The Devil’s Greatest Enemy (Pt. 2): Mary, the New Judith

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‘Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O thou most mighty.’
– Ps. 44:4

“Judith is one of the types of Mary, who crushed the head of the serpent.”
– Dom Gueranger, OSB

Our portrait of the Mother of God – not to mention our portrait of the Church, of which she is Mother – will be radically incomplete if we lack knowledge of the Old Testament types/figures of Mary. The book of Judith, for instance, as with the book of Esther, will be of little use to us if we do not see in them a mirror of Mary. Let us look, then, at some central passages in the book of Judith, bearing in mind that Mary, the true Judith, surpasses all her types: ‘Many daughters have gathered together riches: thou hast surpassed them all’ (Prov. 31:29). “She has surpassed all the daughters (Saints) in nature, in grace, in glory. She has surpassed all the souls of men, all the intelligences of Angels” (St. Bonaventure).

N.B. Under each subheading below, the first verse is taken from the book of Judith, while the second (relevant) verse is taken from another Book of the Scriptures. Pay close attention to the clear connections with Mary’s Magnificat (in red).

THE BOOK OF JUDITH: A FORESHADOWING OF MARY, THE MOTHER OF JESUS

+ CHAPTER 13

Leads Us Into the Church
Judith: ‘Open the gates, for God is with us, Who hath shown His power in Israel.’ (v. 13)
‘Blessed is the man that heareth me, and that watcheth daily at my gates…’. (Prov. 8:34)

Loved and Honoured by All
‘And all ran to meet her from the least to the greatest…’ (v. 15)
‘And in the midst of her own people she shall be exalted…’ (Ecclus. 24:3; cf. Prov. 31:28)

The Spouse of Mercy Incarnate
Judith: ‘And by me His handmaid He hath fulfilled His mercy, which He promised to the house of Israel: and He hath killed the enemy of His people by my hand this night.’ (v. 18)
Mary: ‘He hath received Israel His servant, being mindful of His mercy.’ (Lk. 1:54)

Immaculate
Judith: ‘And the Lord hath not suffered me His handmaid to be defiled: but hath brought me back to you without pollution of sin, rejoicing for His victory, for my escape, and for your deliverance.’ (v. 20)
‘Thou art all fair, O My love, and there is not a spot in thee.’ (Cant. 4:7)

The Instrument by Which Hell is Conquered
‘The Lord hath blessed thee by His power, because by thee He hath brought our enemies to nought.’ (v. 22)
Mary: ‘He hath showed might in His arm: He hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He hath put down the mighty from their seat and hath exalted the humble.’ (Lk. 1:51-52)

Greater than All Those Who Prefigured Her
‘Blessed art thou, O daughter, by the Lord the most high God, above all women upon the earth.’ (v. 23)
‘Many daughters have gathered together riches: thou hast surpassed them all.’ (Prov. 31:29)

Always to be Praised
‘Because He hath so magnified thy name this day, that thy praise shall not depart out of the mouth of men who shall be mindful of the power of the Lord, for ever…’ (v. 25)
Mary: ‘My soul doth magnify the Lord… behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.’ (Lk. 1:46, 48)

Laid Down Her Life for Us
‘… thou hast not spared thy life, by reason of the distress and tribulations of thy people; but hast prevented our ruin in the presence of our God.’ (v. 25)
Prophecy of Simeon: ‘And thy own soul a sword shall pierce…’ (Lk. 2:35)

Deserving of Reverence
‘… he [Achior] fell down at her feet, and reverenced her…’ (v. 30)
‘And it came to pass that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost.’ (Lk. 1:41)

Gives Life to the Elect
‘Blessed art thou by thy God in every tabernacle of Jacob…’ (v. 31)
‘Let thy dwelling be in Jacob, and thy inheritance in Israel, and take root in My elect.’ (Ecclus. 24:13)

Her Soul Magnifies The Lord
‘… in every nation which shall hear thy name, the God of Israel shall be magnified on occasion of thee.’ (v. 31)
‘My soul doth magnify the Lord… O magnify the Lord with me: and let us extol His Name together.’ (Lk. 1:46; Ps. 33:4)

+ CHAPTER 14

Leads Us Into Battle
Judith: ‘… let every man take his arms: and rush ye out, not as going down beneath, but as making an assault.’ (v. 2)
‘Thy neck is as the tower of David, which is built with bulwarks: a thousand bucklers hang upon it, all the armour of valiant men.’ (Cant. 4:4)

+ CHAPTER 15

The Glory of the Heavenly Jerusalem
‘… they all blessed her with one voice saying: Thou art the glory of Jerusalem…’ (v. 10)
‘God is wonderful (gloriosus) in His Saints: the God of Israel is He Who will give strength and power to His people.’ (Ps. 67:36)

The Joy of the Church
‘… thou art the joy of Israel…’ (v. 10)
‘The dwelling in thee is as it were of all rejoicing.’ (Ps. 86:7)

The Honour of Our Race
‘… thou art the honour of our people.’ (v. 10)
Mary: ‘Because He that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is His Name.’ (Lk. 1:49)

Ever-Blessed
‘… the Lord hath strengthened thee, and therefore thou shalt be blessed for ever.’ (v. 11)
‘And among the blessed she shall be blessed…’ (Ecclus. 24:4; cf. Prov. 31:28)

+ CHAPTER 16

Glorifies the Holy Name of God
Judith: ‘… extol and call upon His Name.’ (v. 2)
‘… let us extol His Name together.’ (Ps. 33:4)

Visits Us With Her Divine Son
‘He hath set His camp in the midst of His people, to deliver us from the hand of all our enemies.’ (v. 4)
Zachary: ‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel: because He hath visited and wrought the redemption of His people… Salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all that hate us.’ (Lk. 1:68, 71)

The First to Intone the New Canticle*
Judith: ‘… let us sing a new hymn to our God.’ (v. 15)
‘Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle: because He hath done wonderful things.’ (Ps. 97:1)
* This fact deserves a post of its own. Given time, I will write something brief at some stage.

Invites us all to serve God
Judith: ‘Let all Thy creatures serve Thee…’ (v. 17)
Mary: ‘Whatsoever He shall say to you, do ye.’ (Jn. 2:4)

Invites us to Fear of the Lord
Judith: ‘But they that fear Thee, shall be great with Thee in all things.’ (v. 19; cf. Ps. 33:10)
Mary: ‘And His mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear Him.’ (Lk. 1:50)

The New Sanctuary
‘And the people were joyful in the site of the sanctuary: and for three months the joy of this victory was celebrated with Judith.’ (v. 24)
‘And Mary abode with her [Elizabeth] about three months.’ (Lk. 1:56)

Most Renowned
‘… she was most renowned in all the land of Israel.’ (v. 25)
‘And in the multitude of the elect she shall have praise.’ (Ecclus. 24:4)

Perpetual Virgin
‘And chastity was joined to her virtue, so that she knew no man all the days of her life…’ (v. 26)
Mary: ‘How shall this be done, because I know not man?’ (Lk. 1:34)

Honoured Above All Saints in the Church’s Liturgy
‘And on festival days she came forth with great glory.’ (v. 27)
‘And a great sign appeared in Heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.’ (Apoc. 12.1)

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‘… there is great delight in her friendship,
and inexhaustible riches in the works of her hands…
love her, and she shall preserve thee…

forget not the groaning of thy Mother.’
(Wis. 8:18; Prov. 4:6; Ecclus. 7:29; cf. Jn. 16:21, Apoc. 12:2)

The Devil’s Greatest Enemy (Pt. 1): Mary, the New Queen Esther

Aert_de_Gelder_(after)_-_Esther_and_Mordecai
Every Kingdom Has Its Queen

Every kingdom has its Queen. The Kingdom of Heaven is no different: Mary, the Mother of God is its Queen, as we shall see. Yes, she is our Queen and Mother. “The Mother of God,” St. Stanislaus Kotska would exclaim, almost ecstatically, “is my Mother!” What joy is ours, what dignity! By baptism, we are of royal birth!

The Woman That Crushes Satan’s Head
Let the praise of Mary be on every tongue, for she is the woman chosen by God to crush the head of the ancient serpent (Gen. 3:15); she is the New Eve, the true ‘Mother of all the living’ (Gen. 3:20), who nourishes us with the blessed Fruit of her virginal womb (Lk. 1:42). ‘She is a tree of Life to them that lay hold on her: and he that shall retain her is blessed’ (Prov. 3:18). God alone can fathom Mary’s greatness: ‘For every tree is known by its fruit’ (Lk. 6:44).

A Remedy to Bad Mariology
If you doubt Mary’s greatness; if you struggle with the thought of invoking her intercession, read the Church Fathers: they will put you on the right path; they will help you to understand the mystical sense of the Scriptures; they will shed much light on the typological reading of the Scriptures (the manna from Heaven, for example, is a type of the Eucharist; King Solomon is a type of Christ, and so on).

Now let us examine some of the Scriptures that speak of Esther, a type of Our Lady. Pay close attention to the clear connections with Mary’s Magnificat (in red).

************

THE BOOK OF ESTHER: A FORESHADOWING OF MARY, THE MOTHER OF JESUS

+ CHAPTER 2

Exceedingly Beautiful
‘… exceeding fair and beautiful.’ (v. 7)
‘With thy comeliness and thy beauty set out: proceed prosperously, and reign.’ (Ps. 44:5)

Finds Favour With God
‘And she pleased Him, and found favour in His sight.’ (v. 9)
St. Gabriel the Archangel: ‘Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.’ (Lk. 1:30)

Amiable to All
‘… her incredible beauty made her appear agreeable and amiable in the eyes of all.’ (v. 15)
‘Wither is thy Beloved gone, O thou most beautiful among women? Wither is thy Beloved turned aside, and we will seek Him with thee?’ (Cant. 5:17)

The King’s Favourite Daughter
‘And the King loved her more than all the women: and she had favour and kindness before Him above all the women.’ (v. 17)
St. Gabriel the Archangel: ‘Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: Blessed art thou among women.’ (Lk. 1:28)

Queen of Heaven
‘And He set the royal crown on her head, and made her Queen…’ (v. 17)
‘The Queen stood on Thy right hand, in gilded clothing, surrounded with variety.’ (Ps. 44:10; cf. Cant. 3:11)

The Littlest and Therefore the Greatest Saint
‘For whatsoever He commanded, Esther observed: and she did all things in the same manner as she was wont at that time when He brought her up, a little one.’ (v. 20)
Mary: ‘Because He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid… all generations shall call me blessed.’ (Lk. 1:48)

+ CHAPTER 5

Almoner of Divine Mercy
‘And the King said to her: What wilt thou, Queen Esther? If thou shouldst even ask one half of the Kingdom, it shall be given to thee.’ (v. 3; v. 6; Esth. 7:2)
‘And the King said to her: My Mother, ask: for I must not turn away thy face.’ (3 Kg. 2:20)

+ CHAPTER 10

Brings Forth Christ, the Sun of Justice and Fount of Life
‘The little fountain which grew into a river, and was turned into a light, and into the sun, and abounded into many waters, is Esther, whom the King married, and made Queen.’ (v. 5, 6)
‘And behold my brook became a great river, and my river came near to a sea. For I make doctrine to shine forth to all as to the morning light…’ (Ecclus. 24:43-44)

+ CHAPTER 14

Loves the Church and Her Liturgy
Esther: ‘They design to change Thy promises, and destroy Thy inheritance, and shut the mouths of them that praise Thee, and extinguish the glory of the temple and altar…’ (v. 9)
‘And the third day, there was a marriage… And the Wine failing, the Mother of Jesus saith to Him: They have no Wine.’ (Jn. 2:1, 3)

Rejoices in God Alone
Esther: ‘… Thy handmaid hath never rejoiced, since I was brought hither unto this day, but in Thee, O Lord, the God of Abraham.’ (v. 18)
Mary: ‘And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.’ (Lk. 1:47)

+ CHAPTER 15

Powerful Advocate
‘And do thou call upon the Lord; and speak to the King for us; and deliver us from death.’ (v. 3)
‘Let us go therefore with confidence to the throne of grace: that we may obtain mercy, and find grace in seasonable aid.’ (Heb. 4:16; cf. Wis. 31:26)

N.B. All Scripture quotations are taken from the Douay Rheims.
Certain words (e.g. personal pronouns) have been capitalized, so as to highlight the spiritual meaning of the text. See Esther 15:3 above, for example.

A Miracle of St. Therese: The Conversion of Fr. Hyacinthe Loyson

Hyacinthe_Loyson_by_Pierre_Petit,_1870
[Source: ‘Collected Letters of St. Therese of Lisieux,’ Translated by F.J. Sheed, The Catholic Book Club, London, 1974]

Two Letters of St. Therese to her sister, Celine:
“He wants His little Flower to save Him souls, and for that He wants only one thing, that His flower should look at Him while it suffers its martyrdom… and this mysterious gaze passing between Jesus and His small flower will work marvels and will give Jesus a multitude of other flowers, particularly a certain faded, withered lily [Fr. Hyacinthe] that must be changed into a rose of love and repentance.” (26 April 1891)

“Dearest Celine, he is indeed guilty, more guilty perhaps than any sinner has ever been who was yet converted; but cannot Jesus do what He has never done before? And if He did not wish it, would He have put into the heart of His poor little brides a desire He could not fulfil? … No, it is certain that He desires more than we to bring back this poor lost sheep to the fold; a day will come when he will open his eyes…” (8 July 1891)

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Fr. Hyacinthe
“Hyacinthe Loyson died in Paris 9 February 1912, at the age of eighty-five, under major excommunication. He was assisted at the end by a priest of the Armenian Church, a representative of the schismatic Greek Church, and three Protestant pastors. It is worth observing that the poor erring creature had never ceased to repeat the invocation: ‘O my sweet Jesus.’ Therese, who had prayed for him throughout her religious life, offered her last Communion for him, in 1897, on 19 August, which at that time was the feast day of St. Hyacinthe.”

Details given under all reserves to the Lisieux Carmel:

From the abbey of St. Maurice at Clervaux (19 August 1912):
“At the moment of the unhappy man’s death, a privileged soul saw him supernaturally enlightened upon the whole extent of the sins of his life. This sight was the occasion of a terrifying temptation to despair over which, happily, he triumphed.”

From Pere Flamerion, S.J., grand exorcist of France (25 August 1912):
“You have asked us in the Virgin’s name if Hyacinthe is damned; we are forced to answer you that he is saved, through the intercession of Therese and the prayer of holy souls in the cloister, saved by a glance cast upon him by Our Lord before he was judged, an instant before.”

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‘His hands are turned and as of gold, full of hyacinths.’
– Cant. 5:14