Evening Meditations for the Twenty-second Saturday After Pentecost~ St Alphonsus Liguori

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Evening Meditation





It is impossible for a client of Mary, who is faithful in honouring and recommending himself to her, to be lost. To some this proposition may appear, at first sight, exaggerated; but any one to whom this might seem to be the case I would beg to suspend his judgment, and, first of all, read what I have to say.

When we say that it is impossible for a client of Mary to be lost, we must not be understood as speaking of those who would take advantage of this devotion that they might sin more freely. And therefore, those who disapprove of the great praises bestowed on the clemency of this most Blessed Virgin, because it causes the wicked to take advantage of it to sin with greater freedom, do so without foundation, for such presumptuous people deserve chastisement, and not mercy, for their rash confidence. It is, therefore, to be understood of those clients who, with a sincere desire to amend, are faithful in honouring and recommending themselves to the Mother of God. It is, I say, morally impossible that such as these should be lost.

St. Anselm says, “it is impossible for one who is not devout to Mary, and consequently not protected by her, to be saved; so is it impossible for one who recommends himself to her, and consequently is beloved by her, to be lost.” St. Antoninus repeats the same thing and almost in the same words: “As it is impossible for those from whom Mary turns her eyes of mercy to be saved, so also are those towards whom she turns these eyes, and for whom she prays, necessarily saved and glorified.” Consequently the clients of Mary will necessarily be saved.

Let us note particularly what these Saints say, and let those tremble who make but little account of their devotion to this Divine Mother, or from carelessness give it up. They say that the salvation of those who are not protected by Mary is impossible. Many others declare the same thing; such as Blessed Albert, who says, that “all those who are not thy servants, O Mary, will perish.” And St. Bonaventure: “He who neglects the service of the blessed Virgin will die in his sins.” Again: “He who does not invoke thee, O Lady, will never get to Heaven.” And, on the 99th Psalm the Saint even says, “not only those from whom Mary turns her face will not save their souls, but there will be no hope of their salvation.” Before him, St. Ignatius the Martyr said, “it is impossible for any sinner to be saved without the help and favour of the most Blessed Virgin; because those who are not saved by the justice of God are with infinite mercy saved by the intercession of Mary.” Some doubt as to whether this passage is truly of St. Ignatius; but, at all events, as Father Crasset remarks, it was adopted by St. John Chrysostom. And in the same sense does the Church apply to Mary the words of Proverbs: All that hate me, love death (Prov. viii. 36), that is, all who do not love me, love eternal death. For, as Richard of St. Laurence says on the words of the same book: She is like the merchant’s ship (Prov. xxxi. 14), “all those who are out of this ship will be lost in the sea of the world.” Even the heretical Ecolampadius looked upon little devotion to the Mother of God as a certain mark of reprobation: and therefore he said: “Far be it from me ever to turn from Mary.”


In the words applied to her by the Church, Mary says: He that hearkeneth to me shall not be confounded (Ecclus. xxiv. 30); that is to say, he that listeneth to what I say shall not be lost. On which St. Bonaventure says: “O Lady, he who honours thee will be far from damnation.” And this will still be the case, St. Hilary observes, even should the person during the past time have greatly offended God. “However great a sinner he may have been,” says the Saint, “if he shows himself devout to Mary, he will never perish.”

For this reason the devil does his utmost against sinners in order that, after they have lost the grace of God, they may also lose devotion to Mary. When Sara saw Isaac in company with Ismael, who was teaching him evil habits, she desired that Abraham would drive away both Ismael and his mother Agar: Cast out this bond-woman and her son (Gen. xxi. 10). She was not satisfied with the son being turned out of the house, but insisted on the mother going also, thinking that otherwise the son, coming to visit his mother, would continue to frequent the house. The devil, also, is not satisfied with a soul turning out Jesus Christ, unless it also turns out His Mother: Cast out this bond-woman and her son. Otherwise he fears that the Mother will again, by her intercession, bring back her Son. “And his fears are well grounded,” says the learned Paciucchelli; “for he who is faithful in serving the Mother of God will soon receive God Himself by means of Mary.”

Let us thank our Lord if we see that He has given us affection for the Queen of Heaven, and confidence in her, “for,” says St. John Damascene, “God grants this favour only to those whom He is determined to save.” The following are the beautiful words of the Saint, and with which he rekindles his own and our hope: “O Mother of God, if I place my confidence in thee, I shall be saved. If I am under thy protection, I have nothing to fear, for the fact of being thy client is the possession of a certainty of salvation, and which God grants only to those whom He intends to save.” Therefore, Erasmus salutes the Blessed Virgin in these words: “O terror of hell! O hope of Christians, confidence in thee is a pledge of salvation!

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