Morning Meditation for the Fourth Saturday after Epiphany ~ St Alphonsus Liguori

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Morning Meditation


There is no sinner, however abandoned by God, for whom Mary will not obtain grace and mercy if he only invokes her aid. As the magnet attracts iron so she draws to herself and to God the hardest hearts. Oh, if sinners had only recourse to Mary with a determination to amend their lives who should ever be lost!


Denis the Carthusian says that Mary is, in a special manner, the advocate of sinners, because the guilty stand in greater need of succour than the innocent; hence he calls her the advocate of all sinners who invoke her intercession. And before him, St. John Damascene called Mary “the city of refuge for all who fly to her.” Hence St. Bonaventure says: “Poor abandoned sinners, do not despair, raise your eyes to Mary,” and be comforted, trusting in the clemency of this good Mother, for she will rescue you from the shipwreck you have suffered and will conduct you to the haven of salvation. Let us, then, say with St. Thomas of Villanova: “O holy Virgin, since thou art the advocate of the miserable, assist us who are the most miserable of all.” “Let us,” says St. Bernard, “ask grace, and ask it through Mary.” The grace that we have lost she has found, says Richard of St. Laurence; we, then, should go to her in order to recover it. When the Archangel Gabriel announced to Mary that God had chosen her to be the Mother of the Word, he said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God (Luke i. 30). But how can that be? Mary was never deprived of grace; on the contrary, she was always full of grace. How, then, could the Angel say that she had found grace? Cardinal Hugo answers, that she did not find grace for herself, because she always possessed it, but she found it for us who had miserably lost it. Hence he says that in order to recover it, we should go to Mary and say to her: O Lady, property should be restored to him who has lost it; the grace which thou hast found is not thine, for thou didst always possess it; it is ours, we have lost it; to us, then, thou shouldst restore it. “Sinners, who by sin have forfeited the Divine grace, run, run to the Virgin, and say to her with confidence: Restore to us our property which you have found.”

Oh, if all sinners had recourse to Mary with a determination to amend their lives, who should ever be lost? They that have not recourse to Mary are lost. St. Bridget heard our Saviour say to His Mother: “You would show mercy even to the devil were he to ask it with humility.” The proud Lucifer will never humble himself so far as to recommend himself to Mary; but were he to humble himself to this Divine Mother and ask her aid, she would not cast him off, but would deliver him from hell by her intercession. By this Jesus gives us to understand that Mary obtains salvation for all that have recourse to her.


St. Basil calls Mary “a public hospital.” Public hospitals are established for the poor that are afflicted with sickness, and the greater the poverty of the invalid, the stronger his claim to admission. Hence, according to St. Basil, Mary would receive with the greatest promptness the most abandoned sinners that have recourse to her. Ah! says St. Bernard, this great Queen feels no horror for any sinner, however great the stench of his sins. If the miserable man flies to her protection, she disdains not to stretch forth her hand and to rescue him from the state of perdition. Our Lord revealed to St. Catherine of Sienna, that He had chosen Mary to draw men, and particularly sinners, to His love. Mary herself said to St. Bridget, that there is no sinner, however abandoned by God, for whom, if he invoke her aid, she will not obtain the grace to return to God, and find mercy. She also said that as the magnet attracts iron, so she draws to herself and to God the hardest hearts.

The holy Church wishes that we call this Divine Mother our Hope. Hail, our Hope! The impious Luther said that he could not bear to hear the Church teaching us to call Mary our Hope. God only, he said, is our Hope; and God Himself curses them that place their hopes in any creature. Yes, God curses those that trust in creatures independently of Him, but we hope in Mary as a mediatress with God. For, says St. Bernard, God has placed in the hands of Mary all the treasures of goods that He wishes to dispense to men. Hence the Lord wishes us to acknowledge that all good comes from Mary; for He has ordained that all the graces that He will give us should pass through her hands. St. Bernard called her his greatest confidence, and the entire ground of his hope. St. Bonaventure called Mary the salvation of them who invoke her. Hence according to St. Bonaventure, to be saved it is enough to invoke Mary. Whenever, then, the devil terrifies us with the fear of being lost, let us say to Mary with the same Saint: “In thee, O Lady, have I hoped; let me not be confounded forever!” In thee, after Jesus, I have placed all my hopes; thou hast to watch over my salvation, and to deliver me from hell. But, says St. Anselm, hell is not the lot of any true client of Mary for whom she prays even once, and says to her Son that she desires his salvation.

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