TO THEE DO WE CRY, POOR BANISHED CHILDREN OF EVE
2.-THE PROMPTITUDE OF MARY IN ASSISTING THOSE WHO INVOKE HER.
The multitude of our sins should not diminish our confidence that Mary will grant our petitions when we cast ourselves at her feet. She is the Mother of Mercy; but mercy would not be needed did none exist who require it. On this subject Richard of St. Laurence remarks, “that as a good mother does not shrink from applying a remedy to her child infected with ulcers, however nauseous and revolting they may be, so also is our good Mother unable to abandon us when we have recourse to her, that she may heal the wounds caused by our sins, however loathsome they may have rendered us.” This is exactly what Mary gave St. Gertrude to understand, when she showed herself to her with her mantle spread out to receive all who have recourse to her. At the same time the Saint was told that “Angels constantly guard the clients of this Blessed Virgin from the assaults of hell.”
This good Mother’s compassion is so great, and the love she bears us is such, that she does not even wait for our prayers in order to assist us; but, as it is expressed in the Book of Wisdom: she preventeth them that covet her, so that she first showeth herself unto them (Wisd. vi. 14). St. Anselm applies these words to Mary, and says that she is beforehand with those who desire her protection. By this we are to understand that she obtains us many favours from God before we have recourse to her. For this reason Richard of St. Victor remarks that she is called the moon, fair as the moon (Cant. vi. 9), meaning, not only that she is swift as the moon in its course, by flying to the aid of those who invoke her, but that she is still more so, for her love for us is so tender that in our wants she anticipates our prayers, and her mercy is more prompt to help us than we are to ask her aid. “And this arises,” adds the same Richard, “from the fact that the heart of Mary is so filled with compassion for poor sinners, that she no sooner sees our miseries than she pours her tender mercies upon us. Nor is it possible for this benign Queen to behold the want of any soul without immediately assisting it.”
Mary, even when living in this world, showed at the marriage-feast of Cana the great compassion that she would afterwards exercise towards us in our necessities, and which now, as it were, forces her to have pity on us and assist us, even before we ask her to do so. In the Second Chapter of St. Luke we read that at this Feast the compassionate Mother saw the embarrassment in which the bride and bridegroom were, and that they were quite ashamed on seeing the wine fail; and therefore, without being asked, and listening only to the dictates of her compassionate heart, which could never behold the afflictions of others without feeling for them, she begged her Son to console them. This she did by laying their distress before Him: they have no wine (Jo. ii. 3). No sooner had she done so than our Lord, in order to satisfy all present, and still more to console the compassionate heart of His Mother, who had asked the favour, worked the well-known miracle by which He changed the water, brought to Him in jars, into wine. From this Novarinus argues that “if Mary, unasked, is thus prompt to succour the needy, how much more so will she be to succour those who invoke her and ask for her help?”
Should there be any one who doubts as to whether Mary will aid him if he has recourse to her, Innocent III thus reproves him: “Who is there that ever, when in the night of sin, had recourse to this sweet Lady without being relieved?”
” Who ever,” exclaims the Blessed Eutychian, “faithfully implored thy all-powerful aid and was abandoned by thee?” Indeed, no one for thou, Mary, canst relieve the most wretched and save the most abandoned. Such a case certainly never did and never will occur.
“I am satisfied,” says St. Bernard, “that whoever has had recourse to thee, O Blessed Virgin, in his wants, and can remember that he did so in vain, should no more speak of or praise thy mercy.”
“Sooner,” says the devout Blosius, “would Heaven and earth be destroyed than would Mary fail to assist any one who asks for her help, provided he does so with a good intention and with confidence in her.”