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He who desires graces must have recourse to Mary

8 min • Digitized on August 10, 2021

From The Glories of Mary, page 437
By St. Alphonsus Liguori

Point First.—After the holy Virgin had heard from the archangel St. Gabriel, that her cousin Elizabeth had been six months pregnant, she was interiorly enlightened by the Holy Spirit to know that the Word which had taken human flesh and had already become her Son, wished to commence manifesting to the world the riches of his mercy, by the first graces that he desired to impart to all that family.

Therefore, without interposing any delay, as St. Luke relates: Rising up, Mary went into the mountainous country in haste. Rising then from the quiet of her contemplation, to which she was always devoted, and leaving her dear solitude, she immediately set out for the house of Elizabeth. And because holy charity suffers all things, and can bear no delay, as St. Ambrose remarks, when treating of this gospel, “The grace of the Holy Spirit knows no slow movements,” therefore not heeding the fatigue of the journey, the tender and delicate maiden quickly set forth on her way.

Having arrived at that house, she saluted her cousin: “She entered into the house of Zachary, and saluted Elizabeth.” And as St. Ambrose remarks, Mary was the first to salute Elizabeth. But the visit of the blessed Virgin was not like the visits of the worldly, which, for the most part, consist in ceremonies and false display; the visit of Mary brought into that house an abundance of graces.

For at her first entrance, and at that first salutation, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and John was delivered from guilt and sanctified, and therefore gave that sign of joy, exulting in the womb of his mother; for he wished in this way to make known the grace received by means of the blessed Virgin; as Elizabeth herself declared: “As soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.”

So, as Bernardine de Bustis observes, in virtue of the salutation of Mary, John received the grace of the Divine Spirit, who sanctified him: When the blessed Virgin saluted Elizabeth, the voice of the salutation entering through her ears, descended to the child, by virtue of which salutation he received the Holy Spirit.

Now if these first-fruits of the redemption all passed through Mary, and she was the channel by means of which grace was communicated to the Baptist, the Holy Spirit to Elizabeth, the gift of prophecy to Zachary, and so many other blessings to that house, which were the first graces that we know to have been given upon earth by the Word, after he had become incarnate; we have great reason to believe that God, even from that time, had constituted Mary a universal channel, as St. Bernard calls her, through which thenceforth should be dispensed to us all the other graces which the Lord wishes to bestow on us, as it was said in p. 1 c. 5, of this work.

Rightly then is this divine mother called the treasure, the treasurer, and the dispensatrix of divine graces. Thus she is called by the venerable Abbot of Celles: The treasure of the Lord and the treasurer of graces. By St. Peter Damian, also; The treasure of divine graces. By blessed Albertus Magnus: The treasurer of Jesus Christ. By St. Bernardine: The dispensatrix of graces. By a Greek Doctor, quoted by Petavius: The store-house of all good things.

Thus, also, St. Gregory Thaumaturgus says: Mary is called so full of grace, because in her the treasure of grace was hidden, And Richard of St. Laurence says that God has placed in Mary, as in a treasury of mercy, the gifts of all the graces, and from this treasure he enriches his servants.

St. Bonaventure, speaking of the field of the Gospel where the treasure is hidden which should be bought at any great price, as Jesus Christ hath said: “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hidden in a field, which, when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth the field;” remarks that this field is our Queen Mary, in whom is the treasure of God, that is, Jesus Christ, and with Jesus Christ the source and fountain of all graces.

St. Bernard also affirms that the Lord has placed in the hands of Mary all the graces that he wishes to dispense to us, that we may know that whatever of good we receive, we receive it all from her hands.

And of this Mary herself assures us, when she says: “In me is all grace of the way and of the truth.” [Eccli. xxiv. 25.] In me are all the graces of true blessings that you men can desire in your life. Yes, our mother and our hope, well do we know, to use the words of St. Peter Damian, that all the treasures of the divine mercies are in thy hands.

And before Damian, St. Ildephonsus asserted it with more force, for addressing the Virgin he said to her: Oh Lady, all the graces which God has determined to bestow upon men, he has determined to dispense by thy hands; and therefore has he committed to thee all the treasure of graces.

Hence, oh Mary, concluded St. Germanus, no grace is dispensed to any one except by thy hands; no one is except by thee; no one receives the gift of God except through thee. The blessed Albertus Magnus makes a beautiful reflection upon the words of the angel to the most holy Virgin; “Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God,” saying: Oh, Mary, thou hast not stolen grace as Lucifer wishes to steal it; thou hast not lost it as Adam lost it; thou hast not bought it as Simon the Magician wished to buy it; but thou hast found it because thou hast desired and sought it. Thou hast found the uncreated grace, that is, God himself, become thy Son; and at the same time thou hast found and obtained all created good.

St. Peter Chrysologus confirms this thought, by saying that the great mother found this grace by restoring salvation to all men. And elsewhere he says, that Mary found grace in its fulness, sufficient to save all men.

In the like manner as God made the sun, says Richard of St. Laurence, that by it the earth may be illuminated, so hath he created Mary, that by her means all divine mercies may be dispensed to the world.

And St. Bernardine adds that the Virgin, as soon as she was made mother of the Redeemer, acquired, as it were, a jurisdiction over all graces: when the Virgin Mary conceived the Word of God in her womb, she obtained, as I should say, a certain jurisdiction over all the temporal manifestations of the Holy Spirit; so that no creature obtained any grace from God, unless according to the disposal of this pious mother.

Let us conclude this point in the words of Richard of St. Laurence, who says, that if we wish to obtain any grace, we must have recourse to Mary, who cannot but obtain for her servants whatever she demands; since she has found, and always will find, divine grace.

And this he took from St. Bernard, who said: Let us seek grace, and let us seek it through Mary, for what she seeks she finds, and cannot be frustrated.

If, then, we desire graces, we must go to this treasurer and dispensatrix of graces; for this is the sovereign will of the Giver of every good, as St. Bernard himself assures us, that all graces are dispensed by the hands of Mary. All, all, Totum, totum; he who says all, excludes nothing.

But, because confidence is necessary in order to obtain grace, we now will pass on to consider how certain we should be of obtaining graces, if we have recourse to Mary.

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