Newsletter of the District of Asia

 July 1997

Mary, Our Advocate

So great is the authority that mothers possess over their sons, that even if they are monarchs, and have absolute dominion over every person in their kingdom, yet never can mothers become the subjects of their sons.  It is true that Jesus now in heaven sits at the right hand of the Father, that is as, St. Thomas explains it, even as man, on account of the hypostatical union with the Person of the divine Word.  He has supreme dominion over all, and also over Mary; it will nevertheless be always true that for a time, when He was living in this world, He was pleased to humble Himself and to be subject to Mary, as we are told by St. Luke:  “And He was subject to them.”  And still more, says St. Ambrose, Jesus Christ having deigned to make Mary His Mother, inasmuch as He was her Son, He was truly obliged to obey her.  And for this reason, says Richard of St. Laurence, “of other saints we say that they are with God; but of Mary alone can it be said that she was so far favored as to be not only herself submissive to the will of God, but even that God was subject to her will.”  And whereas of all other virgins, remarks the same author, we must say that “they follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth,” of the Blessed Mary we can say that the Lamb followed her, having become subject to her.

And here we say, that although Mary, now in heaven, can no longer command her Son, nevertheless her prayers are always the prayers of a mother, and consequently most powerful to obtain whatever she asks.  “Mary,” says St. Bonaventure, “has this great privilege, that with her Son she above all the saints is most powerful to obtain whatever she wills.”  And why?  Precisely for the reason on which we have already touched, and which we shall later on again examine at greater length, because they are the prayers of a mother.

Therefore, says St. Peter Damian, the Blessed Virgin can do whatever she pleases both in heaven and on earth.  She is able to raise even those who are in despair to confidence; and he addresses her in these words:  “All power is given to thee in heaven and on earth, and nothing is impossible to thee who canst raise those who are in despair to the hope of salvation.”  And then he adds that “when the Mother goes to seek a favor for us from Jesus Christ” (whom the saint calls the golden altar of mercy, at which sinners obtain pardon), “her son esteems her prayers so greatly, and is so desirous to satisfy her, that when she prays it seems as if she rather commanded than prayed, and was rather a queen than a handmaid.”  Jesus is pleased thus to honor His beloved Mother, who honored Him so much during her life, by immediately granting all that she asks or desires.  This is beautifully confirmed by St. Germanus, who addressing our blessed Lady says:  “Thou art the Mother of God, and all-powerful to save sinners, and with God thou needest no other recommendation; for thou art the Mother of true life.”

“At the command of Mary, all obey, even God.”  St Bernardine fears not to utter this sentence; meaning, indeed, to say that God grants the prayers of Mary as if they were commands.  And hence St. Anselm addressing Mary says: “Our Lord, O most holy Virgin, has exalted thee to such a degree that by His favor all things that are possible to Him should be possible to thee.”  “For thy protection is omnipotent, O Mary,” says Cosmas of Jerusalem.  “Yes, Mary is omnipotent,” repeats Richard of St. Laurence; “for the queen by every law enjoys the same privileges as the king.  And as”, he adds, “the power of the son and that of the mother is the same, a mother is made omnipotent by an omnipotent son.”  “And thus”, says St. Antoninus, “God has placed the whole Church, not only under the patronage, but even under the dominion of Mary.”

Since the Mother, then, should have the same power as the Son, rightly has Jesus, who is omnipotent, made Mary also omnipotent; though of course it is always true that where the Son is omnipotent by nature, the Mother is only by grace.  But that she is so is evident from the fact that whatever the Mother asks for, the Son never denies her; and this was revealed to St. Bridget, who one day heard Jesus talking with Mary, and thus address her:  “Ask of Me what thou wilt, for no petition of thine can be void.”  As if He had said, “My Mother, thou knowest how much I love thee; therefore ask all that thou wilt of Me; for it is not possible that I should refuse thee anything.”  And the reason that He gave for this was beautiful: “Because thou never didst deny Me anything on earth, I will deny thee nothing in heaven.”  My Mother, when thou wast in the world, thou never didst refuse to do anything for the love of Me; and now that I am in heaven, it is right that I should deny thee nothing that thou askest.  Mary, then, is called omnipotent in the sense in which it can be understood of a creature who is incapable of a divine attribute.  She is omnipotent, because by her prayers she obtains whatever she wills.

Let us conclude with St. Bonaventure, who, considering the great benefit conferred on us by Our Lord in giving us Mary for our advocate, thus addresses her: “O truly immense and admirable goodness of our God, which has been pleased to grant thee, O sovereign Mother, to us miserable sinners for our advocate, in order that thou by thy powerful intercession, mayest obtain all that thou pleasest for us.”  “O wonderful mercy of our God,” continues the same saint, “who in order that we might not fly on account of the sentence that might be pronounced against us, has given us His own Mother and the patroness of graces to be our advocate.

(From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Liguori)

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