St. Andrew Avellino used to style the Blessed Virgin our "Heavenly Agent," who carries messages of mercy and obtains grace for everyone, just and sinner alike.
The Lord has eyes for the just (Ps. 34: 16). But our Lady has eyes for sinners as well as the just. The eyes of Mary are a mother's eyes, and a mother not only watches her children to keep them from falling, but helps them up if they do fall. 50
O Mary, you are so full of mercy, so eager to help the unhappy, that you seem to have no other desire, no other anxiety. 51
And since there are none so truly unhappy as sinners, you are continually praying to your Son for them. 52
Maybe, says St. Peter Damian, now that she is raised aloft as Queen of Heaven, she pays no attention to poor creatures. But it would not be like her great compassionate heart, he adds, ever to forget such misery as ours.
The old proverb, Honors change one's manners, does not apply to Mary. With people in the world it is a very different matter. When they secure some high position they grow proud and forget their old friends who happen to be poor. But Mary rejoices in her elevation, because it gives her a better chance to help the helpless.
St. Bonaventure applies to Mary the words addressed to Ruth: May the Lord bless you, my daughter! You have been even more loyal now than before (Ru. 3:10.).
He says: "If Mary's compassion for the miserable was great when she was on earth, now it is much greater. By her countless graces for us she proves how much more merciful she has become, being now better acquainted with our miseries."
It was revealed to St. Gestured that our Lady cannot resist, when one devoutly calls on her with the words, Turn then, most gracious Advocate, your eyes of mercy toward us. She is forced to listen.
We read in the life of Sister Catherine of St. Augustine that in the city where she lived there was a woman of the name of Mary who had led a sinful life from her youth. Refusing to mend her ways and at length growing old in sin, she was driven out of the city and had nowhere to live but in a secluded cave.
There she lingered on, neglected by all and half consumed by disease. At length, she died without the Sacraments and was buried in a field like a beast.
Sister Catherine always prayed with great fervor for the souls of those who had departed from this world. She heard about the unhappy end of this poor creature, but she never thought of praying for her, since she considered her (as did everyone else) irrevocably lost.
One day, four years afterwards, a soul appeared to her from Purgatory and exclaimed: "How miserable for me, Sister Catherine! You commend all the departed to God; for me alone you have no pity."
" And who are you?" asked the servant of God.
"I am that poor Mary who died in the cave," she replied.
"But how is it you were not lost?" said Catherine.
"I was saved through the mercy of the Blessed Virgin. For when I saw myself at the point of death, loaded with sins and rejected by all, I turned to the Mother of God and said to her: 'O Lady, you are the refuge of all the abandoned; behold me here and now abandoned by all. You are my only hope; you alone can help me; have pity on me!' "
"The Blessed Virgin obtained for me the grace of contrition. I died and so I was saved. But more than this --- she my Queen granted me another grace, that my Purgatory should be shortened by enduring in intensity what could have been prolonged for many years.
" And now I need only a few Masses to free me entirely. I beg to have them said, and for my part I promise to pray to God and Mary for you."
Sister Catherine had the Masses offered at once, and after a few days that soul appeared to her again, resplendent with glory , and said: "I thank you, Catherine. I am going now to Paradise, to sing the mercies of my God and to pray for you."
Ah, wonderful Lady, your measureless mercy fills the whole earth!53
This loving Mother longs to do good to all human beings; she is offended not merely by those who actually insult and outrage her, but by all who neglect to ask her for favors or graces. 54
O Lady, in showering us with unmerited blessings, you have taught us to go on looking for further blessings!55
As our Lord is full of mercy, so is our Lady. As the Son knows no way to refuse mercy to those who ask Him, so it is with Mary.
The Abbot Guerric makes Jesus speak to his Mother in these words: " Mother, in you I will set up the seat of My government. Through you I will pronounce judgments, hear prayers, and grant graces. You gave Me My human nature; I will give you My Divine nature" --- that is, omnipotence, with which she can help to save anyone she pleases.
One day, when St. Gertrude was praying to our Lady with the words, Turn, then, thine eyes of mercy toward us, she saw our Lady pointing to the eyes of the Child in her arms and saying: "These are the most compassionate eyes that I can turn toward anyone who calls upon me."
Once a certain sinner was weeping before a picture of our Lady, imploring her to obtain God's pardon for him, when he saw our Lady turn toward the Infant in her arms and say: "Son, shall these tears be wasted?" He understood then that Jesus was already pardoning him.
How is it possible then for anyone who prays to this good Mother to be lost? Her Son has given His divine promise that He will show as much mercy as she requests to anyone who prays to her. He revealed this to St. Gertrude, letting her overhear Him make the promise to His Mother:
"I am omnipotent, O beloved Mother, and I give My pardon, just as it pleases you, to all sinners who devoutly ask your compassion."
yourself with your Son's glory,"
the Abbot Guerric, "and out of pure pity for us
for any merit of our own --- give
is left over."
If the sight of our sins threatens to discourage us, we should turn to the Mother of Mercy with these words of William of Paris:
Lady, do not bring up my sins against
I will set thy mercy over against them. And surely at the judgment my
sins will never win out against thy mercy, for thy mercy will be far
more effective in securing my pardon than my sins can be in bringing