SALVE, REGINA, MATER MISERICORDlAE! HAIL, HOLY QUEEN, MOTHER OF MERCY!
XIII.-MARY IS THE MOTHER OF PENITENT SINNERS.
Our Blessed Lady told St. Bridget that she was the Mother not only of the just and innocent, but also of sinners, provided they were willing to repent. Oh, how prompt does a sinner who is desirous of amendment and flies to her feet find this good Mother to embrace and help him, far more so than any earthly mother! St. Gregory VII wrote in this sense to princess Matilda, saying: “Resolve to sin no more and I promise that undoubtedly thou wilt find Mary more ready to love thee than any earthly mother.”
But whoever aspires to be a child of this great Mother must first abandon sin, and then may hope to be accepted as such. Richard of St. Laurence, on the words of Proverbs, up rose her children-(Prov. xxxi. 28}, remarks that the words up rose came first, and then the word children to show that no one can be a child of Mary without first endeavouring to rise from the fault into which he has fallen; for he who is in mortal sin is not worthy to be called the son of such a Mother. And St. Peter Chrysologus says that he who acts in a different manner from Mary declares thereby that he will not be her son. “He who does not the works of his Mother abjures his lineage.” Mary humble and he proud; Mary pure and he wicked; Mary full of charity and he hating his neighbour. He gives thereby proof that he is not, and will not be, the son of his holy Mother. The sons of Mary, says Richard of St. Laurence, are her imitators, and this chiefly in three things-in chastity, liberality, and humility; and also in meekness, mercy, and such like.
Whilst disgusting her by a wicked life, who would dare even to wish to be the child of Mary? A certain sinner once said to Mary, “Show thyself a Mother”; but the Blessed Virgin replied, “Show thyself a son.” Another invoked the Divine Mother, calling her the “Mother of mercy”; and she answered: “You sinners, when you want my help, call me ‘Mother of mercy,’ and at the same time do not cease by your sins to make me a ‘Mother of sorrow and anguish.’ He is cursed of God, says Ecclesiasticus, that angereth his mother -(Ecclus. iii. 18). “His mother, that is, Mary,” says Richard of St. Laurence. God curses those who by their wicked life, and still more by their obstinacy in sin, afflict this tender Mother.
I say by their obstinacy; for if a sinner, though he may not as yet have given up his sin, endeavours to do so, and for this purpose seeks the help of Mary, this good Mother will not fail to assist him, and make him recover the grace of God. And this is precisely what St. Bridget heard one day from the lips of Jesus Christ, Who, speaking to His Mother, said: “Thou assistest him who endeavours to return to God, and thy consolations are never wanting to anyone.” So long, then, as a sinner is obstinate, Mary cannot love him; but if he, finding himself chained by some passion which keeps him a slave of hell, recommends himself to the Blessed Virgin, and implores her, with confidence and perseverance, to withdraw him from the state of sin in which he is, there can be no doubt but this good Mother will extend her powerful hand to him, will deliver him from his chains, and lead him to a state of salvation.