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Mary always obtains what is asked of her

13 min • Digitized on August 12, 2021

From The Glories of Mary, page 442
By St. Alphonsus Liguori

Second Point.—And why should Jesus Christ ever have placed in the hands of this his mother all the riches of the mercies which he wishes to use for our benefit, if not that she may enrich with them all her servants who love and honor her, and with confidence recur to her?

“With me are riches … that I may enrich them that love me.” Thus the Virgin herself speaks in this passage, which the holy Church applies to her on so many of her festivals.

Therefore, for no other use, but for our benefit, says Adam the Abbot, are the riches of eternal life preserved by Mary, in whose bosom, the Saviour has deposited the treasure of the wretched, that, supplied from this treasure, the poor may become rich.

And St. Bernard adds, as I learn from another author, that for this purpose Mary has been given to the world, for a channel of mercy, that by her means graces may continually descend from heaven upon men.

From this the holy Father goes on to ask, why St. Gabriel, having found the divine mother already full of grace, according to his salutation: Hail, full of grace: “Ave gratia plena:” afterwards says that the Holy Spirit was to come to her, to fill her still more with grace; if she was already full of this grace, what more could the coming of the Holy Spirit effect?

Mary was already full of grace, thus answers St. Bernard, but the Holy Spirit came upon her for our good, that from her superabundance we poor sinners might be provided. For this reason Mary was called the moon, of which it is said: the moon is full, for herself and others.

“He that shall find me, shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord.” Blessed is he who having recourse to me finds me, says our mother. He will find life, and will find it easily; for, as it is easy to find and draw water (as much as one wishes) from a great fountain, so it is easy to find graces and eternal salvation by going to Mary.

A holy soul hath said, we have only to ask graces of our Lady and we shall have them. And St. Bernard says, that before Mary was born, the world was without this abundance of graces, that now are overflowing the earth, because this desirable channel (Mary) was wanting.

But now that we actually have this mother of mercy, what graces can we not obtain, if we cast ourselves at her feet? I am the city of refuge, thus St. John of Damascus makes her to say, for all those who have recourse to me: come, then, my children, and you will obtain from me graces, in greater abundance than you can imagine.

It is true that many experience what the venerable Sister Maria Villain saw in a heavenly vision. This servant of God once saw the mother of God in the likeness of a great fountain, to which many went to draw the waters of graces; but what then happened? Those who carried vessels which were whole, preserved afterwards the graces received; but those who carried broken vessels, that is, souls laden with sins, received the graces, but quickly lost them again.

As for the rest, it is certain that by means of Mary, men, even the most ungrateful and wretched sinners, daily obtain innumerable graces. St. Augustine says, addressing the Virgin: Through thee the wretched obtain mercy, the ungrateful grace, sinners pardon, the weak support, the earthly heavenly things, mortals life, and travellers their country.

Let our confidence, then, ever revive, oh devoted servants of Mary, as often as we have recourse to her for graces.

And to revive this confidence, let us ever remember the two great privileges which this good mother possesses, namely:

  1. the desire she has to do us good, and
  2. the power she has with her Son to obtain what ever she asks.

That we may know the desire Mary has to aid all, it would be sufficient only to consider the mystery of the present festival, namely, the visit of Mary to Elizabeth.

The journey from Nazareth, where the most holy Virgin lived, to the city of Hebron (called by St. Luke a city of Judah), where, according to Baronius and other authors, Elizabeth dwelt, was about sixty-nine miles, as the author of the life of Mary, Father Giuseppe of Jesus, one of the barefooted Carmelites, asserts, as also Bede and Brocardo.

But this did not prevent the blessed Virgin, tender and delicate as she then was, and not accustomed to such efforts, from immediately setting forth moved by what? moved by that great charity with which her most tender heart was ever filled, to go and commence from that time her great office of dispenser of graces.

Precisely thus does St. Ambrose speak of this her journey: She did not go as if incredulous of the announcement, but happy in her desire, hastening for joy, and intent upon her office. Not that Mary, as the saint says, went to inform herself of the truth of what the angel had told her concerning Elizabeth, but joyful through her desire to help that household, hastening for the joy she felt to do good to others, and wholly intent on that charitable errand.

Rising up, she went with haste. Here let it be observed that the Evangelist, when he spoke of Mary going to the house of Elizabeth, said that she went in haste; but speaking of her return from that house, he makes no more mention of haste, but simply says: “And Mary abode with her about three months, and she returned to her own house.” What other object, then, says St. Bonaventure, caused the mother of God to hasten when going to visit the house of the Baptist, except the desire to do good to that family?

Certainly, since the assumption of Mary into heaven, this her affection of charity towards men has not ceased; nay, it has ever been in creasing, for there she better knows our necessities, and feels more pity for our miseries.

Bernardine de Bustis writes, that Mary more earnestly desires to do us good than we desire to receive it from her. To such a degree, that St. Bonaventure says, she considers herself injured by those who do not ask favors of her; for this is the desire of Mary, to enrich all with her graces; for, indeed, according to the assertion of the Idiot, she superabundantly enriches her servants.

Hence the same author says, that he who finds Mary finds every good. And he adds, that every one can find her, were he even the most abandoned sinner in the world; for she is so gracious that she sends away none who have recourse to her.

I invite all to come to me, Thomas a Kempis makes her say, I wait for all, I wish that all may come; neither do I ever despise any sinner who comes to seek my help, however unworthy he may be.

All who go to her asking favors, says Richard, will find her always ready, always inclined to succor them, and obtain for them every grace of eternal salvation by her powerful prayers.

I have said by her powerful prayers, for this is the other reflection which should increase our confidence, namely, knowing that she obtains from God whatever she asks in favor of her servants.

Observe especially, says St. Bonaventure, in this visit that Mary made to Elizabeth, the great virtue of the words of Mary; for at the sound of her voice the grace of the Holy Spirit was given to Elizabeth as well as to her son, as the Evangelist has written: “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.” On which St. Bonaventure remarks: Behold, how great is the virtue of the words of our Lady, for at the sound of them the Holy Spirit is given.

Theophilus of Alexandria says that Jesus is much pleased when Mary prays to him for us, for then all the graces which he bestows on us through the supplications of Mary, he does not consider to be conferred on us, but rather on Mary herself.

And let these words be noted: Persuaded by the prayers of his mother he gives. Yes, because Jesus, as St. Germanus attests, cannot but graciously hear Mary in all her petitions, wishing in this, as it were, to obey her as his true mother; hence the saint says that the prayers of this mother have a certain authority with Jesus Christ, so that she obtains pardon even for the greatest sinners, who commend themselves to her.

And this is indeed confirmed, as St. John Chrysostom observes, by what took place at the nuptials of Cana, where Mary, asking of her Son the wine that was wanting, said: “They have no wine;” Jesus answered: “Woman, what is that to me and to thee? my hour is not yet come.” But although the time for miracles has not yet arrived, as Chrysostom and Theophilactus explain; yet, says the same Chrysostom, our Saviour, in order to obey his mother, performed the miracle she requested, and converted the water into wine.

“Let us go therefore,” thus the apostle exhorts us, “with confidence to the throne of grace; that we may obtain mercy, and find grace in seasonable aid.” The throne of grace is the blessed Virgin Mary, says the blessed Albertus Magnus.

If, then, we wish for graces, let us go to the throne of grace, which is Mary; and let us go with the hope of being certainly heard; for we have the intercession of Mary, who obtains whatever she asks of her Son.

“Let us ask for grace,” I repeat with St. Bernard, “and through Mary let us ask,” trusting to what the Virgin mother said to St. Matilda, that the Holy Spirit, filling her with all his sweetness, had rendered her so dear to God that everyone who, through her intercession, asked for graces, would certainly obtain them.

And if we give credit to that celebrated saying of St. Anselm: We shall sometimes find grace sooner by having recourse to Mary, than by having recourse to our Saviour Jesus himself; not that he is not the source and Lord of all graces, but because if we go to Mary, and she intercedes for us, her prayers will have more power, as the prayers of a mother, than ours.

Let us never then leave the feet of this treasurer of graces, but say to her with St. John Damascene: Open to us, oh blessed mother of God, the door of thy mercy, for thou art the salvation of the human race. Oh mother of God, open to us the door of thy mercy, by praying always for us; for thy prayers are the salvation of all men.

And when we have recourse to Mary, it would be best to ask her to pray for us, and obtain for us those graces which she knows are most expedient for our salvation; which is precisely what Brother Reginald, a Dominican, did, as is related in the chronicles of the order. This servant of Mary was infirm, and asked of her the grace of bodily health.

Our Lady appeared to him, accompanied by St. Cecilia and St. Catherine, and said to him with the greatest sweetness: “My son, what shall I do for thee?” The religious at this kind offer of Mary was troubled, and knew not what to answer.

Then one of those saints gave him this counsel: “Reginald, do you know what you should do? Do not ask for any thing, place every thing at her disposal, because Mary knows how to obtain for thee a grace greater than you could ask.”

The sick brother followed her advice, and the divine mother obtained for him the grace of health.

But if we also desire the happy visits of this queen of heaven, it will greatly aid us if we often visit her before some image, or in some church dedicated to her.

Let us read the following example, and learn with what special favors she rewards the devout visits of her servants.

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