No, Mary has never disappointed the trust of anyone. And this is what her pious servant S. Bernard says to her in his celebrated prayer: ‘Remember, O Most Blessed Virgin Mary, that no one ever had recourse to your aid or implored your help, or asked your prayers, and was rejected.’
Therefore we have recourse to thee, for ‘thou art faithful to God and to mankind.’
‘Faithful to God’: Mary has never disappointed His expectations. Better than the ancient Ark of the Covenant, she did not lose the Holy of Holies, the true manna deposited within her on the day of the Incarnation. And she who pronounced that humble uncompromising ‘Fiat to the request of the Trinity brought by the Archangel Gabriel; she it is who gave birth to the Son of the Eternal God; she whom we have seen standing on Calvary at the foot of the Cross on which Christ was suffering and dying, offered by her hands and her Heart for the redemption of humanity. And if the Holy Spirit praises the faithfulness of the just and promises to make them rulers over many things, what has he not done for her whom the Church adoring calls ‘Virgin most faithful?’
‘Faithful to mankind.’ What sincere soul could say that Mary has ever disappointed his hope? Nevertheless this does not mean that Mary always hears our prayers in this world and according to our wishes, for our actual desires are not always what are best for the glory of God and for our eternal salvation. Our heavenly Advocate knows this. Therefore she obtains for us from her divine Son, as a mother and according to our present need, those graces which are most profitable for us, at the time, and in the degree and way which she considers best. Let us leave it to her. A mother knows much better than the little child whom she carries in her arms or lays in his little cradle, what is good for his life and his needs.
Let these words on your lips be true: ‘I know in whom I have believed.’ And we shall add in the same spirit: ‘Thou wilt not suffer anything to be lost of that which I entrust to thee.’
But let us continue the words of Blessed de Montfort: ‘Thou art powerful and nothing can harm thee or snatch away what thou holdest in thy hands.’
Père Lhoumeau says here: ‘This consideration will appeal to those who are anxious about their perseverance in the state of grace and the work of their perfection. How many beginners are there not who waver or turn back through fear of failing or of not persevering!’ The whole of the admirable Treatise of the True Devotion of Blessed de Montfort is an eloquent proof of this. Let us consider in especial this consoling statement: ‘In the bosom of Mary the youthful become elders in light, in holiness, in experience and in wisdom, and we arrive in a few years at the fullness of the age of Jesus Christ.’
S. Bernard might well say to us: ‘With Mary for guide thou shalt never go astray; whilst invoking her, thou shalt never lose heart; so long as she is in thy mind thou art safe from deception; whilst she holds thy hand thou canst not fall; under her protection thou hast nothing to fear; if she walks before thee, thou shalt not grow weary; if she shows thee favor, thou shalt reach the goal.’
And elsewhere: ‘She prevents her Son from striking; restrains the devil from injuring; keeps virtues from fleeing; merits from perishing; keeps graces from fleeing away.’
‘These are,’ says Blessed Louis, ‘the words of S. Bernard. They express in substance all that I have said.’ We know these words of the Cistercian Doctor so full of doctrine and sanctity, so fragrant with Mary’s sweetness, that the author of the Treatise of the True Devotion finds in him, it would seem, his favorite author. He must have meditated long and deeply upon these words of S. Bernard, have lingered over them, filled his life with them, for he has made them his own and summed them up in words which will be a light, a consolation and an encouragement to many souls in trial, on their way to perfection, but through all kinds of obstacles. S. Bernard’s words fill him with enthusiastic joy. ‘Were there only this one motive to encourage me in the practice of this devotion, that it is a sure means of keeping me in the grace of God and even of increasing it in me, should I not be consumed with love and ardor for it?’
This is, it seems to me, the great and final thought of the True Devotion to Mary, which Blessed Louis repeats and reiterates in every possible shape in all his pages; to keep the precious treasure of grace; to increase it, that we may rise and attain to an intimate and constant union with Jesus, we must at all costs go and give ourselves to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Besides imitating the conduct of God, we are taking a measure of personal prudence. We are serving and securing our most precious interests which are also those of God; for all the saints have said in different ways that devotion to the Ever Blessed Virgin is a certain mark of predestination.
After this, let us then not hesitate to entrust to our divine Mother and Mistress our souls and bodies with all their supernatural goods, that she may keep them for us, adorn them and make them bear fruit to life eternal.
(To be continued.)