Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Truly unfortunate are we poor children of Eve; for, guilty before God of her fault, and condemned to the same penalty, we have to wander about in this valley of tears as exiles from our country, and to weep over our many afflictions of body and soul.  But blessed is he who, in the midst of these sorrows, often turns to the comfortress of the world, to the refuge of the unfortunate, to the great Mother of God, and devoutly calls upon her and invokes her!

mary-2The above passage is taken from St. Alphonsus Liguori’s, “Hail Holy Queen”, from Chapter IV, entitled, “Mary, Our Help”. St. Alphonsus Liguori speaks of Mary’s compassion as our Mother of Mercy, and how we need never lack confidence in asking for anything we need: “Nor should the multitude of our sins diminish our confidence that Mary will grant our petitions when we cast ourselves at her feet. She is the Mother of mercy…”  He explains why our prayers to Mary are often heard and answered more quickly than our prayers to Jesus. St. Alphonsus quotes St. Anselm on this point: “…when we have recourse to this divine Mother, not only we may be sure of her protection, but that often we shall be heard more quickly, and be thus preserved, if we have recourse to Mary and call on her holy name, than we should be if we called on the name of Jesus our Saviour…”  What is the reasoning behind this statement of St. Anselm, upheld by St. Alphonsus Liguori? St. Anselm’s explanation continues: “…that to Jesus, as a judge, it belongs also to punish; but mercy alone belongs to the Blessed Virgin as a patroness” and “We often obtain more promptly what we ask by calling on the name of Mary than by invoking that of Jesus. Her Son is lord and judge of all, and discerns the merits of each one; and therefore if He does not immediately grant the prayers of all, He is just. When, however, the Mother’s name is invoked, though the merits of the suppliant are not such as to deserve that his prayer should be granted, those of the Mother supply that he may receive.”

In this chapter we are also reminded of the experiences/revelations of several saints on this matter. “Many things,” says Nicephorus, “are asked from God, and are not granted: they are asked from Mary, and are obtained…because God has thus decreed to honor His Mother.” Also, from St. Bridget’s revelations, we have the words that Jesus said to His Mother: “Thou shalt present Me with no petition that shall be refused. My Mother, ask what thou wilt, for never will I refuse thee anything…” Lastly, “The same thing was revealed to St. Gertrude, when she heard our divine Redeemer assure His Mother that in His omnipotence He granted her power to show mercy to sinners who invoke her in whatever manner she might please.”

Father Bob Williston (Redemptorist) singing, “Mother of Perpetual Help”

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5 Responses

  1. Thanks Gabrielle for your post… this one is especially meaningful for me. Redemptorists!

  2. I love them too, Harbor Star, and this particular Redemptorist Youtube channel is Canadian!!! 🙂

  3. I’d never thought of it that way – that whereas the Lord is indeed judge, He must consider our need also in light of that Role, for (as an example, and correct me if I’m way off track) sometimes our need may spring from our own fault or weakness or at least from great spiritual imperfection which might actually tie His hands for a bit; hence, it seems that Mary — true Mother, and like our own mother–might indeed say, “Oh, my.. what a mess.. but let me see what I can do..” He would indeed want her considered and sought and honored as sinless sole agent of God’s mercy, uniquely able to obtain what is truly a miracle of grace.

    This thinking you’ve provided explains a lot about devotion to Mary that I could not figure out before. I’m very grateful.

  4. That’s it exactly, Carol! Remember at Cont. Haven when I had posted about the priest who had been on Mother Angelica’s show – the one who had “died” (sorry, his name slips my mind at the moment), and he said when he stood before Jesus he stood only in the Truth – there was no arguing about it, denying it, or anything – it was simply the Truth, and Jesus’ perfect Divine Justice demanded a certain outcome; it was only Mary’s intervention pleading gently for mercy that saved him at that moment.

  5. Yes. I had looked at this the other day and was going to respond, but started Googling to try to confirm the priest’s name as Fr. Steven Strier and actually only confirmed that I can get lost in cyberspace faster than anyone I know. I recall he became an Intercessor of the Lamb for a while after that, and then went back to parish work. It was a while after his story that I began to recall everyone who had died whose last moments I’d heard about (or seen), which had given me great reason to think about “…Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.” I recalled when my mom had fallen again and hurt herself and she was standing in front of bureau a day later and said to me (tho’ I wasn’t her Carol at the moment, but perhaps “Dolly” her imaginary caretaker who only looked like Carol), “I know it’s silly, but I ask myself, ‘Where’s the mother? Where are all the mothers?'” Heartbreaking, yes.. but I have great reason to think that her mother and our Mother came to her in the last hour of human life.

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