MARY IS OUR MOTHER OF PERPETUAL SUCCOUR
St. Paul wrote of our Lord Jesus Christ: For in that he himself hath suffered and been tempted he is able to succour them also that are tempted-(Heb. ii. 18). So, too, had the Mother of Jesus to be tried with many and terrible sufferings in order that, as St. Alphonsus says, she might be in all things like to her Son, and be able to succour and console the miserable.
The Blessed Mother of God well deserves the glorious and beautiful title of Perpetual Succour. She has earned this title because of her great sufferings for our sake. “In all things like to her Divine Son is His Mother Mary; and as she is the Mother of Mercy, she rejoices when she succours and consoles the miserable.” -(St. Alphonsus). But here she could rejoice as the Consoler and Perpetual Succour of men, she had, like her Divine Son, to be tried, to be tempted, and to suffer. St. Paul wrote of Our Lord Jesus Christ: For in that he himself hath suffered and been tempted he is able to succour them also that are tempted. In order to win for Himself the glorious Name of Jesus, and to succour and save mankind, our Divine Lord underwent great sufferings, even to the shedding of the last drop of His precious Blood. So, too, had the Divine Mother to be tried with many and terrible sufferings in order to share with her Son in the work of the Redemption of the human race, and win for herself the glorious name and title of the world’s Perpetual Succour.
The Divine Mother suffered in her Child. It is in the sufferings of the child every true and loving mother suffers most keenly. Mary knew the Scriptures well, and from her earliest days of childhood in the Temple kept pondering them in her heart, especially all that concerned the coming of the Redeemer, His life and death. She knew better than Prophet and Priest what the Messias would have to do and to suffer that He might enter into His glory, and so from the hour the Archangel saluted her: Hail, full of grace! and she was overshadowed by by Holy Ghost and the Word was made Flesh in her womb, sorrows, too, overshadowed her, and filled her with the saddest forebodings. The Angel of her joys soon became the messenger of woe to carry the awful vision of the Cross and Nails before the eyes of Child and Mother from the manger of Bethlehem to the Hill of Calvary.
O my afflicted Mother, thou didst weep bitterly over thy Son Who died for my salvation; but what will thy tears avail me if I am lost? By thy merits, then, obtain for me true contrition for my sins and a real amendment of life. If Jesus and thou, being so innocent, have suffered so much for love of me, obtain that at least I may suffer something for your love. “0 Lady,” I will say with St. Bonaventure, “if I have offended thee, in justice wound my heart: if I have served thee I ask for wounds as my reward. It is shameful to see my Lord wounded, and thee wounded, and myself without a wound! Ah, cease not, O Advocate of sinners, to assist my soul in the midst of the combat. I invoke thy Son and thee to succour me in, life and in death. O Jesus and Mary, to you I recommend my soul.”
How plainly and eloquently does the Picture of the Mother of Perpetual Succour tell of the Mother’s sufferings in her Child. There we see only one sufferer as it were, so united and identified are both in their sorrows. The horrid visions that afflict His eyes afflict her soul, and every quiver of pain in the limbs of the Divine Lamb in her arms makes her heart tremble and agonise. The loving St. Alphonsus says: “From the beginning of His life Jesus had always before His eyes the sad vision of all the torments He would have to endure before He left this earth, as He predicted by the mouth of the Prophet: My sorrow is continually before me-(Ps. xxxvii. 18). So, then, my Redeemer, throughout Thy life, I shall find Thee nowhere but on the Cross! Even while sleeping, says Bellarmine, the vision of the Cross was present to the Heart of Jesus. “Christ had His Cross always before His eyes. When He slept, His Heart watched; nor was it ever free from the vision of the Cross.”
So likewise had the Divine Mother to endure her perpetual agony that in all things, she, the Co-Redemptrix of the world, might be like to her Divine Son, the Redeemer. Mary revealed to St. Bridget that when she suckled her Child she thought of the vinegar and gall; when swathing Him, she thought of the cords with which He was to be bound; when bearing Him in her arms, of the Cross to which He would be nailed; when He was sleeping, of His Death. As often as she put on Him His garments, she reflected how they would be torn from His bleeding body one day; and when she beheld His feet and hands, she thought of the nails that would one day pierce them, and then, as Mary said to St. Bridget, “my eyes filled with tears and my heart was tortured with grief.” Thus truly had Mary to suffer and to be tempted. like her Divine Son, so as to be able to succour them also that are tempted, and to merit the glorious title of the world’s Perpetual Succour. Mary is now all-powerful in Heaven, ever acting as our Advocate and interceding for us, says Blessed Amadeus, with her most powerful prayers, for she well sees our miseries and our dangers, and, as our most clement and sweet Lady, compassionates and succours us with a Mother’s love.
O Mother of Perpetual Succour, grant that I may always invoke thy most powerful name, for thy name is help in life, salvation in death. I thank the Lord for having given thee for my good this name so sweet, so amiable, and so powerful. But merely to pronounce thy name is not enough for me. I wish to do so out of love. I wish that love may remind me to call thee always Mother of Perpetual Succour.