Her Own

hail-holy-queen-st-alphonsus-liguoriExcerpt from:  Hail Holy Queen!, by St. Alphonsus Liguori, pgs. 44-45:

Mary is the Mother of sinners who wish to repent, and as a mother she cannot do otherwise than compassionate them; nay more, she seems to feel the miseries of her poor children as if they were her own.  When the Canaanitish woman begged Our Lord to deliver her daughter from the devil who possessed her, she said, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David, my daughter is grievously troubled by a devil.”  But since the daughter, and not the mother, was tormented, she should rather have said, “Lord, take compassion on my daughter:” and not, Have mercy on me; but no, she said, “Have mercy on me,” and she was right; for the sufferings of children are felt by their mother as if they were their own.  And it is precisely thus, says Richard of St. Laurence, that Mary prays to God when she recommends a sinner to Him who has had recourse to her; she cries out for the sinful soul, “Have mercy on me!”  “My Lord,” she seems to say, “this poor soul that is in sin is my daughter, and therefore, pity not so much her as me, who am her mother.”

Would that all sinners had recourse to this sweet Mother!  for then certainly all would be pardoned by God.  “O Mary,” exclaims St. Bonaventure, in rapturous astonishment, “thou embracest with maternal affections a sinner despised by the whole world, nor dost thou leave him until thou hast reconciled the poor creature with his Judge;” meaning that the sinner, whilst in the state of sin, is hated and loathed by all, even by inanimate creatures; fire, air, and earth would chastise him, and avenge the honor of their outraged Lord.  But if this unhappy creature flies to Mary, will Mary reject him?  Oh, no:  provided he goes to her for help, and in order to amend, she will embrace him with the affection of a mother, and will not let him go, until, by her powerful intercession, she has reconciled him with God, and reinstated him in grace. 

Feastday of St. Bernard of Clairvaux

St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090 – 1153) was a Cistercian and a Doctor of the Church.  He is known as the Marian Doctor, and in an excellent article found on the website Our Lady of Medjugorje, author Cristina Palici explains:

Amongst the Doctors of the Church he is known as the Marian Doctor; not that he wrote lengthy pages dedicated to Our Lady, or revealed new theological dogmas on the Virgin of Nazareth, as Bernard’s writings on Mary aren’t even that many. However, all his writings and his own life were impregnated with her. Even when Bernard doesn’t speak of her, Mary is always present. We can see this in his writings in which he exhorts his brothers to silence, humility, purity of heart, and filial obedience: these are all virtues which, according to the saint, not only shine in Mary but are dispensed by her.

He thus merited the title of Marian Doctor because of his great love and filial devotion for the Mother of the Saviour. His writings were so appreciated that the Church inserted them in the Sacred Liturgy. Ending the day with a Salve Regina or some other Marian antiphony was his idea. St. Bernard had so much trust in her powerful intercession that he said: “God has wanted that we obtain nothing if not through the hands of Mary.” For St. Bernard “Mary is our mediatrix”; and we receive the Holy Spirit that “overflows from her.”

I would encourage you to read the complete article for a brief overview of St. Bernard’s loving relationship with, and thoughts on, Mary.
One of the most famous prayers attributed to St. Bernard is The Memorare, but I would also like to share with you today one which can be found in the Dictionary of Mary.  Upon reading it I could not help but think that St. Bernard would be in full support of the proclamation of the Fifth Marian Dogma:

Mary, Our Advocate

O Blessed Lady, you found grace, brought forth the Life, and became the Mother of salvation. May you obtain the grace for us to go to the Son. By your mediation, may we be received by the One Who through you gave Himself to us. May your integrity compensate with Him for the fault of our corruption; and may your humility, which is pleasing to God, implore pardon for our vanity. May your great charity cover the multitude of our sins; and may your glorious fecundity confer on us a fecundity of merits.

Dear Lady, our Mediatrix and Advocate, reconcile us to your Son, recommend us to Him, and present us to your Son. By the grace you found, by the privilege you merited, by the Mercy you brought forth, obtain for us the following favor, O blessed Lady.

May the One Who – thanks to you – came down to share our infirmity and wretchedness make us share – again thanks to you – His glory and beatitude: Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, Who reigns in heaven and is blessed forever!

Mary, Mediatrix of Contemplation

We have, moreover, considered the external conditions that favor contemplation and union with God.  They are:  a certain solitude, silence, sufficient time given to prayer, no overburdening, no useless reading, no preoccupations foreign to our vocation.  To these external conditions must be added natural aptitude and also enlightened direction.  If many of these exterior conditions are lacking, it is difficult to reach contemplation, which no longer has its normal environment.  Profound humility and ardent charity, however, may supply this lack, especially if joined with great devotion to the Blessed Virgin and to the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus.  He who habitually begins his prayer with these two mediators, will be led by them to intimate union with God, since the object of the Blessed Virgin’s influence is to lead us to her Son, and that of Christ to lead us to the Father.

The divine mercy often compensates for the inequality of natural conditions by great graces. “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Deep humility supplies for other conditions in the life of union with God. The two great mediators, Jesus and Mary, stoop to the humble in order to lead them to the intimacy of the Father. We have only one life, and on it our eternity depends. As Tauler says, if we have not entered the divine intimacy before we are advanced in years, we run the risk of not entering it in this life, even though it is the normal prelude to heaven.

[Excerpts from “Christian Perfection and Contemplation”, Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P., page 417 and page 423]