Mary’s Intercession is Necessary For Our Salvation
by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori
Here is the concluding part of Saint Alphonsus Liguori’s enlightening and heart-warming article regarding the necessity of Mary’s intercession for our salvation. This article is taken from the book The Glories of Mary. That Mary is Mediatrix of all Graces has been confirmed in our times.*
*For the teaching of the various Popes (including that of Vatican II) regarding Mary as Mediatrix of All Graces, see The Fatima Crusader, Issue 9-10, Commentary to “Mary’s Intercession is Necessary For Our Salvation”.
“What will become of us,” asks St. Germanus, “what hope of salvation will remain to us, O Mary, if You, who are the life of Christians, abandon us?” “But,” says the modern author already quoted, (the Abbé Rolli), “if all graces come through Mary, when we implore the intercession of other saints, they must have recourse to the mediation of Mary. But that,” he says, “no one believes or ever dreamed.”
As to believing it, I reply that there is no error or difficulty at all. Since God established Mary as the Queen of all Saints, and since God wants all graces to be dispensed by Her hands, where would be the impropriety in saying that to honor Mary, God wants all the other Saints to turn to Her for the graces they wish to obtain for their clients?
And as to saying that no one ever dreamed of such a thing, I find that St. Bernard, St. Anselm, St. Bonaventure, Suarez, and others, expressly declare it to be the case. “In vain,” says St. Bernard, “would a person ask other saints for a favor, if Mary did not intercede to obtain it.” Some other author, explaining the words of the Psalm, “… The rich among the people seek your favor” (Ps. 44:13), says “that the saints are the rich of that great people of God, who, when they wish to obtain a favor from God for their clients, recommend themselves to Mary, and She immediately obtains it.” And Father Suarez correctly remarks, “that we beg the saints to be our intercessors with Mary, because She is their Queen and sovereign Lady. Amongst the saints,” he says, “we do not make use of one to intercede with Mary, because She is their sovereign and Queen.” And this is precisely what St. Benedict promised to St. Frances of Rome, as we read in Father Marchese; for he appeared to her, and taking her under his protection, he promised that he would be her advocate with the divine Mother.
In confirmation of this, St. Anselm addresses Our Blessed Lady and says: “O Lady, whatever all the saints united with Thee can obtain, Thou canst obtain alone. Why is this?” he asks. “Why do You alone have such tremendous power? Because You alone are the Mother of our common Redeemer, You are the Spouse of God, You are the Queen of Heaven and earth. If You do not speak for us, none of the saints will pray for us or help us. But if You pray for us, then all the saints will do the same and help us.”
Father Segneri says the same thing in his book ‘The Devout Client of Mary’. Together with the Catholic Church he applies these words of Holy Writ to Mary: “I alone have compassed the circuit of heaven…” (Ecclus. 24:5). He says that, “as the first sphere by its motion sets all the others in motion, so it is when Mary prays for a soul; immediately the whole heavenly court begins to pray with Her.” “In fact,” says St. Bonaventure, “whenever the Most Sacred Virgin goes to God to intercede for us, She, as Queen, commands all the angels and saints to accompany Her, and unite their prayers to Hers.”
And thus we finally understand why the Holy Church requires that we should salute and invoke the divine Mother under the glorious title of “Our Hope”. The impious Luther said, “that he could not endure that the Roman Church should call Mary, who is only a creature, ‘our hope’; for,” said he, “God alone, and Jesus Christ as our Mediator, is our hope: and God curses those who place their hope in a creature, according to the prophet Jeremias, ‘Cursed be the man that trusteth in man’.” But the Church teaches us to invoke Mary on all occasions, and to call Her “our hope; hail, our hope!” Whoever places his hope in creatures independently of God will certainly meet with God’s displeasure. God is the only source and dispenser of every good, and the creature without God is nothing, and can give nothing. But if Our Lord has so disposed it, as we have already proved that He has done, that all graces should pass through Mary as by a channel of mercy, we not only can but ought to assert that She, by whose means we receive the divine graces, is truly our hope.
Therefore St. Bernard says, “that She is his greatest confidence, and the whole foundation of his hope.” And St. John Damascene said: “O Lady, I have placed all my hope in You. With my eyes fixed on You, I expect eternal salvation.” St. Thomas says, that “Mary is the whole hope of our salvation,” and St. Ephrem says: “If You want us to be saved, O Mary, protect us, because we have no other hope of salvation but through You.”
Let us then, in the words of St. Bernard, “endeavor to venerate this divine Mother with the whole affection of our hearts; for such is the will of God, who is pleased that we should receive every good thing from Her hand.” And therefore the saint exhorts us, whenever we desire or ask for any grace, to recommend ourselves to Mary, and to be assured that we shall receive it by Her means; for he says, if thou dost not deserve the favor from God, Mary, who will ask it for thee, will deserve to receive it; “because thou was unworthy of the gift, it was bestowed on Mary, that through Her thou mightest receive all that thou hast.” The saint then advises us to recommend all that we offer to God to the care of Mary, be they good works or prayers, if we wish Our Lord to accept them. “Whatever thou mayest offer to God, be sure to recommend it to Mary, in order not to meet with a repulse.”
Example and Prayer
Given by St. Alphonsus
The history of Theophilus, written by Eutyches, patriarch of Constantinople, and who was an eyewitness of the fact he relates, is well known. It is attested to by St. Peter Damian, St. Bernard, St. Bonaventure, St. Anthony, and by others quoted by Father Crasset.
Theophilus was archdeacon of the church of Adana, a city of Cilicia, and he was held in such veneration by the people that they wished to have him for their bishop, but he, out of humility, refused the dignity. It happened that evil-disposed persons accused him falsely of some crime, and for this he was deposed from his archdeaconry. He took this so much to heart, that, blinded by passion, he went to a Jewish magician, who made him consult Satan, that he might help him in his misfortune. The devil told him that if he desired to be helped by him, he must renounce Jesus and His Mother Mary, and consign to him the act of renunciation written in his own hand. Theophilus immediately complied with the demand. The next day, the bishop having discovered that he had been deceived, asked the archdeacon’s pardon, and restored him to office. No sooner was this accomplished than his conscience was torn with remorse, and he could do nothing but weep. What could he do? He went to a church, and there casting himself all in tears at the foot of an image of Mary, he thus addressed Her: “O Mother of God, I will not despair as long as I can have access to Thee, who art so compassionate, and hast the power to help me.” He remained thus weeping and praying to Our Blessed Lady for forty days — when, lo, one night the Mother of Mercy appeared to him, and said: “O Theophilus, what hast thou done? Thou hast renounced My friendship and that of My Son, and for whom? For His and My enemy.” “O Lady,” answered Theophilus, “Thou must pardon me, and obtain my forgiveness from Thy Son.” Mary seeing his confidence, replied: “Be of good heart; I will intercede for thee with God.” Theophilus, encouraged by these consoling words, redoubled his tears, mortifications and prayers, and never left the image. At last Mary again appeared to him, and with a cheerful countenance said: “Theophilus, he of good heart; I have presented thy tears and prayers to God; He accepted them, and has already pardoned thee; but from this day forward be grateful to Him and faithful.” “But, O Lady,” replied Theophilus, “that is not yet enough to satisfy me entirely; the enemy still possesses that impious writing in which I renounced Thee and Thy Son. Thou canst oblige him to surrender it.” Three days afterwards, Theophilus awoke in the night and found the writing on his breast. On the following day he went to the church where the bishop was, and, in presence of an immense concourse of people, cast himself at his feet, and with bitter tears related all that had taken place, and delivered into his hands the infamous writing. The bishop committed it to the flames in the presence of all the people, who did nothing but weep for joy, and praise the goodness of God, and the mercy of Mary shown towards this poor sinner. But he, returning to the church of Our Blessed Lady, remained there for three days, and then expired, his heart filled with joy, and returning thanks to Jesus and to His Most Holy Mother.**
**The Church has enrolled this celebrated penitent among the number of the saints. His life may be read in the Bollandists, in Surius, as well as in Giry, February 4. - Ed.
O Queen and Mother of Mercy, who dispensest graces to all who have recourse to Thee with so much liberality, because Thou art a Queen, and with so much love, because Thou art Our Most Loving Mother; to Thee do I, who am so devoid of merit and virtue, and so loaded with debts to the divine justice, recommend myself this day. O Mary, Thou holdest the keys of all the divine mercies; forget not my miseries, and leave me not in my poverty. Thou art so liberal with all, and givest more than Thou art asked for. O, be liberal with me. O Lady, protect me; this is all that I ask of Thee. If Thou protectest me, I fear nothing. I fear not the evil spirits; for Thou art more powerful than all of them. I fear not my sins; for Thou by one word canst obtain their full pardon from God. And if I have Thy favor, I do not even fear an angry God; for a single prayer of Thine will appease Him. In fact, if Thou protectest me, I hope for all; for Thou art all-powerful. O Mother of Mercy, I know that Thou takest pleasure and dost glory in helping the most miserable, and, provided they are not obstinate, that Thou canst help them. I am a sinner, but am not obstinate; I desire to change my life. Thou canst, then, help me; O, help me and save me. I now place myself entirely in Thy hands. Tell me what I must do in order to please God, and I am ready for all, and hope to do all with Thy help. O Mary — Mary my Mother, my light, my consolation, my refuge, my hope. Amen.