To Mary, Most Merciful Mother
This Mother’s Day, let’s first of all honor Mary, whom Our Lord Jesus Christ has given us for our own Mother. The following post is loosely based on meditations from St. Alphonsus de Liguori’s “The Glories of Mary”.
In giving us Jesus, Mary gave us the true life; and by offering upon Calvary the life of her Son for our salvation, she then brought us forth into the life of divine grace. Thus, at two different times Mary became our spiritual mother; the first when she was found worthy of conceiving in her virginal womb the Son of God, our Savior, as St. Albert Magnus says. St. Bernardine of Sienna more distinctly teaches us that when the most holy Virgin at the annunciation of the angel gave her consent to become mother of the eternal Word, which He awaited before making Himself her Son, she by this consent even from that time beseeched God with lively affection for our salvation; and she was so earnestly engaged in obtaining it, that from that time she has been our Mother.
Indeed, when in the Gospel we read that Mary brought forth her first-born Son, that refers to the fact that since Mary was and always remained an immaculate virgin, her other children are her spiritual children, that is to say, we are her children. Thus, as St. Alphonsus relates, “Our Lord revealed this to St. Gertrude who reading one day the passage of (St. Luke’s) Gospel was troubled, not knowing how to understand it, that Mary being mother of Jesus Christ alone, it could be said that He was her first-born. And God explained it to her, by telling her that Jesus was her first-born according to the flesh, but men were her second-born according to the spirit.”
Additionally, Mary brought us forth to grace when on Calvary, she offered to the eternal Father with so much sorrow of heart the life of her beloved Son for our salvation. Wherefore, St. Augustine asserts that, by her loving co-operation with Christ in the birth of the faithful into the life of grace, she became also by this co-operation the spiritual mother of us all. And then she in her sorrow brought us forth to eternal life; so that we may all call ourselves children of the Sorrowful Heart of Mary.
She, our most loving mother, was always wholly united to the Divine will; hence St. Bonaventure remarks, that when she saw the love of the Eternal Father for men, who would have His Son die for our salvation, and the love of the Son in willing to die for us, she too with her whole will, offered her Son and consented that He should die that we might be saved, in order to conform herself to that exceeding love of the Father and Son for the human race.
When God the Eternal Father saw the great desire of Mary to devote herself also to the salvation of men, He ordained that by the sacrifice and offering of the life of this same Jesus, she might co-operate with Him in the work of our salvation, and thus become mother of our souls. And this our Savior signified, when, before He died, He saw from the cross His mother and the disciple St. John both standing near Him, and first spoke to Mary: ‘Woman, Behold thy son’. And then turning to the disciple, He said: ‘Behold thy mother’. By which words, says St. Bernardine of Sienna, Mary was then made Mother not only of St. John, but of all men, for the love she bore them.
By giving us His own dear Mother to be our Mother, Our Lord was tenderly telling us, even as He was dying for love of us, “See, we shall be brothers now, My Mother will be thy Mother!” St. Anselm, full of joy at this thought, exclaimed, “Oh, blessed confidence! The mother of God is my mother also. With what certainty may we hope, since our salvation depends upon the sentence of a good brother and of a kind mother! Hear, then, our mother who calls us, and says to us; ‘Whosoever is a little one, let him come to me.’ Little children have always on their lips the word mother, and in all the dangers to which they are exposed, and in all their fears, they cry mother, Ah, most sweet Mary!”
Most loving mother! You desire that we become your children, and call upon you in all our dangers, and have recourse to you, for you will aid and save us, as you have saved all your children who have had recourse to you. How ungrateful would we be and how unfaithful to God’s will, if we did not turn to you for help, and so we take you for our own Blessed Mother, our safe refuge and the way which will lead us to God!
Prayer to Mary, my Mother
O, most holy mother, how is it possible that, having so holy a mother, I should be so sinful? How can I be so indifferent to thee, dearest Mother, who art given to me by my Savior Himself? I no longer deserve to be thy child, because by my bad life I have rendered myself unworthy. With thy help, I renounce all my sins, and all my bad habits. And I will be thy child and thou wilt be my mother.
O Mother! This name wholly consoles me, melts me, and reminds me of my obligation to love thee. I call thee Mother and this name encourages me to confide in thee. When I am the most terrified at the thought of my sins and of the divine justice, I am comforted by the remembrance that thou art my mother and will never fail me.
Permit me, then, to call thee my mother, my sweetest mother. Thus I call thee, and thus I will ever call thee. Thou shalt always be my hope, my refuge, and my love, in this valley of tears. O most merciful Mother, keep me close to thee always and permit never more to stray from thee and when death comes, may I be ever faithful, commending my soul, at the last moment, into thy sacred hands, saying: “My mother, my mother Mary, help me, and bring me to Jesus, my Lord and my God.” Amen.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!