our first parents (says St. Vincent Ferrer) far greater
than they had lost by their sin.
will crush your head: some
whether this refers to Mary, and not rather to Jesus, since the
translates it, He shall crush your head. But in the Vulgate, which
was approved by the Council of Trent, we find She.
too St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, St.
and a great many others understood it. Be that as it may, it is certain
that either the Son through the Mother, or the Mother through the Son,
has conquered Lucifer.
am raised aloft like a palm tree in
24: 14) . . . to defend, adds St. Albert the Great. Recourse to Mary is
a most certain way to overcome all the assaults of Hell, for she is
even over hell and all the devils, taming and crushing them. 31
Mary is described in the Song of
Songs as awe-inspiring
as bannered troops (6:4). She knows how to draw up her powers, her
mercies, and her prayers, and thus humiliate her enemies and defend her
Judea victories were won by
of the Ark. Thus it was that Moses conquered his enemies; thus too,
was conquered, and the Philistines were overthrown. It is well known
the Ark was a figure of Mary.
a Lapide says, "In time of
Christians should turn to the Most Blessed Virgin, who contained Christ
in her womb as the Ark contained manna, and who brought Him forth to be
the saving food of the world."
Mary, the Ark of the New Testament,
raised to the dignity of Queen of Heaven, Hell's influence over human
was weakened and scattered. 32
was revealed to St. Bridget that God
Mary so powerful against the devils that, whenever they assail anyone
begs her help, with one glance she terrifies them and they take to
flight. They would rather have their pains in hell redoubled than fall
under her dominion.
John Damascene used to say: "As long
I keep alive my hope in thee, O Mother of God, I shall be safe. I will
fight and overcome enemies with this one shield ---
thy protection and thy all-powerful help."
young man, who was a slave to habits of
vice, went to confession to a certain priest in Rome. The confessor
him with kindness and, filled with compassion for him, assured him that
devotion to our Lady could free him from his shameful habits.
he imposed on him as his
that he say a Hail Mary to the Blessed Virgin every morning
evening, when he got up and when he went to bed, until his next
also, that he offer her at the same time his eyes, his hands, and his
body, asking her to
preserve them as if they were her own,
that he kiss the ground three times.
performed the penance, but at first
was only slight improvement. However, his confessor insisted that he
with the practice, advising him never to abandon it and encouraging him
to trust in the power of Mary .The young man then left Rome with a few
companions and spent several years traveling here and there.
the young man came back to Rome he
to his confessor, who found, to his great relief and wonder, that he
a changed man, completely free of his sinful habits. "How did you
so wonderful a change from God?" he asked.
young man answered, "It was our
Lady who obtained this grace for me, because of those simple acts of
you taught me. "
was not the end of the graces. The
related the story in one of his sermons. A certain captain in the army,
who had been committing sin with a woman for years, heard the sermon
made up his mind to try the same practice.
determined to break the chains that
him a slave of the devil (for every sinner must have the purpose of
otherwise the Blessed Virgin is powerless to help him), and he too gave
up his habit of sin and changed his life.
there was still more. After six
relying too much on his own strength, the captain made the mistake of
back to the woman, to see if she too had changed her ways.
as he came up to the door of the
where he was in certain danger of falling again, some unseen power
him back and he found himself at the other end of the street, standing
before his own door. He had no doubt that it was our Lady who had done
this for him and saved him from perdition.
should be enough to show how anxious
our good Mother is, not only to lift us out of the state of sin if we
to --- her for deliverance, but also
to save us
the danger of falling back.
guided His chosen people from Egypt to
the Promised Land by day in a column of cloud, by
a column of fire (Ex 13:21).
stupendous column was a type of Mary
fulfilling a double office: as a cloud, she shades us from the heat of
the sun of Justice; as fire, she protects us from the devil. 33
wax melts before fire, the devils melt
away before all who keep our Lady's name in mind, devoutly invoke her,
and work at imitating her. 34
of glory and wonder is your name, O
(exclaims St. Bonaventure), and whoever pronounces it at death need
nothing from all the forces of Hell!
Blessed Lady revealed to St. Bridget
the devil flies from even the most abandoned sinners
those farthest from God and fully possessed by the devil, if only they
invoke her most powerful name with a true purpose of amendment. But our
Blessed Lady added at the same time that, if such persons do not amend
and wash away their sins in sorrow, the devils return and begin again
of St. Lawrence
of St. Victor
of St. Lawrence