MARY, MOTHER OF MERCY: Refuge For Even The Hardest, Most Despairing Sinners! (part 5)

“Give up thy devotion to Mary, and I will cease to tempt thee.”

– Satan to Bl. Alphonsus Rodriguez

“When the devil wishes to make himself master of a soul, he seeks to make it give up devotion to Mary.”

– St. Alphonsus (Doctor of the Church, miracle-worker, ardent lover of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament)

Mary is truly our spiritual mother. Satan hates Mary because it is through her that God will defeat him (Gen. 3:15)! If Christ, the Head of the Mystical Body, was born of Mary, it follows that the other members of the Mystical Body must also be spritually born of Mary.

There are countless websites and books devoted to defending devotion to Mary, her dignity etc. Please read them. They explain the profound truths relating to- and titles for- Our Lady, who, like a tender mother, intercedes for our salvation (like all true followers of Christ).

Here is a link to some fairly basic Marian apologetics: http://www.ewtn.com.au/faith/teachings/marymenu.htm

(Stories taken from ‘The Glories of Mary’, by St. Alphonsus):

+ It is related by Belluacensis and Cesarius, that a noble youth having lost by his vices the wealth left him by his father, became so poor that he was obliged to beg. He quitted his native land,  that he might live with less shame in a distant country where he was unknown. On this journey he met one day an old servant of his father, who, seeing him so cast down by the poverty he was suffering, told him to cheer up, for he would take him to a prince who was so liberal that he would provide him with everything he needed. Now this wretch was an impious sorcerer. One day he took the youth with him to a wood on the borders of a moor, where he began to address some invisible person. The youth asked to whom he was speaking. “To the devil,” he answered; and seeing the youth terrified, bade him not to fear. Continuing to speak with the devil, he said: “This youth, oh my master, is reduced to extreme necessity, and wishes to be restored to his former condition.” “If he will obey me,” said the enemy, I will make him richer than before; but in the first place, he must renounce God.” At this the youth shuddered, but urged on by that cursed magician, he yielded, and renounced God. “But this is not sufficient,” said the demon; “he must also renounce Mary; for it is to her that we attribute our greatest losses. Oh, how many souls she has snatched from us, and led back to God and saved!” “Oh, this I will not do,” exclaimed the youth; “deny Mary! why she is my only hope. I would rather be a beggar all my life.” With these words he left the place. On his way he happened to pass a church dedicated to Mary. The unhappy youth entered it, and kneeling before her altar, began to weep and implore the most holy Virgin that she would obtain the pardon of his sins. Mary immediately began to intercede with the Son for that miserable being. Jesus at first said: “But that ungrateful youth, my mother, has denied me.” But seeing that his mother still continued to entreat him, he at last said: “Oh, my mother, I have never refused thee anything; he shall be pardoned, since thou dost ask it.” The citizen who had purchased the inheritance of that prodigal was secretly present at this scene, and beholding the mercy of Mary towards that sinner, he gave him his only daughter in marriage, and made him heir of all his possessions. Thus that youth recovered, through the intercession of Mary, the favor of God and even his temporal possessions.

+ Eutychian, Patriarch of Constantinople, relates the following well-known story of Theophilus. The Patriarch was an eye-witness of the fact which we here relate, and which is confirmed by St. Peter Damian, St. Bernard, St. Bonaventure, St. Antoninus, andothers. Theophilus was archdeacon of the Church of Adanas, a city of Cilicia; and was so much esteemed, that the people wished him to become their bishop, but his humility prevented his consent. Some malicious persons afterwards accused him, and he was deposed from his office. This afflicted him so much, that, blinded by passion, he went to a Jewish magician, who induced him to apply to Satan for help in his misfortunes. The devil answered that if he wished his assistance, he must renounce Jesus, and Mary his mother, and hand over to him the act of renunciation, written with his own hand. Theophilus executed the vile document. On the following day the bishop having heard of the wrong done him by his calumniators, asked his forgiveness, and restored him to his office. But Theophilus began then to feel so tortured by remorse of conscience on account of the great crime he had committed, that he wept continually. What does he do? He enters a church, prostrates himself in tears before an altar of the blessed Virgin, and exclaims: “Oh mother of God, I will not despair having thee, who art so merciful, to aid me.” He persevered forty days in weeping and praying thus to the holy Virgin; when behold, one night the mother of mercy appeared to him and said: “Oh Theophilus, what have you done? You have renounced my friendship and that of my Son; and for whom? for your own and my enemy.” “Oh Lady,” answered Theophilus, “it belongs to thee to pardon me, and to obtain my pardon from thy Son.” Then Mary, seeing his confidence, answered, “Take courage, and I will pray for thee.” Theophilus, encouraged by these words, redoubled his tears, his penance, and his prayers, remaining constantly at the foot of the altar. And, behold, Mary appeared to him again, and with a joyful countenance said to him: “Theophilus, rejoice, I have presented thy tears and thy prayers to God; he hath accepted them, and hath already pardoned thee; henceforth be grateful and faithful.” “Oh Lady,” replied Theophilus, “this is not sufficient to console me; the enemy still holds that impious deed, by which I have renounced thee and thy Son; thou canst obtain it for me.” After three days Theophilus awoke one night, and found the paper on his breast. The next day, when the bishop with a large assembly were present in the church, Theophilus cast himself at his feet, related the whole story, weeping bitterly, and gave him the infamous writing, which the bishop immediately ordered to be burned in presence of all the people, who wept for joy, praising the goodness of God, and the mercy of Mary towards that miserable sinner. Theophilus returned to the church of the Virgin, and there, three days afterwards, he died happily, with thanksgivings to Jesus and his holy mother on his lips.

+ Our advocate has shown how great is her kindness towards sinners by her mercy to Beatrice, a nun in the monastery of Fontebraldo, as related by Cesarius, and by Father Rho. This unhappy religious, having contracted a passion for a certain youth, agreed to flee with him from the convent; and in fact she went one day before a statue of the blessed Virgin, there deposited the keys of the monastery, for she was portress, and boldly departed. Arrived in another country, she led the miserable life of a prostitute for fifteen years. It happened that she met, one day, the agent of the monastery in the city where she was living, and asked of him, thinking he would not recognize her again, if he knew Sister Beatrice? “I knew her well,” he said: “she is a holy nun, and at present is mistress of novices.” At this intelligence she was confounded and amazed, not knowing how to understand it. In order to ascertain the truth, she put on another dress and went to the monastery. She asked for Sister Beatrice, and behold, the most holy Virgin appeared before her in the form of that same image to which at parting she had committed her keys, and her dress, and the divine mother thus spoke to her: “Beatrice, be it known to thee that, in order to prevent thy disgrace, I assumed thy form, and have filled thy office for the fifteen years that thou hast lived far from the monastery and from God. My child, return, and do penance, for my Son is still waiting for thee; and strive by thy holy life to preserve the good name I have gained thee.” She spoke thus and disappeared Beatrice re-entered the monastery, resumed the habit of a religious, and, grateful for the mercy of Mary, led the life of a saint. At her death she made known the foregoing incident, to the glory of this great queen.

O Lady, he who honours thee will be far from damnation.”

– St. Bonaventure

“Holy Spirit, inspire me.
Love of God, consume me.
Along the true road, lead me.
Mary my Mother, look upon me.
With Jesus, bless me.
From all evil, from all illusion,
from all danger, preserve me.”

– Prayer of Bl. Mariam Baouardy

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