Spiritual Reading for Wednesday – Eleventh Week After Pentecost

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Spiritual Reading

TO THEE DO WE CRY, POOR BANISHED CHILDREN OF EVE

4.-THE GREATNESS OF MARY’S POWER TO DEFEND THOSE WHO INVOKE HER WHEN TEMPTED.

The Most Blessed Virgin is not only Queen of Heaven and of all Saints, but she is also Queen of hell and of all evil spirits; for she overcame them valiantly by her virtues. From the very beginning God foretold the victory and empire our Queen would one day obtain over the serpent, when He announced that a woman should come into the world to conquer him: I will put enmities between thee and the woman … she shall crush thy head (Gen. iii. 15).

Who could this woman, Satan’s enemy, be but Mary, who by her fair humility and holy life always conquered him and beat down his strength? The Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ was promised in the person of that woman, as is remarked by St. Cyprian. Therefore God did not say, “I place,” but “I will place”; lest He might seem to refer to Eve. God said, I will place enmities between thee and the woman, to signify that the serpent’s opponent was not to be Eve, who was then living, but would be another woman descending from her, and who, as St. Vincent Ferrer observes, “would bring our First Parents far greater advantages than those which they had lost by their sin.” Mary, then, was this great and valiant woman, who conquered the devil and crushed his head by bringing down his pride, as it was foretold by God Himself: she shall crush thy head. Some doubt as to whether these words refer to Mary, or whether they do not rather refer to Jesus Christ; for the Septuagint renders them, He shall crush thy head. But in the Vulgate, which alone was approved of by the Sacred Council of Trent, we find She and not He; and thus it was understood by St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, St. Augustine, and a great many others. However, be it as it may, it is certain that either the Son by means of the Mother, or the Mother by means of the Son, has overcome Lucifer; so that, as St. Bernard remarks, this proud spirit, in spite of himself, was beaten down and trampled under foot by this most Blessed Virgin; so that, as a slave conquered in war, he is forced always to obey the commands of this Queen. “Beaten down and trampled under the feet of Mary, he endures a wretched slavery.” St. Bruno says “that Eve was the cause of death,” by allowing herself to be overcome by the serpent, “but that Mary,” by conquering the devil, “restored life to us.” And she bound him in such a way that this enemy cannot stir so as to do the least injury to any of her clients.

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