MOST HOLY MARY THE MEDIATRIX OF SINNERS
If the sinner fears to approach Jesus Christ on account of His Divine Majesty, God has given him an advocate with Jesus Himself, and that advocate is His own Mother Mary. She finds peace for sinners, salvation for the lost, mercy for those who are in despair.
Divine grace is an infinite treasure, because it makes us friends of God. For she is an infinite treasure to men, which they that use become the friends of God (Wis. vii. 14). Hence it follows, that as there cannot be a greater happiness than to enjoy the grace of God, so there cannot be a greater misery than to incur God’s displeasure by sin, which makes us His enemies. But to God the wicked and his wickedness are hateful alike (Wis. xiv. 9). But if you have had the misfortune to forfeit Divine grace by sin, do not despair, but console yourself with the reflection, that you have in Jesus Christ Himself a Mediator, Who can obtain pardon for you, and restore you the grace you have lost. And he is the propitiation for our sins (1 Jo., ii. 2).
What have you to fear, says St. Bernard, when you can have recourse to so great a Mediator? He is all powerful with His eternal Father. He has satisfied Divine justice for you, and has nailed your sins to the Cross, having taken them away from your soul. But if, notwithstanding all this, you fear to approach Jesus Christ on account of His Divine majesty, God has given you an advocate with Jesus Himself, and that advocate is Mary, His own Mother.
Thus Mary has been given to the world as a mediatrix between God and sinners. Hear the words which the Holy Ghost makes her speak in the Divine Canticles: I am a wall, and my breasts are as a tower, since I am become in his presence as one finding peace (Cant. viii. 10). I am, she says, the refuge of those who fly to me; my breasts, that is, my mercy, are like a tower of defence to every one who has recourse to me; and he who is the enemy of God, let him know that I am the mediatrix of peace between God and sinners. “She finds peace for enemies, salvation for the lost, mercy for those who are in despair,” says Cardinal Hugo. For this reason is Mary called beautiful … as the curtains of Solomon (Cant. i. 4). In the tents of David naught was to be heard of but war; in the tents of Solomon naught but peace. By this we are to understand that Mary has no other ministry in Heaven than that of peace and pardon. Hence St. Andrew Avellino calls her “the pleader of Paradise”; but what are those occupations in which Mary is engaged? “Mary,” says Venerable Bede, “stands in the presence of her Son, praying unceasingly for sinners.” And Blessed Amadeus says that “Mary, all-powerful by her prayers, stands before the face of God, continually interceding for us.” Thus Mary never ceases to implore of God by her all-powerful prayers all the graces we wish to receive. And are there any found to refuse the graces obtained for them by this Divine Mother? Yes, there are found such — yes, those who will not abandon sin, who will not give up this friendship, this occasion of sin; who will not restore their neighbour’s property — these are they who will not receive the graces offered to them by Mary. Holy Mary wishes to bestow upon them the grace to break off this connection, to fly this occasion of sin, and they will not have it. And such as will not do it, positively refuse the graces sought for them by Mary. From Heaven she sees well all our miseries and dangers; and oh, how deeply is she touched with compassion for us! With what motherly affection is she always endeavouring to assist us! “For she sees our dangers,” says the Blessed Amadeus, “and, as our merciful Sovereign, compassionates us with maternal affection.”
One day St. Bridget heard Jesus Christ saying to Mary: “My Mother, ask of Me what you will.” And Mary answered Him: “I ask mercy for the miserable.” As if she were to say to Him: Son, since Thou hast made me the Mother of Mercy, and Advocate of Sinners, can I ask aught else of Thee than mercy for poor miserable sinners. In a word, St. Augustine says, that amongst all the Saints, we have not one who is so solicitous for our salvation as Mary.
Isaias complains in his day: Behold, Thou art angry; … there is none who riseth up and taketh hold of Thee (Is. lxiv. 5-7). Lord, Thou art justly angry with us for our sins, and there is no one to appease Thee, or hold Thee from chastising us. St. Bonaventure says that the Prophet had reason to speak thus, since there was no Mary then. But at present, if Jesus Christ wishes to chastise a sinner, and the sinner recommends himself to Mary, she by her prayers for him restrains her Son, and averts the chastisement from him. There is no one so well able to hold back the sword of the Lord. Justly, then, is Mary called the peace of the Lord with men. And St. Justin called her the Arbitress, saying, “The Word uses the Virgin as arbitress — an arbitress, to whose decision disputants bind themselves to yield.” By which St. Justin means to say, that Jesus lays before Mary all His reasons for punishing such a sinner, that she may negotiate a peace; and the sinner, on the other side, places himself in her hands. Thus Mary on the one side obtains for the sinner the grace of amendment and penance: on the other, she obtains pardon for him of her Son, and thus is peace concluded. Such is the ministry in the exercise of which Mary is continually occupied as Mediatrix of Sinners.